You know that old '70s song "It Never Rains in Southern California"? Don't believe it. We had the second wettest winter on record in 2004-'05, causing everything from house-mashing mudslides to football-field-size sinkholes. So now we know a thing or two about being soaked and miserable, thanks to those nonstop downpours. The gear we've collected here should keep you dry and your truck weatherproof no matter how wet it gets.
A.R.E.'s MX-series truck caps feature fiberglass construction, a full walk-in door with sc
Need to keep gear (or yourself) dry in the bed? There are three basic choices for cargo-area cover: a tonneau, a truck cap, or a camper shell. The bed-wall-high tonneau is fine for gear but makes for a claustrophobic sleeping area; camper shells are great for sleeping but overkill if you stow gear more often than camp. Truck caps, such as this fiberglass MX model from A.R.E., are a good compromise between the two. The roof-high construction gives you space for tall gear or breathing room while you snooze, but it's not so tall as to spoil your truck's aerodynamic profile or garage ceiling clearance. Walk-in doors make access easier than ever, and A.R.E. offers paint-code matching so the cap will blend with the sheetmetal.
A.R.E, 800.649.4273, www.4are.com
Wet Okole seat covers (seen here in a Nissan Titan) are 100-percent neoprene and can be re
Like Water Off A Duck
If you're "lucky" enough to spend a lot of wheeling time in the rain, you'll want to look into making some modifications to your truck to better cope with the water, not to mention all the mud you'll encounter. For example, spray-in bedliner material is not only good for bed protection, it can also be used on your 4x4's floorboards to make hosing out the mud a whole lot easier. Worried about your seats being perpetually wet? Try covering them with a waterproof material, like the neoprene covers offered by Wet Okole Hawaii. Wet Okole has seat patterns that will fit just about any truck or SUV, and installation is simple, as the covers simply slide over the existing upholstery and fasten with Velcro and straps. There are some 38 colors in Wet Okole's inventory, so there's sure to be something that'll fit your rig's color scheme.
Line-X, 800.831.3232, www.line-x.com
Rhino Linings, 888.744.6604, www.rhinolinings.com
Wet Okole Hawaii, 949.548.1543, www.wetokole.com
I Can See Clearly Now
Don't rely on just your windshield wipers for clear visibility in poor conditions. There are several silicone-based windshield treatments on the market that will help repel rain and keep sleet and snow from sticking to the glass. Probably the best known is Rain-X, which is now available in Swipe & Wipe towelettes in addition to the familiar liquid spray. Rain-X, however, has to be applied in dry conditions. If it's already raining and you want to treat your windshield, use Instant Rain Shield or Ultra Rain Shield from No Touch. Both products are designed to work on wet glass; Instant Rain Shield lasts 4 to 10 days, while Ultra Rain Shield can last up to six months.
Rain-X, 800.416.1600, www.rainx.com
Instant Rain Shield, 860.543.7500, www.notouch.com/newsite/glass-products.html
Rocky's new BearClaw 3D boot (left) features waterproof Gore-Tex lining and 1,000 grams of
Rain Boots: Gore-Tex vs. Rubber
Both are waterproof, so which is best for you? According to Rocky Outdoor Gear's Joe Hanning, the breathability of Gore-Tex will make boots lined with it more comfortable to wear over the long haul, as your feet won't get clammy and, as a result, cold. Typically a boot made with Gore-Tex will also fit better than a rubber boot and will be much more comfortable to hike in.
But if you find yourself in swampy areas with lots of mud and standing water, rubber is the better choice, says Hanning. Rubber boots are available in sizes that are taller than standard boots, so you can have water protection further up your leg. Rubber boots are also much easier to clean after use; there's no leather or laces for mud to cake in.
Rubber also costs less, said Hanning. Typical rubber boots sell for between $49 and $99, while Gore-Tex-lined boots can sell for $140 and up.
Rocky Outdoor Gear, 740.753.1951, www.rockyboots.com
What is Gore-Tex?
You've seen the tags on everything from boots to jackets, but have you ever wondered what Gore-Tex is and how it can be waterproof and breathable at the same time? Gore-Tex is a membrane with pores so small water molecules can't get through, but air can. So on the inside of the garment your skin can breathe without getting clammy, but rain can't soak in.
According to Joe Hanning of Rocky Outdoor Gear, just about every apparel maker has its own waterproof system that is similar to Gore-Tex, but they're usually less expensive since typically they aren't as breathable. He lumps his own company's Rocky Waterproof material into that same not-quite-as-good camp. "That's what you're paying the extra money for when you're buying Gore-Tex," he said.