If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, it’s no fun when the weather forecast messes with your weekend backpacking plans. Especially when you’ve been looking forward to getting out of the city and getting some much-needed fresh country air.
We say the dampness shouldn’t have to dampen your upcoming plans - not if you follow the right tips and protocol for hiking in the rain.You just need to learn how to deal with the wet weather.
By following the necessary protocol and investing in the right hiking and camping gear, there’s no reason why you can’t have a safe and thoroughly enjoyable backpacking trip (no matter the weather).
So, if you’re all set to go hiking or camping and are determined not to let the rainy weather get in your way - read on.
Here are 23 essential tips to help you cope when backpacking in the rain:
When it comes to deciding what hiking in the rain gear to wear, remember the following
Your main purpose when dressing for a rainy backpacking trip should be to cover your skin entirely so that any of your wet outerwear won’t come into contact with it.
Go for comfy and stretchy long sleeve shirts as your base layer so you can keep your skin as dry as possible, while still being able to move around with ease.
It is important that you make sure your outer layer has a hard shell. A soft shell on its own won’t provide adequate protection from the wet. There are many brands that sell great rain outerwear with the technology to dry fast and prevent any wetness from seeping into your inner layers.
These may be a little more expensive than regular jackets, but trust us, if the rain is constant or torrential you’ll be thankful you made the investment.
It takes too long to dry and isn’t great at absorbing sweat.
The long drying time could also be detrimental to your health. Wearing wet clothing for too long leaves you vulnerable to getting a chill (or even hypothermia).
To retain some warmth even when it’s super wet, opt for fabrics that are made of synthetic materials, such as insulated fleece.
Get yourself a pair of sturdy waterproof hiking boots, and some waterproof gaiters (which are easily found on Amazon).
If you layer the waterproof gaiters underneath your bottoms, they’ll seal off any potential gaps and keep that rain out.
The rainy weather will mean you’ll often find yourself trekking through muddy and slippery surfaces.
Pack a pair of sturdy camp shoes as well, which are specially designed for handling muddy fields.
A spare pair of dry pants, dry socks, and dry inner layers will offer you a lot of relief! Take a few pairs of synthetic or wool socks if you have space.
Get one with a wide brim and you’ll be a lot more comfortable when the rain gets heavier.
Your damp socks rubbing up against your skin as you walk is likely to increase the chance of blisters.
Prevent this by using the right balms and taking along plasters and wraps to apply as necessary.
Now that you’ve covered how to keep your own body dry (or, as dry as possible!), you need to make sure your belongings are kept dry.
If you’re wondering how to keep your backpack dry in the rain, a waterproof bag is specially designed to keep everything inside completely dry.
You could get a pack to cover your existing bag, but that doesn’t ensure that a little wetness won’t seep into your belongings. And don’t forget, a wet bag also feels a lot heavier! Not what you need on your hike.
You leave it exposed to the wet weather conditions every time you open it, even if it’s just to grab something.
Sure, it may seem like just a little bit of wetness seeps in every time, but it can build up over time and make its way into your belongings, which can lead to mould and mildew buildup and a lack of spare dry clothes.
A backpack tidy and organiser is a great way to keep any wet-sensitive items extra safe for those instances when you do need to rummage through your bag in the rain.
Camping in the rain is very much possible with the right tent. A tent that’s sturdy, spacious and well-ventilated is likely to fare better in wet weather conditions.
Whether it’s your waterproof backpack or clothing that’s wet, bringing it into the tent will lead to dampness that you don’t want to deal with while you sleep.
16. Keep your sleeping clothes separate from everything else in your waterproof backpack. It’s imperative that these remain dry so you can be warm while you sleep.
Get a separate pouch for them in case a little rain gets into your bag when you open it on your hike to camp.
Unless you’re planning a digital detox, it’s likely that you’ll have your smartphone with you for photos and mapping purposes. Make sure there’s no long-term damage with a good case.
They’re easily available on Amazon and most outdoor stores and can be a huge help on a rainy hike in more difficult conditions.
Learn more about the early symptoms before you go so you know when you need to change into a dry set of clothes.
It won’t just be good for your physical health, it can help boost your mood when you’re trudging through the endless rain.
During a downpour, it can be easy to forget to consume some water. Find a protected spot under some trees to guzzle some down some water before you continue.
On that same note, don’t forget to eat. It may feel inconvenient to stop and fuel up in the middle of a rain forest, but it’s necessary to boost your energy for your remaining hike.
Rainy weather tends to be very gusty and a strong wind could lead to branches raining down on you.
If you have a utility cord, use it as a clothesline.
If you fail to do this before you put it away, you run the risk of unhealthy mold and mildew.
Sure, rain is inevitable in the UK, but it shouldn’t prevent us from enjoying our glorious outdoors.
With the right mindset, the right waterproof gear, and enough preparation using the above tips for backpacking in the rain, you’re all set to enjoy your excursions, weather is damned.