Rain is inevitable. That it will ruin the day is preventable.
Before You Go:
Ditch the Cotton
Cotton clothing kills. It doesn’t wick sweat, takes a long time to dry and sucks warmth from the body. Leave it at home and instead bring clothing made from wool, nylon or polyester. The Black Diamond Rhythm Tee ($99; blackdiamondequipment.com) wraps merino wool around a nylon core. NuYarn dries five times faster than regular merino and increases stretch by 35 per cent.
Avoid the Worst Weather
Forecasts up to 48 hours out are pretty accurate. Use it to tweak the itinerary to hike in the best weather, or at least avoid the nastiest.
Splurge on Rain Gear
Our suggestion for buying rain gear: spend more and buy quality. It will hurt once, but pay off with years of use. For a jacket, go with the Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket ($380; arcteryx.com), a three-season shell made with Gore-Tex Active, a light but waterproof membrane that breathes for hot, humid hiking. Match upper-body performance with the Gore C5 Active Trail Pants ($265; gorewear.com) for your legs. The same company that makes Gore-Tex is makes these light and packable pants. Whatever you buy, regular cleanings preserve the durable water repellent finish.
When water droplets stop running off your jacket, pants or boots, clean it then reapply the waterproofing. Nikwax (nikwax.com) makes something for every piece of gear.
While You’re Out There:
Act Before You Get Wet
Unless you can see the end of the trail, as soon as the drops start falling, put on your waterproof gear. It takes a lot longer for wet gear to dry out than it does to change into rain gear. That includes a pack cover to protect your pack—most outdoor stores sell universal ones.
They’re sweaty. They’re dorky. They take extra time to put on. But something like MEC Kokanee Gaiters ($49.95; mec.ca) or Avventura Outdoors Hiking and Snowshoeing Gaiters ($36.95; avventuraoutdoors.com) will keep your feet drier, longer, especially on really muddy trails.
Put a Hat On It
Rub a few coats of the included Otter Wax to the flat-brimmed, organic cotton Coal Richmond SE Cap ($32; coalheadwear.com) and rain will stay out of your hair and off your face all day long.
Bring a Tarp
It’s pretty hard to get out of wet gear into a tent without getting everything soaked. Bring MEC’s Scout Tarp ($69.95; mec.ca) and some sections of rope to create a dry area outside for dressing, cooking and hanging out.
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