Whether it’s monsoon season in Southeast Asia, or just a typical spring in the Pacific Northwest, traveling during a particularly rainy time of year demands some special attention. You want to make the most out of your travels but you don’t want to end up soaking wet, with your electronics ruined and your arms eaten up by mosquitoes – so, how do you pack for this wet weather? Here are some tips, and some must have items, to help you stay dry.
Merino Wool Base Layer
It’s been mentioned many times before, here and elsewhere, that dries quickly, which is key if you’re on the move a lot. If you’re traveling from one place to another in rapid succession, you can’t be packing (or wearing, for that matter) wet, soggy clothes, which make for an uncomfortable and musty-smelling trek. Unbound Merino wool is fine-spun and gives up its moisture fast, meaning that with only a short drying time you’ll be ready to pack it in your bag and go.
Of course, you still need a first line of defense: for most, that means a well-made rain jacket. Depending on where you are in the world, and the amount of precipitation you can expect, you might be able to get away with a jacket labeled “water-resistant”, which will be good for light drizzles. If you’re expecting rainstorms, flash flooding or monsoons, head straight for the jackets labeled “waterproof”. Although, if your rain jacket is old, the water repellent coating , making it no better than a regular jacket, so test it with some tap water before you go.
If you’re a “shoe and sock” traveler, then you need to find some footwear fitted with Gore-Tex or some other repellent – there’s nothing worse than clopping around in wet socks and shoes. Also, check out our to find some quick drying socks, just in case the water still gets in. For a freer approach, consider sandals or flip flops, which don’t get nearly as sodden (since they have very little fabric) and dry relatively quickly.
Rain Cover For Your Bag
You can find a lot of good quality rain covers and bag liners out there, but the gold standard, we think, is still the . It’s fairly inexpensive and will keep the contents of your bag safe from hard rain. Obviously, don’t go leaving your bag out during a storm, but for those times when a quick downpour catches you without anywhere to take cover, these are indispensable.
Plastic Bags & Silica Gel Packets
Just some run-of-the-mill Ziploc bags can be an effective barrier between your expensive electronics and the outside moisture threatening to ruin them. And, just to be doubly safe, pack some silica gel packets – you know, the kind you find in new coat pockets, or bags of beef jerky – which act as a desiccant, drying anything in their vicinity.
Finally, where there’s rain, there’s usually standing water – and where there’s standing water, there are usually mosquitoes. In certain parts of the world, these pests can carry harmful diseases, so packing an effective mosquito repellent (in addition to completing all immunizations and boosters) is an important part of rainy season travel.
Finally, you’ll want to pack a couple pairs of underwear that you know are going to last, even in the damp weather – for a comfortable, quick-drying pair of underwear that can be worn for a while. Don’t let a little rain get in the way of your travels – follow these few tips to stay bone-dry and happy this rainy season.