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Expert Shopper Camping & Outdoors

Best gear for a rainy day hike

Expertly reviewed by Judd Nesmith

What gear for rainy-day hikes is best?

For true outdoor lovers, nothing can stop a planned excursion — not even a sprinkling or a deluge of rain. Hiking in the rain does pose its own unique challenges and triumphs, just like hiking in 100-degree-plus weather or hiking off pre-made trails. The obvious challenge is how to keep yourself and any equipment you’ve packed dry, but there are others, such as having to maintain your footing on slick ground and staying warm in the wind and water. With the right gear, though, you can, in the words of fitness expert Judd Nesmith, “get outside and enjoy Mother Nature even when she might be a little upset.”

In this article: Brooks Men’s Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes, Osprey Tempest 6 Lumbar Hiking Pack and Smartwool Women’s Hike Socks.

Essential gear for rainy-day hikes

The three key pieces of gear you need for any rainy-day hike are:

  • Rain gear: This gear category should be your number one priority if you want to stay dry, warm and happy. The best type of rain gear for hiking is a rain poncho for several reasons. The biggest is that it covers your entire upper body and most of your lower body. A rain poncho keeps not only yourself dry but any gear slung on your back or around your waist dry, too. The other reasons are: it’s light and won’t cause excess fatigue, it’s easy to pack away if it stops raining, and it keeps your hands free.
  • Hiking shoes: After keeping you and your gear dry comes the challenge of overcoming the terrain. Rain will make your terrain either boggy or slippery, plus there’s no rain gear to keep your shoes out of the water. So, your hiking shoes need to be waterproof to keep your feet dry when walking through water or getting rained on. If they are not waterproof, they should, at the very least, be water-resistant or treated with a waterproofing product. You should be able to tie them tightly so there’s no risk of boggy ground pulling them right off your feet. Finally, as Judd says, “Don’t ever underestimate the value of specific hiking shoes that provide excellent traction during wet weather.”
  • Clothes: With rain often comes wind, making your hike colder than usual. Make sure to wear warm clothes and especially a windbreaker or other jacket-like article of clothing that helps keep you warm and dry. You should also pack a change of clothes, especially socks, in case you get soaked despite your best efforts.

Best expert-recommended gear for rainy-day hikes

Brooks Men’s Cascadia 16 Trail Running Shoes

Judd has personally worn these shoes for years, highlighting that they “provide excellent grip and traction on the slickest trails and have unique draining ports for water to escape quickly.”

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Garmin inReach Mini 2

Judd says this lightweight device is a must for people who like to hike in areas where you might be hard to find if you get stuck or hurt. It has satellite texting capabilities and an emergency SOS button to notify search and rescue teams.

Sold by Amazon

Osprey Tempest 6 Lumbar Hiking Pack

Judd claims this waist pack is “the best on the market” thanks to features like a body-hugging belt to keep your items stable and a “very generous” storage compartment.

Sold by Amazon

Outdoor Research Women’s Helium Rain Jacket

“A lightweight, waterproof and windproof jacket is a must,” according to Judd, and this is his pick. He especially likes that it’s “very breathable and won’t overheat you even in warm weather.”

Sold by Amazon

Smartwool Women’s Hike Socks

These are a top pick for Judd for several reasons, such as their excellent cushioning and ability to wick away excess moisture quickly. He also notes that Smartwool is “a leader in designing performance socks.”

Sold by Amazon

Best rain ponchos

Lingito Disposable Rain Poncho

You can plan all you want to try and avoid the rain, but if you hike enough, you can still get caught in some. These disposable ponchos are perfect for those emergencies.

Sold by Amazon

SaphiRose Reusable Rain Poncho

This reusable poncho is packed with features such as an adjustable hood, elastic cuffs and a zippered pocket. Its primary zipper is even waterproof, so no water leaks onto your chest.

Sold by Amazon

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Jordan C Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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