For avid hikers, there’s no such thing as a bad hiking season. Yes, the summer may be swelteringly hot, the winter numbingly cold, but when you love hiking, you find a way to work with whatever nature has in store.
Of the seasons, though, perhaps the most annoying one is the rainy season. The “rainy season” doesn’t have a clear definition, at least not in North America, but it’s most often early to late spring, as well as fall. Flash floods, however, can happen throughout the four seasons, depending on where you live. More of a concept than a hard-and-fast season, the rainy season is nevertheless a strategic challenge for hikers.
In this article, let’s look at four tips to help you keep hiking regardless of the rain.
Dress in Rain Resistant, Breathable, Quick-Drying Clothes
It’s obviously important to have a rain resistant outer layer – you’re not going to carry an umbrella up a forest trail! It’s also important to wear a breathable, quick drying base layer. Here’s the ideal outfit:
- A base layer of breathable, quick-drying merino wool socks and underwear, as well as a merino wool shirt.
- Depending on the temperature, a second layer of breathable wool sweatshirt and long underwear.
- A rain-resistant outer layer made of Gore-Tex or another DWR (durable water repellent). If the weather’s warm, choose a rain shell. If cold, choose something with synthetic fill, as down tends to lose insulating ability when wet.
It’s also a good idea to pack a backup change of merino wool clothing. Merino wool dries quickly, but you will still need something to wear in the meantime.
Ensure Your Footwear HasGrip and Take it Slow
Especially on rocky trails or trails with steep inclines, slipping is a risk in rainy weather. To prevent slips and falls, which can be dangerous especially in remote areas or on solo hikes, ensure your boots have good grip and traction. For comfort’s sake, as well as to ward off blisters and fungus, it’s a wise idea to find waterproofhiking boots.
Keep Your Valuables Well Sealed
It’s as easy as dropping $3 on some plastic Ziploc bags, and can potentially save you from destroying your expensive phone, camera, headlight, camping light, etc. Before trekking out in the rain, simply pop your electronics and any other water-vulnerable valuables into tightly sealed plastic bags.
If Camping, Find an Elevated, Covered Spot
If you’re going on a multi-day hike without trail lodging, you’re going to need to pitch a tent eventually, ideally before sundown.Leave yourself some daylight to scrutinize the area for a suitable spot. Find something on elevated ground, away from rivers that may rise during the night with rain – the last thing you want waking you up is a layer of groundwater. It’s also wise to find canopy cover – or as it’s known on the trail, “nature’s umbrella”.
Don’t let a little rain deter you from enjoying hikes this spring through fall. Be prepared with merino wool clothing, a DWR jacket, waterproof boots with grip, and humbleZiploc bags, and leave yourself plenty of daylight to scope out a good camping spot!