Is it ok to hike in the rain? one of the common questions among hikers. where some hikers are in favor of hiking in rain, some are against it. But don’t worry, today I will provide you complete answer and guide to hiking in the rain.
Is it ok to hike in the rain?
It totally depends on the trail. In cases where the trail is flatter and features less Rocky terrain then it’s ok to hike in the rain. On the other hand, if the trail features Rocks, or is more inclined or declines with the muddy surface then you should avoid hiking or hold your hike for some time. You should also avoid hiking when it’s heavy rain because it becomes more difficult to see when the rain is heavy, one misstep can lead to bad results.
Whether you should hike in rain or not, in the end, it depends on your decision and what you think about the route and surface of the trail. While there are hikes that may seem easy at first but become dangerous during rain.
So to avoid any of those situations, I suggest you, read about the trail first and weather conditions before starting your hike.
Is it safe to hike in the rain?
For some hikes, it is safe to hike in the rain while for some hikes it’s straight no. When you select your hike I suggest you first, read about the trail, and how it behaves during the rain, or after the rain.
Some hikes are not predictable, what I mean by that is there are a lot of trails where it is hard to predict the weather conditions and, so it becomes hard for you to prepare for it in advance.
It is only safe to hike during rain when you know the trail or someone with you knows the trail conditions.
Besides that, you should also consider the gear, to make sure if it is compatible to survive the harsh rain conditions. If you have any doubt about your gear then a safe hike may become a dangerous one for you without being realizing it.
It is not that you should totally avoid hiking during rain. If you do so, you will miss some of the beautiful scenic and panoramic views of nature.
Rain is the time when nature calls out the animals from their shells, insects from their tiny home, and Lightinup the greenery around you and creates an adventure movie scene in front of your eyes.
But all this is amazing when you are aware of the circumstances and your ability to overcome the bad situations.
If you prepare yourself in advance then there is more chance that you can hike in rain. It’s not always the rain that causes the problem but the result of after rain.
Most of the time your clothes and shoes get wet, which can lead to many problems like blisters in your feet, diarrhea, and signs of cold are the most common health-related problems that a lot of people face.
It is bad luck when you prepared everything in advance and all is good from trail surface to hiking gear, but still, because of your bad luck, you are infected with any health issues.
A lot of people ignore health issues but I think it is the most common cause for hikers to stop their journey in between.
So what should you do to avoid health issues?
Well, you can place some of your bet on the quality of the gear but not totally. The other is you should always carry the essential medicines with you on a hike.
But still, there is a chance that you may get infected, so in that situation, you should quit your journey.
On a personal level, you should also know if your body is ok with changing weather and environment. All bodies are different, some people’s bodies take time to adapt according to the weather, on the other hand, some people’s bodies are quick to adapt to the environment and changing weather.
This is important to know because as discussed above there are a lot of trails that are unpredictable.
One second there is a clear sky and on the other, it’s totally black. So, you should know about your body.
You should avoid hiking during the rain if your body responds late to the changing environment.
Blisters are the most common infection that is caused due to wet feet. If you are hiking long in the rain there is a high chance that you may get blisters on your feet.
To avoid blisters and what should you do if you have one. Read this article about blisters – Is Hiking Dangerous?
What to wear while hiking in the rain
It is important for every hiker to get ready for every situation on the hike. While you may have no control over weather conditions but there is a lot you can do to decrease the risk.
As discussed above if you want to hike in the rain you should prepare yourself in advance. And the first thing that comes to any hiker’s mind when hearing the word prepare is “hiking gear”.
And it is because, without proper hiking gear, no hiker stands a chance to complete their hike in rain without any risk of hurting themselves.
I know there are some hikers who dare themselves to do that, without thinking about the bad circumstances or risk it involves. Yes, there may be hikers who can hike in the rain without proper gear but it’s not true for everyone and you should avoid performing this type of dare.
Selecting proper and compatible rain hiking gear is the first step to reduce your risk and prepare yourself for a lot of bad situations on the trail.
Below is some important hiking gear that you must carry with you when you sense any sign of rain before continuing your journey.
Waterproof and lightweight jacket
Buy yourself a waterproof jacket that is made of good material. Speaking of material, it is very important to know that not all materials are compatible with the rainy season.
Look for hiking jackets made of materials like – polyester, nylon, and wool.
The best is to go with the blend option because if you go with a jacket that is made of single material then there is a high chance that it performs not well for you on a hike.
Why you should always go for blends?
Blends are a mixture of two materials and today most of the hiking jackets are made of blends.
Just know that polyester is good for the cold season but the fabric does not allow air to let pass through.
If you wear a jacket only made of polyester then there is a high chance of getting wet because it avoids the air to pass through which leads to moisture inside.
Polyester is unbreathable material that is good to prevent water to come inside but because it leads to moisture, you need a fabric that is breathable and dries fast.
Wool is that material that dries faster. Jackets made of wool and polyester blend is a good option.
On the other hand, you should also avoid jackets made of materials like cotton. Cotton being a natural material is more breathable and holds water inside thus it takes time to dry the jacket.
The other thing you should consider is to buy a jacket that is lightweight. You don’t need a jacket that is heavy as hell.
Light and quality hiking shoes
Hiking shoes are another most important gear for hiking. The value of hiking boots increases when it rains.
Tough hiking shoes are important but at the same time, they increase the weight on your body during rain time. So, the first thing you should look for in hiking shoes is the weight of the shoes.
The second thing you should look for is the perfect size and grip of the shoes.
Avoid wearing large shoes that are big for your feet. If you wear them you lose the grip, it doesn’t matter if the shoes have quality grip.
If you don’t know how to what shoes are too big for your shoes then check this article-How to Tell if Hiking Boots are too Big ?
It is important to wear hiking shoes when it is rain because rain is when insects come out of their shells and start looking for their food.
The rainy season calls out insects which is why it becomes important to wear hiking shoes to protect your feet.
Most of the time if it’s heavy rain it becomes impossible to look down in the water, especially when there is a dark sky on you. Hiking shoes also avoid ticks coming in contact with your body at the same time.
I have seen a lot of hikers hiking in slippers and swimming shoes to cut out the weight of the hiking shoes. Well, it has its own benefits because it will save you energy and on the other hand, it becomes easy in swimming shoes and slippers to cross the water.
But this you should do at your own risk because you are letting yourself free for many insects. Also, consider the trail if you think the trail is not that muddy and slippery then you can consider alternatives for your hiking shoes.
Full hiking trousers
Wear waterproof full-length trousers. Trouser made of polyester is the most famous among hikers during the rainy season. It prevents water from entering inside and keeps you warm at the same time. Besides that, it also protects you from insects or any bite.
Wool socks are the most famous material for hiking socks. The reason behind that is the breathability and warmness of the socks. While some hikers avoid wearing socks during the rainy because if you wear socks for a long time it will cause blisters in your feet. On the other hand, the wool may be good in warming you up or it may dry fast but at the same time, it holds water easily which is a bad sign if you wear them for a long time.
Choose the lightweight backpack
There is a variety of backpacks ( Climbing backpack vs hiking backpack )available in the market. But you need the one that is lightweight and which can block the water from entering inside your backpack.
How long should you wait to hike after it rains
Wait until the pitch or surface is dry enough to walk easily. The time you should wait to hike after rain totally depends on the trail surface and how much it rains.
If the rain is mild and the surface of the trail is flat without any mud then you can start your hike immediately or after waiting for 5 minutes.
On the other hand, if it rains heavily or the surface of the trail is muddy and slippery then you should wait for 1 to 2 hours until you see the conditions are right for the hike.
How yo keep your hiking gear dry in rain?
Protect your backpack
The first thing you should protect is your backpack. Your backpack is the most important thing because it carries all the essential items for livelihood.
As discussed above you need a backpack with lightweight to cut down the whole weight and a backpack that blocks the water.
But there even after your back satisfies both the conditions, there are chances that water can come inside your backpack during heavy rain.
The best thing can do is to carry a plastic bag with you and tie that to your backpack. This will protect your backpack from water.
Keep your shoes dry
It is hard to keep your shoes dry during rain. The only way you can protect your shoes is by drying them off immediately after the rain stops.
Or the best option is to go with alternatives. If you want to know more about alternatives to hiking shoes then check this article-How to Keep Shoes Dry when Hiking in the Rain?
Wear dry fabrics
The best thing to do is to wear fabric that dries faster. As discussed above fabrics like wool are quick to dry, on the other hand, fabrics like cotton take more time to dry.
Avoid camping during or immediately after rain. The wet surface makes it difficult for rent poles to stay in position.
Even if you’re planning solo camping then do check this Solo Camping Checklist.