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Enjoy Hiking In Cold Wet Weather

Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities for anyone. Many of us must have felt so great heading down trails in forests or woods, make steep climbs over hills and mountains, cross streams and rivers. There is something about trekking outdoors which invigorates our senses. It could be hiking triggers an ancient memory from that time when man was always outdoors, living close to Mother Nature like your next door neighbour.

Hiking however also brings a lot of hazards and trials. One of the problems in hiking is bad weather. One cannot simply rely on weather forecasts in planning a hiking trip as nowadays the weather is very unpredictable. You cannot stick with a mantra saying “hike only when the weather is good”.

With that, you will only be able to hike a couple of times in the year. You can and will experience bad weather when you go outdoors.

Of course you will have to make the best preparations and take the best equipment and gear with you for these kind of weather conditions. Think about waterproof clothing (jacket, pants, hat, hiking boots) and if you’re planning on camping a proper backpackers tent, camping stove and since you’re in the backcountry you need a hiking GPS and navigation maps.

When hiking without the proper preparation, things can quickly go from bad to worse. To explain in further detail what we mean, here are some of the problems that could happen when you go hiking and it suddenly gets cold and wet:

  • clipart fluCatch a cold, the flu or some other illness

There is a lot of truth in what our parents always reminded to stay indoors because you might catch a cold. Getting wet and soaked while walking outside is one of the quickest ways to catch a cold or the flu, which can occur faster if it happened while on a hiking trail in the woods or in the mountains. And how can you enjoy your hiking if you have a cold or the flu?

Always sneezing, mucus drips from your nose, your eyes and head feel heavy. This is the cold right? Body pains, a fever, and a feeling of weakness, that means you have the flu. Try to continue hiking while feeling like this, it is doubtful you will make another step. At worse, you may have to be rushed to a hospital.

  • Burst blister hikingGet skin irritations such as blisters and chafing

Unless you are a fish-man, your skin is not built to stay soaked and wet. Hike while it’s rainy and soon you hear squishes with each footstep. No, it is not the wet earth and mud. Your shoes and socks are likely soaked inside. What is that cold, sticky feeling in your upper legs and your back? That is your shirt and undies absorbing water and moisture.

Our skin can only stay wet for so long before the upper part starts to wrinkle and whiten. Soon it start to peel off and blisters form. Anyone who has experienced this know how painful it is. Hidden parts of our body like underarms and between legs cannot remain wet too long, as constant rubbing of skin to skin will lead to irritation.

  • Enjoy hiking in the rain

    Photo source: trespass.com

    Outdoor hiking plans are spoiled

You were so excited to hike then spend the night outdoors. Sleep in a tent, cook food over a campfire, lie down and stare at the stars. Sounds really great right? Well, none of that is hardly possible if the weather goes bad.

So if wet weather cannot be avoided when hiking, what then should you do? Fortunately, there are ways to combat and counter all that rain and moisture when you are hiking. How do you do it? We will go first with the clothes you wear.

Proper Gear For Hiking In Cold & Wet Weather

Hiking in Cold WeatherOn the clothes that you will wear for hiking, bear these two words in mind, “Avoid cotton!” Cotton is the one material which you should never wear as much as possible when hiking. Whether it is your underwear or your insulating layer, you must stick with non-cotton attire.

Ditch your daily cotton underwear. Do not wear cotton T-shirts. Remember what we said earlier about your back and your lower portion feeling moist and sticky? You can avoid that simply by not wearing cotton.

There are a lot of non-cotton underwear alternatives. You can go with boxers, a lot are sold which are non-cotton and designed specifically for outdoor activities. Another option to consider are cycling shorts. These types of underwear are great at whisking moisture away and also dry easily from your body heat.

For your shell layer, the main shield from the rain, there are practically thousands of options to choose from. The technology behind the materials used for mountain climbing has been adapted for hiking use. Raincoats, jackets, sweaters, parkas, all of them are excellent at keeping rain, snow, and mist from getting to your skin. Choose something that is lightweight so that you do not have to take on extra weight during your hiking trip.

Proper attire can keep you warm and comfortable and also protect you from catching illnesses caused by wet weather, as well as skin problems. With that issue taken care of, let us go to your gear and equipment.

Keep Your Hiking Gear And Equipment Dry

Hiking in Cold WeatherIf you plan to spend the night outdoors, you will be bringing a tent along. Most of the tents offered today have waterproof materials, though not covering the entire structure. The trick therefore is in being prepared and setting up before rain and moisture come.

One thing you can do is to set-up and pitch your tent before the weather goes bad. You do not need to have a college degree in meteorology to guess that it is going to rain (thick grey clouds, cold winds, no stars seen in the sky). Once you perceive that rain is inevitable, set-up your tent right away. Plan carefully where to camp as this can be the difference between a dry or wet tent flooring.

You also might want to take note how the waterproof layers of your tent work. Keeping the gear away from the tent walls can prevent moisture from getting in. Also, with the proper arrangement, it can be done such that your body heat helps in drying some of the gear that became wet while hiking.

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