Tips for hiking and camping in the rain

Stef Zisovska
Hiking in the rain
Hiking in the rain

You’ve been planning a camping trip for the last few months, and now you finally have some days off work. You have your gear packed, a new tent, food and drinks; it seems like you’re going to have a perfect camping vacation. But, there is one thing you forgot to check, the weather forecast!

Cloudy with 100% chance of rain! The last thing you want is to unpack and cancel the trip you’ve been waiting so long for. The question is can you still have a successful trip even with the rain? The answer is definitely, yes! You can have lots of fun on a rainy camping adventure.

Follow these tips to learn how to do it.

Choose the right site for your tent

The most important thing for keeping a camping experience a dry one is to know where to pitch your tent. If possible, pick a place that’s already dry, and avoid soft ground because that’s the area that will get wet first if it starts raining.

A good place for the tent is important
A good place for the tent is important

Also, avoid sleeping close to trees as they will drip incessantly and can even fall if a strong enough storm blows through. A tent next to a river is also a bad idea because when the rain starts the river can flood the area and you could well find yourself in trouble in the middle of the night.

A rain fly and extra tarps

Now that you know how to choose a campsite it’s time to pitch a sturdy tent and protect it from the rain by using a rain fly. Be sure to tighten the rain fly above the tent, but away from the walls so the water can fall on the ground and not onto your tent.

An improvised fly tent using a tarpaulin
An improvised fly tent using a tarpaulin

Also, for some extra protection, get a few sturdy tarps and tie them above the tent entrance and other areas of the campsite. This way your tent and your eating area will stay dry. Extra tarps are always useful and can help you keep the whole camp area as dry as possible.

Keep it dry inside

While protecting the tent from the outside is crucial for staying dry, protecting it from the inside is important as well. Put the ground cloth inside the tent instead of below the tent. It will keep the water from penetrating the tent, and you’ll have one more layer between you and the ground.

After a rainy day of hiking, try to dry all the wet clothes by hanging them outside instead of keeping them inside the tent. You don’t want ot be bringing in any extra moisture as that can make sleeping a soggy affair. You can keep wet clothes and shoes in waterproof boxes or bags and dry them when you get back home. You want your tent dry and clean.

Dress for the rainy weather

A rain jacket is indispensible
A rain jacket is indispensible

If the weather forecast says it’s going to rain, don’t forget your rain gear. Wear appropriate layers to stay warm and dry when exposed to cold and wet weather. You start layering up by first putting on your thermal long underwear and base layers. Then the mid layers, like a down jacket or vest, and for the top layer, a rain jacket and rain pants.

As for footwear, you will need waterproof hiking boots to keep the water away from your feet as you walk. Don’t forget about the ever useful garbage bags. You use one to cover your backpack, use it on the inside of it, separate wet from dry clothes, protect your feet if they start to get wet, etc.

Watch your step

Walking in the rain can be pretty slippery, so be careful where are you stepping. Avoid slick rocks during downpours. Plan your route prior to your departure and be ready for all weather conditions.

Watch out for puddles
Watch out for puddles

If there’s a low-lying river near the trail and it has been raining over the previous days, consider changing the route because the trail is probably underwater. Avoid walking along the side of mountains as there can be landslides. So, just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival