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  1. #1
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    Default Dealing With Rain

    I've been backpacking in earnest for a good year or so now and I have tried different methods of coaxing with rain. I've gone the stay as dry as possible route and I have just said the hell with it and not cared. When I go full rain gear, I tend to sweat ridiculous amounts (yes, even with "breathable" fabrics). When I just rely on my synthetic clothing to dry quickly when the rain stops, obviously I'm still miserable. How do most people opt to deal with the rain? Do you tend to do everything possible to keep your skin and clothes dry or do you just accept the fact that you're going to be wet. Also, how do you go about achieving this, especially if you try to keep dry?

  2. #2
    Registered User Damn Yankee's Avatar
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    Your either going to be wet from the outside in or inside out. If the weather is cool then I just deal with it until I get to where I'm going to camp, set up, change and have a hot meal and drink to warm me up. If the weather is warm, I find I enjoy the rain which will keep me cool until I reach my destination , then I change into dry cloths and rain gear if it's still raining. This way I am not hiking and sweating. If I am just day hiking, I will leave a set of dry clothes in the vehicle. One thing I will always do either way is, changing my socks so my feet stay as dry as possible otherwise, my calluses get soft and start to hurt.

    "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
    Isaiah 55:12

  3. #3
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    I just deal with the rain and get wet. When warm out I use no rain gear. When cool out the only rain gear I use the The Packa. I always make sure to keep one pair of dry clothes in my stuff sack so that I can change into something warm at camp. The next morning usually means putting on cold, wet clothes but after a few minutes I hardly notice.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damn Yankee View Post
    Your either going to be wet from the outside in or inside out. If the weather is cool then I just deal with it until I get to where I'm going to camp, set up, change and have a hot meal and drink to warm me up. If the weather is warm, I find I enjoy the rain which will keep me cool until I reach my destination , then I change into dry cloths and rain gear if it's still raining. This way I am not hiking and sweating. If I am just day hiking, I will leave a set of dry clothes in the vehicle. One thing I will always do either way is, changing my socks so my feet stay as dry as possible otherwise, my calluses get soft and start to hurt.
    Spot on. I would add the use of a wide brimmed hat. For those who wear glasses this is a great benefit and for nuisance rain through light rain you can keep your rain gear open on the upper part of your body and the hat brim will deflect a lot of the moisture.

  5. #5

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    If its cool to cold I prefer a rain jacket plus a kilt maybe. The jacket has to have pit zips and ventilate well. Footwear I use wool socks plus neoprene or goretex socks with trail runners depending on conditions.


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  6. #6

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    No matter what, your gonna get wet, either directly from the rain or indirectly via sweat, but usually a combination of both. Unless you use PVC rain gear (which in NOT recommended) all rain gear will eventually bleed through, mostly at pressure points like at the pack straps.

    So, mostly you just want to keep from getting soaked through and through to the bone and to keep warm. That is the primary purpose of your rain jacket. Keep most of the rain off you and keep from loosing too much body heat. Then at the end of the day have a set of dry upper garments to put on. Pants I just let dry by body heat, which usually doesn't take more then an hour or two, even when it's still cool and damp out.

    It also helps to learn weather patterns for the area your hiking in, which helps you work around the worst of the rain, which is often in the early morning or late evening during the spring and late afternoon for T-storms in the summer.
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  7. #7
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    Default

    I found the key is to minimize the amount of clothing under your rain gear to reduce the drying required. I was actually quite surprised on a recent trip where it was rainy and just above freezing. I was able to wear a very thin short sleeve shirt and stay plenty warm.

  8. #8

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    Warm wet is better than cold wet. IOW, I'd rather sweat than have hypothermia. I have had several close calls on cool (50-60 deg,) days when I didn't put on a rain jacket soon enough. Hypothermia is no fun. I've had bad luck finding a rain jacket that actually works, but even a leaky jacket is better than no jacket if it keeps me warm. Once it camp, I change into dry clothes and jump in my sleeping bag as soon as the tent is up.

  9. #9

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    What I do depends on the outside temp(taking into consideration temp swings!), season, level of exposure(wind for example), how fast I intend to hike, how long I'm out for(like between in town resupplying), how remote of a hike it is, what type of rain is mainly anticipated(there definitely is different types of predictable precipitation patterns in different regions and on various trails/hikes and at different seasons!), etc

    On a recent remoteish 360 mile hike in northern Minnesota I opted for GoLite Tumalo rain pants and Marmot Mica rain jacket that both doubled as wind and sleeping apparel(when dry) meaning I wore these pieces much more often than just when it rained. Both pieces helped me stay warm which is what I thought I would need after researching the historical northern MN temps avgs for mid Sept-mid Oct AND that Sept was a typically very rainy month. And, so it did rain about 2-3 out of every 7 days with days being generally cool with low humidity under sunny to overcast skies(quite a few overcast hiking days) and the nights near freezing. These pieces were part of a larger integrated apparel, kit, and sleep system. In these temps I wanted a rain jacket w/ hand pockets which I often use to help keep my hands warm and likewise the hood which does the same. I slept in my dry rain jacket every night it was dry;NEEDED to! Sounds strange but in all but the warmest of rain during hot mid summers I like keeping my extremities warm(NOT HOT though!). Hence I also used WP HANZ socks, sometimes w/ DARN TOUGH merino shortie socks under the WP socks. I knew ahead of time I may be doing this so bought non WP really light wt running shoes 1/2 size larger. IMO, this system worked idea keeping me NOT bone dry ALL the time but warm and dry enough FOR THAT HIKE. Ask me what I'd do about the east coast rain say in VA during mid summer while thru-hiking the AT NOBO while adopting a hardcore UL philosophy in complete thru-hiking mode you'll get a different answer.

    I've seen many suggestions on WB to forgo rain gear. At times, I've taken that approach too but I'd caution against it in most hiking situations. Consider carefully what will work best, AND SAFELY, for EACH of your hikes.

    Hiking isn't about waiting for the rain to always pass or necessarily being always bone dry. It's about learning to dance in the rain(happily).

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Hiking isn't about waiting for the rain to always pass or necessarily being always bone dry. It's about learning to dance in the rain(happily).
    Hiking in a light rain/drizzle can be quite pleasant. I like the way the fog makes the woods look all spooky and the damp forest smells. OTOH, hiking all day in a heavy rain which refuses to let up is not so pleasant. Tropical storm like rain is best waited out someplace dry
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  11. #11
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Default

    I remember once I was backpacking on the Montalban Ridge in the White Mountains as part of an aborted Cohos Trail thru hike attempt. day 1 nice weather as far as Resolution Shelter. Day 2 it started raining lightly at dawn. I then packed up and headed out in a steady all day heavy rain. Something like 10 hours as far as Lakes of the Clouds Hut where I begged a spot in "the dungeon" the unheated basement where one can bunk for 8 bucks a night if the staff lets you. I had on gore-tex jacket and pants. Bit by bit the rain soaked through and I had not a stich of dry clothing on me when the day was done. In short.. all you can hope to do is double back your pack so stuff in the backpack stays dry and wear quick dry clothing so that when the rain does stop you can dry off. Nothing, is truly waterproof if it rains hard enough long enough.

  12. #12

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    When I hike the only thing that gets wet on me is my arms and hands. Its the only thing that sticks outside my umbrella. I love my 5oz Montbell umbrella it keeps me dry and cool. Yes you do have to learn how to dodge trees and it doesn't help much in horizontal rain but I don't like to hike in that kind of weather anyhow. All you got to do stick the handle in your strum strap and let the umbrella sit on your head. It leaves your hands free to use trekking poles.

  13. #13
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by freightliner View Post
    When I hike the only thing that gets wet on me is my arms and hands. Its the only thing that sticks outside my umbrella. I love my 5oz Montbell umbrella it keeps me dry and cool. Yes you do have to learn how to dodge trees and it doesn't help much in horizontal rain but I don't like to hike in that kind of weather anyhow. All you got to do stick the handle in your strum strap and let the umbrella sit on your head. It leaves your hands free to use trekking poles.
    You beat me to it. My golite umbrella, with my pack cover, and my frog toggs kept me as dry as you can be in the smokeys the past few days. The umbrella is an amazing piece of gear that most people laugh at. It's also great at camp if you need to get out of your tent while its raining.

  14. #14
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    Default

    +1 on the pit zips. marmot precip jacket is very good for this and they also make full zip pants. In the warm weather I don't bother, but in cooler temps it is best to keep as dry as you can. Pack liner for sure. I have an outdoor research wide brim hat that is great for keeping the glasses clear

  15. #15

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    This is the main difference between a long distance hike and a weekend trip...many people will cancel a short trip if rain is in the forecast. If your trip is longer than a week you're probably going to run into rain, especially in the spring time. You've just got to learn to accept getting wet as part of the experience and make clothing choices that will keep you warm even when they are wet and will also dry quickly.

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