October 19th, 2020 | Updated on September 29th, 2021
Backpacking is one of the most invigorating experiences life has to offer. You get to ditch the crazy world we live in and be one with nature, even if it’s for a weekend for a few months.
One of the beauties of backpacking is that you never know what to expect.
However, this means you need to expect the unexpected and plan accordingly to ensure your adventure goes smoothly.
One event to prepare for is rain. When Mother Nature opens up her skies, she can put a serious damper on your plans.
But, backpacking in the rain can be extremely rewarding and freeing, as long as you’re equipped with the right gear.
Take a look at our top four tips for backpacking in the rain, so you can stay warm and dry even when it gets cool and wet.
Backpacking In The Rain
1. Invest In Waterproof Boots Or Shoes
The first parts of your body that are impacted by cooler weather are your extremities, such as your fingers and toes.
When rain is in the forecast, your feet are the first ones to feel the brute force of this natural occurrence.
We’ve all walked in wet and soggy shoes, which is a feeling most of us don’t like to experience.
To ensure your little piggies stay dry and warm, pack a solid pair of waterproof trail running shoes that keep water out.
Trail running shoes are great for adventures on fairly groomed trails, as they are often equipped with lugs to keep your feet firmly planted to the ground.
However, if you’re backpacking on more technical terrain, you might want to consider waterproof hiking boots to have proper ankle support.
Once you have a nice pair of waterproof footwear, make sure to pack a few extra pairs of socks. Doing so will be a blessing in disguise, as you’ll be able to keep your feet dry throughout your trip and prevent blisters from holding you back.
2. Keep An Eye Out For Local Weather Conditions
As you know, Mother Nature can throw anything your way. Even if you’re backpacking on a trail you frequently go hiking on, weather conditions can seriously alter the terrain and make it dangerous.
Before you go backpacking, check the weather forecast for the area you’ll be exploring. Look for certain warnings, such as:
- Flood potential
- Lightning potential
- Snow potential
- Hail potential
You can even invest in smart tech like a GPS watch that comes with built-in apps like a weather forecast. This can give you enough time to prepare for rain or other weather conditions and set up camp.
3. Waterproof Your Gear
Buying all waterproof gear can be quite expensive compared to non-waterproof backpacking gear. Fortunately, you can purchase your own waterproofing spray to spray on your backpack, shoes, and other equipment.
In addition to waterproof spray, you can invest in a rainfly cover to place over your backpack to keep your belongings dry. You should also pack plenty of Ziplock bags to keep your electronics, maps, and other essential items dry.
4. Know How To Set Up Camp
When it’s time to hunker down, it’s essential you know how to set up camp to ensure you’re safe during any inclement weather. While your main instinct might be to find any tree and pitch your tent.
However, camping under tall or dead trees can end up being deadly if strong winds or heavy rains cause the tree or branches to come crashing down. Some essential camping in the rain tips include:
- Avoiding low lying areas if you’re camping in the desert or similar terrains, as these areas can turn into roaring rivers quickly.
- Staying away from water sources, such as rivers and lakes, which can be prone to flooding
- Keeping clear of summits and small pockets of trees, as these can be prone to lightning strikes
- Keeping your tent’s vents open to prevent condensation from building up
Once you find a safe place to set up camp, you’ll want to assemble your tent as quickly as possible to prevent water from getting in.
You can always pitch your tent fly over your tent body while you work to keep your area dry. Then, make sure to hammer in your stakes thoroughly to prevent wind from blowing your tent away.
Backpacking in the rain can turn into an uncomfortable excursion if you’re not prepared. With these four tips for backpacking in the rain, you’ll have a fun and pleasant adventure without rain soaking your plans.