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August 2003 Rain Gear

How Pete Stays Dry

3 waterproof secrets from veteran mountaineer Pete Takeda

Whether I’m climbing a big wall, trekking in the Himalayas, or grabbing a quick weekend in the Colorado Rockies, getting wet sucks the fighting spirit right out of me. So I take precautions. Lots of them. Here are three of my favorites.

1 Use an umbrella. No amount of waterproof clothing provides 100 percent protection from a true deluge. That I learned during a few days in the Indian monsoon. A lightweight umbrella is a cheap and effective way to shrug off lots of moisture. Rig a hands-free system by duct-taping yours to a trekking pole or stick; lash that to the side of your pack.

2 Bring two half-liter bottles. Not just for water, but for drying socks at night. You’ll want the narrow, Lexan type because you’re going to fill them with boiling water and roll your wrung-out socks over them. The odors unleashed might make a skunk gag, but by morning your socks will be dry.

3 Waterproof your pack. Most good packs are built from waterproof fabric but have seams that leak like sieves. Solution: Coat the stitches with McNett’s Seam Grip (360-671-2227; www.mcnett.com; $7.25). Clean and dry the seams, then heat the tube in warm water for better flow and absorption. Run a bead of sealer on both sides of major seams, taking care to saturate stitches.

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