Question: How do I keep all my gear dry in the rains? I always end up with a bag full of soaking clothes and since I have a brand-new digital camera, I was wondering if you could give me tips on how to keep all my gear dry.
Answer: Keeping dry is easy if you prep yourself well before your trek. Here's a list of essentials you could buy from your friendly neighbourhood equipment store:
TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
- A Goretex rain jacket. Goretex is a revolutionary material that lets your jacket breathe. While keeping the rain out, it allows moisture from your body to escape so that you aren't soaked from excessive perspiration. When trying a jacket on for size, put on your daypack and allow some room for the jacket to go over. Goretex jackets also make a good outer shell for mountaineering (to keep the snow out), but ensure there is some room inside to allow for other layers.
- Plastic sheets are easily available and are extremely handy when making a temporary shelter to keep the rain out. If you are camping overnight, wrap your equipment in the sheet at night.
- Umbrellas are not recommended while walking, but work well to keep food dry when you stop for lunch.
TO WATERPROOF YOUR BAG:
- A waterproof backpack. Select a good nylon backpack with waterproofing; a canvas or cloth backpack is not the best choice in the rain.
- A pack cover. Most backpacks come with a pack cover that fits snugly around your bag, keeping the rain out. If you decide to purchase a pack cover separately, make sure you match the sizes - a loose pack cover could result in water collection.
- A garbage bag or inner liner. Use a garbage bag inside your pack to reinforce the waterproofing. Remember to shut the bag tight so that water does not seep inside.
- Zip-lock bags. These are the ideal primary protection for all your gear, clothes, electronics, etc, and are available in all sizes. To be on the safe side, always carry a few extras with you.
- Camera housing. You could use a zip-lock bag for your camera, or purchase a state-of-the-art camera waterproof housing. There are a couple of waterproof cameras available too.
Also, don't pack your water bottle inside your backpack, to avoid a deluge even when there's no rain! Always keep soggy or wet clothes in a net bag outside your backpack.
And last, but not least, you could always keep all your gear dry by just leaving it at home. Pull on your favourite Speedos, run on out and enjoy the rains!
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