Spring officially begins on Monday, March 20, this year, although weather forecasters start talking about “meteorological spring” on March 1. In many areas, the onset of spring also means rainy season, and climate change has led to unusually heavy rains across the U.S. in recent years.

In fact, famously sunny southern California has seen record rainfall (and snow!) already this year, and the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts wetter-than-usual weather this spring in the Upper Midwest, the Appalachians and the Mid-Atlantic, as well as central and western Canada.

All this precipitation – not to mention that March is National Umbrella Month – makes it the perfect time to talk about rain gear. The best promo products are the ones recipients will use over and over, and what better way to build brand loyalty than by providing a useful product that helps the recipient stay dry on a rainy day?

Done right, umbrellas are really powerful and “some of the best stuff that our industry has to offer,” says Kirby Hasseman, CEO of Ohio-based distributor Hasseman Marketing & Communications

“I always say that nobody wants to go out and buy an umbrella,” he adds. “I’m a big believer in quality umbrellas.”

Price points are important to clients, he adds, but quality is paramount. You don’t want to provide an umbrella that’s going to break, because that represents your client’s brand poorly.

“There’s nothing worse, especially if your brand is on it, than going out in the rain and the umbrella flipping inside out on you,” says Katherine Smith, director of sales and marketing for Houston-based distributor Bullpen Marketing. “You’re going to remember who gave you that umbrella, so you want it to be a good one. You don’t want that to happen to somebody.”

She recommends suppliers who specialize in sturdy, windproof umbrellas like these:

umbrella with black canopy & green interior, squared shape

The 42-inch Marquee umbrella comes in five bright interior colors (lime shown) with a unique shape to help stand out on a gray day. “It’s also fun to print the inside of this one with a fun message for the user, like ‘Hey good lookin’!’ or ‘Smile and make it a great day!’ or a QR code that links to something fun or a video,” says Charity Gibson, national account coordinator for Peerless Umbrella.

Peerless Umbrella / PPAI 112666, S10

rPET umbrella with black canopy & blue interior with box

The inverted folding Rebel 3 umbrella provides a double 46-inch rPET canopy with auto open/close and weather info from the RainAlertz app. “That’s super cool, too, because it ties the digital with the physical, so it’s ‘phygital,’” says Hasseman. “We did those as a self-promo, and people still come to us about that because it’s the umbrella that’s going to tell you if it’s going to rain.” Available in four interior colors (royal shown).

AAA Innovations / PPAI 110972, S4

Beyond umbrellas, outfitting employees or customers to brave the elements is easy with a wide variety of rain wear styles and pieces to choose from.

men's rain slicker with hood yellow

Made of 100% polyester, the seam-sealed and water-resistant Port Authority Northwest Slicker features a soft texture and reflective details for enhanced visibility. It includes an attached hood and open hem (both with adjustable locking drawcord), grommets under the arms for breathability, adjustable tab cuffs and front zippered pockets. Available in four colors (slicker yellow shown) and sizes XS-4X. Women’s companion available.

SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16

  clear plastic rain jacket with hood

Made of 100% PVC with an outside storm flap and snaps on the front zipper, vented back and front pockets with snap-closure flaps, this unisex Clear Rain Jacket is available in adult sizes S-2X and youth S-L. (Detachable hood with drawcord on adult sizes only.) “That’s so cool, because then you don’t hide your outfit underneath when you’re going to a sporting event or something like that,” says Smith.

Augusta Sportswear Brands / PPAI 187246, S5

Ponchos also offer protection at a variety of price points. Smith likes the kind that come folded in a pouch attached to a keychain to keep it at hand. “That is a great giveaway, especially for schools and athletic season,” she says.

  clear rain poncho in ball keychain

Be prepared for the weather with a Rain Poncho in Ball Keychain. The one-size-fits-all poncho folds into a blue or red ball case bearing your client’s logo, and the plastic keychain clip helps keep it handy when wet weather strikes.

WOWLine / PPAI 112440, S4

heavy-duty reusable poncho with hood, packable, red

The reusable Pacific Poncho conveniently packs into its own storage pouch and weighs just over 1 pound. Made of 100% polyurethane bonded to a 100% polyester knit, it’s waterproof with heat-sealed seams, side snap closures for ease of movement and a hood with drawstring for added protection. Available in six colors (red shown), one size.

Charles River Apparel / PPAI 111644, S10

custom rain boots galoshes - kids, ladies, mens

Handmade with waterproof natural rubber and non-slip soles, these Wet Wellies are available in Pantone colors and embellished with screen-printed graphics. Many details can be customized, including trim and sole colors, buckles and molded tags, as well as optional printing on the inner fabric lining. Available in ladies’ sizes 6-11, men’s sizes 9-12 and youth.

The Kanata Group / PPAI 111063, S7

A high-quality waterproof bag can help outdoor employees keep their gear dry on the go. “Think about those jobs like construction and oil rigs and things like that that need sturdy bags that can hold up to the elements,” says Nicki Staats, director of merchandising for iPROMOTEu.

waterproof duffel bag

 The Atlantis Waterproof Gear Bag is constructed of heavy-duty reinforced PVC for maximum durability and versatility in both outdoor and industrial environments, and a variety of handles and straps allows carrying as a duffel or backpack. Available in small, medium and large sizes and four to six colors (small red shown).

Stormtech USA / PPAI 260245, S4

Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook

Another item perfect for outdoor workers (or golfers) is the Rite in the Rain Top Spiral Notebook. Available in two sizes and colors (black shown) the patented all-weather writing paper sheds water and enables users to write anywhere in any weather using a pencil or all-weather pen. Imprint your client’s logo on the hard polydura cover that protects the 50 sheets of white lined paper inside.

PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15

Other items can make great customer giveaways for a rainy day. Garden centers, hardware stores and landscapers – even local TV stations or insurance companies – might consider gifting a rain gauge to keep their brand top of mind.

rain gauge

This 4-inch Magnifying Rain Gauge helps users read the rainfall amount easily. Designed for the water to magnify the numbers, it’s made with weather-resistant polystyrene material. The tapered point can be inserted into the ground, or it can be mounted to a post or deck with screws (not included).

Beacon Promotions / PPAI 113702, S10