You peer out your window and see grey mist through a cascade of water dripping from your eaves.
For most, this scene doesn’t exactly elicit gleeful shouts of “Woohoo, let’s get outside!” As much as we all love having outdoor adventures under clear blue skies, it’s a fact of west coast life that we encounter more cloudy days in a year than sunny ones.
We live on an island in the shadow of mountains amidst a rainforest, so the subject of wet-weather activities is a frequent conversation in our household. Personally, I fancy any opportunity to play in the water, whether it’s in the ocean or on land. After hiking, I often return home with soaked clothes, covered in mud, and grinning ear-to-ear. My partner usually shakes his head in disbelief as he helps me peel off my dripping jacket. Even if you don’t have an affinity for the wet stuff, it shouldn’t prevent you from getting outside and playing, it’s simply a matter of being prepared, both mentally and physically.
Choose a wet-weather activity
The likeliest way to learn to love rainy adventures is to choose an agreeable activity. Strangely, many people don’t consider water-based sports when it’s precipitating, yet they are the most fitting options. You are already in the water, so what’s a little more wet? Kayaking, standup paddleboarding, open-water swimming, surfing, and sailing all make for invigorating outings on drizzly days.
As far as land-based activites go, the muddier the better: hiking, trail running, foraging, and mountain biking are all fun. Nature walks are also entertaining, especially when we take inspiration from our childhood and we go puddle-jumping.
Dress for a deluge
Having the appropriate clothing can transform a potential miserable experience into a pleasant one. Even though part of the fun of being out in the rain is getting wet, for our well-being, it is important to stay warm and dry. The right gear creates comfort and prevents cold stress:
• Wear moisture-wicking base layers to keep water away from the skin. Evaporation is the quickest source of heat loss in the body, thus it is important to keep our skin dry.
• Cover up with breathable, waterproof outer layers. Modern fabric technology gives us many options for protective outerwear including jackets, pants, gloves, and hats.
• Keep your feet dry with waterproof shoes or boots. This maintains warmth, and also helps prevent blisters or immersion foot syndromes.
• Carry extra dry clothing, especially hats, gloves, socks, and base layers, if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time.
• Bring waterproof covers to safeguard your camera, phone, backpack, etc. This is a good time to use those recycled plastic bags you’ve been saving.
• For water-based activities, choose wetsuits appropriate to the environment. Learn more about how to choose a wetsuit.
Bring a positive attitude
You may have set out with more favourable weather when suddenly a cloudburst let loose. Go with the flow. Let your hair frizz, get dirty, laugh when your snacks get soggy, and know there is a warm shower when you return home. Enjoy the experience for what it is – it may not be what you hoped for, but it is an adventure!
To enjoy rainy day adventures, often the hardest part is getting out the door. After that, it’s pure joy.
Kiley believes adventure brings out the best in her and it has the capacity to do the same for others.