Mods, please move this if I have opened it in the wrong place.

I went out Monday morning for a 4-day loop in Bankhead NF in Alabama. I had been watching the weather forecast (from 3 or 4 sources) for a week, and had checked it a final time on Sunday evening. All 4 were calling for a light drizzle in the evening, followed by several days of sunshine and warmer temps. I packed accordingly. Instead of a light drizzle in the evening, however, it set in to an all-day soaking rain. I ended up hiking out last night because I was concerned I couldn't get warm with the equipment and supplies I had with me. I think by the time I made it to my pickup I was suffering from the first stages of hypothermia.

On the one hand, this is Alabama in May -- meaning, it should be hot and humid, not cold and wet. On the flip side, weather forecasts are not always accurate, and I won't always be hiking in Alabama, or only in May.

I worked on a golf course one summer, and quickly discovered that to wear rain gear while working was no better than getting rained on. I ended up as wet either way: without it I was wet with rain, and with it I was wet with sweat. I decided I'd be far more comfortable most of the time without rain gear. After yesterday, though, I may be about to change my mind.

So I need some help figuring out how to approach this next time. I know that cotton kills. I confess that until now I have not wanted to wear synthetic fabrics. This is a personal bias, due mainly to the fact that in most of my jobs I have needed to wear dress clothes, and synthetics are to be avoided there. However, I want to think outside of my own box.

Specifically, I need some help choosing rain gear that will breathe while keeping my dry. I need to choose some light pants or shorts (preferably with cargo pockets) and a shirt that will dry quickly and help retain heat while wet. Above all, weight is an issue -- I'd like to take enough clothing that if something gets soaked, I can make do with something else until it dries.

I know that wool is a natural fiber that does perform well in the situations I'm describing, but I'm not sure what might be available, or even if it as good as other fabrics. It can also be a bit heavy and scratchy. TBH, I don't really know where to begin looking.

Any ideas or suggestions?
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."