WRITTEN by CHRIS & ANNE ENSOLL
Walking in the rain? Why would I want to do that? Because it can be fun and exhilarating! And if, like me, you live in an area where rain is a pretty constant feature, you often have no choice. If you have the right kit and know how to use it, you should be able to have lots of fun whilst staying warm and dry. Check out the first two posts in this series to find out about choosing and caring for waterproofs and boots.
Choose your waterproofs carefully
Breathability is non-negotiable, and choose something that you find comfortable – you’re much more likely to put them on before it starts raining if you like wearing them.
The one place that all waterproofs leak, however good, is the gap where your face goes. When the wind is blowing heavy rain at your face, there’s no way to keep all the water out, and you get dampness seeping down to your chest. So what’s the solution? I use a breathable water-repellant layer, such as the Rab Vapour-Rise which I regularly wash and waterproof with Nikwax Techwash and TX Direct. Choose layers that work together to take moisture away from your skin, such as a wicking base layer combined with a Polartech Power Stretch mid-layer.
Anything hanging down below your waterproof jacket will very quickly become saturated, and the water will travel up and make other layers wet. Wearing your waterproof trousers over all your inner layers doesn’t look cool, but it will eliminate this problem.
Be bold, start cold
Rather than wearing the right amount of clothing to suit your body temperature when you get out of the car, try to work out how you will feel after walking uphill for 30 minutes, and layer accordingly.
“Go slow. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
As human beings we are very good at endurance. If you start slow, you will sweat less and you are more likely to finish strong. You will also avoid this cycle:
Use your zips
Choose inner layers with zips so you can let heat away from your core. Unless you’re walking in heavy rain with very high winds, you’re unlikely to get wet through your pit zips, and the ventilation gained from using them makes you much more comfortable.
Use dry bags
If you need to put anything wet into your rucksack, dry bags will keep everything else dry. If you’re using more than one dry bag, use bags of different colours so you can quickly locate what you’re looking for.
Wear water resistant gloves
Spongy gloves and cold hands are no fun. If you don’t have a waterproof pair, or if you’re going to be out for several hours in the rain, take several pairs so you can change for warm dry ones through the day. Alternatively, use Dachstein mitts which are comfortable even when soaking wet.
Choose wool socks and use gaiters
If you think you might get water in through your boots, wear gaiters to keep out as much moisture as you can, and choose wool socks over synthetic or cotton as they will keep your feet warm even when soaked.
Gaiters over trousers or trousers over gaiters? My preference is to tuck my normal trousers inside my gaiters and wear my waterproof trousers over the gaiters. If you wear your waterproofs tucked into your gaiters you can have water running down inside the gaiters and into your boots.
Don’t let your hood be a bucket
Wearing your hood makes a huge difference to staying dry, but If you don’t want to wear it up, roll it up or tuck it in so it can’t collect water.
Tighten your cuff tabs
Tightening your cuff tabs will prevent your sleeves from sliding up your arms and exposing inner layers to the rain, and will also keep the rain out.
So what are you waiting for?
Now you know how to stay dry, why not get out there whatever the weather?