Tips and Tricks for Singing in the Rain
After telling people of any long distance hike, popular responses always seem to follow the theme of “What if you see a bear?” “How do you go to the bathroom?” (and then comes my favorite which is always said with some panic… ) “BUT WHAT IF IT RAINS????”
Rain sucks – there is honestly no other way to put it. However, at the end of the day, it is an unavoidable part of the hike. Yes, your clothes will take days to dry in some cases. You will carry an extra 5lb in water soaked gear. Everything you own will become muddy and gross – but you will get through it.
Pre- thru hike, it’s a little overwhelming figuring out how to handle living outside in the rain and not ruining all of your stuff. However I have found a few tips and tricks you can try to help make those inevitable rainy days a little brighter.
Keep Your Gear Dry At All Costs
Making sure your gear stays dry will make any rainy day 10x easier. Some hikers divide their items into a few separate waterproof stuff sacks, while others line their pack with a large contractor bag to keep the rain out. No matter which option you chose, make sure that your essentials (such as clothes, your sleep system, and anything made from down) have absolutely no chance of getting wet. A pack cover is also recommended to throw on when the rain starts. There is nothing worse than spending all day soaked in the rain and then getting to camp to find that everything you own is also soaking wet. Trust me. Keep your gear bone dry if possible.
Pamper Your Feet
Trench foot: not just for soldiers anymore. Your feet will be sitting in wet boots all day, (and yes, even if you have waterproof boots, the rain will always eventually get in). Hiking in wet boots and clothes leads to blisters and all sorts of chaffing. If you manage to find a dry spot to take a break at during the middle of the day, give your feet a break and try to dry them out. At the end of the day, always make sure both the skin on your feet and the socks you put on at camp are dry and warm.
Keep The Jacket, Ditch The Pants
Rain pants definitely have a purpose in your pack… but it is definitely not when it is raining. Generally speaking, a lot of people use rain pants as a layer to throw on during chilly mornings to pack up camp or something to wear while the rest of your clothes are being washed in town. Honestly though, a lot of people send rain pants home completely in the warmer months. Rain pants are really hot to climb mountains in and many people find they would rather be wet from the rain on their legs than from sweat. The rain jacket is worth it though. As with rain pants, they can sometimes get clammy and hot, so make sure you invest in a waterproof, yet breathable fabric.
Don’t Camp in a Puddle
AT thru hikers are a spoiled bunch and often get the option to sleep in a shelter cuddled up next to warm strangers when the weather gets bad. However, when hiking most other trails this luxury is nonexistent. Waking up floating on your sleeping pad is not exactly what most hikers would consider a good morning – so chose a camp site that is elevated and chose a tent that handles rain well. Some tents even enable you to be able to set up your rain fly first, and pitch your tent underneath so the inside stays nice and dry. Do your research and field test before your first big rain storm on the trail.
Say Yes To The Camp Towel
Many people opt not to bring a camp towel, but I thought it was one of the most important gear items in my pack. While definitely considered a luxury item, it was so nice to have something to dry my body and hair off enough to not get my camp clothes/ sleep gear soaking wet at the end of a really rainy day. For an extra .2 oz, it’s worth it.
At the end of the day, rain is just part of the experience of any long distance hike. But when the rain gets you down, just remember that the sun will always come back out eventually to dry you and you gear off (But to be completely honest, sometimes the best way to beat a rainy day is to hitch into town and get a beer… no judgement)
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