The most important advice for hiking, especially in bad weather, is preparation. From researching the route to packing the correct gear, your preparation will determine whether your trip is enjoyable and successful.
Long Term Planning
As part of your overall kit it is incredibly important to build a collection of gear that can meet a variety of conditions. You won’t always need to use this gear but the times that you do, you will be grateful that you planned ahead.
- Research – Researching the seasonal weather of your chosen hiking location can help you build a picture of what to expect. Nothing is ever guaranteed but, it will help inform you of what you should pack to keep yourself warm and dry and what to bring to keep your gear protected (winter wind and rain is completely different to persistent summer showers!)
- Waterproofed Clothing – Invest in a breathable waterproof rain jacket, light waterproof trousers and, if hiking through tall grass or undergrowth, some waterproof gaiters for your boots. If you’re interested in general multi-day backpacking kit recommendations then head over to our ‘Backpacking Checklist’ blog
- Internal and External Pack Protection – Having the correct pack protection will mean you can adapt to bad weather whenever the need arises. You can protect your pack and gear with a Raincover, an internal Pack Liner and Ultralight Drysacks. Raincovers will help protect your pack during short downpours (see our range of Hiking Packs with an Integrated Raincover) but Drysacks and Pack Liners will add an extra layer of waterproofing for prolonged rain. Drysacks are also useful for separating off the inevitable wet clothing you’ll collect along the way
- Spares – Spare socks, spare underwear, spare layers, spares! Be sure to pack extras of all the essentials that you normally take on a hiking trip. It’s amazing what a pair of dry socks can do for moral
We have a range of packs with Integrated Raincovers to help prepare you for unexpected showers. The raincovers are easily deployed and neatly stashed away in a compartment in your pack.VIEW THE SERIES
Short Term Planning and into the Fray!
The day has arrived, you’re setting off on the trail, braving wind, rain and snow. Before you place one foot onto the soggy ground here are a few tips to take with you:
- Acceptance – You will get wet. You might get cold. You may question your life choices. Well don’t worry, we’ve all been there and we know how it feels. No matter how well you prepare, there is still the chance that sideways rain or ankle deep mud will permeate those carefully selected pieces of kit. This is normal and just takes an ounce of perseverance to get through. It will not be for the entirety of the trip and can be easily remedied by a hot drink and a replacement pair of dry socks
- Accessibility – Packs with additional accessibility features can be incredibly useful in poor weather conditions as well. Hipbelt pockets will allow you to store and access food, and other items, without exposing the main compartment of your pack to rain. Similarly, a hydration reservoir gives you constant access to water without having to reach for a bottle stashed beneath a Raincover.
- Plan your Route – If you have a reliable short term weather report that’s telling you to expect torrential rain then you should plan accordingly. You can adapt your route to avoid any slippery paths and give you dry rest stops along the way. Remember that bad weather often increases your travel time so leaving earlier could mean a safer journey that doesn’t risk losing daylight
- Food – Food can be an incredibly efficient way of combating bad weather on a hike. Pack extra high-density energy foods, some sugary treats for when you need that extra boost of energy and (if you have the means) a thermos flask
Know your limits, be safe
And finally for the disclaimer. Sometimes extra kit, and perseverance are called for and sometimes it’s all about common sense. If you’re going to be walking on uneven paths at altitude and you’re expecting gale force winds you should definitely postpone. If your path is suddenly blocked by a snow drift then you should turn back.
By delaying or even turning back, the most you have to lose is a little time. Never risk your safety.
How do you handle bad weather when you head out hiking? Comment your tips below.