Winter brings cool breezes, pumpkin spiced everything, and—for us here on the West Coast—rain. We get spoiled in the summer months with sunny days, no humidity, and that beautiful sea-breeze, and as soon as the rain hits, the local trails become a lot less travelled, and a lot more muddy. That isn’t a bad thing. It only means we have to be more prepared.

Here are four tips about how to enjoy the great outdoors in the less-than-great weather:

Dress appropriately

It’s been said that you should never judge someone for what they say when they’re wearing a wet pair of shoes. It can be miserable to walk around in soggy, cold clothes, but you don’t have to go on an expensive gear shopping spree to enjoy the outdoors in wet weather. You probably have some great clothing hiding in your closet! Certain fabrics such as cotton or denim can be a nightmare when they get wet; they take a long time to dry, and you can feel the moisture through them.

Other fabrics, such as wool or fleece are great for wet weather! That ugly sweater that Grandma gave you for Christmas? Perfect for a rainy day on the trail. Those weirdly tall wool socks that your uncle keeps insisting are the ultimate work-wear? They’ll keep your feet warm even if they’re wet. Fleece and wool are great fabrics for outdoor activities because they keep you warm even if you get wet (and you can tell Grandma that you wear that sweater she knit you all the time!). Pair them with a rain jacket and boots and you are ready to explore!

Surround yourself with good vibes

A positive attitude can go a long way on a day that it isn’t raining, so imagine how helpful it can be when it is! Any kind of gloomy weather can deflate your mood, but if you are surrounded by some positive, upbeat souls on your adventure, it can make a really big difference. Make sure your adventurous crew has one or two painfully-optimistic individuals, and you’ll always be able to find the silver lining in any situation (even that big black rain cloud that keeps getting closer…)

Bring a warm beverage

Being wet can often leave you feeling “chilled to the bone.” A great way to remedy that deep-cold feeling is by eating or drinking something warm. I love to bring a thermos of tea with me on wet hiking days, or to drink after a paddle where I know I’ll be getting wet. Other people like to bring soup, or even a small camp stove to make a warm meal. You don’t have to be quite that extravagant though. You can find a thermos at any outdoor, department or thrift store for a pretty reasonable cost. Just fill it up with your favourite warm beverage before you head out, and enjoy it as you adventure to lessen the chill in the damp or cold air.

Dance in the rain

In places like Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, we are definitely not strangers to rain, getting an average of six hundred to six thousand millimetres of it every year. We know that we live in a wonderful place, surrounded by all kinds of natural beauty, the trick is to get out and enjoy it. That means that for about six months of the year, we are going to get wet. So get outside, bring a waterproof speaker (or a normal speaker in a plastic bag) and have fun! After all, “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

– Tips shared by Em McFarland, program facilitator