How To Camp In The Rain: 12 Tips To Keep You Dry And Happy

Rilor Staff
Update: June 23, 2022
Table of Contents

Camping under a heavy downpour can be pretty annoying. However, this doesn't mean that you can't fully enjoy the adventure. 

Don't let a little water ruin or make things dangerous for you. After all, the rain can be an added ingredient to the overall grandeur of your outdoor adventure. As long as you can prepare yourself for it, camping in the rain can be quite fun, as well!

Here are some of the things that you need to do and learn so that you can prepare for it. 

How To Camp In The Rain

One of the things that you need to realize here is that rain can pour anytime--even in moments that you didn't expect it. Because of this, you may need to prepare and adapt to it. In this way, you will be able to remain dry and safe throughout the duration of the trip. 

Be Attentive Of The Weather Forecast

We all know that the weather influences the overall nature or progress of your trip. The best day to camp is when the weather is sunny. Here, you can do anything you want without being trifled by rain, snow, or other forms of precipitation. 

If you are worried about the rain, you better watch the weather forecast. These days, the forecasts already predict the weather for the coming days. There, you will see the probability of various weather events, such as rain, thunderstorms, and other disturbances. 

Always remember that weather is pretty volatile these days. So even if the weather forecast says that it will be sunny all day, there's still a chance that it might rain, especially if you are camping near mountains.

Hence, being prepared is essential. Pack your rain gear and prepare for the worst. If the wind gets strong all of a sudden, that's a sign that you might encounter heavy rains.

Choose A Strategic Campsite

If you want to rain-proof your camping trip, you have to make sure that you are camping in the correct location. Fortunately, this is something that you can do. 

Here are some of the basics when it comes to choosing a campsite:

  • Make sure that the campsite has a degree of elevation. In this way, water won't gather and become a puddle in your area. Go to the top of a slope so that you'll avoid water from collecting.
  • Furthermore, pick a location that is not near a body of water, such as rivers and lakes. You don't want to wake up submerged in a four-inch deep flood
  • Don't place your tent under a tree. After the rain stops, droplets would still fall from the leaves and branches. There's also a possibility that these branches would fall off after heavy rain, potentially causing injuries. 

Place A Rugged Tarp Under Your Tent

Even if you are in an elevated area, it is still possible for water to seep into your camping area. Once the water flows under your tent, your gear and clothing will be at risk of being wet. 

To avoid this nasty predicament, you should use a heavy-duty tarp. Place it under your tent, as it will serve as another layer of flooring. It will keep the water out, ensuring that you'll remain dry throughout the duration of the rain. 

It is also important that the tarp is larger than the tent. In this way, you will be able to extend it from your tent and cover enough space for the water not to pass through. You should stake it firmly; otherwise, the surface water would be able to breach in. 

Line Your Tent

Even in the presence of a heavy-duty tarp, you still need an additional layer of waterproofing inside your tent. It is likely that moisture would come inside, especially if the rain is heavy and long. 

To do this, bring a plastic sheet that is being used on construction sites. Cut this plastic sheet--roughly five to six inches broader than your tent's diameter. Place it on the floor of your tent. This lining would prevent moisture from coming in, which, in turn, would protect your gear from getting wet overnight. 

Have A Roof

Many tents, especially 3-season and 4-season tents, have rainfly on them. A rainfly is like a portable roof that extends beyond the tent. It acts as a roof that protects you and your belongings from the elements, such as the heat of the sun or the rain. 

You are good if your tent has a rainfly that is fully waterproof. But if it doesn't have one, you need to innovate. If you are anticipating rain, you would need to install a tarp above your tent. 

Make sure that the tarp has heavy-duty construction so that rain won't be able to pass through it. Make sure that the tarp is inclined downwards on both ends. If the tarp is just flat, water will gather on the surface, causing the tarp to collapse. 

Extend the tarp away from the tent. It prevents rainwater from dropping in your perimeter. At the same time, the added dry space can serve as additional storage space for your wet clothing and gear. At the same time, it could also serve as your portable kitchen. 

Here's a video tutorial for setting up a tarp over your tent

Don't Shut Your Tent Fully

When it rains, we instinctively close the windows and doors of our tents. While the idea is understandable, you should never do so. After all, closing your tent will prevent any air circulation. That would lead to internal condensation. It could make your tent damp, especially in moments when the temperature is low. 

You are safe from this if your tent has built-in ventilation, such as vents. But if it doesn't have any, you need to open at least your windows to keep the air flowing in.

Bring Plastic Bags And Containers

The rain is quite dreadful for campers who haven't waterproofed their items. There's a certainty that their clothing and items will get damped! But that's something that you can avoid entirely.

If you are expecting rain on the day or weekend of your camp, you need to bring plastic bags. These plastic bags are waterproof; they can protect your belongings from getting wet. The best options you have here are those black garbage bags. They are cheap and easy to pack. You can also opt for Ziploc bags, as well. 

These bags don't just work to prevent your gears from getting wet. In some cases, you can also use them to pack your already-wet items. This is necessary for situations where you don't have extra storage space outside. They can prevent your wet items from wetting your tents or other belongings. 

These plastic containers are also essential for storing items that should never get wet, such as fire-starting items and medicines. 

Don't you know that you can also use these bags to pack a wet tent?

Don't Let Wet Things (And People) Enter The Tent

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. If you want your tent to remain dry, you have to make sure that no water sources can come inside--and that includes a wet person. 

If they get inside, things will get messy and dirty. After all, it would be difficult to wipe off the water residues that they bring. At the same time, they might also bring in mud and dirt. 

As much as possible, you need to quarantine your tents from the elements to make them conducive and livable. 

Bring Bivy Bags

Just because the floor of your tent is dry doesn't mean that you will not experience coldness from it. One way or another, the low temperature outside would really creep inside your tent, especially on the floor. 

To avoid getting cold, you should bring a bivy bag with you. These bivy bags can provide additional insulation to sleepers. At the same time, they can also protect your sleeping bags from being damped by moisture. 

If that's not enough, bring sleeping pads, as well. These sleeping pads would make things a little warmer.  

As a reminder, don't fully close the sleeping bag when you are sleeping. Your face should be exposed; if you breathe inside the bag, there's a chance that its insulation will get wet. 


5 Best Bivy Sacks

How To Choose Bivy Sacks

Don't Use Cotton

One of the biggest mistakes that you can commit while camping or hiking is wearing cotton layers. By all means, cotton is a material that isn't suitable for outdoor pursuits. 

Surely enough, cotton is comfortable. But in camps and hikes, they can get inconvenient. In fact, it doesn't take rain for cotton to get wet. Once you perspire, it can get wet already. Even a little humidity can also make the material damp!

Every time you go on a camping trip, make sure that you bring clothes made from lightweight, synthetic materials. Examples of these materials are nylon and polyester. They are designed to be breathable and moisture-wicking. 

Use Waterproof Clothing

As long as you are expecting rain on your trip, you need to pack your waterproof gear. That's a commandment that you have to follow. In this way, you will be able to walk outside without your base layers getting wet. 

You can avoid this predicament by wearing a high-quality rain jacket and pants. Once you notice that the skies are turning dark, you need to equip these layers right away. They can keep you dry and comfortable throughout the duration of the rain. 

Of course, you should never forget your waterproof boots or shoes. You don't want your feet to be soaked in water. These waterproof shoes and boots are slightly more expensive than non-waterproof ones, but their price is pretty much justifiable. 

Meanwhile, you might consider bringing a pair of dry socks. 


Best Rain Jackets For Men

Best Rain Jackets For Women

Best Rain Jackets

Enjoy The Rest Of The Trip

If you come unprepared, the rain can ruin your camping trip. Hence, you need to follow the guidelines that we've listed above.  

As long as you can implement them religiously, the rain won't bother you at all. In fact, it may enhance the overall experience of your adventure! 

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