So what can we do to prepare? Whether you’re planning a 3-day backpacking trip in Joshua Tree or the Lost Coast, here are some tips to help you stay dry and happy.
Opt for wool and synthetic layers, which will retain warmth when wet. Avoid cotton at all costs.
- Base Layer: Wear a base layer that fits close to your skin.
- Mid-Layer: Try a fleece or synthetic vest or jacket, like the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket.
- Outer-Layer: Wear a breathable, hard shell jacket and pants. In heavy rain, your shell will lose some breathability. Pit zips will help circulate fresh air when you sweat. You can also remove your mid-layer if you are too warm. That’s the beauty of layering!
Waterproof Your Pack
Cover your backpack with a rain cover, like the REI Co-op rain cover, or line it with a trash compactor bag before you insert your gear (a trick I learned from Snowqueen & Scout). Store everything that is not water-proof in zip-locks, trash bags or a waterproof stuffsack, like the Sea to Summit eVac Dry Sack. Store those items toward the bottom of your pack to keep them from getting wet when you open your pack. Keep a pair of dry clothes and socks for sleeping. As a rule, do not bring wet things into your tent.
Protect Your Feet
Let’s face it. Your feet are probably going to get wet, but we can try to keep them dry longer with waterproof gaiters, especially if they are layered under hard shell pants. Moisture may cause blisters, so keep your First Aid Kit handy.
- Gossamer Gear Guide to Backpacking in the Rain
- Outdoor Research 10 Tips for Rainy Backpacking
- REI How to Go Backpacking in the Rain