Last fall, I was invited to help gather cattle off the National Forest. It was two excellent days of long hours and many miles in
the saddle over rugged terrain with fit horses and good company. On the second day, it rained. It did not sprinkle or drizzle. It rained steadily all day as temperatures stayed in the low 50’s. By lunch, I was soaked.
We detoured back to our trailers and I changed out of most of my drenched gear: jeans, socks, boots, top. My leather leggings had gained at least 10 pounds and I left them off. We headed back for another 10 miles of gathering cattle.
By the time we wrapped up, it was close to dinnertime and I was cold. Not a tad chilly. I was cold and soaked to the core. Along the way, I had learned a valuable lesson in preparedness. Rain chaps, I told myself, had just become an absolute necessity.
Muddy Creek, a small company based in Grass Lake, Michigan, has smartly designed rain chaps that’ll fit in any saddle bag. (In fact, they have an entire line of rain gear, including jackets, hats, and waterproof cantle bags. Check them out here.)
What makes them smart?
- Big zippers with zipper pulls that can be handled easily with cold, fumbling fingers
- Added Velcro to seal out wetness and allow custom fitting
- Wide bottom cuffs to accommodate any boot style
- Elastic band slips under boot heel to keep chaps from creeping up your leg.
I ordered a medium and agreed to share them with my partner, Steve Peters.
The leggings are atypical in that there is no waist to attach both leg sleeves. Count that feature as another smart detail as it allows for better sharing between two folks who aren’t quite the same size and it makes it easier to put them on quickly mid-trail ride.
The chaps fold easily, take little room, and weight just eight ounces or so.
It may rain just 72 days in this part of the country, but it took just one of them to convince me to carry rain chaps.