Camping in the rain may not be as memorable as you want it to be. However, it doesn’t have to be miserable or dangerous. With the right gear and know-how, you can turn this unpleasant day into any other normal day.
If you go on your trip prepared for the rain, you may even find things you thought weren’t interesting enjoyable. For example, watching thunderstorms may be your new favorite sight or listening to raindrops against your tent might be your new favorite sound.
So, if you’re expecting some rain on your next camping trip, read carefully. Here are sixteen things you can do when preparing for the rain.
How to Prepare When Camping in the Rain
Bring a Lot of Plastic Bags
When camping in the rain, make sure to pack tons of black garbage bags and airtight bags. They’re very inexpensive and don’t take up space in your bag.
They’re big life-savers if you get caught in the rain. For instance, you can use the big black bags to keep your pack dry. You can also use them to keep wet gear, like your shoes or clothes, to prevent everything else from getting wet.
Finally, you can use them to store firewood. Start collecting dry firewood and place them in the bag before the storm comes up. Then, once the storm is over, you can easily start a fire with the dry firewood around.
Meanwhile, the airtight bags are for other items that should always stay dry. Your matches or lighter, for example, can’t get wet. You can also use these airtight bags to keep medicine, food, and other important items.
Pack Some Dry Newspaper When Camping in the Rain
Newspaper is another cheap piece of “gear” that you can use in wet weather. Newspaper helps suck out moisture, so you can put it in your wet shoes to speed up the drying process. It also works well when starting a fire if you can’t find dry kindling.
Setup Your Tent in a High and Dry Place
Never place your tent in a low-lying area, such as the bottom of a slope. We know it can be tempting since it’s often clear and relatively flat. But, even if it’s just a small slope, don’t give in to that temptation.
Instead, place your tent at the top of that small slope where water will less likely collect. This may require some hiking, so take it slow and wear shoes with a lot of grip on them.
Place a Heavy-Duty Tarp Underneath Your Tent
When out in the rain, tents can flood usually not from above but from underneath. Place a heavy-duty tarp beneath your tent to prevent this from happening.
Ensure that no part of the tarp extends out under your tent. Once a piece of tarp sticks out, the rain will strike the tarp and roll underneath the tent. This means the tent floor is likely to soak it right up.
Therefore, fold any excess tarp under the tent until you can’t see any of it.
Line the Inside of the Tent
Even with a tarp under your tent, moisture will still probably come through if it rains long and heavily enough. To fix this problem, add an extra layer of lining to the inside of your tent.
Cut a thick plastic sheeting (like what construction workers use) that’s around six inches wider than the tent’s diameter. Next, place it inside the tent to keep moisture from getting through and getting your gear wet.
Put Another Tarp Above Your Tent When Camping in the Rain
Consider placing a big tarp on your tent to keep it extra dry. This is especially helpful if camping in the same spot for several days rather than just one night.
The overhanging tarp allows you to hang a clothesline for your wet clothes. It can also serve as a “front porch” where you can take off your wet clothes to prevent the inside of your tent from getting wet and mucky. Plus, depending on the size of the tarp, it can even act as a cooking area that’s protected from the rain.
Avoid Bringing Cotton Clothes
Cotton, once it gets wet, never dries even when it’s not raining—all it does is take humidity in. Meaning, cotton clothes will be even worse when it’s raining. Go as lightweight as you can and choose materials that wick moisture away like nylon and other synthetics.
Prepare Rain Pants and a Rain Jacket
Having your clothes slowly getting soaked in the rain is perhaps the quickest way to be miserable on your trip. Fortunately, you can easily avoid this by traveling with a quality rain jacket and a pair of quality rain pants. Once you notice the storm coming, stop what you’re doing and put your rain gear on. You’ll realize that the difference between staying dry and getting soaked is like day and night.
Wear Waterproof Shoes
Waterproof boots and shoes may be more expensive. But, have you experienced hiking with waterlogged feet? If yes, then you’ll understand that the extra cost is worth it if you plan to go camping in the rain.
Use a Seam Sealer When Camping in the Rain
If you think that you’ll be camping in the rain, apply some seam sealer to the seams of your tent. A seam sealer can help stop water from getting into your tent through the seams.
Some manufacturers say that their tents are pre-sealed. But, some people still experience some leaks even if the tents were advertised as pre-sealed. So, we still recommend sealing the seams on all tents to be on the safe side.
Have Some Bivy Sacks
This is a great idea if you normally sleep on the ground. Simply place your sleeping bag in the bivy sack and you’ll instantly have a waterproof liner. If any water does get inside your tent and condense, your sleeping bag will remain dry.
Additionally, if the weather isn’t that cold, you can sleep in the bivy sack with only a few blankets.
Bring Extra Clothes When Camping in the Rain
No matter how much you try to stay dry, it’s inevitable to get at least a little wet. This is why it’s important to change into dry clothes as soon as possible to stay comfortable and dry. Too much time in wet clothes will only leave you chilly and miserable.
Furthermore, aside from just having extra clothes, see to it that none of your cotton clothes get wet. Cotton will stop acting as an insulator once it gets wet, and as mentioned, takes forever to dry.
Grab Hand Warmers
A part of camping in the rain is that your hands usually end up cold. Cooking, handling tiny objects, or simply having a good time becomes twice as difficult with cold hands. This is where a pair of hand warmers becomes handy.
You can keep them inside your pockets and stick your hands in if you need a quick warm-up. You can even choose to wear them under your gloves! Keep a pair of these in your bag and you’ll be grateful that you did.
Change Clothes Before Going to Bed
Changing into dry clothes before going to bed is something you should always do at night. Sleeping in wet clothes is a big no-no. Also, give your feet the attention they need and never sleep with wet socks! Having wet feet will make you very uncomfortable all night and will keep you cold throughout the night.
You also don’t want to get your sleeping bag wet. It’s very difficult to get your sleeping bag dry once it becomes wet. A wet sleeping bag will ruin your whole camping trip. So, we highly recommend changing into dry clothes before sleeping, especially if you’ve gotten wet at all throughout the trip.
Have a Propane Camping Stove Ready When Camping in the Rain
Cooking over a campfire is fun. But, whether or not you’re expecting it to rain, always have a propane camping stove ready. You don’t want to end up being hungry come dinner time just because you weren’t able to start a fire.
There are a lot of camping stove options on the market today. They’re relatively affordable but it still depends on what features you want them to come with. Whatever model you choose to go with, a propane stove ensures that you can still cook your food.
Enjoy the Rain
Given you follow all of the tips above, rest assured you’ll be relatively dry throughout your camping trip. So, the only thing to do is to sit back and relax. Build a campfire, read your favorite book, or listen as the rain drops against your tarp or tent.
Remember that camping in the rain can be beautiful as long as you come prepared.
Camping in the rain may not be the best option but you can still have a memorable time. As long as you follow these tips and have a positive attitude, you can still have fun despite the weather condition.
Happy shopping and stay safe outdoors!