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#95544 - 05/02/08 01:40 PM Hiking in the RAIN
taylorcleblanc Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/21/08
Posts: 8
Do you do it or do you throw up a rain fly and wait a bit? Maybe only long enough to get to a good spot?

Seems as though even with high speed rain gear that "breathes" you would get much warmer if hiking with it and a pack on. [color:"green"] [/color]

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#95545 - 05/02/08 01:54 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
Heintooga Offline
member

Registered: 04/15/02
Posts: 470
Loc: GSMNP
Waterproof / breathable is an oxymoron. When one goes should be determined where one wants to go and the time needed to get there, not the weather.
_________________________
...ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein... (Jeremiah)

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#95546 - 05/02/08 02:33 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
ndsol Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 678
Loc: Houston, Texas
I remember a few years ago in Glacier we were in camp and it was raining, so we decided to wait it out. It was still coming down at 1:00, so we decided to hit the trail because we had over 11 miles to cover. It wasn't the most pleasant, but with a poncho as rain gear and cool enough temps., I never did overheat.

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#95547 - 05/02/08 04:55 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: ndsol]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I've hiked in the rain wearing shorts, gaiters and a Goretex parka or light rain jacket. I've also worn a wool pullover instead of a jacket in light rain. This used to be common in New Zealand before the advent of the newer fabrics. I'm sure some people still wear wool.

We were usually going from hut to hut, so there was plenty of space to dry out wet clothes and the huts were fairly warm-some of them have wood stoves in them.

I don't remember getting too warm, but the weather there is cool or cold most of the time, so not really an issue.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#95548 - 05/02/08 08:14 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3139
Loc: Portland, OR
Rain isn't just one thing. Rain comes in a multitude of guises. Gentle or hard. Brief or long. Cold or warm. Consequently there are a multitude of ways to cope with rain and some types of rain are a whole lot easier to cope with than others.

Long, hard, cold rain might be the worst, but long, hard, warm rain will give it a run for its money. Basically any rain that keeps up for a long time and seeks out every chink in your armor will wet you out eventually. There are no good answers for it and you may as well learn to settle for mediocre solutions now and save yourself a lot of heartache and wasted effort in looking for what doesn't exist. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

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#95549 - 05/03/08 01:30 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If it rains, I just put on my rain gear and get on with it. If it's warm enough, I leave the rain gear off and just get wet. My hiking pants and shirt are lightweight nylon which dries very rapidly, even in high humidity. And I have a dry base layer and wraps in my pack. The main thing is to be sure that everything in the pack stays dry and that you don't pitch your tent in a depression that will become a pond when it rains.

The one time I will stop and seek shelter along the trail is if a hailstorm comes along. Fortunately, they usually last only a very short time.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#95550 - 05/03/08 08:49 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
Mattress Offline
member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Unfortunately I am something of an expert in rain hiking. It's not something I'm proud of, but most of my hiking is done in the coastal rainforests of vancouver island. I've been on 5 day hikes where it rained for 6 days. Now I'm getting a bit older I try to avoid the wettest seasons, but I love the scenery so much I just can't stay away for long.

If you're on a hike where the rain is most likely going to end within a day, I think it makes sense to try to stay dry, put up a tarp or umbrella, wear your "waterproof breathables", etc. If the rain looks like it will continue for several days, I think you're better off to just immerse yourself in it. Trying to hike in anything waterproof will just get you soaked from sweat, no matter how breathable the clothing claims to be. Get wet. Walk through streams. Jump in the puddles. Just keep moving and stay warm. When you get to camp, set up your tent and get into your warm dry clothes. Hopefully you have somewhere dry to cook, make yourself a hot meal and hot drink. As long as you keep warm, you're safe. The next morning you might have to put on some wet clothes, which is awful for the first 10 minutes, but you soon get over it.

Other tips when hiking in potentially heavy rain areas:
-bring a small ultralight tarp or tyvek sheet and string, having a dry place to cook and relax is wonderful.
-bring extra hot chocolate, tea, coffee, whatever your vice
-package each item in your pack in a waterproof bag. No matter how dry you keep your backpack, you'll need to put wet items inside which will transfer to your sleeping bag.
-It is possible to keep a down bag dry, you just have to be careful.
-Bring a book or something to do if you're forced to spend a lot of time in your tent.
-Hike longer miles, do some side trips, keep moving and stay warm
-Burn your goretex, it'll keep you warm for a while that way.
_________________________
http://lighterload.blogspot.com/

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#95551 - 05/03/08 08:16 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
This comes up once in a while. I grew up in Southeast Alaska, where it rains so much you almost need gills. Most people with a background like that don't seem to care one way or the other about a little wetness; I've never had a trip get "ruined" by rain. I think it boils to personality, what a person wants/expects from a trip, and their gear. I'd prefer showers to perpetually hot weather.

As far as what to do when it rains, I try to read the people I'm with. Some people are obviously unhappy when it happens, and for them it seems worth it to cut the miles short that day so they can sit in the tent. I don't want to force any hiking on people when they won't enjoy it. They might misinterpret my lack of change in behavior when it rains as a way of trying to make things miserable for them.

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#95552 - 05/03/08 08:28 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: Mattress]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
Pretty good tips, Mattress. I actually do like goretex, though. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

A couple tips I'd like to add:
- Be sure your fire starting/stove lighting device works well when wet. (learned the hard way)
- If it's not raining but you're about to hike through wet brush, take off most of your clothes and wear the raingear next to your skin. When you emerge from the brush and change back, your clothes will be dryer than if you'd worn them.

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#95553 - 05/04/08 05:41 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
MattnID Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
It depends for me. If the rain is light I just put on the rain top and walk. I never the whole sky fall down on me while I've been out yet but I think I might have to find a bit of cover at that point. If it is morning I might delay packing up camp just to see if it'll subside but not too terribly long.

There are some places where you just have to deal with it though otherwise you'll never get anywhere. I remember last September here in Alaska, I went out into Denali NP for four days and it rained off and on as the clouds moved through the entire time. It would rain for 4 minutes or something like that and then be done for an hour or more and then do it again.

I hate hiking though wearing run gear. Doesn't matter how breathable it is it always makes me warmer and sweaty.
_________________________
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

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#95554 - 05/05/08 09:14 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I hike in the rain if I am caught in it. If I have a trip planned, and it looks like it is going to be a washout I will try to reschedule it for another weekend. I still probably get rained on roughly 50% of the time though. The last year or two with the droughts in the SE have been a little drier.

Some other posters gave some good tips on clothing so I won't go into detail on that. I typically use Marmot precip stuff if it is cold (<50 deg), and a sil-nylon poncho when it is warm (>50 deg). If it is really warm then I just get wet and dry out in camp.

One thing not mentioned in any of the other posts is stream crossings. Depending on where you are hiking and if you have stream crossings, then you should take that into consideration. I had to turn back once when I was hiking in Slickrock Creek (NC) due to Slickrock creek being so high from an all day rain. I also had a real interesting hike out on the Forney Creek trail in the Smokys (NC) after a long hard rain. On that trip it started raining during the night, and never stopped the whole next day. I decided to hang out under the tarp in the morning to see if it would let up. That lead to leaving camp late and having to ford Forney Creek several times when it was much higher than normal. Had I left earlier the crossings would have been easier as I was watching the creek rise while sitting under the tarp. By the time I got to the crossings the "creek" looked more like class 4 rapids in the Colorado River.

So anyway, I now have a "cutoff" time. If it doesn't stop raining by 10:00 in the morning I am packing up and heading out.

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#95555 - 05/05/08 04:17 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: Berserker]
lv2fsh Offline
member

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 111
Loc: socal
Out here in Ca. (Sierra and Socal) we have thunderstorms with lightening. I have found and think it prudent to wait it out in as nonconducting location as possible. That is not under a large tree on a barren ridge top. It doesn't take to many big trees being struck near you to figure that out. We also have to be aware of flashflooding. Something to think about when pitching camp. Fortunately the rain usually passes and is mostly later in the day. Start early and you miss most of it.

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#95556 - 05/05/08 05:12 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: lv2fsh]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3139
Loc: Portland, OR
Here in the wetter parts of the Pacific Northwest, it pays to bring rain gear on every hike, plus a bit of Gene Kelly's attitude in his big dancing scene in Singing in the Rain. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#95557 - 05/05/08 08:52 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: aimless]
Amphib Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 65
Loc: Sonora Desert

Here in the desert, in spring/summer/fall anyway, I love to get soaked!!! Bring it on!

All the stuff I need dry stays dry! I love downpours as long as I am clear of the flash flood death traps.

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#95558 - 05/05/08 09:08 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: aimless]
lv2fsh Offline
member

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 111
Loc: socal
You obviously haven't heard me sing? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#95559 - 05/06/08 05:41 AM Throw my pack cover on and go. [Re: taylorcleblanc]
PhilBiker Offline
member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 172
Loc: Washington DC area
I only do weekends a few times a year, we usually set up a "rain date" and don't go out if we know it's going to rain. However, if there will just be rain one day or we get caught in the rain, we generally put the pack cover on, throw on a shell, and keep hiking. Yeah, you get wet, so what. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PhilBIker

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#95560 - 05/06/08 09:29 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: lv2fsh]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
I hiked in the Sierras last year, and the rain there was interesting. Got hit by a T-storm one afternoon. It was the darndest thing, about an hour after it blew over everything was bone dry. I also couldn't help but notice how everytime I took my boots off when taking a break that they actually dried out. In my experience here in the SE, once they get wet they stay wet.

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#95561 - 05/06/08 11:25 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: Heintooga]
lurch149 Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 2
Loc: athens ohio
I did a weekend trip this past weekend and it rained nearly the entire time. The piece of equipment which will help you out the most in the rain is a positive attitude. Try to enjoy it if possible, but dont get in a bad mood or it will spread to the rest of the group and ruin the trip. Also make sure that your ground cloth does not stick out beyond your tent or it will funnel water in and turn your shelter into a bathtub.
_________________________
"cant cheat the mountain pilgrim, mountain got it's own ways"

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#95562 - 05/06/08 04:30 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: lurch149]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Memorable hike: Summer, SW Massachussettes, warm temps. A violent thunderstorm. I hiked on a paved roadway along a mountain brook. The hillsides sloped steeply above, so lightening strikes were likely deflected. The storm lasted an hour.

When reaching camp was largely soaked. By morning was mainly dry.

Summer is good that way.

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#95563 - 05/07/08 04:35 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
trailblazer Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/02
Posts: 788
Loc: Menlo Park, CA/Sierra Nevada
Where I mainly hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, there is frequently afternoon (and sometimes before noon <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> ) thunderstorms. The rain doesn't bother me too much and if I'm at a lower elevation I'll just hike through it, usually packing my clothes, sleeping bag, and other stuff in plastic garbage bags and putting on a poncho and the rain clothes. But I usually find myself above tree-line when the clouds move in, and the flashes of lightening around usually convince me to shelter up. Many times I've been sitting in my shelter to have a flash of lightening go off way too close, and there I find myself, in harms way, but very glad I'm not out there walking through it like a human lightening rod.
_________________________
Greg
www.naturefocused.com

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#95564 - 05/07/08 11:52 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: trailblazer]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
OK, I have a couple of confessions to make. It is true that if I'm already out there and it starts to pour, I don my rain gear (or, if it's warm, just get wet) and carry on. However, I do find that it takes a great deal of willpower--more than I generally have--to begin a trip in pouring rain. I have been known to wait a day or two until it clears. Second, I do stop and seek shelter well below high points if a thunderstorm hits.

I'm well aware of the dangers of lightning at high altitudes. For those who are familiar with the CDT in the Long Lake/Fishhook Lake areas just east of Steamboat Springs, CO, where the Divide is a broad forested ridge of about 10,000' elevation, here's a cautionary tale from my horsepacking days in the 1950's. One morning we didn't get the pack balanced correctly on one of our horses. Just north of Fishhook Lake, the horse's pack went right over and under her belly. Since the horse was very gentle, she just stopped and, with a reproachful look, waited patiently for us to fix it. While we were fixing the pack, there was a really close lightning strike. When we got about a mile down the trail, we came upon a giant Engelmann spruce tree, right alongside the trail, in enormous splinters, with some six-foot long sections rammed several feetinto the ground as much as 50 feet from the tree. It was obvious that the lightning strike (perhaps ground to air) just exploded the tree. If the horse's pack hadn't been unbalanced and turned over, we would have been right there just when the lightning hit.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#95565 - 05/08/08 07:34 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: OregonMouse]
Mattress Offline
member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
So the lesson is, always make sure your packs are unbalanced.
_________________________
http://lighterload.blogspot.com/

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#95566 - 05/08/08 09:46 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I do not like the rain. So I would never plan a trip where I knew I was to be in rain day after day. In most cases I build contingency into my travel plans to be able to sit out the rain. Since I do a lot of off-trail travel and at higher altitudes, rain is not only miserable, but dangerous, such as hopping slick rocks and lightening.

It was rainy on the Lost Coast, but warm rain. I finally settled on the "naked under raingear" theory - and wool for inside the tent. I was warm but really did not like that continual "prune" feeling. Also in coastal vegetation, I got just as wet from head-high wet vegetation on the overgrown trails.

In cold rain, particularly rain that turns to snow, I avoid hiking. Once I was caught on a pass and simply had to get down. I realized I was getting hypothermic, so stopped, made hot soup and that did the trick. I dropped down to below timber and built a fire as soon as I could find a place with sufficient wood. At some point, for me, I simply must have external warmth added. Rain near freezing point plus a wind is really dangerous. Simply keeping moving is not enough for me. I particuarly have trouble keeping my feet warm. Once hiking in a pouring rain with my head down, I missed a critical trail sign and went the wrong way for 5 miles. The "miles" I made that day were essentially wasted.

I personally think snow is a lot easier to hike in than rain. This may also be that most rain I have been in has also been windy - horizontal rain is different than a light vertically falling rain.

When I worked at NOLS, we used rainy days for classes and in-camp activities. This worked quite well. Since you are at camp you can duck into your tent or tarp when things get too much. I have also observed that being in a group is different than being solo in the rain. In a group you have a bit of backup.

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#95567 - 05/08/08 01:41 PM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: trailblazer]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Quote:
Where I mainly hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, there is frequently afternoon (and sometimes before noon <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> ) thunderstorms. The rain doesn't bother me too much and if I'm at a lower elevation I'll just hike through it, usually packing my clothes, sleeping bag, and other stuff in plastic garbage bags and putting on a poncho and the rain clothes. But I usually find myself above tree-line when the clouds move in, and the flashes of lightening around usually convince me to shelter up. Many times I've been sitting in my shelter to have a flash of lightening go off way too close, and there I find myself, in harms way, but very glad I'm not out there walking through it like a human lightening rod.


Instead you are sitting inside of an aluminum poled shelter <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> : <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#95568 - 05/13/08 06:48 AM Re: Hiking in the RAIN [Re: taylorcleblanc]
strongone Offline
member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 166
Loc: North Carolina
Most of my trips are scheduled and are on regardless of weather. I haven't met anyone who relishes wet walks in the rain. But I hike to learn how to exist in all conditions.

Lessons learned

1. When I hear thunder, I stop and get rain gear and put pack cover on.
2. Silyon is cold, clingy like an old ex.
3. Light rain all day is harder to cope with and know that lunch will be hot soup and coffee.
4. If it summer, skip and go naked
5. If it winter, hunker down and cover .
6. It will stop raining, so smile and enjoy the solitude, cuz all the fair weather hikers are home.

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