Tips on Backpacking in the Rain

Tips on Backpacking in the Rain
If you are an avid outdoorsman and go backpacking on a regular basis, you will find yourself caught out in the rain sooner or later. This is certainly true in the Pacific Northwest or in tropical areas, where it rains frequently and usually with little or no warning. You should be prepared to encounter rain even if it is not predicted in the weather forecast, especially if you are backpacking in an area that is prone to flash rain storms. Being prepared for wet weather conditions will help prevent the showers from ruining your trip. Follow these simple tips for backpacking in rainy conditions.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Wear a pair of sturdy, waterproof hiking boots. You should always have waterproof boots even if it is not raining, since you never know when you will need to cross a stream. If your boots are old, the waterproofing may be worn out around the tongue or the seams. If this is the case, you can buy a waterproofing compound at your local outdoor supply store to restore the water-resistant nature of the boots. Make sure you have a good tread on the bottom of the boots to help prevent slipping on slick muddy surfaces.
Step 2
Keep a rain jacket or poncho in your backpack. If you are backpacking in an area where no rain is expected, then having a light poncho in your pack is a good precaution. If you are backpacking in a place that is predisposed to unexpected showers, you should keep a high quality rain jacket in your pack. Make sure you buy a jacket that has a hood to prevent heavy rain from pouring into the top of the jacket. It should also have a drawstring on the bottom to help seal it up tight.
Step 3
Pack extra clothes in your backpack. Even if you are just going out for the day and do not intend to stay overnight, you should have extra clothes in your backpack in case you get wet. Staying warm and dry is a basic survival element whe in the wilderness. Use one-gallon sized storage bags to pack your clothes. This will keep them dry in case your pack gets wet. You should have multiple pairs of socks in your pack so that you can keep your feet dry.
Step 4
Obtain a pack cover for your backpack and put it on when it looks like it may rain. The pack cover is a large piece of waterproof material that covers your pack. It has elastic edges, somewhat like a fitted sheet on your bed that allows the cover to wrap snugly around the backpack to keep moisture out. Most backpacks that are made for hiking include a pack cover when you buy them. If your backpack does not, you can usually buy one at an outdoor supply outfitter or in the sporting goods section of your local department store.
Step 5
Wrap your sleeping back in plastic to keep it dry. Few things can ruin a night in the outdoors as much as trying to sleep in a wet sleeping back. Many sleeping bags come with a water-resistant pouch, but the drawstring at the top of the pouch does not completely seal the bag off from the elements. One trick to get around this is to place a plastic bag, such as a grocery store bag or a garbage back, inside the pouch. This allows you to completely wrap your sleeping bag in a layer of plastic, which is then inside the water-resistant pouch.

Tips & Warnings

Stay away from rivers and streams when it is raining as well as low-lying areas between hills. These places can be subjected to flash flooding without warning.

Article Written By Wirnani Garner

Wirnani was born in the Philippines, where she had constant access to a rural jungle environment. In addition to exploring the island jungles, Wirnani spent much of her youth interacting with local wildlife, swimming in the Philippine Sea and rafting on the Davao River. She also routinely went on backpacking trips along the trails of Mount Apo, the highest peak of the Philippine Islands. Wirnani currently lives near the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas. The location provides an abundance of hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities. When she's not spending time outdoors, Wirnani enjoys studying biology and human health sciences.

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