Few things are more relaxing or can get you more in touch with an exotic vacation destination like a hike through the countryside. Hikes provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of a destination and develop an appreciation for it that few other tourist activities can provide.
Throw in a little foul weather, though, and a hike can quickly lose its charm. But with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to.
Here are some ways you can keep yourself dry in the rain and still enjoy hiking.
First of all, invest in a good rain jacket. What’s most important is making sure that it fits properly. Your hood is the most vital part of your jacket. It should fit snugly around your head so that heavy, windblown rain can’t make its way into your jacket. Proper length is important too. Your jacket should extend past your waist enough so that you can bend over or sling a pack without exposing any unprotected sections of your clothing.
Keeping your feet dry is vital as well. Before heading out on your trip, make sure your boots are properly sealed. If they’re not, take the time to re-seal them before hiking. In addition to a good set of rain pants, you should also pack a pair of waterproof gaiters.
A hard wind has a way of blowing water into even the tiniest of openings. When it comes to rain leaking into your jacket, if it’s going to happen it will likely occur at your wrists, where your sleeves end. There are a few things you can do to minimize your exposure in this area. If you use trekking poles, make sure they’re short enough that your forearms remain at a downward angle when using them. The same concept applies to holding on to your shoulder straps while hiking–if it’s raining, don’t do it. It will keep rainwater from running down your wrists into your jacket. Finally, keep your base layers tucked inside your protective layers.
It’s not just about keeping the clothing on your body dry. If you can keep the additional gear in your pack dry your hike in the rain will be all the more pleasurable. Use waterproof stuff sacks for your gear inside and pack cover on the outside.
Believe it or not, getting too hot while hiking in the rain is a serious concern. If you’ve ever worn a rain jacket before, you know that they don’t breathe too well and you can quickly work up a sweat. Keep your base layer light and don’t over-exert yourself.
If it’s only going to be a light drizzle, consider ditching rain apparel altogether. Instead, open up an umbrella and stick it out of the top of your pack. It will keep you dry and nothing breathes better than an umbrella.