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Backpacker Magazine – October 2009

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Rain

In the wettest conditions, learn to create and maintain a personal bubble of dry space.

by: Molly Loomis


Pick Your Conditions
WIND
COLD
HEAT

On the Trail | In Camp | Key Gear

IN CAMP

Keep your inner tent dry. Pre-pitch it in a sheltered area without staking it, drape the fly over, then move it as needed. Or use your kitchen tarp as set-up shelter, then move the tent. In extremely wet conditions, pitch the tarp over the front of your tent to create an extended vestibule for changing clothes and stowing soaked boots, shells, and gear. (Turn the page for tips on tent site selection.)

Pre-rig your fly. At home, rig your fly's guy loops with 15-foot lengths of nylon cord. Use an adjustable trucker's hitch so you can easily retighten guylines on a sagging fly. (Or use an Editors' Choice Award-winning Nite Ize Figure 9 Rope Tightener; $9, niteize.com.)

Keep the tent's interior dry. Spread the footprint inside the tent to protect your sleeping pad and bag from ground-level moisture, which can accumulate from condensation, doorway drips, and leaky floors. Use an absorbent camp towel to soak up excess moisture.

Pack tent clothes. Store dry socks and an extra set of baselayers (top and bottom) in a waterproof stuffsack or zip-top bag. Never let these items get wet.

Keep your feet dry. Wet skin is more prone to blisters. If you must walk around camp in soaked boots, protect dry socks by slipping plastic bags over them, then putting on boots. Sprinkle talcum powder on your feet before bed. Remove wet insoles and dry them on your quads while in your sleeping bag.

Wear a baselayer dry. Too wet for a fire? Keep a damp (not soaked) shirt on under your insulation while you perform camp duties.

Stow a wet tent in stages. Detach the rainfly, but leave the tent covered while you disassemble poles and (quickly!) stuff the tent. Shake the fly as dry as you can and store it in a separate waterproof stuffsack or garbage bag.



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READERS COMMENTS

davidmorgan
Feb 12, 2010

umbrellas are fabulous! used a trekking -specific (Go-Lite) but added a top loop so that I could hang it while getting lunch out of my backpack during a downpour. Vastly superior in moderate and warm climates, but also used mine even in a Sierra snowstorm-allowed me to hike with a vastly more breathable water resistant shell. a big one catches too much wind, a telescopic shaft will break, as do jointed rib struts...simpler is stronger and lighter.

Tony
Nov 14, 2009

Drying things in your sleeping bag (over night), when you are in it, will make you cold. Yes, your things will dry, but you will not be comfortable at all. I speak from personal experience.

Roger
Oct 25, 2009

I find that using an umbrella is more comfortable than using a poncho when it's raining.

bob alou
Oct 22, 2009

A hat,gloves,and a bandana around the neck can make a wet day a great deal more bearable.

Dave Y
Oct 22, 2009

Since my wife and I seem to draw rain whenever we go camping, we've found that disassembling the tent and stuffing it in its bag while the rainfly is still up (think footprint shelter), the main tent body stays drier and you won't have to stuff the tent nearly as quickly. It tends to be a cramped affair, but nothing beats a warm, dry sleep:) Once the main tent is safely stowed, take apart the fly according to the authors recommendations. Just our personal experience ;)

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