Were you ever on a hike where it started to rain out of the blue? Ugh, talk about bad timing.
But remember what conservationist Rachel Carson said.
“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.”
Whether you’re a pluviophile (someone who loves rain) or not, with the right kind of prep, you may actually enjoy hiking in the rain.
Here are some of the best tips to keep up your spirits in stormy times.
Carry Trekking Poles
It surprises me how new hikers consider trekking poles and hiking staff as a waste of money. If you’ve never used one, it’s time to make an investment.
Let’s face it. No one has laid down a flat road to the woods. The path is usually rocky. During the rainy season, it can get muddy and slippery. Hiking on such a trail with heavy luggage on your back is an adventure on its own.
Studies have shown that trekking poles improve your posture and prevent spine problems that can arise from walking on uneven terrain.
A good pair of trekking poles should be durable, foldable, and light in weight.
Re-waterproof Your Gear
Buying waterproof gear is a good step but that’s not all. Its waterproofing ability doesn’t last forever.
You’ll have to re-waterproof it before every hike to ensure it saves you in time of need.
One of the widely prevalent misconceptions about waterproof material is that you should never wash it. The truth is, it causes delamination and damages its retention capacity.
The first step in re-proofing is to wash your gear with a good detergent. Sit back and wait until it dries completely. Apply a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) and let it dry again. As simple as that!
If the material is flaky and has breakdowns, it’s time to say goodbye to it and go shopping for new gear.
Relish Warm Beverages
Being out in the rain means your body has to endure the cold weather. Comfort it with a short break and a cup of warm beverage.
Whip up some mocha latte or yummy hot chocolate. Sit down, stretch your legs and sip the drink while watching the rain.
If making beverages on the way sounds like too much work, carry a hot drink in a Thermo steel flask.
You’re more likely to forget about hydration when it’s cold. Even though you don’t feel really thirsty, stay hydrated to make up for the fluids lost while hiking.
Learn About Lightning Safety
This isn’t technically about rain, but the deadly phenomenon that occasionally precedes it. If you hear loud thunder sounds, your first goal should be finding a suitable shelter.
Although the number of deaths due to lightning has dropped dramatically in recent years, do not ignore the safety measures.
Since it’s impossible to find an enclosed building in the wilderness, look for a nearby valley. If you’re close to the parking area, seek protection in your vehicle.
Individuals who travel in groups must maintain a distance of at least 100 meters between each other. Likewise, make sure all metal objects are 100 meters away from you.
Waterproof Your Backpack
Your backpack is the home to all the essential gear including your gadgets. You cannot afford to let them get drenched in the rain.
Backpacks aren’t waterproof but most of them come with a rain cover. If not, you can buy a generic one online.
Pack important stuff in dry bags for extra protection.
You can learn more about hiking backpacks on this blog post.
Dress In Layers
Layer yourself in lightweight and insulating fabrics.
For ultimate comfort, use merino wool as the base layer. It is a popular choice for athletic clothes as it repels moisture.
Follow it with a synthetic middle layer. Fleece is an excellent material for this.
Finish by wearing a softshell jacket for the outer layer. Wear trousers with vents.
Proper layering will not only keep you warm but also absorb the sweat helping you stay odor-free.
Waterproofing hiking boots should be your obvious choice. I know they aren’t as breathable as the non-waterproof variants, but they’re not uncomfortable either. Choose high ankle boots to avoid water from seeping to the feet when you’re crossing a lake.
Cotton socks are the worst thing you can do to your feet when it’s raining. A lot of professional hikers swear by merino wool socks for hiking in damp conditions.
During break time, remove your footwear and allow your feet to dry.
Stick To Quick Snacks
The rain is hardly supportive of the campfire. Cooking a full course meal will be a Herculean task. But, you cannot compromise on nutrition because your body loses more calories in the chilly weather than it does on a sunny day.
Carry simple snacks that can be munched straight from the packet or require minimal cooking.
You may not find a shady place to stop. This strikes off sandwiches and canned food as reliable snack options.
Snacks that can be eaten on the go are your best friends. Foods like granola, salted nuts, candy, protein bars, and fresh fruits can get you going for long.
Know-How To Treat Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses its heat rapidly. Consequently, the temperature goes abnormally low.
Mild hypothermia symptoms are chills, slightly impaired speech, and poor memory. When the temperature drops below 90° F, extreme symptoms like lethargy, abnormal heart rate, and even coma may occur.
Learn to recognize hypothermia in the mild stage itself and equip yourself with the necessary first-aid skills.
Mild hypothermia can be solved by resting in a warm sleeping bag and consuming hot sugary foods. Do not use hot packs as they can disrupt the body’s homeostatic mechanism.
Be Open To Changing Plans
Sometimes, even the most solid plans can fail.
If the weather is being too harsh or your body signals you to stop, take the hint. Listen to your gut feelings.
If your group wants to stop the journey, don’t attempt to finish it solo. There’s a thin line between determination and stubbornness.
Don’t be that annoying adventurer who doesn’t heed any advice.
Having to return in the middle of your hike is nothing to frown about. There’s going to be another bright day to accomplish it. Stay positive.
I hope this post helped you understand how to face the pouring rain while hiking. Listen to the rhythm of raindrops and enjoy your trip.
Also Check out for hiking needs: Different Sizes Of Pop Up Tent