One of the questions that I get asked a lot is “How to get out in bad weather?”, which at the moment is very topical. As you might know, I am very well-known for getting out there whatever the weather, come hail, rain or high winds. Of course I could say sunshine, but nobody asks the question “how to get out in the sunshine?”. Funny that.
Anyway, I thought with the weather on another change for the wetter, I would address the idea in a post and share some of my favourite kit that keeps me getting out for walks in even the harshest of weather.
How to get out in bad weather
So let me just start with a favourite quote of mine and one that I totally stand by:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”
Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk
Think of the time that you went out in “bad” weather and it totally put you off. What were you wearing? Was it suitable for the weather you were going out into? My reckoning would be that it wasn’t. And that is exactly why you had a yucky time.
It is so easy to blame the weather and to come up with all manner of excuses as to why we can’t go out in adverse weather conditions, but the truth is that you can do something about it.
My first piece of advice is to be prepared. If you were going on a long day hike you would do all the preparation to make sure that you had a safe and enjoyable time. So how come you don’t do that on a daily basis? Even just heading out for a lunchtime jaunt needs some kind of prep if you’re going to weather the storms of our very British winter. (which let me remind you, that we get every year!)
Although only a prediction, being weather wise is the main thing that helps me to prepare for my day. I watch the weather in the evening and check it on my phone in the morning. As well as simply looking out of the window and making my own judgement. This helps me to choose what I wear and the kit that I pack. Take a look at today’s weather for example.
As you can see, a quick blimp at the forecast lets you know that it is going to be wet. And cold. So wearing some extra layers and perhaps taking some extra bits should you get drenched will be useful too. But more importantly than that, you’re going to need wet weather gear to keep you warm and dry in the first place. It is quite one thing to have things to change into, but prevention really does outweigh the cure. Especially when it comes to walking in the rain and wind. (Take it from me, a whole work day in cold wet socks and shoes is not the way forward)
The more the merrier
I know that some people think that I carry too much stuff with me when I go out, but I’m a strong believer that you’re better off with more than you need than less. Think of getting caught the rain only to discover that you left your umbrella at home. On the flip side though, you’re not going to get miffed with yourself for having a brolly when the showers start or your waterproof trousers when the rain starts to lash it down. Which do you think you would prefer?
And I’m not saying you have to carry it all, all of the time. Just check the weather and be seasonally clever, as well as checking the report.
Here are a few of the things that I always have on me, just in case, at this time of the year.
As a general rule, I carry my umbrella, a wooly hat, warm waterproof gloves, an extra Buff, waterproof trousers and a reusable bag to hold anything that might be wet.
Couple that with the layers that I wear generally and I’m kitted out for almost all-weather.
I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I have seen people in Manchester tip-toeing through deep puddles and muck in ballet pumps (I think that’s what they’re called. The really flat flimsy looking shoes, anyway). Now, if I can share with you one thing, it is that warm dry feet will make you feel better. Full stop.
If the weather is likely to be wet, make sure your shoes are waterproof. If it is going to be snowy/icy/very wet, then boots might be a better option. I certainly wear my hiking boots when the puddles will be very deep or I need that bit of added grip. And make sure they are waterproof too.
The second thing is to wear two pairs of socks. This is a great way to make sure that you have warm dry feet. A thin pair followed by a thicker pair will help wick away any sweat and create a small barrier of air to keep your feet warmer. As someone who gets very cold feet, this is an essential every day in winter.
A lot of what holds us back is how we think about it all
Remember while you’re looking out of the window watching the rain fall that you don’t automatically take yourself back to that time you got drenched while wearing the wrong kit. About all the excuses you can come up with for not getting out (“getting wet”, “messy hair”, “too much hassle”, “people might stare” For this one, let them as you’re the one laughing at being dry and warm!) and instead remind yourself about how good you feel when you have been out. How much more energy you have and that you feel way more refreshed than sitting in that stuffy misted bus.
And sometimes that day or walk, that started grey, turns into something quite the opposite. (Or, like me, you find beauty in the lights, reflections and darkness)
Finally, a simple reminder that the weather isn’t bad or miserable or awful. It is just simply weather. It will change, as do our moods, so don’t spoil a day or miss an adventure because of the way you see the weather right now. 🙂 Just enjoy it, rather than wishing the seasons away or staying cooped up indoors.
How can you make sure you get out in the winter weather? Do you have any other questions you would like me to answer?
Let me know in the comments.