How to Prepare for Camping in the Rain

Even the best of us, no matter how well we plan ahead, can be caught in an unexpected rainstorm. When it comes to the weather, unpredictability is the only “predictable” thing about it. If you find yourself caught camping in the rain, what should you do?

This guide will help you prepare for wet weather, so if rain does end up dampening your trip, you’ll be prepared to camp in it no matter what.

Let’s dive in….

First Up: Check the Forecast

Although no weather forecast can 100% predict Mother Nature’s moods with total reliability, using a trusted weather app can help you plan, prepare and keep track of the weather as it evolves and changes in real-time.

And remember, even if skies are supposed to be clear, it is important to prepare for rain in the event that an unexpected storm arises. This is especially true in mountainous or other regions where pop up downpours and storms can form out of nowhere.

But don’t let the chance of rain ruin your plans! Rain usually comes and goes, leaving plenty of time to enjoy nature in between showers. Just plan well and you’ll be set to enjoy your outing no matter what.

Invest in Quality Water-Proofing

Water-proof materials are a godsend when it comes to staying dry in even the wettest of conditions. A few key pieces of equipment you’ll want to consider water-proof options to include: boots/shoes, outerwear (such as rain jackets or ponchos), backpack, sleeping bag, and tent.

Speaking of your tent, there are a number of features to look for:

  • Find out if the tent has a waterproof outer layer
  • Avoid single skin tents
  • Find a tent with a sewn-in ground sheet
  • Look for taped seams, as this will provide extra protection against water
  • Check the HH rating (hydrostatic head) of your tent. For it to provide good protection, it needs to be above 3,000

If the HH is above 3,000, even the worst rain should not soak the inside of your tent. You can also buy a footprint ground sheet or hang a tarp over your tent.

Pack Accordingly

Packing for a camping trip requires a special assortment of goods and items designed to make your experience safe and enjoyable.

Here are some essentials to add to your camping packing list:

  • Ziploc bags
  • Tarps
  • Dry bags
  • Boots
  • Ponchos
  • Waterproof jackets
  • Waterproof tent
  • Portable stove – Nothing like a hot meal or drink on a rainy day!

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it is a good start towards being prepared for camping in wet weather. The next step is to choose a good area to camp in.

How to Set Up Your Camping Site

When it rains, water always pools in the lowest area. When it rains, gravity does what gravity does best: causes excess water to run down slopes and gather in valleys and other low-lying areas. Because of this, you will want to set your campsite up on higher ground.

By setting up shop uphill you can avoid waking up surrounded by a muddy mess, or worse yet, waking up to a flooded tent.

It is also a good idea not to camp near a lake, river, stream or creek. Although the views are often tempting, take time to set up camp a safe distance from any bodies of water just in case.

Make Use of Groups

Are you camping with friends or family? If yes, consider setting up communal space with your tents and supplies that will also help protect against rainy weather! Instead of letting the rain send everyone to their separate tents, come prepared with a sheltered group area. Group areas can also help create a wind barrier.

Tips on Setting Up the Area:

  1. Gazebos, tarps, and outdoor shelters can all help create a “living area” space for campers to gather when it is raining.
  2. You can secure covers with poles in the ground or by tying them into the trees.
  3. Bring a few camping chairs to have comfortable places to sit.
  4. Bring a few paper lanterns or other battery-operated lights to provide a festive atmosphere.
  5. As long as you can keep them dry, bring a few of your favorite games for some fun bonding.

A rainy weather forecast does not have to ruin all the fun of your group or family outing!

Now is a Great Time for Creative Camping Recipes

A little comfort food on a rainy day can go a long way in terms of boosting everyone’s spirits and warming up. Rain can mean a chilly day, so be prepared to bundle up, bring a few extra blankets, and look into some awesome camping recipes!

  1. Make sure to keep a list of the ingredients you will need and do not try to get TOO fancy!
  2. Stir fry, soup, hot chocolate, and curry are all easy options to keep you warm.
  3. A quick Google search for camping meals can give you endless ideas for keeping it creative over the campfire!

Plan Your Outfits Wisely

If you know rain is in the weather forecast, be prepared with warm insulative clothing. Appropriate clothing can keep you warm while wicking away sweat and moisture.

Consider the Following:

  • Wool and polyester are good fabric choices
  • Avoid cotton: although it may be comfortable, it can become soaked easily
  • Plan on layering your clothes
  • Pack extra socks, preferably made of wool

Once you’re properly bundled up, it is time to think about keeping the ground dry! Pack inflatable mattresses to give yourself a buffer between your body and the ground or invest in waterproof sleeping bags and ground insulation sheets as mentioned above.

Like the Scouts, Always Be Prepared!

Even if your forecast looks clear, it is never a bad idea to have these items on hand. Even a basic preparation of a waterproof tent, a couple of tarps, and ground sheets can go a long way keeping you dry during a surprise storm.

Camping can be fun in any weather as long as you come well-prepared. With these tips, you can salvage any trip and turn it into a fun bonding experience! The rain can be relaxing and help you connect with nature, so go enjoy your trip!


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