The forecast for this weekend?
Here in the Triangle, the high is expected to drop from a high near 80 today to 57 on Saturday, with a 50 percent chance of rain. Sunday, the high is only supposed to hit the mid-30s, with a 70 percent chance of “wintry mix.” The outlook is similar in Charlotte, the Triad, and the Asheville area.
We understand your reluctance to venture out ion the roads if Sunday’s “mix” turns toward the wintry side. But if the roads are just wet, you shouldn’t let a little cold drizzle keep you from enjoying an otherwise … invigorating adventure. You just need to know how to dress for it. That said, we direct you to two previous posts on topic.read more
In March, I wrote about the joys of hiking in the rain — provided you have the right gear to keep you separated from that wonderful rain. I spoke glowingly of rain pants, of a rain hat, of water repellant boots, of wool socks. I was less ebullient about rain jackets. “Despite advances in breathable rain gear, I have yet to hear anyone rave about a particular garment,” I wrote. “If the temperature’s much above 60, there’s a good chance you’ll produce more sweat than any miracle fabric can vent.”
That led Mark Clements to write and ask if he could pen a salute to the poncho. Mark says he developed an appreciation for the poncho as a kid when the family would go on forced marches, downpour be danged. That he now represents McCampbell Enterprises, a maker of rain gear, put me in mind of George Castanza’s impassioned salute to the brassier when trying to land a job as a bra salesman.
And yet, there was a sincerity in Mark’s request. OK, kid, I said, you’ve got 300 words — make me a devout poncho wearer. So now, Mark Clement’s 300-word salute to the poncho …
“As a kid, I hated hiking. I always complained the entire time, and when it rained I had more to complain about. That is, until my mom busted out the rain ponchos. They kept us nice and dry, and turned my complaints back to the bugs. I’m really beginning to enjoy hiking, and on each and every trip I remember to pack a poncho. Here are the pros of packing a poncho in your backpack or back pocket the next time you go hiking.
“1) If it rains, you are going to get a little wet. No rain wear item is going to keep you perfectly dry, unless they create a personal bubble that blocks elements and lets you choose the temperature inside of your little environment bubble. Since that seems like it’s a ways off from happening, a rain poncho will protect you from the elements just as well as any other rain wear product. Our ponchos, and most ponchos, have a hood to protect your head, and they go down to the middle of your thighs. This enables you to move freely and stay dry in the process.
“2) No rain wear is going to be incredibly breathable. If they were, they wouldn’t be able to keep rain out. My recommendation is to keep a rain poncho in the package in your backpack, or back pocket and break it out only if it rains. If you need to wear the rain poncho during your entire hike, they are paper thin (yet durable), and have snaps on the sides that let you open them up for a little air. Typically when it rains, it cools down as well, so the chances of a thin poncho that weighs much less than a T-shirt making you sweat are very slim.
“Rain ponchos are an incredibly cheap option compared to some of the rain wear items I’ve seen on various hiking websites. Two hundred dollars for something to keep you dry while hiking?!? Purchasing rain wear from an online website like ours can run you about $6 for a reusable and durable PVC rain poncho. Enjoy the trails!”read more
Note: This post was amended on Sept. 23, 2015, to reflect my more recent discoveries in great rainy day gear.
I awoke to gray skies, a steady rain and temperatures in the upper 50s.
Perfect day for an off-trail hike.
Alas, only nine other folks shared my feelings for Rod Broadbelt’s annual Wilderness Hike at Umstead State Park. The hike, 98 percent of which is advertised as being off-trail, has in the past attracted more than three times as many hikers. Through the Raleigh Recreational Hikers Meetup alone, at least 25 people were signed up. Yet the prospect of 10 miles in the rain off-trail apparently dampened the spirits of the masses. The weather only made me that much more excited. There’s something more intimate about the forest when it’s dripping wet, especially in winter. The season’s drab brown leaf-littered floor takes on a coppery glow, gray tree trunks take on a metallic sheen and the close, wet air adds an intimacy, a coziness if you will that makes hiking the woods a more personal affair.read more
When the state first introduced the concept of a tax-free weekend the first week of August it was pitched as a way for cash-strapped families to save money on back-to-school supplies. Then people started asking questions like, “What does a wedding gown have to do with going back to school?” So the N.C. Department of Revenue eventually dropped that conceit. Now, there are all sorts of things that qualify for tax-free weekend, including many that help with an active lifestyle.read more