Margaret Loughren, a student at Western Washington University, enjoys spending her free time hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Margaret Loughren has hiked a number of trails at Mount Rainier and intends to explore Mount Baker as well.
If you have the gear and the expertise to stay warm and dry, hiking in the rain can be an extremely rewarding experience. A satisfying rain hike begins with a comfortable and stretchy base layer, which protects the skin from jacket-induced chafing without impeding movement. If the weather is both chilly and rainy, a synthetic insulating layer can help you to stay comfortable without absorbing water.
Keeping your feet warm is also extremely important. Some experts recommend stretching your rain pants over the tops of your boots to direct moisture toward the ground, but others claim that even the most waterproof boots will eventually soak through. These hikers often opt instead for trail-running shoes, which are breathable and do not require socks.
A hard-shell outer layer is a vital final step in terms of clothing, though it is equally important to cover your backpack and other gear in something waterproof. The safest plan is to keep your backpack in a plastic bag or pack cover and to open it as infrequently as possible. Particularly vulnerable items, such as maps and cell phones, should remain in sealed plastic.