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Table of Contents
- Tips for Camping in the Rain
- 1. Monitor the Weather
- 2. Pack Smart
- 3. Layer Up + Bring Rain Gear
- 4. Hang Up Your Gear
- 5. Toasty Warm Clothes
- 6. Artificial Heat
- 7. Tarp, Bungee Cord + Rope
- 8. Create an Outdoor Living Room
- 9. Pick the Right Campsite
Tips for Camping in the Rain
The first few times I went camping in the rain, I was miserable. I didn’t plan at all and ended up huddling under the tarp, cold and damp. I don’t think I need to say it, but that wasn’t a lot of fun. There had to be a better way. And unsurprisingly, there was!
After a little research, my next rainy camping trips were much more enjoyable. I’m sharing both my practical and totally frivolous tips so that you can have a more enjoyable experience in the rain, too!
1. Monitor the Weather
First and foremost, check if rain’s in the forecast. Luckily, we live in a world where that info is literally at our fingertips. The Weather Network, WeatherBug®, and AccuWeather are great apps for watching the weather.
If you don’t know when the rain’s supposed to show up, you might end up trying to set up your campsite in a downpour. That’s a sure-fire way to get everything soaked. If you’re lucky, you’ll just have to wait a few minutes for the rain to pass, but it might not always turn out that way.
2. Pack Smart
Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, pack as if it is — especially in the rainy season. By proactively protecting your clothing and gear, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Instead of throwing your gear into any old bag, use a water-resistant one. There are plenty of water-resistant bags out there, so take your pick! If your bag isn’t entirely waterproof, line it with a large plastic garbage bag. Put your clothing and gear into Ziploc bags or dry sacks inside the water-resistant bag for some extra protection. The more protection you have, the better.
It might seem like overkill, but water has a sneaky way of finding its way into everything you own. So unless you’re into wearing soggy socks, take lots of precautions!
3. Layer Up + Bring Rain Gear
The right gear makes all the difference when you’re camping in the rain. Have you ever tried staying dry in a pullover hoodie or flip flops? I’ll bet that didn’t go well. There’s a reason outdoor companies make special rain gear.
Moisture-wicking clothing is made of a special fabric that pulls moisture away from your skin to keep you dry. It’s usually made of polyester, nylon, or merino wool. Wicking clothing isn’t water-resistant — you’ll still get wet if you only wear it out in the rain — but it helps keep sweat and dampness off your skin. Most base layers are moisture-wicking.
Never, ever, ever wear cotton. It absorbs water like a sponge and takes forever to dry. You’ll be shivering and soaking wet in no time.
Waterproof Outer Layer
Remember that you can always layer up underneath, so your outer layer doesn’t need to be super heavy duty. It just needs to keep out the rain.
Dry feet equal happy feet! And fewer blisters.
Around camp, a solid pair of rubber boots or gaiters will keep your feet dry. When you’re hiking, you’ll want to wear waterproof hiking boots. They won’t keep your feet as dry as full-on rain boots, but at least your feet won’t be as wet as if you wore runners. You’ll also want moisture-wicking socks.
4. Hang Up Your Gear
No matter how hard you try, you’re gonna get a little wet when you’re camping in the rain. As tempting as it is to change into dry clothes and forget about the wet ones, it’s important to hang them up. This helps keep your clothes mildew-free and hopefully, you’ll be able to wear them again.
In fact, if you bring quick-dry clothes you should be able to pack less and re-wear more. Having said that, it depends on the level of rain, moisture, and how royally wet your clothes are.
Bring a clothesline and string it up under your tarp, then hang up all of your wet clothes. If you can, place it near-ish your fire to help speed up drying time — sure, you’ll end up smelling like the campfire, but let’s be honest, you were going to smell like it anyways. You’ll have a much better camping trip if you’re not forced to wear your damp clothes the next day.
5. Toasty Warm Clothes
Do you really want to get out of a warm bed when you’re camping in the rain? Everything’s so cold out there!
To make getting outta bed a little easier, sleep with your clothes in your sleeping bag. You’ll wake up with toasty warm clothes! It’s a tad easier to drag yourself out of bed when you have nice warm clothes to change into. I’m not saying it won’t still suck to venture outside, but it might suck a little less.
6. Artificial Heat
Do your hands and feet get chilly when you’re camping in the rain? Mine sure do. Instead of suffering, it’s time to break out the hand warmers! They’re a literal godsend.
After I learned this trick, it seemed so obvious. They’re absolute lifesavers on rainy days. Tuck them in your clothes and you’re golden! You can thank me later.
7. Tarp, Bungee Cord + Rope
Tarps are a rainy camper’s best friend and are by far the easiest and cheapest way to waterproof your campsite. Seriously, they’re the best. With a proper tarp set up, you can almost forget it’s raining (minus the drop, drop, drop sound). What are you waiting for? Grab your tarp, bungee cords, and rope and learn how to set it all up!
REI has a great article on how to create your tarp haven. When you’re setting up, it’s important to angle your tarp away from where you’re eating, sleeping, and generally hanging out. I’m sure you don’t want to step in a huge puddle or have water drip down your back. Plus, by angling the runoff away, it’s less likely a huge muddy mess will develop on a commonly used route.
If you’re using a tarp under your tent, make sure it’s not sticking out along the edges or else you’ll end up sleeping in a pool of water. No thanks.
8. Create an Outdoor Living Room
One of my favourite things about camping is enjoying the outdoors. But before I learned a few things about camping in the rain, I usually ended up wrapped in blankets under the tarp or in my tent on rainy days. Now, instead of retreating to my tent when it’s raining, we build a cute outdoor living room and keep the fun going! It’s actually pretty awesome.
A little ambiance turns a rainy campsite into a fun getaway. Simply string a few tarps overhead, break out your camp chairs, and set up some cute waterproof fairy lights. Bring out your cooking gear, crack a few beers and coolers, and pull out our games — maybe try one our adult road trip games! A fun outdoor living room makes camping in the rain a lot more bearable.
Now, this set up won’t really work if you’re camping in the back country or on the ocean, but it’s a lot of fun when you can use it.
9. Pick the Right Campsite
Picking the right campsite when it’s raining is oh-so-important! You don’t want to suddenly find your tent flooded with water in the middle of the night.
Try to choose campsites that are on level, flat ground that aren’t in any sort of dip or depression. If possible, keep your campsite at least 200 ft from any sort of flowing water. A small stream can quickly turn into a fast river if there’s enough rainfall.
If you do find yourself in a campsite with some inclines, try to stay on the highest ground you can. Water follows the path of least resistance, which means high ground is your friend!
How do you keep the fun going when you’re camping in the rain? Share your tips below! Or do you have a crazy rainy camping experience? I wanna hear it!