Colby's Top 4 Tips for Hiking in the Rain

"What a wonderful feeling..."

Singing in the rain has oft been romanticized in pop culture. This begs the question, “what other activities are fun to do in the rain?” Surely the joy of singing isn’t an isolated novelty within moistened environs, right? Personally, I’d be quick to add hiking to that list.

I actually spend a fair amount of time hiking in the rain. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw that steers the experience (like hiking the Appalachian Trail in what was one of the rainiest years on record). But more often I am drawn into drizzly weather by my own volition – for the heightened sense of adventure and the joy of re-discovering a favorite place.

Hiking in the rain

Everything Changes

Soaked & saturated forests, woodlands, meadows and beaches express themselves in unique ways.  Vibrant colors emerge, adding depth and interest to the scene and sweet, earthy smells permeate the air. Creeks and cascades fill to their full potential, showcasing the raw power of our rugged wild lands.

Of course, when you are drenched and dripping... attitude is everything. Bring your sense of adventure and curiosity and you’ll surely have a good time. Perhaps bring your camera, too. Stormy weather can be dramatic. Don't let a few drops on the lens dissuade you.

Certainly smart gear choices and personal comfort management will go a long way in your enjoyment as well. Fortunately, your Deuter backpack has a built-in rain cover to keep necessities dry. Below are some pro guide tips for hiking in the rain that I’ve curated over the years.IMG_7914-copy-1024x768

Top 4 tips for hiking in the rain

  1. Consider hiking popular trails when it’s raining and you’ll be able to enjoy the wilderness setting without the added hustle of humans.
  2. Take care to pack the things you’ll need quick access to near the top of your backpack. Or in one of the outer stretch pockets. This will minimize time that your gear is exposed to moisture since you won’t have to tear everything out of your pack to find a particular item. Always keep one warm, dry layer in the pack for emergencies.
  3. Layer appropriately so that you can hike at a comfortable pace without sweating inside of your rain jacket. These jackets can only “breathe” heat and moisture at a certain rate, so if you’re sweating even a little, then moisture will build up inside your jacket. It’s unikely that your rainjacket is “leaking”. Wool is my go-to choice for layers, especially when it’s wet out. Also check out how DWR coatings work if you’re not aware.
  4. Trailhead treats are appropriate and warranted, even if your drive home is short. I like to keep an extra pair of dry socks, shoes and a shirt in my vehicle. Also a Thermos of hot drink and a warm sweatshirt are very nice if you’re in a cool environment.

So next time the cats and dogs are falling from the sky, grab a friend, hit the trail and have some fun. And should you encounter another like-minded explorer out there say "Hi!" – it just may be one of your fellow Deuterites.

Perhaps it will even be me, singing away.



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