Whether you’re hiking in the sun or the rain, it’s always important to be prepared. I discovered just how important recently, when walking a 15km humid hike of the route for Coastrek Sydney. What promised to be a humid, 30-degree day ended up being a massive thunderstorm. Let’s just say I wasn’t prepared… and I got very wet on the INSIDE of my raincoat.
Fortunately, I have Wild Women On Top Founder and CEO Di Westaway OAM in my corner. I asked her all my burning questions about hiking when it’s hot and rainy, and I thought I’d share them with you!
What do you recommend wearing when hiking in summer rain?
As much as we hope for a simple answer to this, unfortunately there isn’t one. We are all different and therefore the clothing we wear will all be different. Some of us run hot and don’t feel the cold, while some of us run cold and don’t feel the heat. It’s only through hiking in the rain that you will work out what you need to wear.
In saying that, here are my personal top tips on what to wear:
- I like quick-drying shorts. If you’re wearing long pants and they get soaked, they will stay that way. Bare skin can easily be dried up with a towel!
- Don’t wear cotton. Wet cotton = you cold.
- A peaked cap is great for keeping the rain out of your eyes.
- A trekking umbrella is brilliant because it keeps you dry and allows you to take photos enroute. Good brands include Helinox and Montbelle.
What about raincoats?
This is where it gets tricky… and expensive. Tricky because perspiration and condensation can make you wet inside your raincoat, and expensive because a good quality raincoat can cost up to $1000.
In my experience, the more expensive raincoats often have pit-zips to help let the heat out, although after being worn a few times, I haven’t had much success with the breathable aspect of them.
A more affordable – yet less sexy – alternative is a poncho for a humid hike. They can be great as they keep you dry whilst also letting the air circulate around you, which does assist in the prevention of sweating. It can also cover your pack to keep it dry which is very handy.
As a little extra, here are my top five tips for picking a raincoat:
- This is your first line of defence against the elements, so you’ll need to spend up to $800 to get a waterproof, windproof raincoat. Best brands are Arcteryx, Rab, Mont or Patagonia
- If you’re on a budget, get a Rainbird, Marmot or a Helly Hanson raincoat.
- Go for a longer cut to cover your bum – this will keep you dryer for longer.
- Make sure you get a jacket that has pit zips to let the heat out.
- Re-waterproof your jacket by washing and re-sealing the Gortex with an iron or in the dryer.
How many layers do you need under your raincoat?
It depends on the temperature. In warm, humid rain, you’ll just need one layer under your raincoat and spare clothes or a towel in your pack. Layers for chilly weather are necessary, but no cotton.
What should we pack to make it more fun when it’s a wet and humid hike?
For a day hike, pack delicious nutritious food to take your mind off the weather, a thermos of hot tea, a trekking towel, spare clothes, a water-proof pack cover, a trekking umbrella, chocolate, a waterproof phone cover and an emergency poncho.
Are umbrellas ever a good idea when hiking?
Absolutely. However, if its super windy, you’ll need a raincoat as well.
Any other tips for dealing with sticky, humid and wet weather?
- Be prepared for insects such as mozzies, ticks and leeches.
- Carry a dry bag with spare clothes and a towel!
- Change socks regularly!