If there's one thing you can predict about the weather it's this: the weather doesn't care about your weekend plans. Living in Ontario, you can't just sit and wait around for the perfect sunny day to get outside. In this post, we'll show you how proper planning, the right gear and a positive attitude, can make going for a hike the perfect rainy day activity!
Here's what we'll cover in this post to help you prepare for a hike in the rain:
how to choose the right trail
what to wear
what gear to bring
what to eat, and
what precautions to take when hiking on a wet and rainy day.
Choosing the right trail for a rainy day
On a rainy day hike, you're likely to enjoy crisp clean air and empty trails! So how do you pick the right trail for your next rainy day hike?
On rainy days your view is limited, so don't choose hikes that feature beautiful expansive vistas. You will just be disappointed and feel like you missed out. Instead, choose trails that keep the beautiful sights right next to you; explore a forest or run alongside a river, culminating in a waterfall or a lake.
Avoid steep trails as slick ground makes you more likely to slip. Choose trails that are relatively level and don't have too much elevation gain.
Opt for a shorter, half day hike. While hiking in the rain can be fun, being out in the wet and cold for too long can take its toll. With a shorter trail, you're never too far from the trailhead if the weather turns nasty. See our suggestions for some local trails near Toronto, where a steaming cup of hot chocolate is never too far away.
Gearing up for a rainy day hike
In the words of Alfred Wainwright "there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing." Hiking in wet clothes can not only be miserable, it can also be dangerous. Here are some items that you should bring when heading out for a rainy day hike.
Lightweight rain coat and rain pants. Don't forget to take proper care of your waterproof gear so that it can keep you dry for longer. Learn more here.
Waterproof hiking boots with traction for slippery trails. Renew the waterproofing on your boots at the beginning of the season or if you notice dark spots forming on your shoes when they get wet. Water resistant boots will do the trick for days with light showers.
Extra pair of socks. Keep these in a waterproof bag, or reuse a zip-lock bag. Hiking with wet feet is miserable, plus wet feet are more prone to blistering.
Gators. Gators can help keep water and mud out of your shoes on more treacherous trails.
Rain cover for your backpack. Anything with zippers is bound to let water in, even if your pack is waterproof. If you don't have a rain cover, you can line your pack with a garbage bag.
Waterproof bags. Store your valuables in a waterproof bag or re-use a zip-lock bag.
Trekking poles. These can provide stability on slippery trails and creek crossings.
Pack easy snacks
On a rainy day you're not going to want to stop for a big spread like you would on a warm sunny day. Plus, on cold days, continuing to move will keep your body heat up and ensure you stay warm. Be sure to pack snacks that are quick and easy to eat like granola bars, nuts and fruit. Having accessible snacks will ensure you get the energy boost you need without requiring you to stop for a cold meal in the rain. Pack a thermos with a hot drink for a delicious mid-hike treat that will keep you warm and cozy.
Wet weather trail precautions
Some things to watch out for on rainy day hikes:
Slippery surfaces. Tread carefully on slippery slopes, rocks and logs. Beware of mud puddles that gather on the bottom of slopes. Use trekking poles to help keep your balance.
Lightning. Before heading out for a rainy day hike, make sure you know what to do in case of a lightning storm. Learn your lightning protocol here.
Hypothermia. Being out in the cold in wet clothes can increase your chances of becoming hypothermic. It is easier to keep your clothes dry than to dry them out after getting wet. Bring the right rain gear and don't hesitate to throw it on if it looks like it might start to rain. Look out for signs of hypothermia: slurred speech, shivering, shallow breath and clumsiness or confusion. These are signs that you should stop, dry out and get some calories in you. Read more about hypothermia and its treatment here.
If you want to learn more about the beautiful hiking trails near Toronto, spend a day exploring with a private guide!