Don't let rain stop you from enjoying your hike, just make sure you've properly packed!
Though I try to be prepared during all my hikes, especially solo hikes, I am very cautious while planning for rainy weather hikes. The weather can be unpredictable, and so can the trail. Here is a list of what I bring/ wear on "bad" weather hikes (bad in quotations because I actually enjoy these hikes).
There's nothing worse than having a soggy backpack plastered to your back for an entire hike, so make sure your backpack is water resistant or has a waterproof cover. For hikes in light/ misty rain, I don't mind taking a regular non-waterproof backpack- as long as I put everything inside into waterproof bags (Dry Bags~ or Ziploc if you're feeling frugal)
Inside my waterproof dry bag I pack extra socks, light gloves, and a warm layer- just in case something gets wet. It may add a little bit of extra weight, but it's worth it to know you have a backup plan if you step in a puddle.
Just the simple things, you never know when you might get cut on a tree branch or get a blister.
What I Wear
PANTS-I choose to wear semi-water resistant pants~ my favorite being Columbia's Lined Saturday Trail pants. These are super warm, very comfortable, and wick away water. They aren't waterproof, but I feel they do a great job nonetheless. I keep the trail map in one of the zippered pockets- BUT I also keep a spare map in a plastic bag in my backpack just in case mine gets wet.
BOTTOM LAYER- I like to layer my tops, because the rain can make you feel a lot colder than you plan for. For really cold days I wear a fleece lined long sleeve shirt~ I get mine from Under Armour. On average days I wear a regular short sleeve hiking shirt.
MIDDLE LAYER- I wear a fleece layering jacket with pockets. I like to keep my camera and phone in my jacket pockets, safely underneath my raincoat- this also keeps them from getting too cold.
TOP LAYER- The raincoat! Can't forget that. It's important to make sure that you have a quality raincoat that is breathable and waterproof. And don't mistake a windbreaker for a raincoat. Some raincoats even have zippered armpit vents, though mine do not. I choose to wear a North Face raincoat. I keep a bag of granola and a bar in the pockets, since they are easily reachable and any food you eat you're going to eat on the move, there's no stopping for lunch in the rain.
HAT- I always wear a baseball cap to keep the rain out of my face, and with your raincoat hood on, it doesn't matter that the cap isn't waterproof.
SHOES- This is all personal preference- some people wear waterproof boot covers, some wear hiking boots. If the weather calls for heavy rain, I wear my Columbia Newton Ridge Waterproof Boots. In light rain I wear my go-to Columbia Redmond hiking shoes, these are more water resistant, though they claim to be waterproof.
Don't get so focused on finding the perfect shoe that you forget to find the perfect socks. You don't want socks, or shoes, that soak up water. Stay away from cotton in general- for any clothing item, in fact just don't buy cotton hiking clothes. Too risky, they stay wet forever.
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