Last Updated on March 5, 2020
Rain, while a little water may have ruined the Wicked Witch of the West’s day, don’t let it dampen your spirits on your next adventure. With the right planning and equipment, you can keep dry while venturing outdoors, and avoid breaking the bank as well.
From Personal Experience
First, let me begin with an anecdote. Last summer my husband, some friends, and I all went to hike Arizona’s highest peak on a sunny afternoon. Being experienced hikers and outdoors-people, we didn’t plan much, as we thought it would be a piece of cake. The first few hours went off without a hitch, but as we drew near the summit, dark clouds came from out of nowhere and filled the sky that was clear just moments before. Next came the rain, lightning, and then, like a cherry on top, the hail. Only one of us had a raincoat and any sort of wet-weather gear, and we were instantly soaked. As we descended the mountain as quickly as possible, we passed groups of people cheerily chatting away, under bright ponchos or raincoats; they were warm, dry, and seemingly uninterrupted by mother nature’s flurry. We, on the other hand were freezing, drenched, and wishing we had put more planning and forethought into our excursion. While we all survived, we learned lessons in how to stay safe and dry with preparation and gear.
Check Before you Trek
The first and best way to start your adventure off on the right foot is through preparation. Checking the weather forecast will help you plan and pack accordingly. As simple as it may sound, it can be the difference between you being soaking wet or not. Even if there is a small chance of rain for your planned adventure day(s), it is reason enough to pack rain-gear. If we had checked with the forest rangers or even a weather forecast before making our mountain hike, we would have found out that mid-afternoon thunderstorms were common for that month.
Supplies for a Storm
If you know you may be in for stormy weather, the next step is to pack gear to keep you dry. Ditch the umbrella as it may get caught on overhanging branches and is the quintessential lightning rod. Instead pack one of the waterproofing items below to keep you prepared and protected for all kinds of bad weather.
Pack a Poncho
The classic rain-poncho, however, is a fantastic option for keeping yourself and your equipment dry. It is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to pack. Here is a list of the best rain ponchos for backpacking.
Grab a Jacket
Alternatively, the market for inexpensive waterproof jackets and pants has become enormous, allowing for a wide selection of brands, sizes, and colors. Make sure the jacket comes with a hood to keep your head and neck from becoming soaked. One of the top reviewed rain jackets is the Marmot Minimalist Rain Jacket. Read the complete review here.
For under 50 dollars you can procure a set of tops and bottoms that are impermeable and can easily pack into a small size for stowing when not in use.
On our treacherous mountain hike, we saw many varieties of raincoats and jackets that people had wisely packed for the inclement weather. Had we put ours in our bags “just in case” then we would have been “all smiles” instead of “all wet”.
Keeping your gear, namely electronics and maps, is crucial while out on your adventure. The pockets of your rainproof clothing are places to store your electronics or valuables, however many rainproof clothing items recommend not using their pockets as the only waterproofing for electronics and valuables. You can buy a range of ultra-light dry bags that keep moisture away and give you piece of mind. For example, the Sea to Summit brand has many different dry bag sizes and weights to choose from. If you do not have a dry bag, a few Zip-Loc sealable bags will do the trick.
Be Ready, Rain or Shine
Pack your waterproofing gear in your bag regardless if the forecast says 1% or 100% chance of rain and have them handy if needed. Not having them can really put a damper on the day!