Keep Backpacking Gear Dry When It’s Raining

When you talk about staying dry while backpacking in the rain, “dry” is a relative term. You’re going to get wet in a proper downpour. There’s no avoiding it. The more rain that falls, the harder it is to prevent moisture from permeating through everything you own. There are a few things that you can do that can help keep backpacking gear dry, however.

Waterproof pack cover

A waterproof rain cover for a hiking pack is a great way to help keep backpacking gear dry. Many packs are sold with a rain cover, or you can buy a pack cover made specifically for your pack. Most generic pack covers work too, as long as it fits the volume of your pack.

The main problem with waterproof rain covers is that they typically let water in along the back panel. Solve this problem with a dry bag or a trash bag.

Dry bags and trash bags provide better protection than a pack cover, but you should still carry a rain cover to keep your pack from getting saturated with water. Waterlogged packs mean extra packweight.

Dry bag liner

Use a large dry bag as a waterproof liner for your backpack. Dry bags are durable, reusable, rugged, and watertight. You could hike through a monsoon or jump in a river and the gear inside your dry bag will stay dry (just as long as you don’t take your gear out, that is).

Of course, using a dry bag in a backpack does add a little big of packweight, but it’s worth it to keep your gear dry.

Trash bag as a liner

Use a large heavyweight trash bag as a pack liner to a layer of waterproof protection and keep backpacking gear dry. This accomplishes the same thing as a dry bag except that a trash bag is less durable and less watertight than a dry bag. Trash bags are cheaper and lighter, however.

Waterproof rain poncho

Another way to prevent your pack from getting soaked along the back panel is to wear a poncho rather than a rain jacket. Some ponchos can be worn over a pack which eliminates pack exposure to precipitation.

Prioritize your gear

You can’t keep everything dry, so choose the things that are most important. Some items – such as your sleeping bag, at least one set of clothing, food, any electronic devices, etc. – should be kept dry at all costs.

If you don’t use a waterproof pack liner, consider packing smaller dry bags to keep individual items dry.

Rewaterproof gear

Make sure that your tent’s rainfly, your hardshell rain jacket, and your hardshell waterproof pants are all still waterproof. Use a tech wash and rewaterproofing spray on garments, and make sure that all seams are still seam taped. You can get gear maintenance items such as tech washes, waterproof sprays, and seam tape at your local outdoor gear shop.

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any backpacking  gear before your next outing in Northwest Arkansas!

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