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Guide To Hiking In The Rain

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Hiking in the rain can certainly put a downer on your walking holiday. However, weather can not be guaranteed at any destination that you visit. I’m sure you have heard of the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”, which is pretty true. However, if you are on a walking holiday and are faced with very bad weather, then the only option might be to use public transport or a taxi to get you to your next accommodation. Especially true if you are hiking out in the mountains as it can be extremely dangerous to head out on the trails.

Before you head out on your days hike, check the local weather to see if the weather is meant to improve or if you will get caught in a rain shower. You can then make sure you have the correct kit with you in your day bag. Always think about if the hike will be safe to do before setting out on foot.

Our Guide To Hiking In The Rain

So, if you do head out hiking in the rain, then the correct hiking gear can go a long way towards making it much more enjoyable. We have listed below the hiking gear which we think will help you towards a better day’s hike in the rain.

West Highland Way


Your backpack is one of your main hiking items. All your daily items are inside it, so you don’t want everything to get wet. There are 2 items that can help prevent your daily hiking items from getting ruined from the rain.

Rain Cover

An external rain cover is a great investment. Some hiking backpacks include a rain cover, although it is best checking the quality and making sure it is more than just splash proof or shower proof. You can pick up good quality rain covers from your local outdoor store or online.

Dry Bags

Now as well as an external rain cover, it is best to have internal dry bags too. Personally, I have a couple of different sizes inside my day pack. My smaller items like phone, money, buff all go into one smaller dry sack. Then extra layers and food etc go inside a larger dry sack. Depending on what you were carrying inside your hiking backpack will determine exactly what size dry bags you will require.

Read Our What Tech Do You Need For Hiking Blog Post

The Old Finish at West Highland Way
The Old Finish at West Highland Way

Hiking Clothes

Base Layer

Base layers are great for hiking. They will keep you warm but also take moisture away from your skin preventing you from getting wet. A synthetic or Merino Wool Base Layer are types of base layers that work well. It is best to take a number of base layers away on your walking holiday with you. Another advantage is that they dry quite quickly, so they can be washed and dried in the evening.

Hiking Trousers

Lightweight hiking trousers are a must, some even come with detachable sections from the knees to turn them into shorts. You must not wear denim while out hiking in the rain…or any time to be honest.

Waterproof Trousers

You want to make sure you have waterproof and breathable trousers. Either ones that you wear instead of hiking trousers mentioned above or ones you can slip on over your hiking trousers. However, if you have quick drying hiking trousers, then waterproof hiking trousers may not be needed.


Waterproof Jacket

Just like the waterproof trousers, you need to invest in a waterproof AND breathable rain jacket. Windproof is also another feature to look out for. Gore tex is a good brand to look out for, most of the jackets which are Goretex have all or most of these features. A rain jacket with underarm zips will also help give some ventilation while out hiking. This is a bit of hiking kit you don’t really want to get wrong. Invest some time in researching what will be best for you while out hiking in the rain.

Hiking Boots

A good pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes will also provide your feet with good support and keep your feet dry. Once boots get wet they can take a long time to dry out. You can also use sprays to add a waterproof protective layer over your boots. Also make sure you take some spare socks with you.


These are really handy in keeping your hiking boots protected from the elements. They cover up your shoes laces, where rain and water is more than likely to get into your boots. Gaiters are also handy as they are light and easy to pack away into your bag when you require.

Read Our Top Tips For While Out Hiking

day pack hiking

Other Hiking Gear Considerations

Waterproof Map Carrier

You don’t want to be out on the hiking trails and find your maps or route books get soaked. Investing in a good quality waterproof map carrier is a must. They are also useful as you can reuse them time and time again on local walks back home or abroad on a walking holiday.

Hiking Poles

Hiking poles can be helpful, as they can be used to steady yourself on slippery terrain. Especially useful when going downhill, or across streams. Hiking poles don’t tend to take up much space when not in use, and most backpacks have handy loops to hold them while not in use.

First Aid Kit & Shelter

It is always worthwhile to take an emergency shelter and first aid kit with you in your bag. Yes, they take up some space in your backpack. However, it isn’t too much and if the worst does happen, you are able to make a shelter to keep yourself and other members of your group safe.

So, no matter what the weather go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Read Our Packing List For A Walking Holiday Blog Post

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About the author

I have worked for Hooked on Cycling & Walking since 2007 and love to travel and explore. I like to get outdoors and take my two young boys with me and hiking/cycling is enjoyed by all of us.
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