Rainy days can be some of the most peaceful—and memorable—outdoors, even when it’s cold out. We love the quiet, calming sound of the rain, along with the often less crowded parks and trails. And if you layer correctly, you’ll be comfortable and warm no matter what the weather has in store. Let’s start with the key fundamentals: three essential layers, each with its own function.

Up First: The Wicking Base Layer

Moves sweat away from your body so you stay dry

Choose lightweight, midweight or heavyweight layers, based on predicted temperatures and your planned activity level.

Next Up: The Insulated Mid-Layer

Adds warmth without overheating so you stay cozy

Think about how much you plan to exert yourself – the less you’re moving, the more insulation you’ll need. Depending on the season, you may want to pack an extra layer, just in case.

Finally: The Weather-Ready Outer Layer

Protects you from the elements, including rain and wind

When heading out in wet weather, the final layer is more important than ever. The best choice is a lightweight, breathable jacket that will shed moisture while allowing water vapor to escape so you stay dry. Look for a waterproof rain shell with an adjustable hood and underarm vents.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Fabric Type

When it comes to layering, wool or synthetic fabrics are your best bet. While we love cotton, it doesn’t wick and isn’t particularly warm, making it a poor choice for layering.

Bottom Half

It’s smart to bring along a pair of rain pants in case of a downpour, but hiking pants in synthetic, quick-dry fabric will feel more comfortable for most activities. Choose water-resistant shoes or boots with good traction and pack an extra pair of wool or synthetic socks.


Don’t forget to tuck a hat and gloves in your pack – it’s a fast way to add warmth.

"When I’m heading out, my favorites are our Cresta Stretch Rain Jacket and my lined Vista Camp Pants.”

– Nicole, L.L.Bean store rep