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Tips For Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care

Pawtivity

April 4, 2018

Tips for Hiking In The Rain

Hiking in the rain can be glorious. It’s nature’s way of cleansing itself and bring new life and beauty to the world. Just the sound of the rain in a quiet forest can bring on a sense of tranquility. Don’t miss out on a great hiking trip just because of a little rain.

Hiking in the rain, however, can turn for the worse if you are unprepared. We give you some basic tips and recommendations for the best rain gear for you and your dog in the event of a downpour.

We also give you a list of items that you can put together to create your own paw / foot care kit to treat blisters, one of the most common injuries caused by walking in wet weather and conditions.
 

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


BEFORE YOU GO

 

The most important thing to do if it starts raining is to stay dry. If you and your dog are wet, you are more at risk to develop hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition where your body temperature becomes dangerously low. You are at risk if your body temperature dips below 95 F degrees. Symptoms of hypothermia include; shivering, slow breathing, lethargy, confusion, and worse loss of consciousness.

Check the weather report before you go hiking. If thunderstorms are expected, it’s best to stay home. In extremely wet weather, it may be necessary to also check for road closures where you are going and plan accordingly to where you would park your car and what hiking trail you choose to take. You may also want to opt for a shorter hike on a rainy day and avoid crossing streams.


 

PACK A PORTABLE PONCHO OR SURVIVAL BLANKET

 

At the very least, you should always pack a portable poncho or waterproof emergency survival blanket in your first aid kit. These are extremely lightweight and low-cost items that can be used as a temporary blanket to keep you warm or as a shelter if you need to wait out a short, unexpected rainfall and you don’t have the right coat with you.

Many all-in-one first aid kits* already come with these items, so you don’t have to buy them separately and you get everything else you need for an emergency.


BRING A WATERPROOF OUTER LAYER OR RAINCOAT

 

To keep warm in wet weather, think about wearing a base layer, middle layer, and outer layer. An outer layer is important in keeping rain and wetness out. Side venting on your coat helps to keep you dry from your own sweat created by heating up too much inside your coat.

Your dog will benefit from a waterproof coat to keep him warm. We like a coat that covers the belly and that has easy access to your dog’s collar or harness. For just a waterproof shell, we love the Hurtta Torrent Coat*.  It provides great coverage for your dog, allows for mobility, and is easy to put on fast.


PACK AN ADDITIONAL FLEECE JACKET

 

You can always wear a fleece jacket on its own or as an insulating layer underneath your windbreaker. For a lighter non-winter use fleece, we recommend the Arc’teryx Fortrez Hoody For Men* or For Women*. At only 13.6 ounces it’s a great lightweight jacket to stuff in your bag when not in use. It also features a snug scubahood allowing you to put on a helmet or another hood over. There’s an integrated balaclava that can be hidden into the jacket for extra warmth. The surface of the Arc’teryx jacket has abrasion resistant properties that also sheds moisture so your jacket doesn’t look old and balled up while keeping your warm. Pockets can be opened for air as they have a mesh lining. This is a great jacket for active types.

For your dog, consider getting the Ruffwear Fernie Sweater* as a great technical fleece insulating layer under a separate waterproof shell. The sweater is lightweight and snug on your dog. A quick drying, breathable version is the Ruffwear Climate Changer* that may be more suitable for spring and fall weather. You can of course consider a coat with an insulating layer built in, but we like the versatility of having a separate insulating layer from the outer coat.


KEEP YOUR BACKPACK ITEMS DRY WITH A RAINCOVER OR DRYSACK

 

Many hiking backpacks used by backpackers come with a raincover. If you have a regular backpack, you can purchase an inexpensive raincover that can slip over your backpack. Raincovers are sized usually to fit a certain size backpack based on capacity as measured in liters. If you have a large backpack (that’s stuffed well) consider the Joy Walker Raincover*. Otherwise, the Ayamaya Raincover* does a great job on smaller or less stuffed bags simply because it has an elastic strap with clip for a more secure fit around your bag.

For extra protection, consider a drysack* for electronic gear and other items that may be damaged or perishable if wet. A cheap alternative to a drysack is a ziplock bag, but this may not keep items dry if submerged under water. Drysacks are relatively inexpensive and last a long time. They do a good job keeping items dry in the rain. Drysacks are great to be used as a packing cube. Just stuff your lose items and clothing inside so everything in your bag is packed well, easy to access, and always dry. If you are doing water sports, you may have to consider a drysack bag* that is more durable, but much heavier to carry.


BRING EXTRA WOOL SOCKS JUST IN CASE

 

If you find yourself with wet socks and feet, change into dry, thin wool socks. Walking in wet socks may lead to blistering and a painful hiking experience. The best socks are wool because they let your foot breath, regulate your temperature well, don’t smell as bad if you have sweaty feet, can block out water, and are fast drying. Also great are polyester socks. Avoid cotton or socks that are too thick as they absorb water and are hard to dry. Don’t forget to dry out your wet socks! A great quick-drying sock is the Smartwool Outdoor Light Socks*.

If you do walk in wet socks, it would be beneficial for you to have a quick drying boot that won’t trap in wetness and allow socks to dry more. It’s still a good idea to just switch socks altogether and let your wet ones dry by attaching them to your bag. If your shoes are not too breathable, consider adding a breathable waterproof sock like the Rocky Goretex Waterproof Socks* on top of your dry ones.

If you are hiking in really wet weather, consider getting some gaiters that can help prevent rain from seeping into your shoes. Although not waterproof, you could consider getting a pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters for non-winter hiking and running. They help keep debris out of your shoes that can make walking painful. Gaiters are probably best for winter or if you are doing some backcountry trails or are going through wet grass and brush. Hiking in the winter may require you to get warmer socks and longer, waterproof gaiters* depending on what conditions you hike in.


HAVE BACKUP WARMTH

 

If you do ever find yourself in a situation where you have to stop and rest or seek a warm shelter, it’s always good to have a waterproof fire starter* with you.

Emergency Tinder* also comes in handy to get a fire started. If you are planning to go camping in the rain, read our article How To Camp In The Rain With Your Dog for more tips including how to start a fire in the rain.


PACK THE RIGHT PAW / FOOT CARE KIT

 

If you do get wet feet, you will want to stop and dry them off. Here is a list of items that you may want to consider bringing with you on a longer hiking trip or to use when you get home.

  • Sports Tape (Leukotape P*) – Effective in preventing blisters while hiking with a strong non-stretcy hold, even when your foot is wet. It’s also very versatile and can be torn.
  • Blister Prevention Cream / Balm – These can help prevent blisters on your feet by reducing friction and rubbing which causes blisters. You can also apply to a flat bandage. Hike Goo* is a great cream to use. You could also use Vaseline, Bonnie’s Balm or Bag Balm. Depending on what cream you use, you may want to consider a sock liner if the product you use soils your sock or is greasy.
  • Musher’s Secret* – This breathable paw wax is for your dog and helps condition and protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement, rough terrain, salt and chemicals, ice, sand, and snow balling between your dog’s paws.
  • Needle – Use to drain large unbroken blisters that are painful. (Don’t remove skin.)
  • Alcohol Wipes – To clean needles and blisters and prevent infection.
  • Antibiotic Ointment – Apply for faster healing. Don’t forget to bring one for your dog too.
  • Non-Stick Gauze Pad – Helps soak up any liquid from open or popped blisters.
  • Moleskin – This can be cut to fit around any existing blister and on top of the blister to provide added protection. You can also stick moleskin to sports tape to treat a blister with skin still intact. This acts basically as a custom bandaid that stays in place.
  • Self-Adhering Bandage Wrap – This will help keep your gauze in place and is flexible. They can also be used on your dog without sticking to their fur.
  • Hydrocolliodal Blister Plasters or Bandages – These second skin bandaids are great for open blister wounds, are waterproof, and can be left on for days and designed to do so. There are many version on the market but we think Band-Aid’s Hydro-Seal* are easy to use and carry.
  • Pawz Rubber Boots* – While your dog doesn’t have to use these for hiking, they do prove useful if your dog has a paw injury. Just treat the paw underneath and throw on the rubber boots to keep the bandage dry.
  • Sandals – Wear sandals or flip flops to let your blister dry out if you can and reduce pressure on the wound.

 

For more on cold weather paw protection read our article: Winter Paw Care and Treatment For The Outdoor Dog.


Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.

 

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Related Pawtivity / Event: Hiking, Running, Biking, Camping
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Biking, Running

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 


About the Author

Life is an endless journey with a dog at your side. Find your next dog friendly adventure on Pawtivity!  We are a community that inspires and captures the stories of our dogs.

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