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Long, rainy miles tomorrow
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Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 15:57:25 MDT Print View

Quick question:

I'm doing an overnight tomorrow, about 30 miles each day. Forecast for tomorrow is RAIN. They're predicting over an inch. Daytime temps should max at about 55-58 F, so there's not a lot of danger of hypothermia.

In the past, I've just hiked in a smartwool baselayer when it's been wet out, but I've never had the opportunity to hike more than 6-8 miles in the rain.

I'm having trouble figuring out what I should bring and hike in tomorrow. My options are:

Golite Ether @ 4 oz and water resistant
Campmor Cascades @ 12 oz and waterproof

I'll get wet if I hike in either. The Ether wets out after a good 20 minutes of rain, and the Campmor doesn't breathe, so I'll sweat like crazy hiking in that thing.

What would you do? Hike in a midweight wool baselayer, or hike in one of the jackets? Which jacket?

Would you bring an extra baselayer (5 oz) to change into at camp or just tough it out?

I feel like these are newbie questions, but I've never done a trek of this type in wet weather before. I can keep myself safe no problem, but I'd also like to keep myself comfortable enough to walk 30 miles, without weighing myself down with too much gear.



David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Long, rainy miles tomorrow" on 03/28/2010 16:24:36 MDT Print View

Umbrella + Ether?

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 16:29:34 MDT Print View

Once a windshirt wets out, then it's going to start soaking water on you. Does the Campmor not breathe in cooler weather like you are likely to experience? A lot of times poor breathability can be mitigated by cool enough air temperature. My experience is that I still tend to get a little wet no matter how good my jacket (usually around the edges, not counting moisture from sweat) so an extra shirt, longjohns and socks can count for a lot in camp. Of course, not necessary, but potentially more warming than standing around a weak fire in wet clothes.

2 extra things you may want to consider:
-any creeks in your path that may flood (and possible routes to get around them)
-the fact that your daylight is shorter when it's rainy (so you may be doing more hiking/setting up camp in the dark than you'd planned to do)

One criticism I'd have for an umbrella is that they tend not to be ideal in stormy conditions like may happen on a day where it's forecasted to rain an inch. Strong winds can make them collapse and sideways rain can make them difficult to use.

Edited by artsandt on 03/28/2010 16:33:24 MDT.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 16:35:29 MDT Print View

Read up on hypothermia. It is entirely possible to be hypothermic at those temps. Ambient temp does not determine hypothermia - it is entirely dependent on your own core temperature.

If you are only going overnight take a separate set of dry clothes so if you find yourself shivering when you stop for the day you can change. If you have no difficulty keeping your body temp up, sleeping in damp clothes can dry them (I did this on a rainy night earlier this month). Or you can sleep comfortably dry and put on the wet clothes the next day to hike in.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
"Long, rainy miles tomorrow" on 03/28/2010 16:41:41 MDT Print View

+1 on the hypothermia. That temperature range is often when people are less prepared (less clothes in a daypack, etc.) to recognize the signs for hypothermia.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
re: hypothermia on 03/28/2010 16:52:57 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'm aware that hypothermia is a possibility at those temps, but I'll be moving the entire time at a pretty good clip, so my core temp will be plenty high enough. I've hiking almost daily all winter long and have a pretty good idea of what will keep me warm in what temp while moving.

When I stop for camp, I'll have shelter, hot food/water, a fleece, dry socks, a sleeping bag, and I've decided to bring an extra baselayer too.

So hypothermia isn't really a concern. I just want to make sure that I keep my sanity without overheating.

Unfortunately, the rate I'm going will keep me warmer than I'd like to be in the Campmor jacket, but it's also going to keep me dryer. The miles are what make this a tough decision. If I were going on a short overnight of 5-10 miles per day, I'd just bring the Ether because I'd be done hiking in a few hours and then I'd set up camp and get warm. Since I'll be hiking for a good 10-12 hours, though, it makes me wonder if staying dry is a bigger priority.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 16:57:57 MDT Print View

@Nate - If you are hiking on the AT, use the shelters to get out of the rain, put a warm layer (I use an ID PLQ jacket), and eat something. Possibly even make something hot to drink. Also, look at some of the articles on this site that outline gear and techniques for hiking in cold rain...

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 17:04:03 MDT Print View

1. Venting options on campmor jacket might be to keep zipped open as much as possible, pull jacket up over hip belt, undo chest strap, don't wear hood but a brimmed and waterproofed hat, vent the jacket frequently by completely opening the front for a few minutes if possible

Realize you might be hiking warm and damp.

2. driducks or rainshield

3. poncho

Are you using hiking poles?
Have something dry to put on in camp (windjacket) and somethigng to dry off with in camp (dry towel).

Edited by jshann on 03/28/2010 17:07:44 MDT.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 17:04:34 MDT Print View

Unfortunately I won't be on the AT, so shelters aren't an option. I'm taking along a Tarptent, which sets up fast and does a great job keeping me dry.

Thanks for mentioning the articles. I only bought my membership a few weeks ago so I haven't checked out too many of them yet.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 17:26:31 MDT Print View

John --

Warm and damp I can deal with; I just don't want to overheat.

Don't own dryducks, and the poncho I have probably weighs more than the Campmor jacket, haha.

I won't be hiking with poles, but don't really see a problem with that. I'm not doing much in the way of water crossings and muddy, wet terrain doesn't bother me.

Glad you mentioned a towel. It's a no brainer for this trip that I almost forgot to pack.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Long, rainy miles tomorrow on 03/28/2010 17:38:40 MDT Print View

Hmmmm. For the temps you're talking about, I'd probably wear a slightly heavier baselayer and just hike in that. Like you, when I'm moving I generally have no problem keeping my core temp up. I'd overheat, and be soaked from sweat anyway, with a jacket on. So perhaps a slightly heavier baselayer and just let it rain. You can always put on the Ether if you start getting a bit chilled.

And, as others have said, dry clothes for camp/sleeping and a towel to dry off.


Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Forecast just got worse! on 03/28/2010 18:57:10 MDT Print View

Man, this is going to be an interesting one.

The weather for Monday has been looking bad for a while, but up until an hour ago the night was forecasted to be a light rain and Tuesday was supposed to be scattered showers. Now I'm looking at 1-2 inches of rain overnight, and heavy rain on Tuesday.

For anyone interested in checking it out, type 01075 in for the zip code for!

Oh well, if I can do big miles in this type of weather, I should have no problem when it's nice out, right? At least the overnight low will be 47. I'll be able to get nice and toasty before slogging through Tuesday.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Forecast just got worse! on 03/28/2010 19:22:35 MDT Print View

I would take a careful look on your map at each possible creek you are crossing and be prepared in case it is flooded. A tiny creekbed that is normally dry during the summertime can swell up to 2 feet high during a heavy spring rain. I almost had to cancel a hike in southern Missouri a few years ago because I went after a 2-day spring downpour and if it hadn't stopped raining on the day of the hike, at least four of the creek crossings would have been too high to cross safely. Even though the water was going down during my hike, I almost lost the trail once on the first day due to having to sidetrack uphill around impenetrable mire. The area where I hiked is prone to flooding in the spring so maybe my point of view is a little skewed, but I am not aware how Massachusetts' climate differs too greatly or how much it is prone to flooding, so just throwing it out there.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
watch your feet on 03/28/2010 19:41:35 MDT Print View

Twin 30's in wet shoes sounds like potential problems. Problem day 1 could spell problems for day two. Also, I would look at what light you're taking. You may need it.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Creeks and feet on 03/28/2010 20:02:16 MDT Print View

Art -- Most of this hike is on a forested ridge, so creek crossings will be very few. That said, I'll definitely be careful. I can deal with uncomfortable conditions, but I draw the line at risking my life.

Greg -- Thanks for the tip. I'm hiking in Inov-8 Rocklite 315's which drain and dry well, and will be wearing merino Injinji socks. Hopefully my feet will be fine, but I'm bringing an extra pair of socks just in case I need to switch them out. Also, I just changed the batteries in my headlamp, so that should be good to go.

I'm off to bed; I'm getting up early and want to get a good amount of sleep. I'll update everyone with how the trip went in a couple days!

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Bailure on 03/29/2010 15:22:01 MDT Print View

About 20 miles into my hike today, I was informed that there were severe flood warnings for overnight and the next day. I wasn't cold, and the wet weather wasn't bothering me. I was making great time and really enjoying the hike.

However, today's rain had already made some of the stream crossings pretty sketchy and had turned several of the trails into bona fide streams themselves -- 3 to 4 inches deep and complete with cascading waterfalls. With 2-3 more inches of rain, it could have made the hike out pretty dangerous. Mudslides were also on my mind, although probably less likely.

I finished my 1st day's hike -- 28 miles in 9 hrs 20 min -- and got a ride out. I'm pretty bummed I didn't get to sleep overnight and try and beat my time on the way back, but sometimes you have to know when to call it.

The good news is:

- I hiked farther than I've ever hiked in a day, did it fast, and feel like I could have done another three or four hours no problem. My goal of hiking 116 miles in three days looks possible now.

- I hiked in soaking feet all day long and didn't pick up a single blister. I think I'll be sticking with Inov-8 Roclite 315's and merino Injinji socks from this point on.

-My midweight smartwool baselayer kept me warm without the aid of a rain jacket. Good to know.

-I learned that I actually enjoy hiking in the rain and will never cancel a trip based on rain again, unless of course we're talking flood warnings or severe thunderstorms.

Edited by Knaight on 03/29/2010 15:53:41 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Bailure on 03/29/2010 15:49:11 MDT Print View

Nice Job Nate!
Well Done.

That's a good chunk of miles in less than optimal conditions. And if you felt comfortable and ready for more, that tells you a lot.

The next go around will be much easier using what you know now.

I'll look forward to the next event.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: Bailure on 03/29/2010 15:57:45 MDT Print View

aw, now I feel bad for psyching you out about the floods. For reference, here's a few pictures I took from the hike I mentioned to give a reference for the level of flooding I was dealing with.

The first picture is a stream that, at normal levels, is about 25-30 feet across and 7-8 feet average depth. Notice how you can't even see the opposite bank. I'd classify this as a small to medium sized stream in the summer. The trail I hiked did not cross it at any point, of course, but I did have to deal with a few valleys that were backed up with stagnant floodwater from it (the mire I mentioned having to sidetrack around).

There were two mired drainages. The first one was at least 200 yards across and very muddy. I sidetracked for about a quarter of a mile uphill and eventually was through with it, but unfortunately I didn't take a picture. I got a picture of the second backed up creek, and though it was much smaller (see pic #2 below), try to imagine looking at a much bigger version of that sort of thing at the end of your trail.

The four creek crossings I mentioned that would have been too dangerous during flood stage were high when I crossed them, and are wet crossings in the summer (also no pic of them flooded), but while flooded were very fast-moving and wide drainages. Pic #3 is one of these creeks after the water had gone down considerably, but if you look at the height of the gravel where all the vegetation has been scoured clean of the rock, you can see how high it can easily get when flooded (and I could tell that it did get that high a few days before my hike because of where I found "flood mud" compared to the creekbed).
c rmirecrk.

Edited by artsandt on 03/29/2010 16:04:11 MDT.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Bailure on 03/29/2010 16:05:50 MDT Print View

Ha, don't feel bad. I've forded some pretty gnarly creeks and rivers in the Sierras and have an idea of what I can handle. I've also seen the raw power of flooded mountain streams after several inches of rain in a 24 hour period.

I was staying in a cabin at the base of a mountain in VT two years ago when we received 3 inches of rain in a day. The road on both sides of us was washed out. There was an enormous mudslide a mile down the road from where we were. In the other direction, a bridge had tree trunks sticking up through the middle of it -- the water had driven them under the bridge and then up through the pavement. A scenic waterfall became Niagara falls. I hiked up to it and could feel the wind on the face from 75 feet away.

The rain we're expected to receive between today, tonight, and tomorrow morning is a similar amount, and I don't want to be caught on the wrong side of it!

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Re: Bailure on 03/29/2010 19:28:37 MDT Print View

What trail were you hiking? Something in the Holyoke Range? Bailing out sounds like a good idea. It's going to be 4" of rain with locally higher, with the ground already saturated. It seems like the last couple of years we've been getting spring rains with amounts that are usually seen here in hurricanes.

There's still a lot of snow in the Green Mountains, so not a good situation for folks downstream.