Rain on Hikes – 5 Simple Tips for Coping
In this article, we will give you 5 simple tips for coping with rain on hikes.
In Britain, the best places to hike are amongst the rainiest. So there is always rain on hikes. In fact, due to the wonders of geography, most raised up places often suffer from relief rainfall. This all leads to one stunningly fun conclusion, you’re going to get damp, wet or drenched – unless you can dodge rainfall whilst carrying a rucksack up a hill.
Anyway, we want it to chuck it down on the way up so the clouds go, and we can appreciate the views for all our hard work. Or is that just us trying to reason against the dreaded damp…
The dreaded damp is likely on one day hikes but, certain when going for multiple days. Going to sleep wet, waking up wet and continuing the hike wet is a sure-fire way to taint the experience. Sometimes you will wonder if you are ever going to be dry again.
So, hopefully these 5 tips are just what you need to cope with the rain on hikes.
WAIT WHAT! But we just said there is always rain on hikes. Well, there is. But there are also different kinds of wet.
One way to minimise how wet you get is to simply plan in advance, attempt to pick a day or season that should be drier. However, sometimes you cannot help when you go, we all have busy lives so any chance we have to hike is a chance worth taking.
Another way to stop the effects of rain on hikes is to bring good waterproofs – and use them! Often, the excitement of the hike can leave you walking in the rain with a t-shirt and long trousers, perhaps even appreciating nature’s shower as you bound through the terrain. But, now it’s the next day or the end of the hike, you are solemn, wet and distinctly uncomfortable.
So, rain that feels acceptable quickly begins to accumulate to devastation. So, save the nature’s shower walk till the end, and in the meantime wear good quality waterproofs.
You should also aim to put the waterproofs on whenever it looks like it could rain. Or, when using three layers, take off the fleece layer before the waterproofs – just in case.
2. Pack your bag properly to protect against rain on hikes.
Packing a bag is more than packing a bag. It is a military operation which requires NASA’s best and brightest, a fundamental operation for the hike. A waterproof, dry-sack approach with internal organisation is one we would recommend.
But, not everyone has access to a waterproof bag, or the time to pack appropriately so, we have three questions it is good to think about and tussle with to ensure you cope with rain on hikes.
Firstly (a), can you get out key bits of kit without exposing the rest of your contents to god’s water?
If it starts to rain and your waterproofs are at the very bottom of the bag, there is no way to cope with rain on hikes. It’s over. Everything will be drenched, and your best hope is that you are part fish, and the gills will sea (see?) you through.
But unfortunately, it is also a tricky question to think about. It requires organising well, while also understanding which bits of kit you’ll use the most. If you cannot get your tent up and down and food sorted while the heavens open without the rest of your kit being drenched, there will be problems.
My best advice is to put spare clothes at the very bottom along with heavy non-essential items. The top of the bag should be reserved for items you’ll regularly need such as food and water, while waterproofs should also be easily accessible.
Next (b), will your essential kit stay dry with rain on hikes, or if your bag struggles in a river crossing?
Yep, this is us angling for dry proof rucksacks, dry bags or raincovers. It’s as simple as that. It is by far the best way to protect the contents of your bag. Wish there was more to say on this one, there just isn’t.
Finally (c), is your essential kit safe from water bottle leaks or carrying wet contents?
While rain is the primary sauce of getting wet on hikes, an internal leak can also arise. And this one is more annoying because you can do something about it! Trust me. I’m not bitter or anything…
Anyway, dry kit needs to stay dry, even if you must put your wet clothes in the bag. For this, I recommend a small waterproof bag to place the wet clothes in. You could also use this small water proof bag as an extra layer of protection to keep your dry clothes in initially.
Your bag must also be protected against internal water leaks. This is best done by placing your water in different sections, outside the main compartment of the bag. This way, a leak will not affect the majority of your kit. It has the added benefit of making your water more accessible, while also displacing weight around the bag to protect your body.
If you are struggling with what to bring purposely for multi-day hikes, a helpful guide can be found here.
3. Hiking when wet is possible, sleeping when wet requires talent.
A huge mistake on multi-day hikes is to use your dry clothes as a comfort to wear on the second day. However, unless you have taken multiple sets of clothes – which dramatically increases your bag weight, especially when clothes are wet – then you’re going to have to put your wet clothes from the first day back on. Yeah. It’s not a great feeling. It turns out there is a reason we don’t do this ordinarily. Wet socks are a killer.
So, now you ask what spare kit is for? It is best used to get into once you are all set up, in a tent and know you won’t get wet. Because sleeping in wet clothes is an actual killer. When it is cold and you are wet, it can lead to numerous health conditions, so it is imperative you are dry while you sleep.
Even if it means the wet clothes have to go back on…
It is pretty difficult to dry your kit whilst hiking. And it becomes impossible if the rain lasts several hours, or the sun does not want to say hello.
This means, it is best to hike assuming what is wet is wet for good. This should focus how you act, especially early in your hike. Moreover, keeping this idea in your head will allow you to prioritise your kit so you can cope with rain on hikes.
5. Take every opportunity to dry items
That said, occasionally there are opportunities to dry items. When this occurs, time is of the essence. When the rain stops, hang wet clothes on your backpack to become a walking clothesline. You make look stupid, but you won’t feel stupid when you have dry clothes.
If there is a particularly hot sun and you are in an idyllic place, it may advise to put all your wet items on rocks and wait until it all dries. However, this is only possible if the sky is clear and there is no chance of sudden rain. It is also important that you have that time to spare. You don’t want to spend all that time drying kit for you to have to put up a tent in the dark – and then it rains anyway!