If you’re a tent camper, the weather can be challenging! Check out our tips for successful camping in the rain.
If you’re planning a camping trip, there’s something you should be prepared for. Rain.
Despite my best attempts to plan a rain-free vacation, sometimes it’s just not possible.
The good news is, rain doesn’t have to ruin your trip! Here’s how we plan for camping in the rain.
Planning for Camping in the Rain
(Maybe) adjust your camping plans if rain threatens
Sometimes rainstorms pop up unexpectedly. That isn’t always a big deal. Other times, we know storms are coming and they might be more dangerous.
Be aware of not only the forecast, but also the terrain where your campsite will be. You don’t want to be caught in a flooding situation! It’s always good if your plans are flexible enough to go to a different area if need be. Or reschedule.
Use a tent with a rain cover
Is there a chance of rain while you’re camping? Make sure your tent has a rain cover.
If your tent has a mesh screen to allow stargazing, try to check the weather before crawling in at night. If there’s any chance of rain, I like to use the raincover.
Pack extra gear for camping in the rain
If you know it’s going to rain during a camping trip, there are a few extra things that are nice to have on hand:
• Extra towels to use as a doormat inside your tent
• A rain coat or poncho (I was happy I had my North Face Triclimate Jacket on our last camping trip.)
• A warm down coat to wear under the rain coat
• A beanie hat
• Dry clothes and fuzzy socks to change into for bed
Even if you plan on cooking over the campfire for most of the trip, it’s nice to have a camp stove on hand in case of rain. We use this Coleman Classic Propane Stove.
Set up tarps over (and under) your tent
If we know there’s a large rainstorm coming, we like to set up tarps.
Tarps help redirect the rain away from your tent, and can also provide an area to keep some of your supplies dry.
Place a tarp over your firewood to keep it dry.
If it’s going to be extra rainy, sometimes we’ll set up a larger tarp area and pull the picnic table under the tarps. That way, we’ve got a covered area for camp stove cooking or playing cards.
Yes, tarps can be pricey. We’ve found extremely reasonably priced ones at Harbor Freight.
You can also buy tarps on Amazon.
During the Rain
During the rain, make sure to check on your rain setup.
Is the water draining off the tarp or pooling? Can you tighten the tarp in an area to help with drainage?
Try to keep yourself dry
If you’re camping in cold (or even chilly) weather, getting wet can make things even colder.
Obviously, it’s smart to try to keep yourself dry. Sometimes, though, that’s easier said than done.
If that’s not possible, try to keep your hair dry, especially if it’s thick and doesn’t dry quickly. I always try to make sure my hair is dry by bedtime when camping in cold weather.
Keep a set of warm, dry clothes available to change into before heading to bed.
(Maybe) Make a trench
If you’re camping on sandy soil, particularly sandy soil that sits on rock bed, sometimes heavy rainstorms will cause the water to pool.
One possible option is to drag a stick though the dirt to make a quick trench for the rain to drain away.
That said, you should use this option as a last resort, only if the dirt is loose and sandy, and only if you can easily pack the soil back together before leaving.
Remember, our goal in nature is to leave no trace.
(Maybe) Pack up and leave
Despite our best efforts, sometimes nature and tents simply aren’t a good combination.
When that’s happened to us, we’ve tried to make the best of it. Is there a cabin nearby that you can rent to salvage part of your camping trip? Could you relocate to another area?
Or maybe it’s time to go snuggle up under a blanket at home.
After the Rain
Dry out your gear
If you have to pack your tent away while it’s wet, make sure to open it back up again when you get home!
Let everything dry out. If your tent is wet in storage, it will get an unpleasant, musty smell.
Don’t let the rain ruin your camping experience
Some of the prettiest sunrises and sunsets I’ve ever seen have been after storms.
Ultimately, each camping trip is going to be different, and the weather plays a huge part in that.
With a little planning ahead, an eye on safety, and a willingness to make do, you will still end up with lasting memories and maybe some ideas for how you want to handle things the next time!