Raingear for Hiking in the Big Wilds

Now that you’ve read Staying Dry While Hiking, Parts 1 and 2, and you’ve learned to stay reasonably dry even in stormy weather, I’ll add a few quick words on what to look for when purchasing rain gear for backpacking. First of all, this is no item to skimp on. Buy a good rainsuit. I said “rainsuit,” not poncho. As previously discussed, ponchos are nearly worthless in severe weather. No plastic rainsuits, either! Those are worse than worthless, because they not only create the ultimate traveling steam bath inside them, but they are guaranteed to rip to shreds after just a bit of use. And don’t buy a ten pound rainsuit that’s made for fishing off the Alaska coast, either. You’re going backpacking. Think light. But buy quality.

When I was a youngster, all rainsuits were made of rubber-coated nylon that did not breathe. So hiking in the rain was hot and wet, with no place for your sweat to go and no way to cool off. Sure, the old rainsuits kept the rain out, but the sweat factor was so bad that often I kept the rain gear in my pack and just hiked in the rain, getting soaked. Then I changed out of my wet cloths after setting up camp. Nowadays, since the invention of Gore-Tex (and various other similar fabrics), which keeps the rain out but lets water vapor escape, hiking in rain is a much more pleasant experience. Adios steam bath. Nonetheless, pay attention to your layering system and don’t over-dress under the rainsuit because you can still become overheated and sweat-soaked, despite the fabric’s ability to let some water vapor escape through the pores of the fabric. And whatever you do, buy the rainsuit big enough to comfortably fit over all of your layers. If it’s cold and wet and you need layers, what good is a rainsuit that doesn’t allow you to bulk up beneath it? Buy it plenty big, and you’ll be plenty happy.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”– John Muir

The West’s #1 Trekking & Canoeing Wilderness Adventure Company For 38 Years!

As seen in…Our Guided Backpacking Expertise in WestAs featured in Backpacker, Sierra, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, The New York Times, and more.

Trips Annual Trip Calendar

No company offers a wider variety of great treks, from north of the Arctic Circle to the Southwest deserts. Our trips include the following places:

Our trips are wild and remote, off the beaten track! We also emphasize safety and low-impact (leave no trace) wilderness travel.

Clothing/Personal Gear Lists:

Trekking List Canoeing List

How to Arrange A Trip

Simply complete the Questionnaire and return it to us along with the attached contract and a $500 per-person deposit. Or, you can call us with either a Visa or MasterCard deposit. We’ll then send you confirmation, a complete list of clothing and other items which you should bring, and additional information about your upcoming backpacking adventure.

A family business since 1978

Our Staff Contact Us

Member of the: Gardiner Chamber of Commerce

Rock Spire


Green Business IconA Green Business