Camping in the rain is not my favorite thing to do. I, like most people, prefer sunshine and clear, blue skies.
But camping in rain still beats staying at home, in my book. And if you’re properly prepared, you can still have a lot of fun.
In this article, I go over my tips for prepping to camp in the rain and not only get through it, but also have a great time.
How To Prepare For Camping In The Rain
Check the weather forecast before you go, so you know what to expect. Being mentally prepared is half the battle.
Bringing the right equipment is the other half. Here are some essential items for camping in the rain:
You’ve invested in a high-quality camping tent, right? A cheap tent equals a leaky tent, which equals unhappy campers. Take the largest, best quality tent you have to make being tent-bound as comfortable as possible.
As much as you might love your camping partner(s), you don’t want to be stuck in a tent with them all day, do you? A camping rain shelter gives you room to cook, eat, and hang out while staying connected to the outside world.
There are several options here. You can get a basic, inexpensive tarp and rig it between trees, or get a more expensive, specialized tarp like the Kelty Noah’s Tarp , which is freestanding and easier to set up.
You can get pretty much any sort of tarp you want over at Tarp Cover Sales — they even have cool stuff like camo tarps.
Camping Rain Gear
A waterproof, breathable shell like the Marmot PreCip rain jacket will keep you the most comfortable, although an inexpensive rain poncho will work too. If you don’t like the restricted vision of wearing a hood, get a wide-brimmed rain hat like the Seattle Sombrero . In really wet weather, rainpants provide an extra level of protection.
Avoid cotton, unless you’re hiking in the desert. Synthetic clothing dries faster and keeps you warmer when wet.
Use Ziploc bags, garbage bags, and/or dry sacks to keep clothing, electronics, and sleeping bags dry.
Bring something to pass the time: playing cards, mp3 players, video games, board games, books, etc.
Tips For Pitching Your Tent
When you’re camping in the rain, it’s important to choose your site carefully. Don’t pitch your tent in a depression, where water can pool.
Use a groundsheet under your tent floor for extra protection, and make sure the tent completely covers it; if part of the groundsheet sticks out, it will funnel water under the tent.
It’s a challenge to set up a tent in the rain without getting the insides wet. You can minimize this unpleasantness by packing the rain fly with the tent body so that when you unroll it, the fly is already on top. Then get under the fly, insert the poles, and raise the tent with the fly on top.
If your tent is freestanding, you can set it up under a tree, tarp or other shelter and then move it to your tent site before staking it down.
Don’t carry moisture into the tent with you. Leave wet clothing and gear outside, if possible. Rig a clothesline to hang wet clothing on.
Open all the vents in your tent; maximizing airflow will minimize condensation build-up when camping in the rain. Don’t let your gear press up against the walls of the tent; it will pull moisture in.
In prolonged rain, you may not be able to stay completely dry. Just accept it. Getting wet isn’t so bad — as long as you can get dry when you need to.
Keep a change of clothes and your sleeping gear in durable, tightly sealed waterproof bags.
Don’t forget to bring your PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). Look on the bright side! A bad day camping is better than a good day working, right?
Remember how important rain is to the health of the forests, the animals, and even us humans. It’s a good thing! So don’t be afraid to get out in it, even if you do get a little wet.
Look for rainbows. Splash through puddles. As long as you have a warm, dry change of clothes and a dry tent and sleeping bag to crawl into, you’ll be fine.
If and when the weather breaks, lay your wet gear out in the sun to dry.
When you get home, make sure you immediately hang the tent and any other wet items where they can dry completely before being put away. If you pack them away damp, they will get moldy.
Just Do It
Don’t be afraid to go camping in the rain. You might enjoy it more than you think! With a little preparation, the right gear, and the right attitude, you can have a great time.