Tips for camping in the rain
March 17, 2014
I really don’t mind camping in sunny weather, but the rain sure does love me! In fact, we’ve had very few camping trips without rain, so I can offer some advice for surviving the rain.
Problems due to rainy weather during camping can be broadly divided into these groups: inconvenience and survival. Inconvenience can set in when everything is wet or even when you’re dry but your kids are bored and getting cranky. You should also be prepared so that you won’t wake up in a pool in the middle of the night and have to rescue everything. I call that survival.
When you’re camping with any children or even friends and it rains for extended periods of time, after a while you start getting bored. And since rain can happen anytime, I suggest that you always come prepared.
- Board and card games that can be played in the food tent or even tent
- Containers for snails and earthworms for kids to play with
Rain gear so you can go outside for a hike in the rain. It’s really important to have rain gear, because if it rains for longer than a day, you will not be able to dry your clothes (and you will not want to put on damp pants). When it’s warm and raining you can just use your sandals. We also prefer wearing shorts in the summer rain, so we wouldn’t get the bottoms of our pants wet.
When camping, it is generally extremely inconvenient to get your tent and bedding wet. If that rain continues, you would not be able to get it dry. This would not cause actual bodily harm but may get you sick. You really really really wouldn’t want your bedding to get wet in the middle of the night. You may get wet in the middle of the night if your fly leaks, or if your tent is sitting in a dip of the ground and water pools around it. Here’s some tips to protect your tent.
Choose a spot
Choose a spot that is:
- At least slightly elevated so that when it rains the water won’t pool around your tent. Avoid little dips at all costs.
- In between four trees - Find three or four moderately strong trees to which you can secure a tarp. We always pitch a tarp over our tent (when car camping) even though we have a full fly. The tarp protects the tent from rain and falling sap and gives us somewhere to hide in rain while taking our shoes off. In rain, the tarp also collects rain and lets it drip off and pool at least a foot downhill from the tent.
Prepare your spot
Make a little trench around your tent so that when water comes, it has a pre-defined path that leads it away from your tent. You can dig it with a shovel, or use a rock or stick to make a little dip in the soil. Make sure the lowest part of the trench (the place to which you’ve led your water) doesn’t have a barrier and doesn’t make the water pool. Flatten the edges of that part of the trench so the water can naturally flow away from your tent site.
I think you’re ready for a rainy camping experience that will give you lots of stories to tell to your city-bound friends.