Fall Backpacking is a great time to get out on the trail. Crowds have gone down, temps are cooler and permits are abundant. For those reasons, Yosemite backpacking during this season is pure bliss! One of our most commonly asked questions though tends to be “What do you do if it rains?” Our typical answer is…You get wet! But for those of you who are looking for a little more practical advice, look no further. We’ve compiled the best tips and tricks for getting into the backcountry during the rainy season:
- Tarp (with rope and stakes) – always useful as a temporary shelter for cooking and or ground cloth
- Blister supplies (band-aids, moleskin, etc.) – Extra wetness can cause blisters, make sure your first aid kit is well stocked!
- Packliners/ziplock bags – One trick is to line your bag with a trash compactor bag. This is a durable way to keep your warm layers dry, especially where a pack cover may fail. We recommend Gregory Mountain Products, as their packs come with built in rain covers!
- Extra rope - for the tarp and to create a clothesline
- Lightweight drybags for sleeping bag/ food – if you’re hiking somewhere where a bear can is not required, this is a helpful extra step!
- Extra pairs of socks – need we say more?
- Gaiters – optional, but helpful in keeping moisture and mud out of shoes
- Wear hiking shoes with great tread – trails and rocks can get slippery. For extra balance, use trekking poles as well.
- Be aware of any rivers and creeks that may have to be crossed, during a storm a creek can swell and become uncrossable. Ask a ranger for their opinion when you pick up your permit. They’ll have the most up to date knowledge of the trail conditions.
- Dehydration can be a major issue when backpacking in the rain. It is easy to forget to drink water when you are swimming in it. Hydration is key to staying strong, happy, and healthy on the trail in all sorts of weather!
- Hypothermia is a danger when trekking in a storm. Make sure to wear moisture wicking fabrics (skip over the cotton) and have a durable rain jacket.
- Keep a dry outfit in a drybag that you don’t take out until you are inside your tent – it is very important for morale and health to be dry whenever you can.
- Practice setting up your tent at home so you can streamline the process and keep it as dry as possible inside.
- Stamp down the ground before staking your tent – the rain can soften the ground and stakes can slide out much easier. If you’re expecting high winds, add a few rocks around the stakes.
- Create a dry line immediately so if there is ever a break in the weather, you can take that time to dry your clothes. If there isn’t a break in the weather, create a cover with your tarp.
- Hang a line inside your tent so that you can dry your socks out.
Meal Prep Practices:
Skip the matches and use a bic lighter. You don’t want to have to deal with wet matches in a downpour.
- Most backpacking stoves are usable in the rain. The cookware you place on top protects the flame from the stove. Don’t try to cook in your tent, you might risk a tent fire, the tent melting around you from the heat, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you plan on cooking under your tarp, make sure there is plenty ventilation and it is far enough away from your tent as to not attract animals with lingering food scents.
- Bring some cold meals that are filling enough to keep you going, just in case you don’t want to deal with cooking a hot meal in the rain.
Take Care Of Your Feet!
Nothing is worse than trying to make your way down the trail with painful feet. Nothing! Check out our blog on Caring or your feet in the backcountry! “Baby Your Booties”
Ready for your fall backpacking adventure? Join Lasting Adventures on the trail with one of our Yosemite Backpacking Trips!