12 Essentials for the Rainy Season in Hong Kong | Keeping Yourself and the Little Ones Dry
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Between July and August the East Asian Monsoon turns Hong Kong and its neighbours into a warm and humid steam pot. For my family not to become the soggy cabbages in said pot, I rely on a set of must-haves.
I have a love hate relationship with the rainy season in Hong Kong. On one hand I actually like rain, especially since I’m a bit of girl scout nerd when it comes to weather. I get my kicks out of being prepared for what the outdoors throws at me. On the other hand, Hong Kong can be so very crowded, and many people are neither prepared for rain nor like it very much. Add to that the stuffy humidity which makes everyone gasp for airconditioning. So whenever there is a downpour human decency is washed away together with spacial awareness, and there will be a stampede for cover and climate control. Expect to get sweaty, be splashed on, body-checked, or getting poked by oversized golf umbrellas which span an entire Hong Kong flat but only has one human being underneath.
Now that I’m responsible for a two year old, rain filled clouds set the mood to declare war to the masses and golf umbrellas. I thought about keeping a mini box cutter in my pocket to secretly slash inconsiderately large umbrellas. But then I realised it’s not environmentally friendly and also not entirely fair to the behemoth umbrellas. Umbrellas don’t poke people. People poke people. And slashing people would not be befitting the crime which in this case is poking, … which is not really a crime, … but slashing people is.
To minimize the risk of serious pedestrian rage and of my inner mama bear mauling perspiring people, I make sure to have the following items at hand whenever the rainy season is upon us again.
Water repellent spray - Pick a good quality water repellent to use it on your diaper bag, old rain jackets, shoes. It will save you from having to dry or clean your gear or even buy new gear.
Packable and breathable rain jackets for the entire family - Lightweight packable rain jackets do not take up much space in your diaper bag or backpack. They are the ideal companion should you be surprised by some heavy downpour. I got one for me and for my son at Decathlon.
Light and longer classic cut rain coat- It is common for it to rain for consecutive weeks during the rainy season. In case you need to look a bit dressier, a longer raincoat will give you more coverage and protect your work clothes. Make sure that it’s still light and breathable otherwise Hong Kong’s high humidity will turn you into a walking sauna.
Travel carrier - I’m using the Boba Air Ultra Lightweight carrier on rainy days. It’s made of nylon and will not soak up all the water like other cotton carriers and again packs up nicely. It saved me many times on rainy days when I had to sweep my toddler off the sidewalk and to quickly make my way to the next MTR station.
Waterproof backpack - You might need a little bit more extra on typhoon days or when the black or red rain signal has been hoisted. Sometimes the winds are so strong that rain hits you from the side and you end up with water in your backpack possibly ruining any docs, books or tech inside. Invest in a pack with sealed zippers, sidepockets and well organized compartments.
Saltwater sandals - I like them soooo much I’ve got two pairs. These are basically the only sandals I wear in the summer. They last for ages, can be dressed up and down, and can be worn in water. The wider leather straps will keep your feet secure to the sole when rushing past the crowd.
Good quality rain boots/ wellies - again for those heavy rain storms you might want to keep your feet warm and dry. If I have to wade through deep murky puddles I prefer closed shoes.
Quick Dry jeans - as mentioned before wind gusts can blow in rain from any direction, and being in the MTR or a mall with the wet bottom wear and the air conditioning full on is just icky. The quick dry jeans from Uniqulo keep that miserable drying time at a minimum.
Automatic open close folding umbrella - best umbrella for us hands down has been the folding biz umbrella by the Japanese brand Unnrella. It’s sturdy but lightweight. With one convenient push of a button, it opens and closes. The best feature though is the hydrophobic fabric. Water just pearls off the umbrella. You give it a light shake and can put it into your bag right away. No need to leave it in an umbrella bucket or use one of those disposable umbrella plastic covers.
Raincover for stroller - If you need to take the stroller out bringing a raincover for your model of stroller is just common sense. You’d be surprised how often people forget. Oh, all the plastic makeshift covers I have seen.
Small drybag with change of clothes and microfibre towel - We always bring a small drybag with a change of clothes for the little one. A small microfibre towel is always useful for wiping yourself, the kids or any of your stuff dry.
Waterproof bluetooth handsfree headphones - Murphy’s law: When I’m in the middle of a torrential drencher, with a kiddo in tow I will get a call from a doctor’s office or a courier. A bluetooth headphones will allow you to take an urgent call without having to fumble about in the rain. For me the Elite Active 45e from Jambra has proven very reliable. Even when my phone’s somewhere in the depths of my bag the bluetooth connection is stable.
So this is my rainy season gear capsule if you will. It keeps me and my kid fairly dry and less miserable when the skies open up. Most importantly it allows me to maneuver past the panicking crowds more easily. I can march right through rain and puddles, dodge umbrellas, and often have a hand or at least an elbow available to push back if necessary. Out of the way, momma needs to get home.