The right way to Go Backpacking within the Rain


fitnessinf Expert Advice: How to Go Backpacking in the Rain - two backpackers hiking in the rain

Into every life, some rain should fall. For those who’re a backpacker with the precise mindset, this could make the woods a extra stunning place: crisper, cleaner and calmer. Heavy rainfall may also current some particular challenges, although, when you’re not ready.

For some recommendations on how you can thrive on a wet-weather hike, we turned to fitnessinf’s Laura Evenson, whose 2013 Appalachian Path thru-hike featured 27 straight days of rain. Her recommendation on precip preparation covers:

  • Gearing up
  • Path hazards
  • Campsite ways
  • Drying out

Gearing Up

fitnessinf Expert Advice: How to Go Backpacking in the Rain - Backpacker gearing up and wearing gaiters for wet weather on the trail

When rain is a definite chance, it’s clever to regulate your gear checklist. Take a more in-depth have a look at your clothes, together with outerwear and footwear. You additionally wish to assess the rain-readiness of each your pack and tent.

Clothes Methods


  • Completely no cotton. That is very true in next-to-skin layers as a result of cotton doesn’t wick sweat away out of your pores and skin and it takes a very long time to dry. In soggy situations, which means you’ll get chilled and change into extra inclined to hypothermia. Go along with wool, nylon or polyester clothes as an alternative.
  • Consider your rainwear. A comfortable shell alone received’t be sufficient. You want a tough shell for full waterproof safety. As a result of rainwear manufacturers replace expertise usually, an improve is price contemplating. First, although, learn Rainwear: The right way to Select.
  • Renew your rainwear’s Sturdy Water Repellent (DWR). For those who suppose your present rainwear wants changing, first verify to see if raindrops bead up and roll off. If not, there’s a very good probability that renewing its DWR coating can restore efficiency.
  • Consider your footwear. Waterproof choices work properly in colder situations, preserving your toes hotter and drier initially; nonwaterproof mesh footwear works properly in milder situations, draining and drying extra rapidly when you land in a puddle or creek. With both choice you want deep lug soles to take care of mud and superior traction to take care of slippery rocks and logs.
  • Pack extra substantial camp sneakers. You need camp sneakers that might be safe underfoot, so you possibly can put on them round a muddy camp or to wade throughout a excessive creek. Then you possibly can change to your still-dry path boots on the opposite facet.
  • Go along with gaiters or rain pants. For those who forgo rain pants in favor of higher breathability, then you must pack gaiters to defend your socks and the tops of your footwear from rain. You’ll additionally want an additional pair of dry pants.
  • Take a rain hat. Along with avoiding cotton, have a look at hats with a large brim or lengthy invoice to maintain your face (and glasses) drier.
  • Bolster your dry clothes stash. Further clothes is already one of many Ten Necessities. By no means skimp on the quantity of additional garments you pack when rain is within the forecast. Bringing additional clothes that you simply solely use for sleeping helps make sure you’ll all the time be dry and heat in your sleeping bag.
  • Convey blister provides. Moisture makes toes extra inclined to blisters. So, along with ensuring you will have a number of pairs of wool or artificial mountaineering socks, you must double-check the blister-treatment gadgets in your first-aid package.


Further Pack Safety

Although many packs are fabricated from waterproof materials, their seams aren’t sealed. As well as, all the locations that make gear accessible to you—like a high lid or an open stash pocket—additionally make it accessible to precipitation. Even zippers which might be waterproof or coated with a flap can let water sneak in ultimately.

Added safety choices to your pack embrace the next:

  • Pack raincover. Some packs include one, or you should purchase a canopy sized to suit your pack. For those who’re prepared to take heed to it flapping within the wind, you can even adapt a trash bag by reducing slits for shoulder straps.
  • Pack liner(s). You should utilize a trash-compactor bag, purchase a particular pack liner or use a number of smaller plastic baggage for key gear. Your principal pack and exterior pockets can get soaked ultimately, making your load heavier. Your important gear, although, will stay dry.
  • Light-weight dry sacks. These can be utilized just like the smaller plastic baggage famous above. As well as, even you probably have a pack cowl or liner, you must use dry baggage to your most weak gear. Utilizing one as a sleeping-bag stuff sack is wise, particularly you probably have a down bag. Storing meals in a dry bag not solely protects it from moisture, it additionally gives a useful high deal with while you grasp it as much as forestall bears and rodents from attending to it.
  • Waterproof gadget instances. You possibly can put issues like your cellphone or costly digital digital camera in a plastic bag or dry bag. Getting a specifically designed waterproof case, although, will present even higher safety.

Path Hazards

fitnessinf Expert Advice: How to Go Backpacking in the Rain - two backpackers watching their step on steep slippery terrain in the rain

A major storm system can create added risks and well being considerations. For those who’re looking out for them, you possibly can take steps to keep away from undesirable problems.

  • Slippery surfaces. Even when your footwear has nice traction, you continue to have to tread additional fastidiously on muddy slopes, slimy rocks and rain-slickened logs.
  • Trekking poles are an enormous assist, and might be your greatest pal on a wet hike.
  • Swollen creeks. Water might be working sooner and better, requiring additional care on each crossing. Unbuckle your hipbelt earlier than you cross, so you possibly can simply get freed from your pack when you slip and fall right into a fast-moving present.
  • Flash floods. For those who’ll be in canyon nation, verify the forecasts forward of time and preserve a watch out for rapidly accessible larger floor.
  • Hypothermia. Be taught to acknowledge the early signs, which embrace shivering and confusion, as a result of it might creep up on you in cool, wet climate. Put on wool or artificial garments as a result of they proceed to insulate even when damp. Grow to be dry clothes if you find yourself now not transferring.
  • Dehydration. It is simple to neglect to hydrate while you’re in the midst of a downpour. Make sure you drink and eat although it could be inconvenient; if rain discourages stops, drink and snack when you’re mountaineering.

Campsite Ways

fitnessinf Expert Advice: How to Go Backpacking in the Rain - two backpackers setting up their tent in the rain

Website Choice

Many of the following suggestions are from our The right way to Set Up a Tent article:

  • Search larger, drier floor. You’ll have much less moisture within the air to type condensation contained in the tent as temperatures drop.
  • Search for websites underneath timber. They create a hotter, extra protected microclimate that may produce decrease ranges of condensation.
  • Keep away from websites underneath broken limbs or timber. A robust gust can deliver them down on high of you.
  • Keep away from tenting in low areas between excessive areas. Rain can channel via and pool when a storm blows in.
  • Orient doorways away from the wind. You’ll forestall rain from blowing in.


Pitching Ideas

When the rain is coming down sideways, pace counts. Past normal pitching suggestions, listed here are some rainy-day methods for guaranteeing that your tent is properly arrange:

  • Follow at dwelling. It permits you to double-check that each one the elements are there and helps you develop right into a quick-pitch artist.
  • Use a footprint. As the bottom will get increasingly more sodden, you’ll be glad you took the time to put down this additional layer of safety.
  • Be cautious of the fly-first pitch. Although some tents provide this selection, it usually takes longer than the usual tent-first pitch.
  • Recruit rainfly holders. You’ll get much less rainfall on the principle tent if mountaineering friends or folks tenting close by maintain the fly over your tent when you pitch it.
  • Tighten it up and man it out. Although it’s tempting to dive in as quickly because the tent is minimally in place, your rainfly must be rock-solid first.
  • Change into a vent grasp. In case your fly has vents, use them to stop condensation buildup. Open them large and verify them usually to make sure they aren’t letting in rain. Open vents in opposing pairs, quite than suddenly, with the intention to create flow-through air flow.

Drying Out

fitnessinf Expert Advice: How to Go Backpacking in the Rain - a backpacker setting up a clothes line to dry out wet clothes in the wet conditions

When the climate gods conspire to hit you with seemingly countless days of unrelenting rain, it’s necessary to benefit from every alternative to dry your self out.

  • Protect a dry set of camp garments. Maintain them in a dry bag and don’t open it till you’re inside your tent. Dry garments will do wonders to your consolation stage and your psychological well being.
  • Change to dry garments in the course of the day, too. A noon change to dry pants or socks or base layers bolsters your spirit and deters hypothermia.
  • Seize climate home windows. Dry gear is extra necessary than making time. Halt instantly, set out your moist stuff and let the solar work its magic. (Utility twine can double as a clothesline.) Laying over an additional day to completely dry out after a storm breaks can also be clever, particularly if extra moist stuff is on the best way.
  • Dry out gear at dwelling. It is important that you simply fully dry out gear after each journey. Failure to take action causes mildew and mildew to develop, in the end ruining your gear. All the time ensure your gear is totally dry earlier than you place it away.

Contributing skilled: Laura Evenson is a Camp/Climb Gross sales Lead and Class Teacher at our Conshohocken, Pa., retailer.


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