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Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip
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Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/02/2012 18:34:52 MDT Print View


Possible rain is in the forecast for an upcoming trip. Aside from the usual precautions (rain suit, pack liner), do any of you bring extra stuff under these circumstances? I was thinking about extra socks--but I'm currently using gortex boots so I suppose extra socks would not be required....



rain on 08/02/2012 18:52:31 MDT Print View

Will your socks will stay dry hiking in the rain?

Goretex does not keep water out the TOP of your shoes.

What is the plan there?

Do you understand that water that comes in the top, has no way out of a goretex lined boot?

Goretex isnt bad for walking across a parking lot to your car in the rain.
For hiking hours in the rain, its not necessarilly the best choice.
Your feet will be wet anyway, actually..they may be wetter.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/02/2012 18:56:07 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/02/2012 18:56:44 MDT Print View

I focus more on food to keep my furnace stoked. I try to have food that's even easier to eat on the trail, so I put my gorp into bigger pill bags that I can down like a shot. I don't like filtering in cold rain because my hands get cold from being exposed and inactive.

a b
Re: Re: Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/02/2012 19:07:26 MDT Print View

I sure like a visor or eqivalent hat with a stiff brim.
Worn under a hood it keeps rain from dripping on your face and the hood from drooping down in your eyesight.
I also like using an umbrella. A GoLite Chrome Dome in my case.
It won't really keep you dry.
It might give you a greater feeling of freedom while hiking and possible keep you cooler.
Does so for me.
It is noisy but somehow less annoying than the hood of a rainjacket when being pelted by precipitation 1 inch from your ears.

In cold rain the umbrella still helps even though half of you gets wet because it slows down the exchange of cold rainwater with body heated rain water and sweat already in your clothes.
Yea, any type of wind will make use difficult or impossible so the umbrella approach comes with a huge Your Mileage May Vary.

On the other hand; taking a dump in hard rain, under an umbrella, off trail in the wilderness, is a sublime experience not to be missed!

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: rain on 08/02/2012 19:25:35 MDT Print View


Yeah, I understand the limitations of goretex and want to transition to (non goretex) trail runners, but that's not going to happen on this trip. The forecast is not for hours of non-stop rain rather intermittent showers. Perhaps an extra pair of socks would be worthwhile nonetheless...

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: rain on 08/02/2012 20:19:16 MDT Print View

I wear Goretex boots in the rain. Gaiters keep water from getting in the top.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/02/2012 20:33:36 MDT Print View

That third pair of socks won't hurt! A small light tarp over your cooking area is a convenience if the weight isn't an issue (something like MLD's dog tarp).

If it's relatively warm rain and you elect to leave off your rain gear (you'll be wet with either sweat or rain, and rain is cleaner), a 2 gallon plastic bag for your hiking shirt and pants at night is a good idea. Stick the bag in the bottom of your sleeping bag. They won't be dry (but won't dampen your sleeping bag insulation), but at least they will be warm when you put them on in the morning. With modern fabrics, your body heat will dry them out in 15-20 minutes. Wear your base layer for in camp (under your rain gear) and sleeping, but not on the trail.

If you get what in the Pacific NW is known as a "sun break" during the day, stop and air out your sleeping bag and tent.

There are several excellent articles in the BPL archives about hiking in cold, wet conditions. Much of this has to to with technique rather than gear.

Your attitude has a lot to do with coping with wet weather. Take a positive attitude and you'll actually enjoy it!

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/02/2012 20:38:00 MDT.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Living space on 08/03/2012 02:55:43 MDT Print View

If I'm *expecting* a wet trip, I like to pack something that gives me some living space in camp. That might mean upgrading from my poncho tarp to my two person tent, or a cheap (but heavy) blue poly 10' by 10' tarp in addition to my two person tent if I'm not alone.

That attitude got ingrained when I went on a two night kayak trip and it rained the whole time. At the time, my only shelter was a very old SD Clip Flashlite, which is basically a solo shelter. Spent a LOT of time in that tiny tent. I still got out and did stuff, but obviously I was wet when I was out and about. Space to dry out and feel more human and less like a newt would have been amazing.

That attitude then got proven when I did exactly what I describe: with a friend, we brought his two person tent and I carried a tarp. When it got obvious it was going to rain, we strung up the tarp to act as a huge vestibule from the "main" door. We stretched out and lounged in our foyer.


PS: This is for a wet trip; intermittent rain is something with which I just deal.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/03/2012 06:06:47 MDT Print View

I agree with Jeff, but a lot depends on the forcast and what you get. I carried an UL canoe into the St. Regis Area for a week...3 days of rain and thunderstorms unbroken for twentyfour hours and intermittitant the day before and after.

I took my sleeping tarp of course, so, I was warm and dry at night dispite 3 lightening storms. I also bring a 9'x11' UL tarp. This weighs about a pound. I set this up just over the fire, streatched back in a lean-to.

This is the overall extra's I bring:
Tarp: about 17oz
Extra socks: about 2oz
The extra 19oz is well worth it if the forecast is for rain.

Technique once you are done hiking (I was hiking between Mountain Pond, Slang Pond and Bessie Pond about 7mi of portage and 5 miles of paddling on this portage):
1) My clothes were soaked, of corse. My pack gear was still fairly dry, and my bag and sleeping clothes were dry. At one point it rained so hard, my hat was actually leaking...a rareity. Anything that can get wet is put into outside pockets. My food and bag (sleeping cloths) are inside the pack, in a liner bag. They stay dry. This included an extra pair of socks.
2) I immediatly found a dryer spot for my pack and sleeping tarp, set up the 2 tarps, and changed out of my wet socks into barefoot in my shoes (Teva sandals.)
3) I got enough firewood for the night...firewood was an esential because you need the extra heat to dry cloths. This means waking up periodically to feed the fire. I also set the bear line to save going out in the rain later.
4) I got water out of the pond, (filled water bottles and my pot.)
5) Got the fire going, painfull, but doable under the tarp. The rest of the wood acts as a seat. I strung a line from side to side(a couple sticks, tied at the center) and started changed cloths. I changed into my sleeping cloths (long johns) and slipped my sleeping jacket on.
(I carry a lighter bag, using a down jacket for those times I need extra warmth. The jacket does double duty around camp, but I am carefull to keep it dry.)
6) I laid out my pad and dried it off with a bandana. (The foam pad does not pick up moisture, but it does get wet in the outside pad pockets.) I laid out my bag and whatever I had for a pillow. I used my shoes later, inside the compression bag and the bag was turned inside out. I shook it out a bit for loft and folded it onto the pad to prevent it from picking up water from the ground.
7) After wringing out my cloths, they were hung under the tarp. They do not dry totally, but they dry pretty well. The pack gets hung up, as does my life vest.
8) Make supper, fill out my trail log, and just sit back and enjow the view and sounds or silence. About dark or so, I banked the fire down and added some fresh hardwood sticks. (It will burn slowly about one to two hours.)
9) I hung my jacket, changed into dry sleeping socks and went to sleep. I added my pack uner my feet, more to prevent the bag from getting soaked than anything else. On all the pine needles, I don't usually bring a ground cloth. After two hours of being under the tarp, the water was mostly drained away. Everything was still wet, but not really soaked.
10) In and out of bed all night, mostly as the rain or lightening woke me. Feeding the fire is one of the chores I need to do for rain...I HATE waking up on a 40F morning and putting on wet 40F cloths. At least they are somewhat warm, if not fully dry.
11) Swap cloths, and hang my sleeping bag while I make breakfast. I run down to get more water. Still raining... Made breakfast (getting the bear line, while I was at it.) Sit back and enjoy my coffee/cocoa.
12) Pack up my bag and cloths, douse any fire, scoop a pot of ash and scatter it into the woods, drop my sleeping tarp, cloths line, and pack everything except the lean-to. Then I drop my lean-to, rolling it tightly to squeeze some water out. I was ready to hike again by 0700.

Hanging the bag and sleeping cloths in the morning gives them a chance to dry out a bit. In summer or generally warm weather, I do not worry too much about dampness. I don't need that much insulation. You CAN hike in wet weather with only your sleeping tarp/tent, but this gets a bit uncomfortable. Clothing is wet. There is no way to dry it in a tent. It builds up a LOT of condensation if left inside or in a vestibule. Even a tarp can build up condensation in wet, muggy, conditions. Soaked clothing only gets your bag wet, if you try to dry it on your bag, too much moisture. In the west, it is rare to encounter this. In the North East or North West water and moisture is bad. Even my "dry" stuff is actually damp all the time. The upside is that you are generally fairly clean. At least part of the sweat and dirt is wrung out when you wring out your cloths. A wet bandana also makes a fair wash cloth. Socks are usually rotated through three pair. I make it a rule to keep one pair dry at all times. You might also need some extra food. A good hot supper and hot drink makes the weather seem better. A candy bar before bed helps keep you from getting cold. Not much of a problem in summer with temps dropping to the mid 40's by morning.

Enjoy it. The forest and hills have a different character in the rain. Don't worry about getting wet, provided you can sleep dry. Plan for the next day, though. At the end of three days of rain, even your bag will have water spots. Not a problem as long as the water is liquid. Freezing after a rain is painfull, though.

Latham Farley
(LathamFarley) - F

Locale: Midwest
anything extra on 08/03/2012 07:47:52 MDT Print View


When I am expecting rain i will put a trash bag in my pack before packing in my gear as an extra water barrier and use a 50gal. trash bag as a pack cover. My rain pants come over the top of my boots eliminating most of the water problems. The top of my socks get a little damp but never dripping wet and the inside of my boots have never gotten wet and i have been in some heavy rains. I bring an extra pair of socks and let my wet ones dry the next day on the outside of my pack (if it is not raining). If it is raining, I wear the socks i wore the day before so i will have a dry pair if the next day is not raining!

Enjoy your hike!


Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Large tarp in rain on 08/03/2012 08:07:23 MDT Print View

There is nothing better on a rainy trip than a large tarp. Its tough being in a cramped shelter for hours. A little room to stretch out during the rain does wonders for my mood.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/03/2012 08:22:30 MDT Print View

If you're talking "forecast" then you must be talking about the next 7 (or 10) days

There is very little rain during that period at least anywhere I am looking at

If there's just one day with a little rain don't freak out

Have a rain jacket and waterproof tarp or tent

Now, being in Oregon and Washington where it rains, if there's real rain pyramid tent works. Room to move around a little. Big tarp isn't so good because it isn't as good in wind.

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
rain on 08/03/2012 08:39:31 MDT Print View

thanks for all the great responses!

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
visor too on 08/03/2012 13:07:57 MDT Print View

Second on the stiff brimmed visor to keep your hood aimed in the direction your head is, and to keep the rain out of your face. I started doing that in a winter when I made a point of heading out every time the big storms rolled around in California.

I picked up two yards of 0.74 oz cuben which I'll make into a small tarp for winter rains, like people here suggest, doesn't weigh much, and if you're in all day rains, makes cooking so much nicer I would guess, never tried it before but it's light enough to do it with cuben. That size is big enough to make a porch on a tent/tarptent, and if you have spare trekking poles, you can use those to set it up.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Should I bring anything extra for possible rainy backpacking trip on 08/04/2012 00:07:06 MDT Print View

Your socks will probably get sweaty and wet in some way. If you want/need extra foot insulation, I would bring an extra pair of socks for sleeping. Having cold feet at night sucks.
But it depends on where you are going though and how cold it will be at night.

a b
The ultimate trick in rain on 08/04/2012 00:18:53 MDT Print View

When you get to camp:
Boil some water.. and just as it is safely cool enough.. add it to your water bottle.(Soda and gatorade bottles work fine, just don't put piping hot water in them okay..)
Put a sock over it and stuff it between your thighs.
Later, put it down between your feet.
If your feet are warm your will sleep; cold feet = no sleep.
If the morning be bordering on cold you will have some body temperature water to drink or cook with.

Matthew mcgurk
(phatpacker) - F

Locale: Central coast California
tips on 08/14/2012 23:22:57 MDT Print View

Tarp extra a must, and waterproof matches