Wet weather packing protocol

If one is to hike in OR during ‘wet season’ – really anytime between October 1 and June 30 – then being prepared to get wet is very important, especially if like me you hate to get wet to the core. My system is redundant (and probably too much for ultralight die-hards, but I hate getting wet) but I’ve yet to get wet to the core on a wet, rainy hike, and I’ve completed several recently.

Starting with day pack – important to have a good quality pack that fits and works for your style of hiking. My Gregory 30L works for me with loads between 15-20 pounds. I carry a rain fly cover for the pack too; it would not work well in high winds, but else adds another layer of moisture protection.

The Grossamer shoulder strap add-on keeps my cellphone dry and if hard rain another layer of plastic zip-lock is added. Hand sanitizer is on the other shoulder. On the back are only the goatbells and my mini-seat foam for sitting down when wet / muddy. For day hiking I use metal water bottles to avoid plastic – they clean better, but they do get damaged / bent and the tops are too fragile for backpacking (and I don’t use a squeeze water system).

I do not use the hydro-sleeve / bladder for water – I use it for my primary stay dry and warm gear. Primary = the gear I put on first. An older rain shell and down vest. I also carry a water-proof rolltop bag for these if needed and in light rain the bag also protects my Nikon camera. When primary gear gets wet, keeping it in either the outside back pocket or hydro-sleeve keeps the rest of the gear from getting wet.

In the main compartment there are two more roll-top waterproof bags (left pic below). Critical information / gear, e.g., wallet and back-up battery, goes into the grey totally water proof bag (but heavy); the Nikon can also fit here if needed in heavy rain. The larger green roll-top holds 3 more bags. The red one is emergency gear, headlamp, first aid, knife, etc. The orange bag carries extra top base layer, socks and fleece sweater. The blue bag is my backpacking rain shell and is only used if the primary green one gets soaked through – this one is a backup to keep dry!

While definitely over the top weight-wise and redundancy for a day hike, I know that staying dry is critical for an enjoyable hiking experience, so that extra weight tax is well worth it in my book.

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