Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
Hiking in wet weather

You have planned your trip and thought of everything.

Your boots are at the door and your backpack is filled with water, snacks, route maps, extra clothes, and your trusty first aid kit.

Your favorite park awaits you!

You put on your boots, open the door and…

…torrential rain.

Wet weather doesn’t have to disrupt your hiking day, but it does require a little more planning and thought.

wet boardwalk

While you’ll still need all those great items in your backpack, there is some additional gear that could help you out.

Here are some tips from our friends at Subaru Canada so you can enjoy your fantastic day of hiking, even when it’s raining:

Stay safe

staff in rain gear

Always remember that your safety is the most important part of any outdoor adventure.

Check the weather before you leave.

If there are weather warnings such as high winds, flooding, or thunder and lightning, today is not the day to hike.

Wear sturdy, waterproof walking boots or shoes.

Many trails have roots, rocks, and exposed walkways that can become slippery when wet.

Always carry a first aid kit and a way to contact help if necessary. Remember, listen to your body: if it tells you it needs to rest, rest.

Dress for success

It won’t be long before your spirit becomes discouraged in cold, wet weather without proper protection for your body.

Make sure your body is warm, your skin can breathe, and you stay dry.

family wearing jackets

Start with your base layer, this is the layer you wear closest to your skin. It must be synthetic or wool, NOT cotton! Cotton will stay wet and cold from the elements or your own sweat.

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Wool and synthetics are meant to dry quickly and produce a “warm-wet” while wet. For fall hikes, some long johns and a long-sleeved top layer would be great complements.

boots in water

Socks are very important for hiking. Again choose wool or synthetic, and always carry an extra pair.

Your mid layer should reflect the season. For fall or spring weather, you’ll want a medium weight fleece.

For your top layer, quality waterproof gear is very important. Try to wear clothing that is waterproof and breathable, that way you will stay dry on the outside and your jacket won’t trap sweat on the inside.

Choose good boots or sturdy hiking shoes that suit the type of trail you’re heading on.

Consider wearing gloves and a hat; It may not be winter yet, but if you start to get cold, these items can really save you a walk!

Time is everything

You may have planned a hike for a sunny day, but as the weather changed, so should your plans.


A wet, slippery trail will take longer than a dry one; You may decide to choose a less challenging route in case of rainy weather.

Don’t be rigorous with a certain destination. It’s important to adapt to the conditions while you’re on the road and be okay with where you arrive. You’re outside and exercising – you’ve already accomplished a lot!

children walking on the path

Take extra time to prepare for and the return trip, and if you’re with kids, take plenty of extra time to let them jump in puddles, and jump in some puddles with them!

Treats along the way

When you walk in cold, rainy weather, your body will consume more calories and need more support than if the weather were warm and dry.

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person looking in the bag

Remember to always bring plenty of water and high-calorie snacks. Treat yourself! Trail mixes and granola bars with whole nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are a great option.

Stay on the road

All of these tips have you covered along the way, but what about the trail itself?

Whatever weather you hike in, keep in mind that Ontario parks are protected spaces!

person walking with dog

Every ecosystem you walk through is a sensitive habitat and home to a variety of plants and animals.

Stay on the trails. Deviating from trails can cause damage to plants and animals. This damage can lead to increased soil erosion, especially in humid climates.

Pack what you pack! Any trash you generate while on the trail must stay with you so you can properly dispose of it at the end of the trail.

Never push anything out of the way. A plucked flower cannot reproduce and a removed stone cannot add nutrients to the soil.

Everything in nature has a purpose and needs to stay where it is to fulfill that purpose!

Make sure you always wash your clothes and clean your shoes between walks; this will reduce the spread of invasive species!

wet leaf

We love that you challenge yourself to walk in rainy weather, our parks are beautiful no matter the season.

Whether you’re reading this because you’re new to rainy season hiking or you’re an experienced hiker looking for some extra tips: get out and get wet while staying warm and dry!

Let’s take a walk!

Ontario Parks thanks its corporate partners subaru logolike Subaru Canada for their support.