Friday, November 28, 2014

Tips to stay comfortable when caught in rain

If rain should strike during your day hike, head back to
your vehicle to avoid muddy trails and various dangers.
Photo courtesy of pfly/Photoree.
Even if you check the weather report before heading out on a day hike, sometimes Mother Nature still will show who’s boss by dumping a little rain on you. It might be a surprise shower or could be something as light as a mist. This is especially true in the mountains where microclimates exist.

To stay dry on a day hike, plan ahead to have the appropriate clothing. Wear water repellent shirts, shorts/pants, and socks, avoiding cotton and denim that tend to sponge up moisture. In addition, keep a raincoat or poncho in your backpack. Wear a hat with a bill to keep rain out of your eyes and, should you wear glasses, off them. Make sure your hiking boots are waterproofed before hitting the trail.

Quickly put on your rain gear as soon as you feel the first sprinkles. If you wait until more rain falls, the layers of your clothing beneath the raincoat or poncho will become wet, increasing the chance of hypothermia and certainly leaving you uncomfortable.

Turn around for your vehicle as well. This is especially so if you hear thunder or see lightning, which you now are in risk of being hit by. Streams also can become swollen and flash floods sweep through the area, cutting you off from your vehicle. Even if no disaster occurs, should the rain falls more heavily, the trail will be muddier, increasing the chances of a fall injury, and paper maps will get wet when you check them.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.