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Recently, I have read many interesting blog posts discussing if you should consider taking rain gear i.e. rain jacket and rain pants with you when going hiking or backpacking. This is an interesting question especially for those who are into ultralight hiking. But what means ultralight? Should you pack as little as possible or should you only try to minimize weight on all the gear you need on the hike?
From my point of view leaving your rain clothes at home could cause hypothermia especially if you go hiking for several hours or days.
Personally, I go hiking because I want to enjoy nature and not to prove that I have done a certain trip with the lowest weight. From my experience, your body adjusts to the weight you are carrying after 1 or 2 days.
The philosophy of ultralight hiking is that you feel more comfortable on your hike when you carry less. However, leaving essential items like a rain jacket at home may cause discomfort as well when it starts raining.
I believe that the ultralight principle should only be applied on gear to cut weight on essentials but only in a way that your gear is still functional.
How about umbrellas?
Some people were talking about replacing their rain gear with an umbrella. A few years ago I was interested in trying out this concept and purchased an umbrella specially made for hiking. Did it work? Well, to some extend if there is no wind. Your pants are still getting wet and when there is wind then you will have rain also coming in from the side. If the wind gets a bit stronger then the umbrella just folds up like any ordinary umbrella. Personally, I would never take an umbrella to a hiking trip anymore.
On our packrafting trip in the Sarek National Park in Sweden we had also rain jackets with us. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
So should you take your rain jacket and pants on your next hiking trip? I would say: “Yes, definitely if you want to enjoy your time outdoors as much as possible and stay healthy”.