Temperate rainforests are on the western edges of North and South America. The Olympic National Forest in Washington State and the Redwood National Park in California are examples of temperate rainforests. Temperate rainforests do not experience the hot and excessively humid conditions of tropical rainforests. Temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing in the winter to 80 degrees in the summer. Rain is a possibility at all times. Traveling with a few specific personal items will make you better prepared and your experience more enjoyable.
Temperate rainforests have dense canopies that can block sunlight even during the warm season in August and September. Always wear several layers of clothing to stay warm and remove a layer or two once you warm up. Since temperate rainforests tend to be moist no matter the season, avoid cotton clothing as this material absorbs moisture rather than repels it. Bring a hat. It is also a good idea to carry a change of socks in case your shoes get wet.
Bring a rain jacket even if the weather forecast does not call for rain. The weather can change quickly in a temperate rainforest, depending on the moisture coming on shore from the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, the forest itself can be wet even on days when there is no rain. Wear waterproof shoes to prevent your feet from becoming wet. If you want to be extra prepared, also pack rain pants.
The warm dampness of a temperate rainforest can result in an abundance of mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and horse flies. All of these insects can make hiking and camping uncomfortable. Apply insect repellent on any areas of exposed skin. You can also wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from insects but carry insect repellent just in case.
Bring potable drinking water with you whenever you explore in the wilderness. Though the name "rainforest" might lead you to believe that water will be available from streams or rivers, you cannot trust natural water sources to be clean and safe to drink. Even on short hikes or visits to a temperate rainforest, you always need to carry enough water for each person in your party.
If you will be camping in a temperate rainforest, plan for wet weather. Bring tarps to hang over picnic tables and tents. Use a tent with a rain cover and consider pitching your tent on a tarp to prevent moisture from seeping into the tent from the ground. Take along storage containers to store food to keep it both dry and safe from wildlife, such as bears.
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