Backcountry Camping

5 Tips for Backpacking in the Rain

A big part of living a life committed to outdoor adventure is doing battle with the elements. Epic lookout points, secret fishing spots and game-laden honey holes often require going the extra mile, through adverse weather conditions… like rain. Have no fear, we’ve taken the liberty of lining out 5 solid tips for those willing to brave the downpour in search of a greater goal. Backpacking in the rain doesn’t have to be a drag, in fact, here are a few little things you can do to ensure that your time in the wet woods is enjoyable.

Trash Bags

Regardless of how hardcore your backpack is, heavy rain will permeate it eventually. The easiest, most low-tech way to meet this problem head on is by placing all of your things into a heavy-duty trash bag. Nothing fancy, just a thick trash bag. This will ensure that no matter how hard the rain hammers you, your belongings are kept dry. You may also want to pack a few extra trash bags, should friction or contact fray or rip the original bag.  

Electronics Box

Things like your phone, your GPS unit or extra batteries for your headlamp need to be protected from heavy rain at all times. Furthermore, just shielding these things from the rain itself isn’t enough. You need to ensure that they are not exposed to moisture. The best, and most efficient, way to keep your field electronics dry is by keeping them in a waterproof box. Small waterproof boxes are often used by professional river guides and water sports enthusiasts, folks who deal with the wet and soggy on a daily basis. Take a page out of their book and use it in your story.

Wool Socks

Keeping your feet dry can be an impossible task when backpacking through rainy conditions. If such is the case, the most important thing to do is make sure that your wet feet don’t translate into cold feet. Because cold and wet feet can end a backpacking trip prematurely, or worse, put you in a survival situation. The best way to do this is by wearing wool socks. The reason wool socks will keep your feet warm has to do with wool as a fiber, for more information on that you can check out our “Cotton Kills” article here. But perhaps even more important than the wool socks on your feet are the wool socks in your pack. Go heavy on extra pairs, they double has handwarmers in a pinch.

Zip-lock Toilet Paper

The only thing worse than forgetting to bring the toilet paper is forgetting to protect it from the rain. There is nothing you can do with a soggy roll of toilet paper. So, plan ahead. The simple solution is to place your toilet paper into a zip-locked baggie. The other portion of this tip is also important, make sure that you zip the baggie shut after using it… or all will be lost.

Drink Water and Break More Often

People have a tendency to take less breaks when they are moving through the rain on a backpacking trip. This makes sense, as most folks are huge fans of standing around and getting rained on. The thing is, you can overheat and become dehydrated in the rain just as you can be in a drier environment. Actively plan to stop and drink water, regardless of how wet you are getting. Find places where you can be less exposed to the rain, rest and hydrate. It will pay off big in the long run.

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