How to camp in the rain

Due to the extreme natural disasters of the recent summer, camping for many people was ruined this year. Whether because of fires, floods, or even hurricanes, the camping season was shorter than usual, leaving many of us disappointed that we were not able to the most out of the season.

Yet, just because the seasons have turned, does not mean that camping fun has to end. Camping in the fall and even into the winter months can be just as liberating and fun as camping in the spring and summer can be. The biggest deterrent for campers seems to be the rain, however, camping in the rain is completely doable if you just follow these steps.

Know where to pitch your tent

Some logic dictates that pitching your tent underneath a tree canopy will offer you more protection from the elements. This is not the case if you are camping in wet weather. When the rain lets up, if you are camping under a tree, the raindrops will continue to roll off of leaves and branches, creating an annoying symphony.

You also run the risk of a branch falling during a rainstorm and wrecking your tent, or, worse, hitting someone in or near the tent. You also should aim to pitch your tent on higher ground and away from any streams or rivers to keep your tent from flooding.

Bring the right gear

Pack your rainproof gear
Pack your rainproof gear

Your tent should have a rain fly already, keeping your tent as dry as possible. Obviously, you should also bring raingear with you, including rain boots, a rain jacket, and even rain pants. It is all too easy to get your legs wet in the rain and keeping them dry will only add to your overall comfort. Make sure to hang up your wet gear when you get back to camp though so the clothes get a chance to dry out before being used again. Also, you should dry out your tent after camping before putting it away to prevent mildew.

Keep yourself warm

There is not much that is more miserable on a camping trip than sitting in soaked, cold clothing. Bringing waterproof clothes with you will help keep the cold from seeping through and keep you from getting wet. If you are in a serious downpour, wearing layers can also help you out by keeping water on an outer layer and away from your skin. This will also make peeling wet clothes off of you easier without making you cold. Also important: keep your feet dry. If your socks have been soaked, you need to change them out. Your head and feet need to be warm and covered in order to maintain your body heat.

Indulge in comfort foods

Warming up with a hot drink can make your campsite seem much cosier
Warming up with a hot drink can make your campsite seem much cosier

When is there a better time to really enjoy some comfort eating than when out in the woods in the rain? When you or your crew are feeling a bit low due to the weather, it is the perfect time to bust out a hot cup of cocoa. Even better, with adults of course, is to spike the cocoa to add even more warmth to the belly. Beyond the warm drinks, having hearty and warm food on hand will help fill up the belly and give you some added calories to keep yourself warm. Some good ideas for comfort food are lasagna, stews, or even a box of macaroni and cheese.

Bring some in-tent entertainment

If the rain has gotten so severe that neither you nor your companions wish to go outside, you do not want to be stuck inside of a tent for hours doing nothing. Be prepared for some tent downtime by bringing activities with you, such as cards, board games, books, musical instruments, or anything that will keep the troops entertained. Telling stories can also be a fun way to sit out a rainstorm. You can use your camping supplies to create props to re-enact a story as well. Be creative.

Don’t stay cooped up

If you are well kitted out then walking in the rain can a great experience
If you are well kitted out then walking in the rain can a great experience

The point of camping is not for you to stay trapped in your tent the whole time. Get yourself decked out in your raingear and go out for a hike. The pace may be slower than what you are accustomed to, but you can still get out in the woods and get some fresh air. Watch out for puddles and slippery paths, but otherwise got out and conquer the rainstorm. And as an added bonus, you will have a warm cup of cocoa waiting for you back at your campsite. It will give you the best of both worlds; you can get out in nature and also warm up by the campfire.

Keep a positive attitude

As with anything, really, attitude can be the difference between having a good time or a miserable one. If you look at the rain as more of an opportunity to experience nature and pass quality time with your friends or family, you can see that the rain can and should be enjoyed. You are not being held prisoner in your tent. Instead, you are getting closer to your loved ones and slowing things down so you can enjoy the simpler things. The memories you make will last a lifetime. Look at the rain as an opportunity for growth rather than an inconvenience. With a positive spin, you will find yourself having a great time no matter the weather.

It is ok to call it a day

If the whole gang are down in the dumps, maybe it’s time to just pack up and head back home
If the whole gang are down in the dumps, maybe it’s time to just pack up and head back home

If the rain is a complete downpour and everyone simply seems miserable, it is alright to abandon the camping trip and try again another time. Camping is not meant to be an endeavor in how long you would like to be tortured and there is no prize for surviving. This is especially true if you are camping with children who are cold when outside but cannot be confined to the tent. If it seems like the trip is a bust, it is completely okay to pack up and go home. Camping will still be out there the next time.

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival