If you’re going to gamble with the rain having an exit strategy is pretty much paramount. Here are some things to consider before wandering in questionable weather:
Ideally, plan a route that is not too far from home. Examples: Shorter connecting loop/s with easy bail out points OR a familiar Out and Back up/down allowing you to head down quickly should the sky open up
A water/windproof jacket with some level of insulation is almost always tucked in a pocket or backpack. Depending on the climate, a lightweight windbreaker may do but if you’re in the mountains or an area where the weather tends to change quickly, something more substantial is best. When in doubt of a few sprinkles turning into torrential downpour, it’s best to break out the jacket. I can personally attest to that -just Google ‘rain Breck Epic Day 1 2019’ or check out the photo at the bottom left of my post from 09/11/19 (a hypothermic, rain and mud-drenched finish). More recently, I purchased a great rain jacket from Showers Pass with enough room to pull over my backpack; let’s just say that I was very thankful for it today. Having a lightweight neck warmer, full finger gloves and other types of warmers are also great to have packed away. If you’re into weight, pack a plastic shower cap, rubber gloves and some plastic shopping bags at minimum. I am not sure how I would have survived the first day of Breck Epic without those things last year. If I could go back in time, I would have packed the most heavy-duty rain jacket I could find.
Keep your phone, backup charger, beacon/tracker, first aid kit and other emergency devices in Ziplock or waterproof bags. Tell someone where you are going and the approximate time you expect to return. Keep weather and maps tabs pulled up for easy access. These are a few tips that have allowed me to enjoy the outdoors in the rain. Here’s to happy trails no matter the weather!