How to Camp in the Rain

August 3, 2020

how to camp in the rain

Camping in nice weather is pretty easy. Camping in the rain, however, takes some skill and mental fortitude. If you’re not properly prepared to deal with precipitation, you’ll be soaked to the bone and miserable in no time.

Though it may take a little time and practice, knowing how to camp in the rain is a valuable skill that can yield a high reward—namely, the ability to enjoy your well-planned camping trip while other campers are running for their vehicles. If you’re tired of Mother Nature throwing a wrench into your plans, keep reading to discover a few tips and tricks for camping in the rain.

Watch the Forecast

This may seem like a “duh,” but seriously—watch the forecast. Even though rain may be a given, you still need to be aware of dangerous weather such as lightning storms, flash floods and blizzards. Pre-set your car radio to play the stations that provide regular weather updates and monitor the weather on your phone.

Choose a Good Place to Pitch Your Tent

Quick tip before we talk tents: If you have the vehicle space, consider car camping in the rain before tent camping. Car camping will give you a better idea of how to camp in the rain without worrying so much about your sleep situation. (Being wet + lack of sleep = a bad time.)

Rain accumulates in low-lying areas, so avoid pitching your tent at the bottom of steep slopes and bodies of water. The best place to set up your tent in the rain is on a flat area with a higher elevation.

You may need to hike a little to reach the top. Keep your gear light and choose a rolling cooler for easier transport.

Searching for a heavy-duty camping cooler? Visit the official Pelican store and shop coolers in a range of sizes and styles.

Plastic Bags Are Your Friend

Be sure to pack several plastic bags, including large garbage-style bags and smaller Ziplocs. Plastic bags are lightweight, inexpensive and can be used in a number of different ways to keep your gear dry. For instance, you can use them to separate your dry clothes from your wet clothes, as well as to line your pack for an added layer of waterproof protection.

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Layer Up

When it comes to camping in the rain, choose your fabrics wisely. Clothes made from polyester or wool will wick away water and help keep you warm. Whatever you do, stay away from cotton. Once cotton gets wet, it stays wet.

To keep yourself warm and dry, opt for three layers: a base layer, mid-layer and an outer layer. Don’t forget to pack extra base layers, including socks. And, if possible, try to choose colors that are highly visible in dark, such as orange and yellow.

Let There Be Light

Speaking of the dark, don’t forget to pack an LED flashlight and/or a LED headlamp so you can see what you’re doing in the dark. LED strip lighting is another useful and creative way to add ambiance lighting to your campsite.

Know How to Start a Fire in the Rain

Building a campfire can be tricky in the rain. If your firewood gets wet, you’re going to have a difficult time getting your fire started.

One way to keep your firewood nice and dry is by storing it underneath your car. You can also store it under a tarp. Don’t forget to pick up some fire starters before your trip.

Pack an Umbrella

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, many campers overlook this must-have rainy day item.

Umbrellas give you portable protection from the rain, so you can move outside your shelter without getting soaked. Look for one that can be easily staked to the ground for convenient protection whenever and wherever you need it.

Air It Out

When you’re almost finished with your camping trip, it’s a good idea to air out your tent. Trust us–you do NOT want to find disgusting mildew on your tent the next time you pull it out.

If it’s not raining, open your tent’s windows and vents to let it breathe before you pack it up. You can also hang it up to dry on a clothesline at home.

Embracing the Rain

Above all, try to embrace the rain and everything that comes along with it. Accept the fact that you are going to get a little wet. Accept the fact that you are going to get dirty. With the right skills and a good attitude, you can overcome Mother Nature.

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