Tips When Camping in The Rain

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Prepare for Camping in the Rain

Some of the most important things you can do to keep dry and ensure a better camping experience are actually done before it rains. Some things should be done before you leave home. Think ahead and be prepared.


1. Take a good tent with a proper rainfly. You may want a tent with a rainfly that completely covers any mesh vents and windows. Some cabin tents are designed in such a way that the rainfly just covers the top of the tent (more like a roof on a house) and some people complain about rain blowing in the windows. See tip #13!

2. Consider buying a tent that has a vestibule. Even some small backpacking tents have little vestibules. This helps keep you dry while opening the tent door. Some vestibules provide enough coverage to store gear under them.

3. Waterproof you tent occasionally with waterproof spray. You can also seam the seals with seam sealer. This adds a protective layer on your tent.

4. Check the forecast before you pack and leave for your camping trip to best prepare. Be sure to check the forecast for your camping destination, not your home location. Also check for severe weather. Camping in the rain is one thing, but camping in severe storms is not advisable if it can be avoided. I know forecasts aren’t always accurate and some storms are short lived, so use common sense.

5. Pitch your tent on higher ground. If you are camping where you can actually choose where to pitch your tent (no designated tent pad), choose an area on higher ground. Don’t pick the lowest area on a site or the bottom of a hill. All the rain will run down and stand in the lowest area.

6. Watch for rising water if you are camped next to a creek or river.

7. Bring extra tarps!

8. Put a tarp or ground cloth under your tent. You can purchase “footprints” specifically made for some tents. Not only will this help protect your tent, it adds another layer between you and the wet ground. Just be sure the tarp is not bigger than the tent bottom. Any edge of the tarp sticking out can allow water to puddle around and under your tent.

Some people recommend putting a tarp on the floor inside of your tent too, but we have never done this.

9. Put a tarp over your tent if you are worried about keeping your tent dry and have doubts about how waterproof it really is. This also can give you a covered area to enter and exit the tent if the tarp is big enough. Just be sure to pack extra rope or para cord for the tarp.

10. Bring waterproof containers and/or bags to store your gear. Even though you hope the interior of your tent will remain dry, storing clothes or gear in waterproof containers can help ensure they won’t get wet. It you don’t have some totes or handy dry sacks, at least bring some rubbish bags and  large ziploc bags.

11. Place a mat outside your tent or Motorhome door to catch any mud and debris. Putting a small mat or rug inside the tent or Motorhome door is a good idea too.

12. Put up a pop-up canopy over the picnic area or even near your tent. This will give you somewhere to hang out and prepare food out of the rain. If you don’t have a Canopy, use an extra tarp to create this covered space.

13. Zip any tent windows closed to help keep the interior of your tent dry if it is raining hard. I find it surprising the number of people that say rain blows in their windows of their cabin tents due to a smaller rainfly. I know ventilation is important, but some condensation is not as bad as actual rain blowing in! I know it can get hot and muggy in the summertime though.

14. Open the door and unzip any windows once the rain stops. This will allow your tent to air out a little.

15. Bring some food that doesn’t have to be cooked. If the weather is really nasty, it may be difficult to cook.

16. A camping stove or small backpacking stove is easier to cook on in the rain than trying to cook over a fire or grill. The stoves are easy to use under a tarp or canopy.

17. Gather kindling and firewood (or purchase it) when you first arrive, especially if it is not raining then. Bring your firewood if you can.

18. Cover your dry firewood and kindling with a tarp. Lay the tarp on the ground, place the wood on it, then cover the wood with the remaining section of tarp, essentially wrapping it up, to keep it dry. You can also store  kindling or a few pieces of firewood in a heavy duty garbage bag.

You may not plan on trying to start a fire in the rain, but you’ll want dry wood for a fire after the rain (hopefully) stops. The fire will  warm you up and help dry any clothes that got wet.

19. Be sure you have some sort of tinder or fire starter. Wood shavings, dryer lint, fire starter blocks etc. 

20. Don’t forget the waterproof matches or lighter!

21. Make a clothesline from para cord or rope to hang wet clothes on

22. Don’t forget the rain gear.  Be sure to pack a rain coat or poncho. A wide brim is helpful or at least bring a ball cap. Some people bring boots and an extra pair of shoes.

23. Bring towels. You’ll be glad you have extras if you get drenched. Most people that are campground camping usually bring a towel for their shower. 

24. Bring adequate lighting. Overcast, cloudy skies and rainy weather can make it darker. Be sure you have enough flashlights, lanterns, and batteries.

25. Bring something to entertain you in case you are stuck in the tent, under the tarp or canopy, or in the campervan/motorhome.

26. If it is warm enough, just play in the rain! If you are camping with kids, they will have a great time too.

27. Stay positive and find things to appreciate if you end up camping in the rain. Take the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the company of your friends and family during your tent or Motorhome confinement, let the sound of the rain hitting your tent lull you to sleep at night, and enjoy the post Snowdonia landscape.

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