Nothing is Waterproof

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 12 June 2014


Not even rubber-coated nylon. Anyone who backpacks in rubber-coated fabrics know that the hiker's sweat inside the rubber is as wet as the rain outside. And much nastier...

The classic "breathable" waterproof/water resistant materials can be "waterproof" for up to three days. That's the longest I've ever gotten any "dry" conditions to last. After three days in driving rain everything is wet. Everything.

Camping in Pacific rainstorms, May 2009, Lost Coast.

I'm talking about using the most advanced materials properly. After three days of driving rain all fabrics are wet. And we're facing two more days of driving rain.

Rain Tent

That's when the insulating and wind protection capabilities of our gear come into play. Our insulating layers must insulate when wet. We've got to be smart enough to employ all of our wind protection gear and skills when we're wet.

I went through a twenty year backpacking cycle during which Lost Coast backpacking trips were always part of the annual backpacking cycle. Sometimes I'd use Lost Coast as backpacking methadone, when seemingly unending Winter storms closed the Sierra. I'd hitch up to Lost Coast to get my backpacking fix.

Other times I'd use Lost Coast as part of recovering from injury. Lost Coast is a great place to work up the physical skills necessary for comfortable Sierra travel. If we can work out, and work up our injuries to the point we are running up and down the ridges along the Lost Coast we will not hurt too much when we begin crawling our way up to the Sierra Crest.

The "full" Lost Coast Loop, from Usal Beach to Shelter Cove up to the Mattole River and the nearby tiny-tiny town of Petrolia for resupply (and a great deli-sandwhich), is a frkn amazing trip. Talk to the locals. This is deep in the backcountry of the Emerald Triangle. It's a unique country culture. I hike it up and back out of the Southern Usal Beach Trailhead, so I always swing East up into the Kings Range rising above the beach on the way South from the Mattole River to Shelter Cove.

The North Coast of Northern California is a great place to go Wintertime backpacking. If you can stand the storms. (If the storms ever come ((2014)...)

Rain is inherently neither bad or good. How you deal with it determines its value.

I rather enjoy it, when properly prepped.

 Also See:
Usal Beach Horse Story

Usal entrance to Lost Coast

Two Lost Coast backpacking concerns

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