Hiking (Comfortably) in the Rain
Hiking is just as pleasurable for the senses, whether you’re under a clear, blue sky or when you’re sloshing through muddy puddles with your boots. Some even wait for the perfect day, where there’s light rain falling on leaves and clouds are rolling above.
The trick to hiking comfortably in the rain is to have the proper gear for it. You will also need to learn a few things, which can prove to be extremely useful in emergencies.
What You Should Wear
The right clothes will make all the difference when you’re planning a rainy hike.
Keep in mind that casual clothes that have some kind of water-proof material won’t stand up to hours of being exposed to water and moisture though, so you will need to invest in a 3-layer system that make up the following:
Base Layer. Start out with a lightweight layer that can keep the inside air circulating while wicking away moisture. Also, make sure to dress according to your region or state’s climate. If unsure, wear something that retains body heat instead of a material that draws it out.
Fleece. Fleece is an excellent insulator, especially against the rain. Clothing made of fleece will still have its function, feel and warmth even when exposed to constant bad weather, compared to all other natural fabric.
Waterproof Jacket. Don’t just pick out any jacket that’s labeled ‘waterproof’. Check for at least a rating of 2,000mm waterproof or above, and if the seams are taped. Bonus points if you can see underarm ventilations or mesh lining, which increases breathability.
To be on the safe side, bring more than less. Remember, you can always take off an item when the weather changes, but you can’t add more if you’re under-dressed.
What You Need to Bring
It’s not just the outfit that dictates how your adventure goes, but the things you bring along as well.
Hate getting your hands wet? You can invest in a waterproof glove to keep them warm. A hat that will keep the wind and rain out is also an indispensable tool you can’t be without.
Trainers do not work in the rain, so if you know you’re headed towards wet terrain, pick something else. For extra warmth, you can bring in a neck warmer instead of a scarf, which is more likely to get drenched and drag down your hiking experience.
One mistake hikers often make is not bringing water to a rainy walking session. It’s understandable to assume that you wouldn’t need to hydrate since you won’t be losing too much fluids, right? But you will need water to continue walking at a comfortable pace, and it’ll be much more difficult to find a drinkable source when the clouds are pouring.
For a hiker, a water bottle is worth its weight in gold. Regardless of weather, you should always bring one!
Choosing the Right Footwear
The last thing you want to have when hiking a trail is cold, wet feet. As such, you should carefully consider what you’re going to wear when conquering the great outdoors on rainy weather.
Boots are sensible choices when you want to keep your feet warm. Walking boots will have rubber soles that can grip muddy, slippery and wet terrain and allows you to keep your balance at all times.
Mesh boots are a more comfortable choice if you don’t like the idea of rubber. These have tiny holes that allow air to come in, promoting breathability. What’s more, you can dry these boot types faster compared to their rubber cousins.
Don’t forget the value of good socks. Wet socks, when worn throughout a prolonged period can chafe and lead to conditions such as athlete’s foot and painful blisters.
Nowadays, socks have different features that are geared towards hikers. If possible, get one that has anti-blister technology and reinforcements or padding in common chafing areas.
Waterproofing Your Gear
Last but not the least, your backpack. Your pack should be treated as an extension of your own body because it’s just as important. It will contain all your essential things, such as your smartphone, first aid kit, water, food and documents, among others.
Invest in a fully waterproof bag if you’ve got the money. Otherwise, get a rucksack cover or a waterproof cover for your hiking or camping bag for extra shielding. The ability to wick away the rain becomes important because not only will rain ruin your food and equipment, but also make your pack heavier and more cumbersome.
Bringing along wet-sensitive gear? Make sure to pack them separately in Ziploc or small plastic sealable bags. Label everything so you won’t have to open them just so see what’s inside.
Hiking in the rain is a whole other experience- the sound of the pitter-patter on the leaves and trees, cooler temperatures and the solemnness of it all make for a new sensory journey. Protect yourself before heading out so you can fully enjoy your hike!