September 17th, 2015

Weatherproof Your Trip: Pack This to Protect Your Stuff

You know you can stand inclement weather on your next adventure, but can your gear? Here’s what you need — and what you need to know — for traveling come rain, wind, or sun.

Anyone who has spent an adventurous weekend getaway or vacation outside of the luxuries of a hotel or a resort knows there is always one factor that can change everything: the weather. And while weather can be a game changer, it doesn’t have to ruin your next trip or derail your outdoor plans. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment.” Here are some of the best tips and products to make sure you’re prepared for anything on your next adventure.

1. Pack the Right Fabrics

If you are going to be somewhere damp and chilly, pack quick-dry fabrics that will also keep you warm. Down jackets and sleeping bags tend to stay wet after they get wet, so stick to synthetic materials instead. Cotton isn’t the most versatile either — it’s not great for staying warm and dry, and doesn’t breath well in warmer temperatures. For warmth, look for wool (especially merino wool), and to stay cool, bring breathable, vented fabrics, like polyester blends, that provide light coverage. Wool socks, whether they are thinner for more temperate weather or thicker for colder destinations, are also great. Bonus: Wool doesn’t hold odor like cotton, so you won’t have to worry about dirty socks smelling up your pack.

2. Bring Multi-Functional Accessories

Load up your bag with things that can do double-duty. Wearing a brimmed hat will protect your eyes and scalp when it’s sunny, and will keep the rain off your face during wetter weather. An umbrella can be used for shade or shelter as well. If you’re carrying electronics (like a camera and cell phone), choose a multifunctional daypack that will be able to protect your gear and carry everything else you need for the day, such as water, wallet, food, and maps. And bring a jacket that has a nylon outer shell, which can double as a windbreaker.

3. Know Your Labels

Waterproof and water-resistant are not the same thing, so take note. If a fabric or piece of gear is labeled as “water resistant,” that means it can keep water out or hold pools of water for a short amount of time without letting them leak or seep through. “Waterproof,” on the other hand, means that the fabric or gear can withstand large amounts of water for a long period of time without damage.

4. Prepare for Multiple Types of Weather

As with any trip, it’s wise to pack layers — and not only because light, thin pieces take up less space than bulky ones. Donning several light layers rather than one heavy one gives you flexibility for dealing with unpredictable weather. If you get too warm or one layer gets wet; there is always the option to shed it and replace it if needed.

5. Protect Your Electronics

Chances are, you’re planning to bring your laptop or camera with you on your trip, and you’ll want it to be safe from any rainy or snowy situations. Even if you have a weatherproof backpack, it’s wise to double-protect your precious cargo by putting it in a waterproof electronics case within that backpack — and triple-protect it by keeping a rain cover on your pack as well. Worried about taking your camera out to snap pictures in the rain? Purchase an underwater camera case, typically used to help you shoot, well, underwater, and instead use it to protect your camera in even the worst of rainstorms.

Follow these tips, and don’t let some unexpected weather dampen your adventure! How do you weatherproof your trips? Share your strategies in the comments! 

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