Whether you’ve been a regular hiker for years or you’re planning a one-off walk in the woods, hiking in the rain can pose some serious challenges. The autumn months guarantee a rain spell or two so you’re sure to be out and about in a shower when you’re chasing trails. The option to nip inside for shelter won’t be there, so you’ll have to think of alternatives for tackling the torrential downpours.
As always, the weather doesn’t faze us when it comes to our love for the outdoors, but we do recognise the need to be well-informed, and therefore, well-armed for the elements.
Here are some handy hints and tips that will be lifesavers when you’re out on a hike in the British rain.
Know the Trail
As with any hiking trip, making sure you’re familiar with the trails and the surrounding terrain is a must. When selecting your route, you’ll want to consider the steepness of the land you intend to hike through.
If the trail veers towards upward inclines at steep gradients, keeping your balance will be more difficult and the mud will make it easier for you to slip and injure yourself. Furthermore, you’ll need to take into consideration the surrounding land as poor weather causes the terrain to erode and can end up blocking your planned route, or making it difficult for you to reach your point of departure on the way back.
Ideally, you should select a route that is on flat land, with the area around the trail also being flat. This will allow you to enjoy your hike more and you won’t have to worry about falling and injuring yourself halfway through your trip.
What to Wear Hiking in the Rain
Obviously, when heading outside in the rain, the primary goal is to be suitably dressed for the occasion and the weather.
However, when out on the trails, your clothes are really going to be put to the test as they will be exposed to rainy weather for a much longer, arduous period than when you’re simply out for a short walk in the rain.
This is why we suggest kitting yourself out in a 3-tier layering system that consists of the following essential components:
- Base Layer – A lightweight, easy-to-move-around-in base layer will help you keep fresh even when out in the rain, as it will wick away sweat, insulate your body heat and keep external moisture at bay.
- Fleece – Synthetic insulators such as fleece will retain their feel, warmth and function when exposed to rainfall, whereas natural materials, such as down, will become weighty due to moisture and slow-drying properties. Here at Trespass, however, we offer a great range of waterproof down jackets to give you the best of both worlds.
- Waterproof Jacket – For a jacket to be deemed waterproof, its shell must have a waterproof rating of 2,000mm or above, as well as feature taped seams. Look out for styles that have a mesh lining or underarm ventilation zips to aid breathability.
You should also note that you need to dress for the temperature as well. When choosing your layers, you’ll need to consider how hot or cold it is and dress appropriately. If you’re heading out in changing conditions, we would suggest layering up as you can always take an item off should it become too warm, but underdressing can’t be remedied!
What to Bring Hiking in the Rain
When hiking in the rain there are a few additional essentials that will make or break your adventure.
A hat and gloves will go a long way to keep your mane tame and hands warm. In addition to your waterproof jacket, men’s waterproof walking trousers will certainly keep you comfortable and do not wear trainers while out on the trail, if you’d ever considered doing such a thing anyway.
The soft fabric of scarves will more than likely end up drenched, so choose a neck warmer instead to keep you fully wrapped up head to toe without getting damp.
Picking the Right Socks and Shoes
When hiking in the rain, you should pick walking boots that have a good, sturdy rubber sole. Rubber is well-known for its ability to provide good traction on a variety of different terrains – including wet surfaces – therefore aiding balance.
This is especially important when hiking, as you will be exposed to the elements and if your footwear isn’t able to help you keep your footing, you could be in trouble. Mesh material is another useful feature to look out for when picking a pair of hiking boots.
Made up of fabric with tiny holes, mesh gives moisture an escape route as well as allowing in air to aid the boots in drying quicker.
You’ll also need to consider the type of walking socks you’re wearing, as wet socks can rub against your skin and quickly lead to blistering and athlete’s foot.
We suggest looking for socks that make use of anti-blistering technology which means that even if your feet get wet, you won’t have to worry about sore feet halting your progress and ruining your hike.
In case you are susceptible to them, why not check out our Expert Advice Guide on preventing blisters before you set off on your hike?
Waterproof Your Backpack
If you’re still going to be carrying or wearing wet-sensitive gear, you need to wrap these up in garbage bags, dry sacks or Ziploc bags. Not only will they be protected from getting wet, but they will also come in handy for separating items in your backpack and keeping everything organised.
Fully waterproof backpacks are the best option but they can also be pricey, so you can always make do with a rucksack cover. Remember that a wet backpack (or anything else that gets drenched, really) means a heavier backpack, so get your waterproofing resources up to scratch!