The Dog Hikers gear up in layers:
• Base layer: long underwear such as dry fit
• Mid layer: insulation and warmth: fleece or sweatshirt and head cover
• Outer layer: protection from the elements like wind and rain we have rain jackets and pants. Poncho is good too but handing multiple dogs at the same time a jacket works much better.
When rain has soaked the trails our light low hiking shoes are replaced by high gore-tex hikers, to ensure our feet stay dry and warm. Good socks are also essential because hiking in the rain the trails become a bigger challenge not only on the legs but on the feet as well.
Odd enough the rain will keep most people away from hiking. The parks and preserves are usually at their best. Especially after the rain the deer enjoy eating the fresh and wet grass and the coyotes seek that one warm spot in the sun. Once in awhile you’ll find that mountain lion track that just crossed the trail before you came. The dog’s mind is stimulated by new and strong smells of wildlife and the cool temperatures are welcomed by all living things.
As for your dog you have to look at the breed. Most dogs do well in the rain. Their coat is their protections. Some breeds may need a coat to protect them from the cold. Paw protectors are usually not necessary unless you are hiking in a rocky area.
The most important tip is to ensure the trails are safe. One some days the rain causes the trails to be incredibly muddy that slipping could be an issue. If too windy stay home as well. Falling branches and/or trees may make your trip a living nightmare and not to forget mudslides that wash away whole trails.
The Dog Hikers love the rain especially after a long, warm and sometimes too hot summer it is a welcoming change. If you should see people dancing in the middle of a Park in the rain and dogs jumping in joy with them …yep, that would be us.
Kipper, Boe and Domino hiking in the rain