Backpacking in the rain sometimes can be very challenging. Whether you are caught in the storm, or you love to hike in a rainy area knowing how to stay safe is crucial. In this weather condition, visibility will be reduced, and of course, it will be wet and cold.
What if we told you that backpacking in the rain doesn’t have to be hard?
Yes, you read that right.
For some people, this may not be a great idea, but it can be great fun if you are well prepared for the wet conditions. You will be able to experience wilderness in a different way, see more wildlife and avoid crowds. It is important for you to have a plan for a trek in a rainy environment, know how to deal with the cold weather and stay safe on a slippery terrain.
The question is how to do that?
Well, in this guide, we will explain how to handle the wet conditions, what is the most important gear to bring, and what to wear. The crucial thing is to stay warm and have a positive mental attitude.
Following these 10 easy tips, you will learn how to handle and be prepared for rainy days or sudden storms.
1. Choosing the Trail
When you hike on the rainy days, there is no point of doing that if you are not going to see some fantastic view. Trips to lakes or waterfalls, riverside trails, forest hikes can be amazing during the wet conditions. It is better to choose a shorter route, for example going on an afternoon hike or something that will take you few hours.
Make sure to check the weather forecast before you hit the trail. If the weather is going to be truly rough, always choose a shorter route. The important thing is to be prepared for storms and to learn lightning safety tips.
We all heard that saying, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” and you will agree that it is true. You don’t want to get wet from the rain, but you also don’t want to sweat. So, when choosing a jacket, pick the one that is waterproof and also breathable.
The adjustable hood is a must, and a pit zips for venting. Underneath the jacket wear a wool or synthetic clothes which will keep you warm. Put a synthetic or fleece puffy jacket in your bag if you get really cold to avoid hypothermia.
As for the pants, the best choice would be waterproof pants. But, if you don’t own one you can also wear nylon hiking one because they are water-resistant. Long underwear or running tights are a good option too because they can keep you warm in the wet and cold conditions.
The important thing to remember is to avoid cotton clothing. It will not warm you and it will soak the water.
For short trips, it is best to use water-resistant hiking boots with the waterproof gaiters. This will keep the water out of your shoes, as it seals off the gap between them and pants. If you are going on a longer trip then the perfect solution for you will be breathable trail runners.
They are easier on your legs and you will avoid blisters problems. Your feet will eventually get wet. But they are much more comfortable than boots, so it is always a better choice for a long-distance hiking.
5. The Right Gear
To keep you backpack dry, buy a lightweight silnylon rain cover. You can also use dry packs to make sure your spear clothes stay dry. Umbrella is a good option if the trail is wide enough and it’s not too windy.
It will keep you dry and you could use it as a mini shelter.
Because of the rain you can’t stop and have a picnic, you need food to eat on the go. For example, you can bring nuts or granola bars and put them into your pockets. Place the water to a hydration reservoir, so you don’t have to stop.
If you want something to warm you up, bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea.
7. First-Aid Kit
Wearing stiff boots while your socks are wet can lead to much higher chance of getting blisters. (source) Also, as the terrain is wet and can be slippery you can easily get injured if you don’t pay attention. So, it is important to pack the first-aid kit.
Bring blister treatments, bandages, medical tape and pain-relief pills.
8. Zip-Lock Bags
Put your most important stuff, like a cell phone or map, into the zip-lock bag. If it’s not waterproofed than use a plastic bag so the water can’t damage it.
9. Try to Open Your Bag As Little As Possible
Every time you open the pack, the water will get in. This is very bad if you are going on a longer trip. The wetness will build up and it will be hard to dry it.
Put all the stuff you need in the outside pockets. This way you will avoid opening the pack frequently.
10. Positive Attitude
One of the most important things, while hiking in the rain, is to stay positive. In this condition, it is almost impossible to stay wet, so be mentally prepared for that. You can always play some fun games in your tent, or maybe try a little dancing just to keep you warm.
Although it is important to wear waterproof clothes and boots, you can’t avoid getting wet. So, try to accept this, and learn how to best adapt to it.
When you have the right skills, you can still hike comfortably, stay warm and have dry evenings after non-stop rainy day. So, the important thing is to stay focus on the trail, have a positive attitude and you will have a good time. Make sure to follow this guide to learn how to be prepared for wet conditions and protect your gear.