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Navy salad
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PostMon Feb 10, 2020 1:11 pm 
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I've been really lucky over the years and haven't been caught in the rain (ie, more than just a sprinkle) on a backpacking trip since my sons graduated from planned-well-in-advance trips with the Boy Scouts years ago! But obviously, in the Pacific NW, rain is almost always possible.

Anyway, I came across this article about hiking in the rain on Sectionhiker.com that I thought I'd share. If anyone else has additional tips for hiking in the rain, feel free to add them below.
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RumiDude
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PostMon Feb 10, 2020 2:39 pm 
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Of course the SectionHiker is really aimed at long distance hiking rather than the weekender so the tips reflect that bias.

I would add as a tip to take a flat tarp to use for a quick shelter from the rain and as a cooking/eating area. Of course knowing how to quickly and effectively set up a tarp shelter is really helpful. cooking inside a tent can add huge amounts of unwanted moisture in the form of steam. I usually carry a 5x8 silnylon tarp, which is enough shelter for my wife and I to sit under and cook.

Be aware in the PNW winter rains that the soil is likely saturated, which means trees are more likely to uproot in windy weather. Also the added water weight in the canopy means limbs are more likely to fall.

Attune yourself to the wonderfully different "feel" of your surroundings in the rain. It's like a whole 'nother world out there when it has been raining for a while.

One way I dry up is to put on a fleece under my rain jacket when I stop. It helps to dry out my shirt and keep me warm. I always carry a fleece in rainy weather.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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sectionhiker
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 5:40 am 
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Well actually, SectionHiker isn't focused on the long-distance community. The longest trip I've ever taken is about 2 weeks in length and it was broken up by town stops, including beds and showers. But the vast majority of hikes I do are 1-2 nights in length. I like it that way. Those are the same people I write for and in my opinion make up 99% of the hiking and backpacking population, if not more.
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 9:52 am 
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Good article.

I do most of these things. But I  found that my stuff gets tangled up in an inner plastic sack, and it, too, gets wet once wet gear goes inside, so not worth the hassle. A pack cover works better for me, and individual plastic bags for stuff inside. That also has drawbacks (esp. when I don't use the pack cover), but short of not hiking in the rain at all, some of your stuff will get wet with either method.  And I am meticulous about keeping my inside-the-tent clothes dry.

Luckily I have a high tolerance for being uncomfortable when backpacking or hiking in wet weather (warm, sunny weather is my nemesis). I think the best wet weather hiking method for me was to begin my backpacking and hiking year in earnest, in 1999, the year summer got lost and never showed up (it should have turned left at Albequerque). And I did 2 or 3 weeklongs with WTA then, and each weekend at Hucklberry on the Suiattle. Rain Rain Rain wind, sleet, rain. And building a lot on Squak that winter. More rain, sleet. Pulling on frozen boots, sox and half-frozen hiking britches each morning Ė yeah. It only stings when youíre thinking about pulling on frozen gear. Once you get started, itís all good. To me, and to this day, those conditions seem normal.

I enjoy the rain as well. Like RumiDude, I find it's a whole 'nother world out there when it's raining.

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" I'm really happy about this! Ö I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  Ė oldgranola, NWHís outdoors advocate.
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RumiDude
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 11:57 am 
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sectionhiker wrote:
Well actually, SectionHiker isn't focused on the long-distance community. The longest trip I've ever taken is about 2 weeks in length and it was broken up by town stops, including beds and showers. But the vast majority of hikes I do are 1-2 nights in length. I like it that way. Those are the same people I write for and in my opinion make up 99% of the hiking and backpacking population, if not more.

OK ...


But the reason I said what I did above is that some of your tips don't apply to people doing 1-2 nights in length. Like #3 "Wear footwear that drains quickly, preferably made with lightweight synthetic mesh instead of leather boots or boots with a waterproof/breathable liner. Boots, especially leather boots, can take many days to dry out and wonít keep your feet dry when water comes in over the top". 1-2 nights out that doesn't much apply. It only applies when someone is hiking longer distances and time periods.
#11 and # 13 also apply to LDH rather than 1-2 nights out.

Take care .... Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 12:14 pm 
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C'mon, why do we alway fricken nitpick everything?  confused.gif

The guy canít accommodate every scenario. It is reasonable to modify, completely jettison some of the advice, re-modify, etc.

I dunno; maybe itís me. Sorry, but Iím tired of nitpicking.

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" I'm really happy about this! Ö I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  Ė oldgranola, NWHís outdoors advocate.
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joker
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 1:02 pm 
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Yeah and that tip would certainly apply for a hike of a week (or 2 weeks as he mentioned in his timespan range - advice for trips from 2 weeks to 2 days is how I read it for what little that's worth). That said, leather boots that don't have goretex (or similar) lining will actually dry out quite nicely in a day of hiking in dry weather. The problem is that it's hard to buy such boots these days, particularly if you have "fit" issues with boots. There aren't many such options readily available.

Back in the day, some people used army surplus "Vietnam boots" for wet hiking. These boots are super porous and even have nice metal drains by the instep. And as you might imagine they were designed for environments that are VERY wet. Looks like they can still be bought though frankly they aren't super comfortable compared to things like mesh trail runners.
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joker
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 1:06 pm 
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And yes I second the tarp comment for trips where some rain may be in the forecast. Having one along on group trips has more than once made for much happier campers at dinnertime as well as the following breakfast. Our first dog, however, would quickly ask to be let into the tent regardless of the pleasures of being outside but out of the rain. He was no fool.
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joker
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 1:12 pm 
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A tip I'd add is that your body heat can dry out your clothing layers pretty well if you give it a proper shot. We always viewed the time from when we set up the tent through bedtime as "layer drying time" if we had any wet clothing. Good hard shells can help this process by allowing some degree of "breathing" while you are generating body heat by moving around and eating food etc. Hanging out for a good while under that "kitchen tarp" can also help as the shell will breathe better w/o a sheen of water constantly on the whole surface.

Another is that if you're out in the rain for days, it can be hard to keep a sleeping bag perfectly dry no matter how meticulous you are and how good a bathtub floor tent you have. Synthetic fill for the win in such conditions, despite the weight penalty. I'd rather sleep well and have a little bit heavier a pack than vice versa.
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RumiDude
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 2:28 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
Of course the SectionHiker is really aimed at long distance hiking rather than the weekender so the tips reflect that bias.

I take it all back. I misread the intent of the author of the blog. I admit the term "section hiker" in the context of my PCT experience probably means something different than in an AT context. That misreading was reinforced when the author wrote in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the piece, "first long-distance backpacking trip where I had to contend with several days of heavy continuous rain and muddy trails". It felt kinda strange that sectionhiker registered today and posted simply to correct my misrepresentation of his site. Thus my "nitpicking" in an attempt to defend my interpretation of it all. But I was wrong.

There, does that satisfy everyone?

Sorry, I'm just tired of the fricken scolding.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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joker
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 6:40 pm 
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headrub.gif

Maybe you're just reacting to Kim there. Fwiw I meant no implied scolding by sharing that I had a different interpretation of what he wrote. I do also understand why he might want to clarify the thrust of his site here.

Any more great tips like a tarp etc? 😃
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Anne Elk
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 10:58 pm 
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I got kind of interested in the article's mention of trekking umbrellas.  Reminded me of the time I did a day hike to Goat Lake (the Mt. Loop one), on a threatening day.  Brought along my rather sturdy, full-size auto-opening street umbrella.  Worked great (I wasn't hiking with hiking poles back then).  Considering the price of bona-fide trekking umbrellas, it seems you could do just as well with a decent conventional one.  The longer handle gives you more positioning flexibility, and you can modify it and your pack straps to secure it to leave your hands free.

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RumiDude
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PostTue Feb 11, 2020 11:26 pm 
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If it is really raining steady, I shorten my hiking poles so that my forearms are sloped down. I also tighten the wrist closure as much as is comfortable. This minimizes the amount of rain water that will run down my arms and collect in the elbow bend area. If on a reasonably good trail I will put away the poles and just let my arms hang and swing naturally. Again this minimizes water running down the sleeve.

Obviously if rain is likely keep the rain gear handy. I would rather don early rather than later to keep the next to skin dry. And once I stop, I get my fleece on immediately to avoid getting chilled and start with the wicking and drying of inner layers.

Rumi   <~~~~~all better now

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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cascadetraverser
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PostWed Feb 12, 2020 12:16 pm 
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In the early 90s, one particularly rainy summer, I hiked the entire Boundary trail from Iron Gate to the Hannegan trailhead (some time before the big burns devastated swaths of the Pasayten wilderness).  After departing a huge thunderstorm hit me a few hours into the hike (I got dropped off so no turning back frown.gif ) and the rain didn`t stop (14 of 16 days rained and the sun never poked out in earnest for more than hours at a time).  I grumbled and hated myself and the weather for the first few days until I accepted my circumstance and learned to enjoy the rainy world in all its nuances, with many days to reinforce my newfound attitude....
I managed to keep myself reasonably dry and comfortable.

I kept a warm dry set of camp clothes in a waterproof bag and only used in camp (hiked in wet clothes alot but as long as I was moving it was ok).  My tent and sleeping bag got a little wet at times but I learned to live with it (I tried my best to keep the bag as dry as possible and it too stayed in a waterproof bag when not in use).  Every time the sun poked out for any length of time, I stopped, pulled out any wet gear and dryed it in the sun (and bathed my body in the rays!). I really enjoyed the trip and look back on it as a game changer for me and my hiking days in the rain.

One really great addition to my pack has been a lightweight tarp.  So much better than spending your entire time in the rain in the tent...
If you are in a valley or non fragile area, a fire is so great (probably gonna get the hordes of fire haters provoked by this one, but oh well....).  Just making one is a challenge and fun and warms you up by all the movement; and once going, heats you up and watching it do its thing for hours is a mental balm with all the dampness around.

Consider going out intentionally in the fall when rain is in the forecast (having a shelter nearby helps) and you might find it is a lot more enjoyable than you think.
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Slugman
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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 12:17 pm 
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I use a pack cover if expecting rain, but wouldnít rely on that alone for the important things. I use a lightweight dry sack for the things I just canít allow to get wet. Three ounces well spent.

A tarp is also a necessity for me. I canít stand having only the options of going into the tent or being out in the rain. Plus I can set up the tarp, use the dry area to set up my tent, then move one or the other.

Footwear is an issue. Now I wear a low cut Northface hiking shoe that supposedly has or had some kind of membrane. Yeah right. But they are comfortable enough even when wet/damp to keep hiking in, so I just hike in them wet.

There canít really be too much rain on a trip, as I just wouldnít go. Weather forecasting and flexible scheduling are the best ways to keep dry. I just got back  from three days in the wilderness coastal section of Olympic NP, and we had sunny weather with temps of 60 during the day. My feet did get soaked by ocean waves, and I was wearing boots for the muddy overland portions, but we got stuck by a really high tide with huge waves, so while we waited four hours the sun dried my boots and socks.

Wilderness backpacking trip
Wilderness backpacking trip

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ďThe jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mindĒ  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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