Top Tips for Hiking in the Rain


Rain doesn’t have to dampen your outdoor adventures. With the right gear and preparation, hiking in the rain can be a memorable experience. At The North Face, our mantra is Never Stop Exploring™. From elite athletes in extreme conditions to weekend wanderers facing wet weather, this guide has everything you need for your next hiking adventure. 

What to wear when hiking in the rain

When you are hiking in the rain, a waterproof outer layer is essential. Effective layers of clothing will maintain a comfortable body temperature, avoiding moisture inside your clothing.  Waterproof fabrics are not always breathable, so choose materials carefully. 

A helpful way to think about layers is in three categories: base, mid and outer layer.

What is a base layer?

The base layer is the layer of clothing that is closest to your skin. Select a lightweight, sweat-wicking material. When you start to perspire, this will keep you dry by moving moisture away from the skin.

For more information and to find out how to choose a base layer you can check out our helpful guide that will ensure you have got the best base layer for your needs.

What is a mid layer?

A mid layer is an additional layer of insulation. Fleece and merino wool are common materials that trap heat close to your body but also allow ventilation. 

What is an outer layer?

The outer layer is your barrier against the elements, so a waterproof and windproof fabric is essential. Choosing a lightweight rain shell allows you to easily carry the jacket in your bag and put it on when it starts to rain.

Footwear for wet-weather hiking

Another key consideration for wet weather hiking is footwear. Choose hiking boots or shoes that are waterproof. Also look for soles that provide good traction as you will be moving over wet trails and rocks. 

The North Face has a range of waterproof boots and shoes that utilise our unique technology to maximise your performance.  FuturelightTM is our best-in-class breathable waterproof technology. Innovation that enhances performance of hiking clothing, including footwear, to keep you fresh and dry.

Hiking Gear

In addition to your clothing and footwear, there are other pieces of equipment that can help when hiking in the rain:

  • Rain cover for your backpack: This covers the top of your bag to keep your gear dry.

  • Trekking poles: These can help you to balance and prevent you from slipping on wet trails.

  • Headlamp or flashlight: Helpful in low-light conditions to illuminate the path ahead of you. 

  • First-aid kit: Useful on any hike, a first aid kit is even more important when hiking in wet conditions.

Also take into consideration any accessories you might need, such as a water bottle holder or a neck pouch to ensure you have everything you need on your next hike.

How to keep your shoes dry when hiking in the rain

To keep your shoes dry when hiking in the rain, a careful choice of footwear and a bit of advance preparation will make a huge difference. Here are our top tips for keeping your shoes dry when walking in wet weather:

Wear waterproof hiking boots or shoes

The most important thing you can do to keep your feet dry is choose high-quality hiking boots or shoes that have a waterproof barrier.

Treat your shoes with a water repellent

Useful against showers, water repellent coatings cause water to run off your shoes rather than soaking into the fabric uppers. 

Avoid walking through puddles and stream

It may not always be possible, and might sound obvious, but try to avoid unnecessary submersion in water. 

Dry shoes out

If your shoes do get wet, you should try to dry them out as soon as possible. Take out your insoles and sock liners and let them air dry.

Wear gaiters

Gaiters are a piece of fabric that cover the gap between your trousers and the top of your boots. This is a great way to prevent water entering through the ankle of your footwear. 

Best jackets for hiking in the rain

When choosing a rain jacket for hiking, consider waterproofing, fit and features.


Make sure you understand the terminology. Water resistant and water repellent jackets are only designed to cope with brief showers. Waterproof refers to fabrics that are impervious to water. Some waterproof fabrics can lack breathability, causing you to sweat. The combination of waterproofing and breathability is the most important factor in your choice of coat.


A poorly-fitted jacket can be uncomfortable and impractical. Look for a jacket that will fit over your other layers and allow a full  range of motion, without being too baggy.


Waterproof fabrics aren’t the only thing to consider when choosing your jacket. Waterproof seams and zips are essential for heavy rain. Adjustable cuffs and hoods will also help you combat the weather.

Explore the full range of breathable waterproof jackets from The North Face. You’ll find everything you need to keep dry for urban exploration or wilderness walks.

Hiking in the rain: safety tips

Staying safe should be your main priority when hiking in the rain. Here are a few safety tips for outdoor adventures in wet-weather:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Look out for slippery trails and rocks.

  • Hike with a friend: It's always a good idea to hike with someone else, especially in wet conditions.

  • Communication: Tell someone where you're going and how long you expect the hike to take. This way, someone can look for you or raise the alarm if you don't return on time.

  • Be prepared for the weather to change: Even if the forecast looks good, it's always a good idea to pack rain gear and other essentials.

Hiking in the rain can be a lot of fun, but it's important to prepare. At The North Face, we have a proud history of equipping adventures for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, in any kind of weather imaginable. Whatever the conditions, we’ve got you covered. Grab your jacket, check the weather forecast, and get out there.