Rainy Road Trips: How to Pack and Prepare for Hiking, Biking, and Road Tripping in Rainy Weather

It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest gets a little bit of rain. Okay, we’re kind of famous for it. We’d love to spend some time defending Seattle (which actually doesn’t even make the list of 10 Rainiest Cities in the US), but if you leave the city for Mt. Rainier or Olympic National Park, you’re likely to get a little wet.

Rain doesn’t have to ruin your good time! With some preparation and thoughtful packing, you can enjoy the great outdoors in any weather. Not convinced? Here’s our guide to a successful rainy trip.

First, the Good News

If you’re traveling in a Cabana, there are a few less rainy day worries. No matter the weather outside, you’ll have a warm bed, a heater, and a hot shower. Let that sink in. You don’t need to worry about a waterproof tent, waterproof bags for your belongings, or wet clothes with nowhere to dry. 

Choose the Right Trails

You can still have a great hike or bike ride on a rainy day! For safety and maximum enjoyment, be strategic about the trail you choose. If the visibility is poor, expansive views won’t be available. Steep trails will be very slippery and probably not worth the work. Instead of hiking to a viewpoint, choose a flatter trail through a scenic area. A shorter trail or a loop is best so you can turn back should the weather worsen. And don’t be afraid to turn back! The journey (and your safety) are more important than the destination.

Photo Credit: Andrew Neel

Check the Weather

Being out in the rain is perfectly fine, but check beforehand for flash flood warnings and keep an eye out for lightning. Be prepared for the weather hazards in the area and know how to respond.

Dress for Success

It’s all about layers! Here’s a list of what to pack for the rainy weather:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Rain hat: A hat with a wide brim will keep rain off of your face better than a hood. A hood/hat combo is best!
  • Poncho: A poncho can go over a backpack and your clothes as an extra protective layer.
  • Waterproof hiking pants
  • Waterproof boots
  • Gaiters
  • Waterproof gloves: Especially for biking, you’ll want something to keep your fingers warm and dry.
  • Extra basics: Although not as crucial when you’re going back to a warm shower, you definitely want enough shirts, pants, and socks to avoid staying in wet clothing longer than necessary.
  • No cottons: Cotton holds moisture. Besides being uncomfortable, it loses insulating ability and won’t keep you warm.

Watch the Rain from your Window

The truth is, rain is often more enjoyable when you’re indoors. After your day of exploring, you’ll be happy to be back in the comfort of your Cabana. Bring your favorite card game or small board game and a book to curl up with. It’s best to pack some food that doesn’t require cooking in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. If you do feel like bundling up and spending time outside, the add-on pop-up tent provides coverage from the rain.

Stay cozy in your Cabana (Photo Credit: Paul Denisenko)

In any weather, be open to spontaneity! If rain interrupts your plan, don’t be afraid to make a new one. Maybe a brewery tour or a niche local museum is calling to you –– or even a few extra hours of watching Netflix in a warm bed.

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