Everyone knows that weather forecasts are often wrong, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you get caught in the rain on a weekend camping trip when you thought it was going to be sunny. While you shouldn’t be surprised if something like this happens, you should be prepared. Keep reading to receive some tips for staying safe and comfortable when hiking in the rain.
Tips for Planning a Hike in Rainy Weather
If you already know ahead of time that the weather is going to be rainy during your hike, there are certain preparations you can make. Here are some planning tips to keep in mind:
- Rethink your trail. There is no point in spending the entire day hiking to the summit of a mountain if rain clouds and fog are going to prevent you from even seeing the view. If that doesn’t bother you, then, by all means, forge ahead!
- Wear layered clothing. When hiking in the rain you need to strike the right balance between staying comfortable and staying dry. You’ll want to wear a hard shell on the outside to keep out the wet but wear light layers underneath to keep the jacket off your skin.
- Don’t forget about ventilation. Just because it’s raining doesn’t necessarily mean it will be cool, so opt for wet weather gear with vents to improve breathability and comfort.
- Make sure your gear is protected. When packing for your hiking trip, make sure to thoroughly waterproof your pack – this includes your food and spare clothing. Once you’re on the trail, you’ll want to open the pack as little as possible so be smart about how you pack it as well.
- Plan to keep your tent dry. The last thing you want to do is bring wet gear into your tent, so make whatever plans you need to ensure that your wet gear stays outside. If you’re smart, you’ll bring a tent with a vestibule where you can get out of your wet gear before going into the tent.
When planning for a rainy hike, you don’t just need to think about staying comfortable – you also need to think about staying safe. If the forecast calls for thunderstorms or rain heavy enough that it could cause flash flooding, rethink your plans.
Wet Weather Hacks for a Comfortable Hike
In addition to planning ahead for a rainy camping trip, there are some simple hacks you can take advantage of to stay comfortable and dry. Here are some ideas:
- Buy a waterproof backpack cover – it’s the easiest way to keep your gear protected and you can remove it when the rain stops.
- Bring plenty of Ziploc bags – as an added layer of protection, you can store food, gadgets, and batteries in zippered bags to keep them dry.
- Pack a headlamp – don’t forget that when it’s rainy it will also be darker than usual and a headlamp will keep your hands free for a hiking stick or something else to keep you stable on slippery trails.
- Bring plenty of extra socks – as careful as you are, water will find a way into your shoes and hiking in wet socks is just asking for blisters.
- Pack food that doesn’t need to be cooked – starting a fire in the rain will be difficult, so be sure to pack some food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
- Set up your tarp first – setting up a tarp over your camping area will keep you dry during tent setup and you can take off wet gear before getting in your tent.
Planning ahead is always a good idea, whether you’re going out for a day hike or spending the entire weekend in the wilderness. While comfort is important, safety is paramount so don’t take any unnecessary risks. When in doubt, postpone your hiking trip until the weather dries out.