Clothing for Wet Weather
Have you ever repeatedly spent money on inexpensive gear, only to realize over the years you would have saved money if you would have purchased quality at the start? That’s how it was for me and rubber boots. I kept purchasing cute, inexpensive rubber boots, only to have them leak after a few uses. I get a bit miserable if my feet are cold or wet.
Unexpected wet weather during camping trips or planned outings in autumn or winter when we know rain is likely will be more enjoyable if we have the right clothes.
When I finally splurged on quality rubber boots, it made all the difference for me.
Women’s Camouflage Hunting Boot:
My primary outdoor activity is photography. I am frequently trying to photograph birds in meadows and other wetlands. The first time I went out in my new Lacrosse boots, I got this shot because I was able to stand in a gulley with several inches of water, below the cattail line. I was able to stand in that water for a long time without any water leaks, and came home with many good shots, several of which turned into literal money shots.
I choose camouflage because of photography, but you have different colors or patterns to choose from:
Black and Teal boot:
The durable quality of these boots adds weight, so I don’t recommend them for long hikes. However, for short hikes or various activities in wet conditions, they are a wise choice. I’ve had mine for three years and they are holding up perfectly.
I was able to get this photograph by hiding in an orchard, standing in several inches of wet mud:
When the weather changes from rain to more than a foot of snow, it’s time to change boots in the effort to keep your feet warm and dry. As soon as I moved to snow country, people recommended I purchase Sorels. I held off and regretted it. The right boot has to keep your feet warm in snow, true; but the other issue is when it gets warmer and that 2-3 feet of snow turns to slush. Depending on the condition of the snow, I switch back and forth between my Lacrosse and Sorel boots. Tip: the Lacrosse boots are colder (the Sorels are lined), so you’ll need thicker socks in a wet slush. My Sorel’s have been fantastic for several years, and if they ever wear out in the seams, I will purchase another pair, absolutely!
Inside the Boot
What type of socks should you wear inside high-quality boots? Quality socks, of course! One of the most commonly recommended sock brands I’ve seen talked about in the hiking groups is Darn Tough socks. People rave about them! This will be my next sock purchase – you can check them out here:
I have some foot and leg issues due to family history, playing sports for several decades, and a couple of fluke accidents. My primary sock includes copper for circulation. Some compression socks have been problematic for me because they cause pain. However, I’ve had a positive experience with Tommie Copper products. I’ll admit, they are expensive. However, if they help prevent more leg ulcers, it’s worth every penny (leg ulcers are incredibly painful!). If you don’t have leg and foot issues, you can purchase less expensive copper socks and they will probably work fine for you.
Tommie Copper full sock:
I also frequently wear shorty socks with copper-infused yarn in the heel and toe:
Shorty Socks with copper throughout foot bed:
Wearing the right clothing for hiking and photography is important so you can move freely. Instead of wearing a heavy jacket, I prefer to wear layers and a light windbreaker. Then, as the day warms up, I can remove layers, but still have that water-resistant outer layer.
I’ve also experimented with various price-range windbreakers. I tend to be hard on clothing and jewelry, so even decent windbreakers take a hit with me. When I purchased the Lacrosse boots, I also purchased a Realtree Camouflage Windbreaker Hoodie. It has proven to be comfortable, durable, and warm. Not one tear or fray (unique in my experience) and I’ve used it frequently in all seasons. My group of friends does a lot of off-road riding together in ATV’s and this windbreaker is one of my go-to pieces of clothing for rides.
Water Resistant Hoodie Only:
I ended up purchasing rain pants later, but you can purchase both pieces as a rain suit here:
Again, because of photography, I went with a camouflage design. However, Realtree also makes a cute pink pullover jacket:
If you are a bird watcher, not a photographer, these clothing suggestions are perfect for you, too. Why? Because photographing or watching birds is about sitting in the one location you’ve determined the desired bird(s) will be and waiting for them to come to you. Waiting for them to fly in and waiting for them to take flight again is central to the bird watching game and you won’t last long if you are cold or wet and generally uncomfortable.
Beyond Your Pockets – Keeping Your Hands Warm
Next, let’s focus on your hands. My hands get really cold very fast, so this might not pertain to you. I do not like to wear full gloves on photo shoots, preferring to have my fingertips available to control adjustments on my camera. During the winter months, I keep fingerless gloves in my Jeep and a pair in my jacket pocket. For some reason I’m prone to thinking I don’t need to wear gloves, only to regret the choice once I’m outside; for this reason, it’s important to keep them at the ready. Basic fingerless gloves work great for me, as do fingerless glove liners. There are many options – here’s one of them:
The right full-fingered glove for you depends on your activities. A lightweight glove I use for general hiking or outdoor activities is the all-weather glove made by Seirus. For snow shoeing I’m a fan of Dakine gloves – the palm construction has held up much better than other gloves I’ve tried and worn out. You have many style options with Dakine: I prefer the style that fits up over my jacket sleeve:
When the Rain Stops and the Snow Starts
Fifteen years ago I purchased a Lands End 2-in-1 jacket: it’s got an interior light jacket and a hooded water resistant outer jacket. I’ve been out blowing snow off my driveway in ten degree weather and stayed warm in the jacket. I’ve used it on countless snow shoe outings and usually end up hot – which is why it’s nice to be able to take off that outer layer at that point. That jacket has held up beautifully, and I still wear it every season. Snow is a lot of work when you live in it, so you might not need that level of quality, or the ability to stay warm in temperatures below 20 degrees. If you DO need this level of clothing, I will recommend Lands End and North Face clothing all day long. My North Face jacket keeps me very warm and their products tend to be stylish. When I’m in Tahoe in the off season, I like to look for North Face and Patagonia products on sale.
For those who want to keep a decent jacket in their travel trailer or camping bag, and when storage space is limited, this 3-in-1 jacket will probably work fine for that application. https://amzn.to/3136DYB
When it’s time to switch from rain pants to snow/ski pants, consider how much you will use them before you purchase. I use mine frequently and have experienced seams pulling apart or pockets fraying in less expensive options – which is fine when I’m running my snow blower. But when I’m on the snow shoes and going to the pub for lunch after our morning outing with friends, I want to look and feel good! I am thrilled with my Athleta ski pants – they fit perfectly and they are so stylin’ I rack up the compliments! I searched for a link to show you what I have but I can’t find them. Maybe they don’t make the design anymore; the legs flair like a boot cut and there’s a nice girlie design printed on the flair. This is the closest image to what I have:
I saw several pairs of Athleta ski pants for sale on Ebay.
This Just In
This is true! As I was writing this article, a facebook question came in asking which winter shoes people recommend for keeping at the door of their trailer, van, or tent for easy slip in and kick off in the winter. You can’t go wrong with a lined Bog ankle boot. Sometimes people complain about them being slippery on ice, so you can put YakTrax on them. However, the shoes at my front door right now are Merrell Encore Ice Slides. It’s been snowy and icy all month and they’ve worked out great: warm and good traction. They’ve even been comfortable during 5,000 step dog walks. Tip: they run a bit narrow, but mine broke in quickly.
Merrell Encore Ice Slides:
Don’t walk on wood floors in your YakTrax:
Here’s to staying warm, dry, and healthy in 2021 and having fun with all your hobbies – especially camping!
Article written by: Catherine Goggia
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