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Aside: Who will stop the rain?

Does the anticipation of rain during a bushwhack make you apprehensive? Have you ever had a downpour soak you to the skin while backpacking or hiking? Would you like to reduce the chance of rain while hiking? I know how to do it. And it does not involve any knowledge of meteorology, witchcraft or primitive dance. Interested? Of course you are.

Threatening clouds approach

Over the years I have discovered that whenever there is a threat of rain (i.e. dark clouds approaching, thunder in the distance, etc.), I can control the probability of rain by just putting on all my rain gear. I know it sounds silly but if I put my rain gear on BEFORE it starts raining then it most likely will not start. Recently, I practiced this on my epic adventure from Stillwater Reservoir to Cranberry Lake with great success. I must emphasize it is very important that the rain gear be put on before it actually starts raining or all bets are off.

The more difficult to put on and the more extensive the rain gear the better. The effectiveness of this procedure is highly dependent on the effort required to put on the rain gear. Full zippered pants with Velcro gaiters are not as effective as rain pants and gaiters requiring the removal of hiking boots. Adding a rain pack cover can only help. So make sure you put on as much of your rain gear as possible, it could mean the difference between a rain free trip and a good soaking.

The rain is coming, or is it?

My current rain gear consists of The North Face Venture Rain Jacket, Golite Reed rain pants and Integral Designs eVent shortie gaiters. Also, I use an Equinox Ultralight Pack Cover. The Reed pants have no zippers and are tapered in such a way to require removing my hiking boots to put on. The gaiters are extremely lightweight and breathable, and have no zippers or Velcro, and therefore also require removal of my hiking boots. Although I wear the gaiters continuously while bushwhacking, I only occasionally wear them while hiking trails. The extensive process of removing my hiking boots maximizes the rain reducing potential of my rain gear.

Time to put your rain gear on

The entire concept is based on using Murphy’s Law to your advantage. According to Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So if you anticipate rain by suiting up in your rain gear, you will actually be reducing the chance of getting rained on. Do not misunderstand me, this method does not promise continuous blue skies and bright sunshine, just rain free hiking.

The next time you are out bushwhacking, backpacking or hiking just remember these simple points:

• When the threat of rain approaches put on your rain gear.
• Put on ALL your rain gear (or as much as you can handle).
• The more rain gear you put on the less your chance of being rained on
• The more difficult it is to put on your rain gear, the better.
• Put your rain gear on BEFORE it starts raining
• If you remove your rain gear, for any reason, expect rain soon.

So, the next time you find yourself out in the woods and dark skies are approaching make sure you put on your rain gear as soon as possible and keep it on as long as possible. And you too will enjoy a rain free trip. Or nearly so.

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