Gear Guy

The PreCip     Photo: courtesy, Marmot

Q:

What should I wear for hiking in Costa Rica’s rain forest?

I will be hiking with my 12-year-old son for a few days through the rain forest in Costa Rica. What gear to you recommend? Hiking boots, socks, moisture-wicking underwear, bag to keep camera dry, insect repellent, hat...? Al Bedford, NY

A:Well, think wet, warm, and humid. Nothing you wear as a rain coat is going to be all that comfortable, so I wouldn't spend a ton. Marmot's PreCip Rain Jacket ($100) is fine. It's light, packable, and reasonably breathable. Patagonia's Rain Shadow ($150) is a little spiffier, with Patagonia's reliable H2NO coating and a little better detailing than the Marmot. Outdoor Research's Rampart ($89) is completely waterproof—and also coated, so it will not breathe well. But for low-exertion activities it’s fine.

The other thing to do is take an umbrella. Seriously—that keeps the rain off nicely!

For footwear, you might start with the Vasque Synergist ($130), a lightweight boot that has a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofness. They'll also dry quickly once they’re wet. Garmont's Flash 3 XCR boots ($140) are very similar. Take several pairs of socks so you can swap out dry ones. Wear REI CoolMax sock liners ($5) as a base layer, then a pair of Thorlo CoolMax Light Hikers ($16), which are made for warm weather and dry quickly.

Underwear? Anything light and synthetic. Lowepro's Men's Briefs ($18) will do nicely.

And, for a hat, Outdoor Research's Transit Sun Hat ($29) is light and airy, and it dries fast. Just the thing for hot weather.

Hope you have a great trip!

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