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Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain
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Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 08:45:58 MDT Print View

I was in the Smokies over the weekend and had a steady rain from midnight on Saturday night and all day Sunday. I managed to stay dry in my SMD Wild Oasis, but soaked through my rain gear on the hike out and boat ride back to the car. I've started looking into ponchos because it will cover my pack also. I seems like silnylon will keep you dry, but somehow the moisture comes through. I have no experience with cuben fiber but wonder if a cuben fiber poncho would be the best bet? I actually took my tyvek ground sheet and cut a head hole in it and used it as a poncho on the hike out.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Wet in the Smokies on 05/17/2012 08:55:29 MDT Print View

I just don't think there is any way to stay dry on those days. The water you had through your silnylon poncho was probably condensation. I have have had the exact same thing happen in the Smokies. I don't think cuben will help on condensation.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 09:46:28 MDT Print View

Stay indoors by the fireplace;- while factual, admittedly not relevant to the person trudging along a wet, muddy path through the falling rain trying to maintain a positive attitude about the wisdom of their decision to go hiking that day.

Living here in Oregon (aka the southern end of the Pacific rainforest) makes me agree with Ben's reply that it is not possible to both backpack and stay dry during multi-day, continuous rainfall. You will get wet; just accept it and go on, hunker down and stay put, or get out. The idea is to minimize the discomfort and to avoid hypothermia.

Until you experience it, it's hard to believe how much body heat (and how rapidly) you can lose to a cold rain continuously flowing over your raingear, sucking away your core heat. Add in wind chill and it's truly amazing.

I've been in a 40° wind-driven rain storm in the North Cascades where, even well-nourished and hydrated, and wearing a Gortex parka and pants plus a fleece mid layer and hiking uphill, I could not stay warm. This storm also drove the local hunters out of the woods, so I didn't object when one of them offerred me a ride back to town. That storm lasted three or four days.

A truly waterproof layer will keep the rain from reaching you (if properly seam sealed), but it will also keep most of the moisture produced by your body from escaping.

Edited by wandering_bob on 05/17/2012 09:49:39 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
dry on 05/17/2012 10:06:45 MDT Print View

you dont stay dry in continuous heavy rain ...

you just have to have systems and gear that can deal with being wet all day, stay somewhat "warm" when wet and dry quickly at the first break in the weather

ie ...all those thinks BPLers hate ... synth, fleece, extra weight of a well ventilated jacket, extra food/fuel, etc ...

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Give up on dry, focus on warm on 05/17/2012 10:17:44 MDT Print View

Another PNW person here, who hikes in the cascades.

I haven't found a way to stay dry over days of rain. When it is a soaker you can keep the majority off of you with WPB gear or a poncho, but you will still get wet and clammy.

And here, once you get wet - you stay wet. The only way I have found to really get dry has been to have an extra set of dry base and/or mid layers.

But wet is ok if you are warm. I am shifting away from my beautiful and light down jacket to a heavier but always warm fleece jacket. I get wet, but care less as I am still warm.

I also carry a 10x15 tarp that lets me close off the back, pin both sides to the ground, and still lay in the middle with feet of overhang in front of my head to keep the splash off.

Finally, I admit I have hiked out early at least once because I could see the weather changing and didn't want to have to hike out the next morning in a deluge.

Edited by keith_bassett on 05/17/2012 12:19:16 MDT.

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Gear on 05/17/2012 10:31:53 MDT Print View

The rain really wasn't a big deal since we were on the way back to the car. I was just thinking about how miserable it would be if we were staying for a few more days. I am really more concerned about keeping my pack dry. Is there a good solution there? Or just get a dry bag and keep the things you need to keep dry in there? Any suggestions on a good lightweight drybag for my quilt?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Gear on 05/17/2012 10:45:24 MDT Print View

Wear as little as possible while you're hiking. It will get wet. If you're cold, hike faster.

You need a waterproof pack. You can use waterproof bag inside or cover but I don't like that.

Then set up a good tent/tarp.

If you're wearing base layer and jacket, they'll dry off in a couple hours.

Keith Bassett

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Re: Gear on 05/17/2012 11:02:51 MDT Print View

Jerry gives good advice here.

I made my backpacks from Xpac, and am pretty happy with the waterproofness. I also have a silnylon bag that I put my sleeping bag / quilt into for that extra level of happy. The oz is worth it.

The base layer comment is true too, if you don't mind sleeping wet or staying under cover for a couple of hours.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Gear on 05/17/2012 11:11:00 MDT Print View

A garbage bag or trash compactor bag will work fine to keep gear dry that needs to stay dry. The hardest part is keeping your spirits up when its still raining when you set up camp. I try to enjoy the wet scenery. Dry off best you can before bed. Sometimes the rains will settle into the Smokies for awhile though and its hard to dry off.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Gear on 05/17/2012 11:31:25 MDT Print View

Having a tent that's like 53 inches tall (for pyramid) and 9 feet wide gives enough room so it's not claustrophobic. I can cook some food, lay stuff out,...

With a small tent it's harder to sit around comfortably while it's raining

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Think creatively on 05/17/2012 11:50:57 MDT Print View

Look at the PACKA rain parka/pack cover. Great ventilation and protection. And eVent or GTX is an option for the parka section.

Try to get eVent rain pants or GTX Paclite leggings (rain chaps).

EDIT> You may also want to try a "rain kilt" but use a trash bag "kilt" first to see if you like the idea. A PACKA and a rain kilt will give you decent warmth and a lot of ventilation. For very cold rain you must have rain pants or chaps. Chaps will breath a bit better by venting out the top.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/18/2012 00:48:46 MDT.

Christian Denniston
(cdenniston) - F
Staying Dry on 05/17/2012 11:57:48 MDT Print View

I have found that an Umbrella works great. Won't keep you completely dry but it helps. It feels great to not having rain beating down on your head for hours.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 13:19:48 MDT Print View

I have no experience in multi-day continuous rain or high winds plus rain, but in less extreme conditions I couldn't live without my umbrella. The rain hits the top, runs off the sides and maybe hits my lower legs. My upper body and head stay dry and often I just wear a t-shirt. Cool, dry, comfortable.

A few years ago we were in Hawaii. On Kauai it rains frequently but not for long. When the rain started out came our umbrellas, back they went when it ended. We hiked in shorts and t-shirt. Another hiker looked miserable in a full Gore-tex suit, too much effort to constantly take it off and put it back on again, so she just kept it on. I doubt she ever dried out whereas we dried out quickly when the rain stopped.

Umbrellas rule, rain suits drool!

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
rain, rain on 05/17/2012 13:42:55 MDT Print View

As I have found out I only own two pieces or rain wear that can stand up to continuous rain. My umbrella and a trash bag rain skirt. I have a pair of home made eVent rain socks that are okay. It would be nice to get something that works for the torso and mitts. Compactor trash bags work good for the clothes and whatnot.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: rain, rain on 05/17/2012 13:56:02 MDT Print View

There must not be any wind where you umbrella people are : )

It would blow the rain under the umbrella, if it didn't collapse the umbrella, where I go.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: rain, rain on 05/17/2012 15:05:38 MDT Print View

It gets plenty on the PCT. I just point the umbrella into the wind. That works reasonably well until the wind is quite sideways.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 15:30:07 MDT Print View

None that I know of, LOL.

I get wet and find a place to hang out as it were and change into my dry stuff if necessary.

Hung out 1

I carried no raingear at all. I carried spare socks and dry clothes. What you see hung out is from three hikers that were all soaked to the bone!

Hung out 2

I walked a lot of the stuff that was on the "clothes lines" dry. Have you ever climbed back into a wet bathing suit? Shuddering as I think back to that moment! ;-)

Party On,


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 16:27:27 MDT Print View

Andy, this is why I always go into wet weather planning on making a sizable fire every night. It's the best way to dry everything out. An extra couple layers of dry clothing is worth the weight. Wool layers are nice too, since they stay warmer when wet than synthetics.

Getting wet from perspiration is always better than getting wet from the rain. The moisture trapped in your jacket will have a chance to be warmed. If you get are getting hit with constant cold rain it will sort of wash the heat right out of your clothes.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 16:32:14 MDT Print View

Give up on being dry until you are secure in your shelter. As others have pointed out, focus on staying warm enough and keeping the contents of your backpack dry. In warmer conditions I think Jerry has a point… wear as little as possible so you have less wet clothing to manage when you stop and hike faster. The counter point is cold rain + wind is amazingly chilling as the temp drops. British climbers often go the pile/fleece + DWR (but not WP/B) shell. In cold, wet, conditions when I am hiking hard this seems to be the most effective solution.


Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Re: Whats the best way to stay dry in the rain on 05/17/2012 16:48:42 MDT Print View

The definite BPL article on the subject