If you’re an avid hiker, then it’s likely you’ll find yourself hiking in the rain one day. Sometimes the unexpected happens when you’re going out to explore nature. Not only that, but sometimes the best places to hike end up naturally being wetter and more rainy.
I’ve found myself caught in the rain before, which is why I want to tell you about what you should know when it comes to hiking in the rain. As long as you have the right attitude and gear, hiking in the rain can be a lot of fun.
Preparing for the Hike
Choose Your Destination
In order to even go on a hike, you’re going to need to know where you want to go. A few popular places to hike in the rain are Sandy River Gorge outside of Portland, Oregon and the Berry Creek Falls Loop in South Bay, California. You’ll find that many of the most popular wet hiking spots are on the west coast of the U.S.
It’s Best to Bring a Friend
While many people like to hike alone, it’s always best to have at least one hiking buddy with you. This is for your own safety and well being. Anyways, it’s always nice to have someone to talk to as well as enjoy the beautiful views of nature with you. The thing about hiking alone is that if something happens to you, nobody will know about it or be there to help get help.
What’s the Weather Going to Be Like?
As you should do with any hike, check the weather before-hand to get an idea of how it’s going to be. Being aware of the weather is important so you can dress appropriately. Always bring layers that are light and easy to put on and take off to make the conditions comfortable for you. And since you’re going to be in the rain, make sure your attire and foot-wear are quick drying and waterproof.
Warm Up Your Hiking Muscles
Especially if you’re new to hiking, or if it’s been a while, it’s important to warm up in the days before your hiking trip. If your hike is going to be 10 miles long, then you should hike for 1 mile a week before, 2 miles 5 days before, 3-5 miles 4 days before, and so on. This is to get your leg and foot muscles used to working so you don’t end up being too sore during the big hike.
Pack Your Bag
Try to keep it as light as possible.
- You really only need 1 extra change of clothes, a first aid kit, snacks, and water. The amount of clothing you’ll need will depend on how long you will be on your trip.
- A first aid kit is absolutely necessary for emergencies.
- The best foods to pack are dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, papaya, etc.), nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.), peanut butter, beef jerky, sandwiches, small veggies, and apples are great foods to bring on a hike.
- Also, make sure to pack a plastic bag for any trash you may produce on your trip.
- If you think of camping overnight, make sure to bring a waterproof tent.
What to Expect During the Rainy Hike
Your initial preparation for the hike is only a fraction of what it takes to get through your hike in the rain. While many would consider hiking through the rain to be unpleasant and “bad” weather, it’s important to look at it this way: this is just nature itself. Mother nature in her purest forms are in all forms – rain, snow, sunny, and cloudy. You should look at hiking in the rain as just another mere adventure into the outdoors.
Getting Wet: It’s Going to Happen
The first thing to expect during your hike in the rain is that you are definitely going to get wet. When you go on your hike, it’s time to let go of the comfortable dry feeling you’re used to. With this in mind, it’s important that you leave your best gear at home so it’s not damaged in the rain.
Like mentioned before, make sure your shoes and attire are waterproof and quick-drying. Even then, always expect to get wet when hiking in the rain. Your gear is most important to keep you warm, not dry.
Good Preparation Will Definitely Help!
Here are some great tips that will help you for your hike in the rain
- l If you have a good quality, weather jacket for hiking, then you should have zippers under the armpits. Zipping and un-zipping these as needed will help with body temperature regulation.
- Put your belongings in zip-lock bags. While your backpack is a safe spot for your stuff, keeping them in sealed zip-lock bags will ensure they stay dry.
- If you find yourself getting cold, then it’s time to stop hiking. If you don’t, then you’re putting yourself at risk for hypothermia and getting ill.
- Like mentioned earlier, you should be bringing at least one change of clothes. Make sure they are in a sealed plastic bag so they don’t get wet!
- Snack whenever the rain stops. Even if it’s not the regular break time, fueling up on the go is important. Along with this tip, also keep some snacks easily accessible in the front pockets of your bag for quick access.
- If you can, keep your map waterproof. You can easily do this by laminating it or placing it within a plastic sleeve for papers.
Enjoy the Nature Around You
Hiking in the rain may seem a bit taboo, but it’s an amazing way to get in touch with nature. The rain also helps keep you cool during your hike, it allows you to jump in puddles (free of guilt), and you get to enjoy the outdoors while many others are sitting inside all sad that it’s raining outside. Rain (as long as it’s not heavy) shouldn’t be the big reason to re-schedule that hike of yours!
If you’re bringing kids with you on your hike in the rain, this will make for a fun experience. Hiking in the rain will make the time spent together more memorable, and create stronger bonds. The time spent can be magical if approached with the right attitude.
The Must-Have Gear & Food List for Hiking in The Rain
If you go on your hike in the rain without the necessary gear, then you’ll be sure to have a sub-par experience. Go through this list of must-haves for hiking in the rain to ensure you (and everyone else) has a good time!
#1 Hard Shell Jackets and Pants (with vents!)
l This kind of gear was designed to be worn in the rain. Even though the fabric isn’t that breathable, it has vents. Remember the zip-pits mentioned earlier? This gear has them, so utilize them to your advantage!
#2 Fleece and Synthetic Insulation
Insulation is extremely important to help regulate your body temperature, especially in web weather. Stay with fleece and synthetic fabrics since these will still be effective even when you’re wet.
#3 Ziploc Bags/Plastic Bags (essential ), Pack Cover and/or Waterproof Backpack (optional)
It is absolutely essential for you to put things like snacks and electronics in Ziploc bags so they don’t get wet. You can also purchase a pack cover, which will help keep your backpack dry. The best thing to do is get a waterproof backpack, though this can get a bit pricey.
#4 Waterproof Hiking Boots
This goes without saying, but is definitely on our list of must-haves for hiking in the rain. Go for boots with waterproof gaiters; these are great at keeping the wetness out, and your feet nice and dry.
#5 Breathable Trail Runners (for longer hikes)
If your hike is going to be a bit longer (aka over the span of a few days), then it would be better to wear trail runners. This will prevent damage to your expensive hiking boots, they dry faster, and it will be much easier to navigate through your environment.
#6 Care for Potential Blisters
The wetness for your feet can make it easier for blisters to appear. Balms and salves will help prevent this from happening. You should also have leukotape (ace bandage) on hand to wrap your feet and keep them protected.
#7 Hand Warmers
While your hike in the rain is going to be a lot of fun, sometimes you can get a little cold. Bring some hand warmers with you so you can be a bit more comfortable during the hike. Remember, if you’re getting too cold, it’s best to go back and hike another time.
#8 Waterproof Hat
Your waterproof hat will help keep your head dry (which is very important!) and the rain out of your face. It would be best for the brim to go around a full 360 to keep the rain away from the entire head. It may be a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth it to keep your head comfortable during the hike.
#1 Go Nuts for Nuts
Nuts are a staple of a hiker’s diet. They pack protein and healthy fats that will recharge you effectively. Some of the best nuts are almonds, peanuts, cashews, and walnuts.
#2 Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are great for energy that is readily available. The natural sugars also make for a delicious treat. Examples of dried fruits are raisins, cranberries, banana chips, mango slices, and papaya chunks.
#3 Whole Grain Crackers
Whole grains have always been superior to white grains. Some whole grain crackers are a light and easy way to get in these essential whole grains during your hike.
Beef and turkey jerky will provide you with great protein. Slim jims and pepperoni slices will also work in this case.
#5 Granola and Snack Bars
These quick snacks are perfect for those on the go. Cliff Bars, Kind Bars are great choices. Any kind of granola and snack bar will do since they are a quick and easy treat. The best kinds to go for are protein and energy since these were especially made for the hiker within you.
#6 Trail Mix
Trail mix is a great option because it has both nuts and fruits. Depending on the kind of trail mix you get, it may also have marshmallows and chocolate. Yum!
You can bring chocolate with you. It’s super light-weight and will lift your spirits. M&Ms are one of the best options. If you have a taste for it, dark chocolate is also a great option.
The Final Verdict
Now that you know what you need to make your hike in the rain an enjoyable one, you should be ready to have a good time! Don’t let the idea that rain ruins everything fog up your mind. The rain is inevitable and is an essential aspect of nature. In fact, being outside in the rain is a heck of a lot more natural than sitting inside watching TV!
With the list of rain hiking essentials, there is no excuse for you to not be prepared now. If you find that you’ve planned your hike before you’ll be able to have the necessary items, then it would be best to reschedule, especially if your hike is going to be a great distance. There is a reason you need these items for your hike. You need to ensure you are safe, warm, and maintain your nutrition.
You should no longer feel insecure about hiking in the rain. Just remember, humans didn’t have cars and big, luxurious homes like we do today. If they couldn’t make it through hiking in the rain, then we wouldn’t be here to enjoy it as a past-time. We hope you find this article useful. Please, if you have any of your own tips, share them in the comments below!