If you don’t want to get caught in the rain in the mountains, don’t go hiking. Otherwise, you cannot avoid it, but you can prepare for it.
The first and most important thing is to be prepared because you will have to get wet on the hike. Understand that the rain in the mountains – is the norm, it can not instantly hide from it under the roof, things can not dry on the radiator, and in the morning will have to wear wet shoes. If you are not one of those who calmly tolerate any whims of nature, we tell you what to do so that the rain did not become a disaster.
Get the right gear for hiking in the rain
It’s an excellent time to remember the saying “There is no bad weather, there is bad clothing.” Modern hiking clothing and gear can make hiking conditions more comfortable even in the rain. Below we give a list of things that will help protect the most valuable things from the rain, including your own health.
The jacket and pants you’ll be wearing when it rains. Modern membranes can withstand several hours of continuous downpours without making you feel like you’re in a sauna because the materials breathe well.
Raincoat or poncho
If you’re going to an area known for particularly frequent rainfall, consider a poncho or raincoat. They are made of completely waterproof but non-breathable material. They’re not too comfortable to walk in, but it’s a guarantee that you definitely won’t get wet.
There are rugged ponchos with a hood, which once protects both you and your backpack. They have one disadvantage – they are heavy. If weight is critical, you can take a regular polyethylene raincoat. It weighs nothing, does not get wet, and is even warm because it does not breathe. True, it tears easily, so it is poorly suited for hiking in the forest area. It’s better to take a couple of these, for insurance.
Sometimes it is included with the backpack, but not always – check and buy if it is not. After each hike, check the cape for cuts and tears. A hole in the cape is useless, so be sure to tape it up or buy a new one before hiking.
Clothes made of synthetics
Cotton T-shirts and pants in the rain will get wet, and it will be very difficult to dry them. Socks – all the more so. In today’s range of clothing for tourism is more than enough models of synthetic fibers that do not retain water and quickly dry right on the body while moving.
In addition to membrane clothing, synthetic underwear, fleece jacket, lightweight softshell pants, and trekking socks made of synthetic – that’s a perfect set for hiking in rainy weather. A wet fleece is enough to wring out and it’s almost dry, and also warm even when wet.
They’re usually used to keep snow out of your shoes, but they’ll also keep out the rain. In a downpour, water quickly pours into your boots through the cuff unless it’s covered by long pants, like shorts or leggings, and waterproof leggings prevent that from happening.
A must for those who can’t stand the feeling of wet feet. Membrane socks keep your feet dry and warm, even when you have to put on wet, cold boots in the morning. Some people use neoprene socks, but they have many disadvantages. They do not breathe, so your feet will still be wet, and in addition, these socks do not fit tightly and constantly slip, a high risk of abrasion.
The cap on the backpack does not guarantee 100% waterproofness – it can rip, get lost, and just a heavy downpour of water can get into the backpack through non-obvious gaps. Therefore, the most valuable things should lie in hermopackage: documents, money, phone and, most importantly, a sleeping bag. Even if absolutely everything is wet, there is a dry sleeping bag, it’s enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Airtight bags are available for everything – for clothes, gadgets, and documents, you can choose any size bag and case.
A set of clothes to sleep in
You should only sleep in dry clothes, so take a changing set. The best option is a set of warm thermal underwear, wool underwear is great. It’s better to store things for sleeping in a hermetic bag together with a sleeping bag and get them out only in the camp. You won’t need them on the route – it’s warm on the move, even if all clothes are wet. But as soon as you set up the tent you need to change your clothes. And of course, it’s better not to go out in the rain in these dry clothes, and even if you do go out it’s better to put a jacket or a raincoat on top.
The right organization of the camp
When it pours rain, we want to quickly put up a tent and hide. There is no choice of a cozy glade. But it is worth thinking ahead about how to organize a comfortable and safe bivouac in bad weather to avoid unpleasant surprises. Here are a few simple rules that will ensure protection from the rain and comfort in the camp.
Evaluate the safety of the campsite
A group of campers pitched their tent on a small island between two creek beds. They wanted to live close to the water, and just a beautiful place. At night, it started to rain heavily and the island was flooded. In the middle of the night, we had to save the camp almost by swimming and moving it higher up the slope. As a result, both the tourists and all their things were soaked.
Open the ventilation in the tent
When it’s raining and the wind blows, some new campers close the ventilation windows to keep the drops out of the tent and to keep it warmer. This is a big mistake. In a tent without ventilation condensate forms, and in the morning you can wake up in a puddle of water, which appeared not because of the rain, but because of the closed windows. Be sure to leave the windows open – the rain does not pour through them, because they are covered with protective visors. And if a couple of drops happen to get in, it’s better than rivers of condensation.
Get an awning
If it starts raining hard on the trail, you can quickly stretch a tent and wait out the weather under it without taking out your tent. It’s perfect for camping, too: it’s perfect for cooking, dining, and getting together in the rain, not scattering around in tents. Under the tent you can hang wet clothes – it’s better than keeping them in the tent, and they dry faster in the air.
Under the tent is convenient to put the tent in the rain. This is especially true if the inside tent is put up first, then the tent cover, i.e. for most modern tents. With this design, the “inside” gets wet quickly, so the tent will come in handy.
Trees are not necessary to set up a tent. It can be stretched out on trekking poles – it will be lower, but it will do the main task.
Every chance you get to dry your stuff
A wet tent after a night rain, a condensation-soaked sleeping bag, a jacket, boots, and socks which didn’t dry during the night – all this you have to put into your backpack or put on yourself in the morning. Putting on wet clothes is unpleasant, but only for the first couple of minutes. In motion, the body warms up quickly, and the clothes dry right on the body. But all that is in the backpack, you need to dry at the first opportunity.
In the bright summer sun, anything dries no longer than an hour. If after a long rain the sun looked out, you should make a long halt, take out of backpack tents, sleeping bags, and awnings and dry them. Even if there’s no sun, everything dries out in the air faster than in the backpack. Small stuff like socks and t-shirts can be dried on the move, for example, hang it on the backpack – it doesn’t look aesthetically acceptable, but it dries fast.
Boots are also fine to dry in the sun. Even on short 15-minute stops you can take them off and expose the sun. For long rest periods during lunch, for example, you should unlatch the boots, open them up as much as possible, take out the insoles and put them in the sun like that. Boots with textile inserts dry the quickest, and full-leather ones the longest.
Ensure safety on the route
It’s up to the trek leader to decide whether to walk in the rain or not. If the rain falls in the middle of the day, it is not heavy, and the route is not difficult, you usually continue to walk. But sometimes you should stop and sit in the camp. And not only because you don’t want to get wet, but also for safety reasons.
Wait out a thunderstorm
It’s especially dangerous if a thunderstorm catches you high in the mountains, on a peak or ridge. Since it never starts suddenly, there is usually time to assess the situation and turn down to find a safe place. In a thunderstorm, you should go down as low as possible, don’t stay in an open space, under lonely trees, near large rocks.
If the thunderstorm is close – flashes of lightning and peals of thunder separate only some seconds, take away far away all metal subjects. Sticks, ice-axes, dishes and all possible “iron” should be placed not closer than 20-30 meters from the group.
Do not cross dangerous fords
Water level rises fast during the rain, and small river instantly turns to the rapid stream. If possible, postpone crossing or look for a place with the weakest current. When crossing, do not forget to unbuckle the belt of your backpack – it will allow easy release from the load if you do fall in the water.
Avoid slippery terrain
It’s safe to walk on good trails in any weather. But it’s easy to slip and get injured on wet rocks and grass in the rain. So before you walk in the rain on the difficult terrain, assess all the risks: what can lead to a fall and is it not better to wait until it dries up a little? Rocks and cliffs dry up very fast in the sun.
Find a shelter
If the rain is heavy, the terrain is difficult and you decide to wait out the rain, be sure to find shelter. In the mountains during rain the temperature drops dramatically, wet clothes and wind will quickly lead to hypothermia. If possible, it is worth to put at least one tent for the group – in the “three-person” easily fit 10-12 people sitting. If there is no such a possibility, you should put up a tent, hide under it from the rain, and prepare hot tea.
- Be prepared for the fact that rain in the mountains is the norm.
- Take waterproof clothes.
- Pack a sleeping bag and a set of things to sleep in a hermetic bag. In a separate hermetic bag – phone, documents and money.
- Before you set up camp, think about whether it will flood in the rain. Open the ventilation in the tent – better wind than condensation.
- Get a group tent – it’s warmer and more fun to hide from the rain as a group.
- If it rains for a while, dry your stuff as soon as possible. Any rays of sunshine are a good excuse to take a break and dry the wet contents of your backpack.
- To go or not to go in the rain – it’s up to the leader of the hike. Good trails in the valleys can be hiked in almost any weather. But complicated slippery terrain, stormy rivers and thunderstorms are dangerous – it’s better to wait till the elements calm down.
Have good weather on the route and lots of sunny days!
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by travel. I inherited this passion from my parents. Since my college years and to this day, I have had a passion for traveling in a motorhome. I am here to share my experiences with you.