Last Updated on February 22, 2021 by Tent Reviewer
If you are new to camping, it is important that you know how to camp in the rain. If you forget to check the forecast or an unexpected storm rolls in, your first priority will be staying dry.
Before you go camping, you should know some tips and tricks if it starts to rain. This will help you prepare yourself if Mother Nature is uncooperative.
20+ Tips and Tricks on How to Camp in the Rain
In this section, we have listed many useful tips for you to better camp in the rain.
1. Don’t Forget the Rainfly
It is essential that you bring the rainfly with you when you go camping.
Many inexperienced campers struggle to get the tent back into the bag after camping, and they leave the rainfly out to make more room.
This is a big mistake. If the weather suddenly turns bad, you are going to want the rainfly. It is designed to cover the mesh and the windows to keep your tent and everything inside dry.
2. Buy a Tent With a Vestibule
If you are worried about a sudden storm, or if rain is expected during your previously planned trip and you still want to go, you need to have the best tent for the rain.
Tents with vestibules are great because when you open the tent to get in, the rain will get the vestibule wet, but not the tent’s sleeping area and everything inside.
If you don’t have a tent with a vestibule, your sleeping area will get wet every time you open the door to go in and out of the tent. This can make sleeping very uncomfortable.
3. Waterproof Your Tent
Most experienced campers will tell you that it is essential that you buy waterproofing spray for your tent. Even if you have a great tent, it is still possible for the tent to get wet.
If you spray the whole tent, it will add a protective layer to ensure that your tent will stay dry.
It would help if you also used a seam sealer. This will prevent rain and moisture from coming into the tent through the seams, and it will keep the inside of your tent dry.
4. Pitch Your Tent on Higher Ground
If you are going to a campground, you should ask for a site that is on the highest ground. When you have already reserved a site, you should ask if you can switch to a site on higher ground.
If the campground isn’t completely booked, there is a good chance that the staff will have no problem putting you on a different site.
5. Watch for Rising Water
When you are camping near a river or a creek and it starts to rain, you need to remain vigilant. If you don’t observe the water level, your fun camping trip can become deadly.
If the water does begin to rise to a dangerous level, it is best to pack up and get out of the area. The last thing that you want is to be caught up in a flash flood.
6. Put a Tarp Underneath Your Tent
Before pitching your tent, you should put a tarp on the ground. This will give you an added layer of protection if it starts to rain.
Even if you don’t think that it will rain, you should still put a tarp down. The weather forecast can change, and if it does, you want to be prepared.
7. Bring a Tarp to Cover the Tent
You should bring extra tarps when you go camping, and make sure that you have one to cover your tent just in case it rains.
The tarp will provide extra protection from the rain, and it will create an area for you to enter and exit the tent without the sleeping area wet.
The best way to create a cover over the tent is to tie the tarp to a tree or use poles. You need to remember to bring the poles and the rope when you go camping, even if you don’t think that it is going to rain.
8. Bring Waterproof Bags or Containers for Your Belongings
Even if you have faith in your tent’s ability to keep the water out, you should pack your things up in a waterproof bag or container if it starts to rain.
If you don’t have room in your vehicle for plastic totes, a trash bag or ziplock bags will work just as well.
If it starts to rain really hard and the water gets in, at least your clothing and other belongings will be dry.
9. Lay Down a Mat or a Rug
If it starts raining really hard, mud and other debris can get into your tent. A mat or a rug will catch any debris before it gets in, which will allow you to sleep in a dry tent.
10. Bring a Popup Canopy
If it starts to rain, you don’t want to be confined to your tent until the storm passes. If you bring a popup canopy, you can put it up over the picnic table and the cooking area.
The canopy will protect you when you are cooking or just sitting at the table hanging out. The popup canopy will also create a shaded area if it is very hot outside.
11. Zip the Tent Windows Closed
If it is raining really hard, you should close the tent windows. Although proper ventilation is essential for your comfort inside the tent, it is not as important as keeping your tent dry.
If it is too hot and muggy to stay inside the tent, you can wait out the storm under your popup canopy.
When the rain stops, you can open up the tent’s windows and doors to let the air in, making it more comfortable when you go to sleep.
12. Bring a Small Camping Stove
When you pack for your trip, you should bring a small camping stove that doesn’t need an open fire to cook your food. This will make cooking easier if it is raining really hard or if it is very windy.
13. Pack Food that Doesn’t Need to Be Cooked
If you don’t have a camping stove, you should pack food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Even if you plan to cook under a popup canopy, the wind can blow the rain under the canopy, making cooking very difficult.
If you bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked, you can eat without getting wet.
14. Have Your Fire Ready
As soon as you arrive at the campsite, you should gather all of the firewood you need. If it starts to pour, the last thing you want is to go into the woods looking for firewood, which will be wet.
If you are camping at a campground and don’t stock up on wood, you will need to leave your site in the pouring rain to get more firewood.
To ensure that you have enough wood, you should gather 13 to 15 logs for each day when you get to your site.
15. Bring Firestarters
It can be difficult to get a fire going when it is raining outside. It can also be difficult to get the fire started after a strong rainstorm. The fire starters will make it easier to get the fire going.
If you don’t have any firestarters, you can use wood shavings, dryer lint, or cotton balls with petroleum jelly on them. If you can find them at your campsite, pine needles work great.
16. Keep Your Wood and Kindling Covered
Even if you gather all of the wood that you will need, it will be worthless if you don’t keep it covered when it rains. It is best to cover your wood with a tarp even if rain isn’t in the forecast.
If there is an unexpected storm, your woodpile will remain dry. If it is very windy, you should put a rock over the top to keep it from blowing off.
17. Pack Waterproof Matches
You are going to need a fire source to get the fire going. If you are using matches, you should bring waterproof matches. If it starts to rain and you have regular matches, they will be useless as soon as they get wet.
18. Make a Clothesline Using Rope or Para Cord
If your blankets or clothes get wet, you will need a place to dry them out when the rain stops. You can tie a rope or paracord between two trees, and you will have plenty of space to hang your things to dry.
19. Pack up Your Rain Gear
Even if there isn’t rain in the forecast, you should pack your rain gear. If there is an unexpected storm, you will have all the protection you need from the rain.
You won’t be able to hide out in your tent if it rains all day. If you have a popup tent, the wind can blow the rain under the tarp, causing you to get wet.
This won’t be an issue if you have your rain gear. It would be best if you packed a raincoat or a poncho. To keep your head dry, bring a wide brim hat or a baseball cap. Finally, pack some waterproof shoes or boots.
20. Bring Extra Towels
You are going to need towels to dry off after your shower or after going swimming. You should bring a few extra towels for each person going on your camping trip.
If you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm, you will be glad that you brought more towels than you need.
21. Pack Lanterns or Flashlights
Along with rain come overcast and cloudy skies. This can make it darker, particularly right after sunrise and right before the sunsets.
If you have a lantern or a flashlight, you won’t be able to see well enough to cook, read and get around the campsite.
22. Bring Pallets
If rain is in the forecast, you should bring a few pallets to the campsite with you. You can stack the pallets and put your air mattress on top, which will keep you and your blankets dry if the rain gets heavy.
23. Pack Extra Clothing
You should always pack extra clothes when you go camping, and this is especially true if it rains. If the clothes you are wearing get wet, you will have extra clothes to change into.
This will prevent you from having to go home because you ran out of clothes.
24. Pack Non-Cotton Clothing
If you are wearing cotton clothing, it can feel damp even if you don’t get wet. Cotton absorbs moisture, which can make you uncomfortable. When packing for your camping trip, you should pack a few outfits that aren’t made of cotton.
Nylon and other synthetic materials won’t get moist when it rains, which will keep you comfortable if a storm hits.
25. Change Your Clothes Before Bed
It is best to change your clothes before getting into your sleeping bag for the night. If your clothes are wet or damp and you don’t change, your sleeping bag will get damp as well.
A fresh pair of clothes will make you more comfortable when you go to bed.
26. Take a Ride
There is no rule that says you need to stay at your campsite the entire time you are camping. If it starts to rain heavily, you can get in the car and take a ride.
When you are near shopping centers and restaurants, they make for great places to wait out the storm. If not, a nice ride in the country is a great way to wait out a storm.
27. Stay Positive
If it rains during your camping trip, it can put everyone in a foul mood. Instead of getting upset, you should try to stay positive and enjoy the rain.
Rainfall on a tent is a great way to lull you to sleep. Also, after a storm, the landscape looks fresh and new. Rather than getting upset about the rain, try to find the good things that the rain can bring.
28. Check the Forecast
One of the most essential things that need to be done before you go camping is checking the forecast. This will let you know if it will rain during your camping trip so that you can pack accordingly.
It will also give you a chance to postpone the trip until there is no rain in the forecast.
Rainy Day Camping Activities
Just because it is raining, it doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop during your camping trip. There are several activities that can keep you and your party busy while it is raining.
- Read a book
- Do a crossword
- Play charades under a popup canopy
- Play a board game or cards in the tent or under a popup canopy
- Watch a TV show or movie on your phone or tablet.
- If it is warm enough, put on your bathing suit and play in the rain.
- Go swimming in the rain as long as it is warm enough and it isn’t thundering.
- Get in the car and go sightseeing in town.
What You Should Do After Rain When Camping?
When the rain finally stops, there are several things that you should do as soon as the rain stops.
- Put on dry clothes
- Hang anything that got wet in the rain on the clothesline.
- If it went out, try to get your fire going again.
- Dry off your table and chairs and hang the towels on the clothesline.
Just because it starts raining during your camping trip, it doesn’t mean that the trip has to end. As long as you are packed and prepared for rain, you can still have fun.
Hope this guide can help you know more on how to camp in the rain.