I remember sitting on the bus on a rainy morning, and overhearing a girl saying to her friend “I can’t believe how much it’s raining!” I assume they were first years, or they’d been living in a cave.
The bad news is, it rains in Victoria. Quite a lot. But the good news is that it doesn’t rain as much as in Vancouver – so, yay?
We live on an island, off the West Coast of Canada. Victoria, in particular, is surrounded by ocean on most sides. Therefore, we have some pretty fun weather – if you define fun as rain coming at you sideways because it also gets very windy, even though when you left the house that morning it was perfectly nice outside, almost sunny.
That’s the other thing about our weather. As one friend put it, if you don’t like the weather outside, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change. The weather is very changeable, and will shift seemingly without any rhyme or reason.
We do also have weeks-long dry spells or periods where it’ll pour for weeks on end and everything turns to mud. My point is, it’s all over the place, and you need to be prepared.
Speaking of preparations, here’s my best tips to dealing with our precipitation problem:
- Forget the umbrella. Honestly, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The biggest and most obvious problem with umbrellas is the wind that so often accompanies the rain; If you’re relying on an umbrella, it’s going to act more like a sail than a roof, and it WILL catch every gust of wind, of which there are many. Chances are, it’ll be like having a kite, and you’re going to get wet anyway. Besides, umbrellas are designed for rain that falls from above, whereas here it tends to come at you from all directions.
- Sidenote: people will judge you for using an umbrella, because [see point above]. And honestly, the short amount of time that you actually spend outside between your house and the bus, the bus and your class, and from building to building, are too short to bother with opening and closing your wet umbrella every time you go through a door. And what do you do with your gross, wet umbrella once you’re inside?
- So what to do instead? Ditch the cheap, breakable umbrella and invest in some good gumboots and a rain jacket instead.
- No, rain boots are not tacky and weird looking. UVic street style really appreciates a practical, outdoorsy vibe that says you can handle yourself. Think of all those cool people who wear Hunters. But don’t buy Hunters. They’re overrated and way expensive, especially considering they’re not really anything special – plus they’re very one-style-fits-all, which for my weird feet was a deal breaker. If you dig a little deeper, you can find something really great. I got my wonderful pair of Kamiks at Footloose Shoes downtown; they’re reputable and great quality, they’re Canadian made, sold at a local business, and they were about $50 – less than most regular, non-waterproof shoes I own. And they’re a great fit, so go find some you like and jump in some puddles!
- There are lots of great rain jackets out there – the best tend to be the sort you can get at outdoor stores. I cannot recommend Goretex enough; my jacket was my dad’s for 20 years before he gave it to me since I kept borrowing it because I loved it so much. Goretex even has instructions on what to do when the water repellency wears out (basically stick it in the dryer), and most similar jackets have lifetime guarantees, so it’s worth investing in.
- Last but not least, whether you get all those things or if you use an umbrella (why?), you’ll want to make sure you have at least some waterproofing in your backpack or bag. You don’t want to get all those notes, assignments, and textbooks wet! I have a backpack that’s made of fake leather, and even that works well enough. Just keep it in mind.
And that’s my guiding wisdom on dealing with weather (or at least rainy weather) here in Victoria! What are some tips you swear by? What are things you haven’t thought of? Are you prepared for anything or do you just suck it up and run from building to building? (We’ve all been there.)
NOTE: My boyfriend convinced me to say that umbrellas aren’t always totally useless. If it works for you, that’s great.