Believe it or not, some outdoor enthusiasts actually like to camp when it is raining. These folks have camping in the rain checklists that have been refined through many years of experience. Special rain gear for camping is the secret behind having an enjoyable experience even if the skies open up buckets.
What to pack for camping in the rain is extremely important to know. Seasoned campers will usually have special gear that meant to take a good downpour. There also is rain cover camping equipment that can reinforce your existing rigs.
Here is what to do while camping when it rains.
Anticipation is Everything
Anyone who has been camping for a while will tell you that preparation is so important. Being outdoors is fun, no doubt, but it is also a very unpredictable experience. The key to making this fluid situation enjoyable is to be prepared.
Remember the Boy Scouts motto? Be prepared! That is what every camper’s mindset should be. Be prepared for any eventuality and rain is one of those highly probable situations.
At the rate the weather is getting quirkier by the year, rain preparedness is definitely going to save many camping trips from going south.
Bring the Right Tent
When camping in the rain, the single most important item you should have is a waterproof tent. Not water-resistant, but waterproof. A manufacturer will usually make a claim of being waterproof but the evidence is in an actual test.
Many campers I know, (myself included) will do this little exercise to determine how waterproof a tent is. Pitch the tent in your backyard when you know a downpour is going to happen. Allow it to get drenched for several hours, even overnight. (What are the Different Types of Tents)
Once the tent has been thoroughly rained on, examine it inside. Are there droplets of water? Did the seams all hold-up well? Did the closures and zippers keep the water out?
If your tent is very dry, then you have a true waterproof tent. If there is some water but not much, you can usually check where the leaks emanate and remedy this with waterproofing solvents or seal reinforcements. However, if it is wet inside with puddles, ditch the tent, it will not do.
Pitch the Tent Properly
Situate your tent in a place on the campsite where water will not accumulate. Check the ground levels and look for the more elevated portions to set-up your tent. For added dry insurance, use a groundsheet as an added layer on the ground underneath your tent.
Wear the Right Clothes
Waterproof clothing will do the trick to get you to a destination in a dry state. While rain jackets are great at keeping you dry, they only do that for your upper body. You could also wear rain pants, but they can become uncomfortable and warm in case it does not rain.
A good alternative that gives good body coverage is a poncho. These are worn over any kind of hiking attire. A bonus to the poncho is it also covers your backpack.
If you want a minimalist solution, bring a large garbage bag. In case it rains, just slit a hole for your head and you have an instant poncho, protecting you and your gear. I have even seen some hikers tie it at the waist for a more secure fit.
Another good piece of gear to use is waterproof footwear. Many manufacturers make hiking footwear for all weather conditions. If you expect lots of rain, you might want to look into duck boots.
Backpack Rain Cover
With the multitude of pockets on most backpacks sold these days, make sure to dedicate one for a rain cover. Having one ready all the time ensures you can zip-up and waterproof your gear. A very simple contingency affects so many outcomes on a camping trip.
Have a Versatile Sleeping System
Rain does not necessarily mean it will be very cold, but just in case, have a sleeping system that has a 3-season rating. You can always open up the sleeping bags or peel of some clothing layers if it gets warm. Also, be sure to have a sleeping pad for insulation from ground cold and extra padded comfort.
Be Fire Ready
If it is raining, or worse, has been raining, finding dry tinder to start a fire naturally might be difficult. Bring matches, a lighter, and/or ideally a portable stove.
You do not want to turn your camping trip into some kind of survival situation so just take the trouble of packing a reliable, compact gas stove. (Read Quick Guide to Starting A Fire Without Matches)
It is also a good idea to bring food that does need cooking. There are so many choices now, and there are even specialty companies that niche their products specifically for camping meals.
Bring a Tarp
If it is raining constantly, once you get to your campsite, you will not want to be cooped up inside your tent. A tarp will bring much convenience, affording some mobility under a shade. You can also gather under it with your camping friends, sipping a cup of coffee.
Tarps are also a great place to cook and prepare other stuff like chop wood. There are also models now that convert to ponchos you can use while hiking.
For maximum versatility, be sure you also have lots of paracords so you can explore the many Tarp set-up options.
You can even set-up your tent under a tarp for added rain protection. Tarps are the new all-around hack in camping. They are light, pack-up small, and have so many uses.
These are some of the things you can do to prepare for a wet camping trip or unexpected rain. I would just like to reiterate that there many outdoor enthusiasts that actually relish the idea of sleeping to the rhythmic sound of raindrops. Other campers likewise like to push the limits of their gear under stormy conditions.
As long as you are prepared with the right gear and armed with some common sense, camping in the rain is actually a fun experience.