Staying dry is important when you’re headed outdoors. In some cases, it’s a matter of safety. Even if you’re just headed out for a dayhike on a beautiful day, here are five pieces of gear you should always take with you, just in case.
A low-priced, extra-large poncho is the most compact rain protection you can get. Unlike a raincoat, a poncho can be draped over your pack to keep rain from soaking between your back and your pack. However, also unlike a raincoat, a poncho is easily whipped around in the wind, so if you expect rain, a raincoat may be a better bet.
Much like ponchos, pack covers are compact and lightweight; it’s easy to always have one in your pack. Pack covers come in a variety of sizes, so you’ll want to be sure to have the one that fits each of your bags.
Whether you opt for a dry sack or a trash compactor bag, a pack liner is an almost impenetrable layer for protection against rain. Place all of your gear inside this bag, inside of your covered pack, under a poncho, and you’ll be sure to keep everything dry.
Ultra-absorbent towels are often overlooked in the hiking world, but they are a fantastic piece of gear. One small square of fabric can wipe up endless amounts of moisture, only to do it again after being wrung out. Dry your body, your pack, even a tent with one cloth.
As a measure of safety, you should always carry extra clothes, but these are even more important when you face rain. If you get caught in a downpour and catch a chill, nothing will be more reassuring, comforting and possibly life-saving than a dry set of clothing.
There are certainly more pieces of gear that would make dealing with rain a lot easier, but these five are the bare essentials. Stow these away in your pack and you’ll always have the reassurance that you’ll stay dry in any conditions.
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