Weather is a magnificent beast. The sun can beat down, the rain can pour, the snow can pack you in. You can
spring - hike out of Algonquin
experience all the weather extremes in the backcountry. The elements can be a challenge to a camper both physically and psychologically. You must accept that conditions are not always going to be ideal, but a trip can be all the better for it. Testing your mettle is a part of the game. The key is not to blow it out of proportion. It is not the end of the world if you get wet. Plan, plan, plan.
a rainy day view
When planning a trip, take into consideration the season that you are tripping in. In the early spring or late fall, it is almost inevitable that you will go to sleep on a nice cool evening and wake up to a blanket of snow. Plan for it! Bring proper clothing and you’ll be laughing…and taking great pictures! Layer, layer, layer. In shoulder seasons, you can have nice warm days and very cold nights. In order to make the best use of your packing space, and ensure you are comfortable in any weather condition, dress in layers. Long underwear, quick dry pants and top, fleece, down vest or sweater, waterproof shell pants/jacket, hat and gloves. You can take off what you don’t need, or add what you do for a perfect fit. One thing to keep in mind if it might rain, but still be cold, is down loses its loft and
a rainy morning
therefore its ability to insulate when it gets wet. You must keep down dry, both jackets AND sleeping bags.
In the summer, plan for rain. Bring a tarp. You’re going to want to have somewhere to sit and cook if the weather turns bad. You don’t want to have to hide in your tent for hours on end. If it’s a moving trip and it’s raining when the time comes to pack up camp, pack up inside your tent or under the tarp. Leave the tarp for the last and try to keep everything dry. Use dry bags for packing your sleeping bags and clothes…well, use dry bags for everything if you’ve got enough! If you’re on a paddling trip, you should be doing this anyway in case your boat dumps. In the summer, wet clothing and gear is uncomfortable, but in the cold, wetness translates into potential danger. Anyone who has experienced or come close to getting hypothermia can tell you it’s no joke. Make sure you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Like so many things in life, camping can be a head game. You are going to have as much fun as you allow yourself to have. It can be pouring rain and you are miserable about it, or it can be pouring rain and you have a blast. Either way, it’s raining. You can’t control, the weather, but you can control how you deal with it. Have fun for
perfect layers for spring
goodness sake, it’s up to you!
Rarely have I found myself in over my head. If you’re planning on taking little ones with you though, you must take extra precautions. Don’t skimp on the right gear. Don’t skimp on the planning and research. Tell someone where you are going and when you are supposed to be back. Always leave your plans with someone back home and let them know what you’d like them to do if you don’t check in when you are supposed to. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your family. Make smart choices to ensure everyone’s safety. Most of all though have a good time no matter what the weather. Rain and snow? Bring it on!