Camping in the rain
Imagine a situation when you have spent a week or so preparing for a trip to the countryside, and the weather forecast ruins you plans: instead of a quiet and warm day, you get a cold and soaking drizzle or a series of intermittent showers. What would you do? Cancel your trip, right?
Now that you have done a whole load of work, this does not sound like a clever idea. Camping outside the city is always a good thing, even on a rainy day. This seems a little tricky, but there are effective tools, methods, and weapons that you should have learned by now and are going to have up your sleeve next time.
There is nothing to guarantee that your camping day is going to be completely dry. Rain is something you must always be ready for. Here are some must-do’s for you and your team:
- Check your canvas for rips, tears, holes, and broken seams.
- Be sure the floor can keep rainwater out.
- Bring a raincoat for every person going with you.
- Check our reliable sources on how to set up a tent in wet weather.
So, what should I do to be on the safe side? There are quite a number of things you can do to protect yourself against curveballs.
Store your tent in a dry place
This should be the starting point. You should do your best to protect the canvas against the harmful influence of moist. Failure to do so can cause molding or destruction of the canvas and reduce its lifespan. You don’t want to unpack your tent and realize it smells bad, has grown weak, and is no longer useable, do you? Clean and dry it after every use and be sure that you have not missed a single drop of water!
Do not set the tent up when it pours
If you have arrived at your camping site and it is raining, please wait until the weather gets better. Keep your gear sealed and packed and stay in a shelter (e. g. a vehicle), so your stuff won’t get soaked. Before you start out, prepare tarps, so you can provide extra cover for your things.
Check weather forecasts
Although weather forecasts do sometimes fail, they should not be disregarded. If you are planning a trip to a specific location, check short-range and medium-range forecasts for this particular place. Besides, it is advisable to check online weather maps and track the movement of cyclones and atmospheric fronts. An anticyclone is a circulation of air around a high-pressure area, and it brings fine and quiet weather. If you see one approaching your camping area, you are less likely to get caught in a shower. If there is a cyclone (a circulation of air around a low-pressure area) and atmospheric fronts on the map and they are getting closer to your planned camping site, be prepared for wet weather and take appropriate steps.
Choose the right place
No matter what the weather forecast says, a shower may occur pretty suddenly. Setting up a tent on an elevated spot can minimize the consequences and prevent the flooding of your camping site. Avoid camping near rivers, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and other natural sources of water because rain can cause water to rise and flood your camping site. Do not camp out near trees or right under tree crowns. A heavy rain and a gust of wind can break thick branches or even the whole tree and send it tumbling right down on your tent.
Bring extra clothes and socks
If it rains nonstop, clothes that you are wearing will soak anyway. You cannot stay inside all the time, so be sure that there are dry clothes and socks at hand. Take raincoats and slicker suits along. Do not use cotton clothes because they are quick to soak, slow to dry, and heavyweight.
If you realize that your clothes have gotten wet, take them off immediately. Use every chance to dry them: hang them out when the rain stops and sun peeks out, or near the campfire (not too close to the fire!). Prepare more ropes and poles, so you can stretch them and hang your clothes. Do not go to bed in wet clothes. Wool clothes would be the right thing because they would keep you warm during sleep.
Heat up and ventilate your tent
It is mandatory that you heat up and ventilate your place properly. The best thing you can do is fix a stove jack, so you can put a stove in it. A stove jack is a kind of hole in the wall or ceiling, through which you run the flue pipe outside. Check the stove jack and the integrity of the metal ring and the heat-resistant silicon part of it to ensure sufficient sealing and fixation.
This requires some caution and experience: burn the stove in keeping with the instruction manual that comes with it. Be sure that the stove area is covered with a fire-proof mat. Provide proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not leave the stove burning without supervision!
Bring extra tarps
There should be a couple of extra tarps at hand. You can use them to cover the floor and prevent water from soaking it. Besides, you can cover the roof with one and thus stop a leak, if there is any. Last but not least, you can cover your bags and gear and thus keep the stuff dry even during heavy rainfall.
Use quick-dry towels
Make sure you have polyester and/or microfiber quick-dry towels in your bag. These absorb water way better than common towels, so they can dry you pretty quick when you have returned from outside on a rainy day.
Use bivy sacks
A bivy sack is a minimalist yet reliable solution for campers. It provides extra protection against water and wind, and it can be a powerful addition to your sleeping bag. Even if you have blankets only, you will be okay in a bivy sack because it is made of a water-resistant material and has ventilation holes. In a way, a bivy sack can replace a tent.
Set up a separate cooking area
Some guys might be wondering: what’s wrong with cooking inside a tent when it rains cats and dogs outside? Nothing if you’d appreciate a lot of mess and dirt inside and the whole thing smelling like sixteen different flavors of holy old hell from smoke and food stuff. If you really need to cook during your trip, you need to set up a cooking area away from the tent and shield the fire and yourselves against water. Besides, you can use this area for storing wood and tarps. Finally, you can get together there and breathe fresh air instead of locking yourselves inside the tent.
If you still find burning a campfire in the rain too tricky, you can use a propane stove instead. There are compact and user-friendly stoves available for sale. Using one takes a bit of learning and experience because you need to fill it with propane from time to time and take precautions.
Provide extra sources of fire and firewood
Cannot imagine a camping trip without a campfire? Good for you. Finding dry wood during rain sounds like a challenge, but there are ways around it. You can get some firewood beforehand and store it in a moist-free place. Besides, there is charcoal available for sale. Just be sure you have matches and lighters at hand, and you don’t let them soak in the rain.
Wet wood should not be disregarded either. Get your raincoat on and bring a good stock of wet sticks, branches, and logs. It takes more time for them to dry and burn, so they can keep your campfire running for hours. This is exactly what you need on a cold and wet day. If you are going to camp for several days, you need to make quite a stock.
Use seam sealers
There are lots of tents that boast a prominent level of water-resistance. However, canvas does deteriorate over time, and there is always a chance of damage and flaws. These may become visible and palpable during heavy rainfall: you don’t want to turn in and realize there is water leaking and dropping right down on you, do you? If one of the seams has gone apart, a seam sealer can help you, so you should include it in the checklist of items.
When packing up for another camping trip, check all your bags for holes and be sure that all zippers are safe and functional. Even a single tiny hole can let in a good amount of water, spoil your stuff, and cause you a lot of trouble.
Bring some light
There should always be a source of light, even if you are in for a brief trip. Staying in complete darkness can be dangerous: you can miss a wild predator or venomous snake approaching your camp site or even step on one and suffer a bite. You can use LEDs, flashlights, lanterns, etc., and be sure that you have extra batteries.
You know that kids appreciate outdoor games. This can be a problem on a rainy day. You are going to have to do a little work explaining to your kids how to behave on a wet day and get them ready to face all possible inconveniences. Children can take the edge off the boredom of staying inside by playing board games.
Camping with a pet can be fun and cheerful for both you and your pet (presumably a dog). However, you must be aware that pets walk on the ground with bare feet, so they don’t have shoes to take off at the threshold. This means that you should be ready to remove dirt and moist from the inside every time your pet gets inside and brings it. You cannot tell your dog not to shake off water inside the tent, so don’t be shocked when it happens and think twice about it before you start out.
Stay in the mood
It is absolutely imperative that you and the rest of your team have braced up for some tough time and take it for granted. Everyone should know that rain is no good reason to get downhearted. There is always an extra thing you can do about it and turn your trip into one of the brightest experiences in your life. There are dozens of ways you can bring positivity to your camping experience. For example, you can tell stories, true or made up, or just share a funny experience from your life with others. Reading your favorite book is a great time-passer too. Finally, there is hardly a more bonding and unifying thing than a sing-a-song game to the knocking of raindrops on the canvas roof!
🏕 Would it be possible to have a nice camping trip on a wet day?
Yes. Camping out for a couple of days is always healthy and invigorating, even in rain. All you need to do is take care and keep your stuff dry during the trip. Bring some board games and books along or use other ways to entertain yourselves.
📦 How do I prevent rainwater from leaking into my tent?
Check the tent from time to time and right before the trip. Make sure that all seams are okay and are not going apart. If necessary, do some repair work at home and take a sealer with you. Use extra tarps to cover the roof and/or the floor during rain.
💡 How do I stay warm while camping on a wet day?
There are several things you can do. Bring a sufficient amount of dry firewood and/or charcoal and clothes. If your tent features a stove jack, use a wood stove and burn it properly. Take all necessary precautions to avoid fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.