Let’s say you are camping and suddenly it starts to rain. Did you prepare for wet weather? Are you not a fan of camping when it’s raining?
Staying outdoors while it rains isn’t so pleasurable as you must adapt to a changed situation.
How to have enjoyable and dry camping even if the rain surprises you? How to camp in the rain without being miserable?
I love camping in the rain because I get used to it. I adopted new ways to survive camping and rain together so I will share my camping tips for rainy weather with you.
Check some of my favorite everyday tent camping in the rain hacks and top camping equipment for camping in the rain to survive the wet seasons, thunderstorms, and lulls in the mood.
IS IT WORTH CAMPING IN THE RAIN?
If you are an avid camper and want to enjoy the great outdoors throughout the year then you are already familiar with the fact that camping in the rain is not only common but almost essential in some places.
The best way to stay comfortable during these excursions is to prepare your tent properly so it can repel the elements and any moisture they bring.
When it comes to camping in the rain it makes you tougher and improves your ability to set up shelters quickly.
Should you cancel camping because of the rain?
If you come to a campsite prepared with all the camping gear for the rain and know what will you do then you shouldn’t cancel it. It can be a really great experience. There’s something so magical about camping in the rain. However, if you’re not prepared then it can be a nightmare.
CAMPING IN the RAIN TIPS
When it comes to camping in the rain, there are a few things you need to take into account in order to make the most of your experience.
Camping in wet conditions isn’t a bad thing when being outdoors, you just need to cooperate with nature.
Read on to know the best hacks for camping in the rain that will help you to enjoy your wet adventure.
INSTALL SOME CAMPING LIGHTS
When the rain is making you feel sad or down, string up some lights to help lighten up the mood and bring back the optimism and cheer.
The lights will make rain camping less miserable, and it is really worth the weight for several reasons:
- you will see where you are going
- it provides a sense of security in case you need to get up at night. If someone needs to go to the restroom or if something happens, they don’t have to use a headlamp/flash
- it will scare some of the animals away
- You can get some party string lights or solar-powered camping lights. If you’ve powered them during the sunny daytime, you can use them when it’s cloudy or dark.
It is also important to have a good flashlight so you will see where you are going in the woods at night. A flashlight is one of the necessary things for staying outdoors so consider getting one.
RAINY DAY CAMPING MEALS
What food to bring on camping when it rains? Consider comfort food.
When the mood drops and you feel hungry, get something that’s comforting but also nutritious to help to elevate everyone’s energy levels and spirits.
Get together and eat delicious and simple food. Don’t forget that a warm, hot meal, snack, or drink will make you feel better, especially when it’s rainy.
You can take a hot breakfast, oatmeal, or other cereals for example. They are nutritious and provide good energy throughout the day.
Warm-cooked meals are the best option as they will warm you up and give you the energy that you need to spend an active day.
Think of goulashes, hot soups, and stews that you can make at home and just warm them up over a camping stove which is the most popular cooking gear for the outdoors.
PLAY CAMPING GAMES
When the mood is down, campers tend to isolate themselves in their tent with books, phones, or video games, preparing for an early bedtime.
What to do when it rains on camping? If you will be camping in the rain with kids or friends then consider the next tip.
To get everyone’s mood lifted, simply bring them back together over a campfire and pull out some travel-friendly board or card games to get the camping party back on track.
This is one of the most common rainy day camping activities but it always works.
Hint: I play this fantastic unpredictable strategic game with my friends and family called Catan and we always have a good laugh! I recommend it, especially on a rainy camping trip.
BUY A PROPER WATERPROOF TENT
The majority of the outdoor tents are made to withstand precipitation but their waterproofness depends mostly on the waterproof level.
A unit that has a 1,000mm HH won’t withstand as much rain as a unit with a 2,500mm HH.
To know more about tents and their waterproofness, check the article about hydrostatic head rating in outdoor tents.
This is why it is important for you to choose a tent for the rain with a good waterproof level.
A waterproof tent is a camping gear that is the most important to take outdoors if you expect precipitation and must be first on the camping in the rain checklist.
A waterproof tent is a basic rain gear that will provide you with dry camping. Waterproof tents are made of materials with coatings that repel rainwater and snow.
If you expect normal rain you can opt for a tent that has a 2,000mm waterproof coating and up. This kind of tent also has features that will make your tent’s interior dry.
What is more important than staying in a dry tent? Do you want to know how to additionally protect your shelter from the rainwater? Read on and check more useful rainy camping hacks.
MAKE A PORTABLE TENT PLATFORM
This is one of the great ideas for all of you who have some skills with tools and want to have your tent lifted from the dirt. This action takes some time, material, and skills but you will be thankful for making it.
With the right materials and building a tent platform guide, you can make your own platform that will protect your shelter from rainwater and mud. This way you will never face puddles inside and also sleep in a more comfortable place.
COVER THE TENT WITH A TARP
If you are expecting rain cover the tent with a tarp so you can have the entire tent protected. It will intercept the raindrops which will slide to the ground.
Make a tarp shelter
A tarp comes in handy if you don’t have a camping tent or if it got damaged as you can use it as a tarp shelter and protect yourself from the elements.
HOW TO STAY DRY WHILE CAMPING?
Staying dry and safe while the rain is soaking your campground is crucial. Take a look at my tips to stay dry while enjoying a rainy camping trip.
What clothes to pack for rainy camping? Propper clothing is one of the most important things that you should consider. The first rule is not to get wet in the first place.
Always bring a rain poncho or a waterproof jacket in case a sudden storm arrives. You can also get rain pants or gaiters so you won’t get your clothes wet from precipitation and dew while you walk on a rainy campsite or woods.
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T WEAR
When you go outdoors with the slightest possibility of precipitation, don’t wear just cotton clothing. Cotton clothes aren’t the best choice when you’re going to spend a lot of time in nature.
Cotton absorbs water easily, and wet cotton can be uncomfortable on the skin as well as chilly. Cotton clothes lose their insulation properties when they get wet, so this is an easy way to get hypothermia quickly.
Wool is another fabric that takes forever to dry, so it also isn’t the best choice for rainy weather clothes (unless you wear it in the tent and at night to provide insulation and warmth). Merino wool is the best that you can get.
DRESS IN LAYERS
When it’s wet and cold outside, layering is an important strategy to have. Having an extra layer of (synthetic) cloth will provide you with warmth and protect you from getting wet.
You should start with a base layer of clothing to wick the sweat away from your skin and keep you dry.
Then add an insulating middle layer, perhaps fleece or wool. Finally, top off the layers with a waterproof outer shell so you will stay protected and comfortable.
HOW DO YOU DRY CLOTHES WHEN CAMPING IN THE RAIN?
There aren’t any laundry facilities in the wilderness, and hanging wet clothes around a fire to dry isn’t an option due to the precipitation. So what can you do? Consider a few clever options:
- You can take wet clothes and place them in the corners of the sleeping bag. While you sleep, your insulated bed will keep you warm with your own body heat, and also slowly heat and dry out wet clothing.
- Hang wet clothes in the tent, especially a tent’s vestibule. They’ll dry out eventually. If you opt to dry clothes inside a tent make sure you have enough ventilation so you won’t have condensation problems due to the moisture evaporating.
- Bring a newspaper and stuff it inside the wet or damp items. It will wick moisture, like the old rice trick for electronics.
Tip: Never sleep in wet clothes.
Bring some garbage bags, grocery bags, or at least freezer-size Ziploc bags. You can use them to line things like your backpack so that everything inside stays nice and dry.
SECURE YOUR TENT IN THE RAIN
How to keep a tent dry in rain? Your tent is where you will be sleeping, so it’s super important that you are able to sleep in a dry interior through the night. How to protect a tent from rain?
Here are some camping in the rain tips to consider:
- Before you go on your camping trip, purchase a water-proofing kit, and use it on the tent. Some tents aren’t already waterproofed or your tent’s coating wore off so you need to re-waterproof it.
- Put a tarp on the ground where you will pitch a tent, it will protect the structure against moisture and mud.
- Weigh down your tarp’s corners with rocks or other heavy items. They will protect your grommets – the little metal corner holes – from any wind that will try to flap the tarp around. Once the grommets are gone, the tarp needs to be replaced.
- If you don’t have a tarp and the ground is wet, put something, like a ground cloth between the ground and a sleeping bag. Due to the cold, wet ground, your body heat will drop at night, and you could put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation of losing too much body temperature. The best things to use are things that are waterproof, like plastic. If you don’t have that, anything else you can find would be better than nothing at all. Sleeping pads are a great option.
- Be sure to dry out all your camping rain gear before storing it. Otherwise, it can get mold and mildew that you will have a hard time washing away.
BEFORE GOING CAMPING
Not so much a hack as a must-do, but the importance of these things makes it worth mentioning.
- Make sure that you know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and how to treat it.
- Understand the signs that a lightning storm is coming, what to do, where to take shelter, and also where not to hide.
- Know the weather cues for an impending storm, and which type of storm it will be. Checking the forecast before your trip helps a little bit, but it’s not very good at predicting sudden storms that can come out of nowhere.
- Check your tent for possible holes or tears so you won’t take damaged equipment outdoors. If you find damage in the fabric repair the tear and get ready for the camping trip.
HOW TO STAY WARM WHEN CAMPING IN A TENT?
You should always take care of your body temperature and be warm all the time so you won’t get sick or feel uncomfortable. Check the next tips to stay warm on a cold-weather camping trip.
WARM-UP YOUR CLOTHES FOR THE NEXT DAY
When it’s super cold outside, stuff tomorrow’s clothing into a sleeping bag before you go to bed. Your body heat will warm them up overnight, and it will be easier to get moving in the morning.
WARM YOUR HANDS AND FEET
If your hands get cold, try some hand warmer packs. They’re super small and cheap, so they’re easy to pack. Or, you can bring gloves. If your feet get cold, you can put some hand warmers in the waterproof shoes or waterproof boots.
MAKE A CAMPFIRE
The best thing to do is to set a campfire close to the tent (but not too close!) to provide you warmth for a longer time.
It is harder to get your fire started in the rain so make sure you have dry wood. If you don’t have it you can pick some wet firewood and put it under the tarp to dry it but it will take some time.
In this case, you can gather some dry wood in the caves or places where rain didn’t get to.
Do you think that starting a fire with wet wood isn’t possible? Check out my article about starting a campfire with wet wood.
I advise you to bring some fire starters and waterproof matches so you will have heat and light as soon as possible.
CONSIDER SMART TENT HEATING
Staying warm inside a tent is crucial. There are plenty of ways how to achieve this. You can opt for non-electric tent heating ideas that are useful if you won’t camp on a campground.
If you want to heat the interior easier then you can opt for a camping tent heater that will simplify the heating process and make your interior comfy right away.
You can insulate your tent to keep heat inside using a reflective heat barrier. It takes some time and effort but you will be thankful for it.
Why don’t you take advantage of the rain and catch some rainwater? Don’t use the water that touched anything like leaves, trees, or rocks, only what fell out of the sky.
If you use the rain you collect as drinking water, make sure that it has been properly purified. If you have a water filtration kit, it can be fun to filter the water and put it back into your water bottles or canteens.
HOW MUCH RAIN IS TOO MUCH FOR CAMPING?
The problem occurs when it’s raining for a few days in a row or when you encounter heavy rain.
When I see more and more puddles in the campground and when there is a possibility of floods, I pack my things and go back home.
When you don’t enjoy being outdoors anymore due to too much groundwater or facing the tent leakage (no matter if you waterproof a tent additionally) then maybe it is time to go home.
IS IT SAFE TO CAMP IN A STORM?
What can you do if you see a storm coming your way? The best thing to do is to prepare for the worst.
Pitch your tent in a safe place. Don’t camp near trees or in open fields, but rather in the woods or in an accommodating depression.
Check that you are not close to any slopes that could turn into mudslides when wet and muddy.
Make sure your place is well-draining so water runs away from it instead of filling up in it.
If you already set up your tent, check if it is staked properly so the wind won’t blow it away as you will stay without the shelter that is crucial to make you safe and sound in the situation.
HOW TO SET UP A TENT IN THE RAIN?
How to protect your tent from the rain while you pitch it? The whole point is to keep the tent interior dry as much as possible.
Set a tarp on the ground and grab a shelter from its bag. Put it on the tarp and cover it with an extra tarp if you have it or some waterproof material so the precipitation won’t soak the interior.
Stake it and prepare the poles (if they aren’t stitched in the material already). Make sure you prepare all before uncovering the tarp on the tent so it will stay dry as long as possible.
When you figure out how to set it up (if you are pitching your new tent) lift the tarp and start the tent setup process. Try to cover it with the rain fly as fast as possible if the product has it.
If you see some raindrops on the material while you are already in the tent, grab a piece of cloth and wipe them off. Open the vents so the air can flow, making the extra moisture goes out.
WHY DOES MY TENT GET WET INSIDE?
If your tent walls or sleeping equipment are wet then you should figure out the reason for it. The first reason for the wet gear can be the lack of ventilation that builds condensation.
The basic mistake that campers make is to close all the openings, also the vents when it’s raining.
While staying inside the tent the exhaled air won’t have a chance to go out and the condensation will build on your walls and things.
But how can you open windows if the rain can get inside? In this case, it’s good to have a tent that has angled windows.
One of those types of tents is the Coleman Elite Montana tent where you will be able to have mesh windows open to provide sufficient air circulation in the rainy weather.
The other reason for the wet tent interior can be a leaking tent. If your unit has holes or tears then you should repair them before even going to explore the great outdoors.
Always prepare for the adventure, pitch a tent, water it with a garden hose, and see if you have a tent that leaks.
Can you sleep in your car while camping?
Sleeping in a car while car camping is a choice that some campers make. It can provide a comfortable place to sleep, as well as shelter from the elements. Some people also find it more convenient than sleeping in a tent.
However, there are a few things to consider before you decide to sleep in your car while on a camping trip. First, make sure that it is legal to do so in the area where you are camping. Some parks and campgrounds do not allow overnight sleeping in vehicles.
Second, consider the weather conditions. If it is going to be very cold or hot, sleeping in a car may not be comfortable.
WHAT TO DO WHEN IT RAINS WHILE CAMPING?
If you think that camping activities are limited due to the rain you are wrong. In fact, you can have plenty of fun inside a tent and outside, especially if you come prepared.
If you like outdoor activities then you can wear a waterproof jacket and shoes to explore the surroundings. You can hike on the trails, watch nature and play outside with children (if you will be camping with them) in the puddles, I am sure that they will like it.
Another great option is to go fishing, as long as you have the proper equipment.
What do you do in a tent when it rains?
After staying outside, you can go inside the tent to do tent activities. You can read a book, take a nap or just relax.
How about playing cards inside the tent with other campers? This is a classic and very entertaining activity, that can be done with the whole family.
If you bring games, you can always play them inside the tent as well. Just be sure to stay hydrated and don’t let the rain ruin your fun!
HAVE FUN WHILE CAMPING IN THE RAIN
You can’t control the weather and as much as you’d like to, Mother Nature doesn’t care what kind of camping experience we want or plan for.
The next time it rains while you’re out camping and pitching your tent, don’t let bad weather dampen your spirits!
Use my camping in the rain hacks to have an adventure that will leave you with fond memories instead of being wet and miserable.
When you consider the tricks and try them you will see that nothing can destroy your adventure, not even the bad weather. Which of these tricks did you find helpful? Leave a comment below!