Hiking In The Rain: Read This Before Going On One

Hiking in the rain is a pretty controversial topic among hikers. Strong proponents say that as long as you’re fully prepared for what may happen, hiking in bad weather is no big deal. On the other hand, fierce opponents argue that they’d rather take a day off than risk getting cold and injured.

Well, hiking in the rain has its advantages and disadvantages you should know of before deciding if it’s your thing. This will put you in a good position to make the most out of your rainy day hiking trip.

Tips for Hiking in the Rain

Wear the Right Footwear

Consider combining waterproof shoes or boots with waterproof gaiters on your next cold weather hiking trip. Meanwhile, go for breathable trail runners in the summer since they’re lighter and dry faster than waterproof footwear.

Why is this important? It’s because whether you like it or not, you can’t keep your shoes dry when hiking in the rain. Your feet will inevitably get wet. It can either be from the outside due to the bad weather or from the inside due to excessive sweating.

Additionally, change your socks once they become wet to keep your feet in good condition and prevent blisters from forming.

Choose Shorter Hikes

Rainy weather means slippery and muddy trails. One wrong move can cause serious injuries or even worse. Avoid challenging trails and pick shorter hikes instead.

Choose your hikes wisely. Look for short, safe, suitable, and well-maintained trails that will be fine if hiking in the rain. Trails with gradual inclines, smooth paths, and no wet and slippery gravel with great views are perfect in the rain.

Use Your Common Sense

Don’t do anything stupid. When hiking in the rain, always use your common sense and don’t attempt to push your luck. Areas with rocks that are slick with rain are highly dangerous. Walking becomes more difficult as well because of the high winds.

This is why basic outdoor skills can’t substitute good hiking gear. But, while hiking gear has certainly improved over the years, know which ones are only overhyped by companies and marketers.

Thus, don’t trust the gear blindly. Use your skills and common sense based on when and where you’re hiking.

Check Weather Forecasts

This is important especially if you’re hiking in mountainous places since the weather can be very unpredictable. Make sure to plan your hike depending on the type of terrain and the expected conditions.

Tons of good websites offer detailed forecasts for various hiking destinations. For instance, you can visit the National Weather Service website for updated weather forecasts and other detailed information.

Wear Rainy Day Hiking Gear

Dress in layers when hiking in the rain. This way, you’ll find a balance between heat loss and heat production to avoid getting wet both inside and outside.

Wear a rain jacket and pants made of breathable, waterproof materials for better protection from foul weather. Don’t forget to add other waterproof and breathable clothing such as hats, gloves, socks, etc.

Sudden temperature changes are super common at high elevations. It can also turn cold pretty fast even in the summer! Remember this especially if there’s rain in the forecast since cold and rain is a deadly combination if you’re unprepared.

Keep Your Clothes Dry as Much as Possible

Keeping clothes dry is easier than drying wet ones. Damp clothes are also uncomfortable and have little insulative abilities to help prevent you from getting hypothermia.

However, if your clothes do get wet, you can dry them in many ways. The simplest way is to let them air dry once it gets sunny or windy. For example, you may hang your clothes from branches or lay them on a clean and dry surface. You can also leave them near a fire but only do so if you’ll be nearby.

Lastly, never dry clothes made of polyester and leather near a fire. The excessive heat will ruin the materials and render them useless.

Start a Fire When Hiking in the Rain

Fire can be a big psychological booster in bad weather because of the warmth and comfort it provides. Pack some matches or a fire starter kit and make sure to keep them dry in case you need them.

Pack Foods You Can Eat While On the Go

Proper nutrition is a must so make sure to bring lots of food and water. If possible, have hot meals to help boost your morale. Also, keep snacks within reach so you don’t have to stop unless it’s really necessary.

Hiking in the rain is more exhausting and you need more calories since it’s cold. So, don’t forget to refuel throughout the day even if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty or hungry.

Have a First Aid Kit Ready

Walking in the rain increases your chance of getting sick or being injured. This is why having a basic first aid kit is both reassuring and extremely helpful.

You don’t need a well-stocked first aid kit to handle emergencies and illnesses on shorter trips. All you need is antibiotics, aspirin, ibuprofen, bandages, gauze sponges, and antiseptic towels. Ideally, first aid kits should let you treat basic conditions like headaches, muscle pains, bacterial infections, inflammations, and allergic reactions.

Advantages of Hiking in the Rain

Empty Trails

This is probably the biggest perk of hiking in the rain. Most hikers choose not to hike on bad weather, so rainy days are perfect if you want to enjoy nature in solitude.

Surprisingly, many hikers claim that some of their most memorable days were in the rain. Sometimes, going on a peaceful rainy day hike where you can temporarily escape is all you need to feel rejuvenated. If you don’t like getting wet, just prepare some decent gear and a positive attitude. You’ll appreciate the world more and have an experience that’s absolutely worth it.

Hiking in the Rain Mean More Chance of Experiencing Wildlife

The rain almost always makes nature more active. Witnessing wildlife during wet weather is easier compared to other times. It’s either because animals like wet weather more or take advantage of the fact that there are lesser people.

Moreover, most wild birds also become more active usually due to their prey. For instance, earthworms love wet weather so they become more active and travel on the surface when the rain falls.

Either way, foul weather is the best opportunity to capture some breathtaking pictures. Don’t forget that camera and put it in a waterproof case so you don’t miss out on all the fun!

The General Ambiance

Walking in the rain can be very relaxing. It’s a pleasant and lovely experience that reduces your stress levels. The sound of raindrops is soothing and relaxing, while the smell can be pleasant and fresh.

Hiking in the rain is a different experience than your typical sunny day hike. Aside from the pleasant smells and sounds, the views are twice as dramatic as well. Imagine walking in a mossy forest with birds chirping and a glow that makes this world seem a better place. You may even be lucky enough to witness a beautiful rainbow flowing over the hills and into the valleys.

Disadvantages of Hiking in the Rain

Getting Wet or Soaked

Hiking in bad weather doesn’t always mean that you’ll get wet. However, it’s just a matter of time. Of course, there’s a huge difference between a drizzle and a heavy downpour.

While the former is rather pleasant, the latter can cause temporary discomfort. Whatever the case, dress for wet weather and understand that if you hike long enough, there’s no chance to stay dry. At least your feet will get wet either from the rain or from your sweat.

Aside from wearing trail runners, wear merino socks to keep your feet warm even when wet. Furthermore, don’t forget to change your socks once or twice a day and air out your shoes and feet regularly.

Muddy and Slippery

Walking on muddy and slippery trails is perhaps one of your worst nightmares. Sadly, this is often the case when hiking in the rain and you can’t escape it.

It can sometimes even get so messy that you have to flounder in the mud. At other times, the path becomes so slippery that you’re forced to pay attention to every step you take. Both scenarios will inevitably slow you down, which leads us to the next con.

Hiking in the Rain Slows You Down

Whether you like it or not, you have to slow down your pace when hiking in the rain. This often means reconsidering how far you can or want to hike. Keep this in mind when devising the plan for your hike.

Remember that, especially when hiking with a group, not everyone can handle the rain. Therefore, make sure that everyone’s prepared because if not, you won’t get the most out of your hike.

Conclusion

Hiking in the rain is one of the best kinds of hiking. Just make sure to have the right clothes, gear, and mindset to get the best experience during your walk.

Happy shopping and have fun in the outdoors!

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