Here in the PNW, we’re sort of known for rainy weather! Which means that outside of a few sunny months in the summer, hiking in the rain is hard to avoid. But, with the best rain gear for hiking you don’t have to miss out on getting outside because of a little drizzle!
This guide will tell you about the best rain gear for hiking, along with some tips for hiking in the rain.
Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!
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Best Rain Gear for Hiking
One of the most important tips for hiking in the rain is to have the right gear! Waterproof rain gear will keep you dry and warm, and since you don’t want to be lugging any extra weight, the rain gear you hike in should also be lightweight.
Here is some of the best rain gear for hiking!
The Best Rain Proof Hiking Backpacks
One of the most important things for hiking is the backpack – you don’t want your snacks getting wet! Many hiking backpacks have a little compartment at the bottom that has a rain cover tucked away.
If you’re bringing camera gear, the absolute best rain proof hiking backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. If you don’t need a place to put a camera, the Osprey Hikelite is lightweight, and a great rain proof hiking backpack.
The Best Rain Jackets for Hiking
When it comes to the best rain gear for hiking, a lightweight rain jacket is essential! Look for a waterproof jacket with a hood to keep you dry.
The Fjallraven High Coast Jacket is really lightweight and breathable, and perfect for hiking in the rain! The Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket is one of the most lightweight options – it can actually fold up into its own pocket for easy carrying.
The Best Waterproof Boots for Hiking in the Rain
If you’re hiking in the rain, you definitely need waterproof boots! Another tip for hiking in the rain to keep in mind is that the trails are likely to be muddy – so your shoes need good traction too.
My favorite waterproof hiking boots ever are the Danner 600 boots – they’re cute (for hiking boots), waterproof, and comfortable! If you prefer something more lightweight, I recommend some waterproof sneakers like the North Face Ultra 109. Another great option for hiking in the rain are the classic Hunter Rain Boots.
The Best Rain Pants for Hiking
I usually don’t wear rain pants if the rain is light, but if it’s raining really hard, I do recommend them!
More Rain Gear for Hiking
Along with the big things, when you’re going for a rainy day hike, here are some small items to remember!
First, be sure to bring wool socks. Wool stays warm even when it’s wet, so these are a must – socks designed for hiking also have extra cushioning and are more comfortable for long treks.
You may want to consider bringing some hiking poles – they’re handy for any hike, but they can be especially helpful if you’re going on a muddy trail.
I also recommend getting a waterproof case for your phone – this one is big enough to store a few items!
Perks of Hiking in the Rain
Now that you’ve got the gear, hiking in the rain actually has some advantages! I know it can feel difficult to get out of the cozy warmth of home to get outside when the weather’s gloomy, but here’s why I love hiking on a rainy day.
Less People Hike in the Rain
This is the best part! Hiking in the rain is incredible for avoiding crowds, because even the most popular trails will be significantly less crowded. It’s always nice to get some privacy when you go outside, and on a rainy day, you’re guaranteed to see fewer people out and about.
It’s Not as Hot
Trekking along can get really difficult when the sun’s beating down, so hiking in the rain can actually be preferable! It’s much cooler outside, you won’t get as dehydrated, and you don’t have to worry about sunburns (though you should definitely still wear sunscreen – harmful rays can get through clouds!).
Nothing ruins a hiking experience like pesky flies – and when it rains, there’s way fewer of them around!
Photos Look Better When it Rains
Harsh sun is the worst when it comes to photography – and on rainy days, the overcast skies mean even lighting! Photos look a lot better when the sun isn’t shining, and when it rains, all the greens seem greener and more vibrant.
Tips for Hiking in the Rain
Hiking in the rain is a little more dangerous. The slippery conditions and the dramatic weather can be more hazardous, so here are some tips for hiking in the rain!
Get the Proper Rain Gear for Hiking
One of the most important tips for hiking in the rain is to get the right gear! Refer to the list above for the best rain gear for hiking, and keep these tips in mind for all your gear.
- Make sure shoes have good traction – trails can be slippery!
- Bring extra waterproof hiking gear – having more layers and a change of socks is always a good idea.
- Avoid cotton – cotton holds water, so if it gets wet, you’ll be pretty cold. It’s not only unpleasant, but can lead to hypothermia in extreme situations.
Be Aware of Trail Hazards when Hiking in the Rain
It’s super important to be prepared anytime you go for a hike, and when conditions aren’t ideal, it’s even more essential!
In mountains and higher elevation areas, the weather can be more dramatic – so be ready. Some hazards can include slippery conditions, flash floods in canyons, strong river currents or high waters, and colder weather that can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
Lightning can also be a concern if you’re in the backcountry, so keep an eye on weather reports and don’t go out if the weather is too stormy!
Remember that there’s no “bad” weather – hiking in the rain has plenty of advantages, and getting outside is always a good thing! Be prepared, carry waterproof gear, bring snacks, and enjoy the outdoors 🙂
Planning a Rainy Day Hike?
Here are some of my favorite hikes that are gorgeous in the rain!
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