In planning for a trip to Ireland in March I was told to prepare for cold, wet weather or spring conditions. Being from Northern California, spring weather conditions mean different things to different people. We’ve been having our share of wet, cold weather – the better for trying out new travel gear and apparel for cold rain. Of course, on this particular trip, we hit the calm before the storm with each outing to the beach on the scenic Mendocino coast. From head to toe, I review Bushman’s Agricola waterproof jacket, North Face Apex waterproof pants, Merrell waterproof boots and the Evo Endurance battery charger case for iPhone.
While I’m typically worried about sun protection and protecting myself from skin cancer during my travels, I have unique packing challenges for this trip to Ireland. As we all know, bulky winter clothes are a lot more difficult to pack than summer travel apparel. However, it’s vital to keep warm and dry in wet weather no matter where you are traveling, so layers are key. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be tossing in wrinkle resistant wardrobe essentials like the packable wrap dress and cardigan or a swimsuit. I’m hopeful that there will be opportunities on this castles and manor house trip to soak in a hot tub or two. And of course, if Mother Nature shines favorably on us, we may not need waterproof jackets, but it’s always better to prepare for the worst and expect the best outcome.
Made of sturdy cotton and nylon, the Bushman Agricola Women’s Waterproof Jacket is designed to stand up against wind, rain, sleet and snow. Our recent road trip was supposed to take us to Central Oregon but my husband had an injury that forced us to head home. That’s a lot of words to say that I didn’t get the chance to try the jacket out in the snow. I have had time to wear the Bushman jacket in the wind and rain and it performed well under both conditions with the removable fleece lining in the jacket. My husband has the men’s version of this brown jacket and we both noticed the European cut to be more narrow than we expected. In fact, I’d suggest that you order one size up. It’s not easy to wear a heavy sweater or sweatshirt under this jacket due to the tightness in the sleeves. This isn’t an issue if I remove the liner, but it’s something to keep in mind when technical sports are involved such as shooting, archery or where easy range of motion is necessary. Having said that, the Agricola definitely keeps you warm with the liner in the jacket. I also like the length of the jacket, with a bit of a drop in the back to protect your bottom when you are sitting down. I’m pleased with the durability of the jacket and I like the fact that the hood is detachable. All around a good jacket for cold, wet weather.
My husband is a loyal fan of Filson and Barbour jackets as he is a true outdoorsman. Here’s his take on the men’s Bushman Agricola jacket. I found the Agricola takes some time to dry out after a heavy dose of rain. The hood wraps fairly tightly around your face and, like all hoods, blocks peripheral vision while keeping you dry. There are four exterior pockets that all have snap enclosures, the lack of interior pockets in the jacket or the liner is disappointing. The versatility of the jacket is that it is warm and waterproof with the zip on hood, but it can be scaled down as the temperature rises and the rain lessens to be a stylish lightweight jacket that provides good wind protection.
Designed for the ski slopes, I’m taking the North Face Apex Soft-Shell Pants with me to Ireland. I don’t like the baggy, over-the-pants rain gear, so I’m opting for the matchstick black pants. The fabric is windproof and highly water-resistant, keeping me warm and dry while I’m out and about. The StretchVent gaiters with gripper elastic make them easy to wear with ski or rain boots, or I can easily tuck up the gaiters when wearing the pants with regular shoes. The Chimney Venting system design allows for adequate airflow so I don’t overheat in the pants. The pants come in black and sizes short and tall. I ordered the short and I am 5’3 inches tall.
I love my new Merrell Women’s Reflex Waterproof hiking boots and they were on sale! This mid hiker boot features waterproof leather uppers with Strobel construction, offering comfort and flexibility, all while keeping my feet dry. EVA midsoles and Merrell Air Cushion in the heel make for a great fit and I love the light weight of the boot. I could wear these boots all day long and can’t wait to wear them along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the Cliffs of Moher.
My last two must-have items are not designed for cold, rainy weather, but they are on my required carry packing list. The Evo Endurance Charging Case for my iPhone has a built in battery charger! I don’t know if anyone else has had problems with their smartphones not holding a charge, but this has been a constant problem for me – until now. Built by Britain-based tech21, the Evo Endurance gives me 60% extra charge. Unlike some other batteries, this lithium ceramic battery is safe and light weight. I also like that the case offers FlexShock drop protection. I have dropped the phone several times on our hard Travertine tile and it has not caused a problem with my phone. I also recommend you purchase Evo Glass to protect your screen from scratches and smudges. The screen protector comes with a one year warranty and is available for multiple Apple iPhone models. Check website for current pricing and details.
No matter the weather, I always pack my sunglasses along on my travels. At some point the sun will make an appearance and Guideline Eyegear are my sunglasses of choice. I was introduced to Fisherman Eyewear and Guideline from a fellow fisherman. Not only are these glasses functional and fashionable, their eyewear is available with bifocals and custom prescription. I wear the Current style, as it offers an aggressive wrap design for excellent eye protection from the wind and sun; important when I’m fishing, kayaking or horseback riding. The northern California company offers a lifetime warranty on its products and fantastic customer service.
I purchased the Bushman jacket, Northface pants and Merrill boots specifically for my trip to Ireland. Tech21 and Guideline Eyewear supplied me with product samples for review purposes. As always, I am truthful with my travel apparel and travel gear reviews – your experiences may differ from mine. All photography, except Evo Endurance Charging Case and Guideline Eyewear is mine.