I knew I’d checked the weather before I hit the trails. But who can ever be sure? The tracks suddenly became muddy, and visibility was difficult when rain poured in the mountain. I heard the disappointments of other backpackers as they hardly made it through the path. Now, how to camp in the rain?
I’ve had several camping trips with different groups. So far, that was the first time I encountered rain. However, I was amazed how our camping guide took it so lightly when I heard him say, “It’s raining, this is going to be more fun than I have expected it to be!”
So now, I am sharing what we did to enjoy the camping still and beat the rain. I’m going to be ready the next time around. And so will you!
How to survive camping in the rain?
Camping in the rain is not like “Survival of the Fittest” as what I have felt that time. I wasn’t precisely the tough type. In fact, it was the most amusing adventure I’ve ever had!
I tell you, if you are with the right company, camping in the rain could turn out to be more exciting than no showers at all. Nevertheless, before going on adventures, make a guide list first to be prepared.
Prepare what you have on your checklist.
Here’s my checklist suited for camping in the rain:
- Avoid cotton fabrics. I recommend quick-drying synthetic fibers. Bring extra clothes, socks, and towels.
- Store it in sealable plastic bags.
- Waterproof rain cover for your backpack
Suitable tent/Hammock and tarp for rainy days
- Hammock Tarps play a big help, choose one that is big enough to protect you when using a hammock, or you can use it to cover the whole space inside your tent.
- Tents should be waterproof, lightweight, and with a seam tape.
Blankets to warm you up.
Fires starters – find one that still works even when it rains (lighter, stormproof matches.)
Food – I like to go light so energy bars and some no-cook backpacking meals would do.
Water – enough to support the entire trip
Handy stove for some hot Choco or tea perhaps??
The right spot to set up camp
It takes a long hike before reaching the right spot. Eventually, when we find the right site to set up, it’s constantly a bliss even when it’s raining and dangerous.
Here’s how to find the suitable location so not to worry when it rains.
- Take notice of the full location. Does it look like it flooded there before? If yes, then avoid settling there. Do not choose soft terrains or slopes too.
- Pick an elevated place that is not near a river or lake. But make sure it’s not too high to expose you to lightning. Avoid being washed out when the waters overflow.
- Don’t pitch your camping shelter under trees. Rain showers won’t stop even though the rain’s long gone. Broken branches might hit you too, as a result of a windy night.Remember to be continually on the lookout for the surroundings. Be alert when necessary.
How to pitch your shelter in the rain?
When the area is secure, it’s time to set up the tent. Or, are you a hammock person? Tent or hammock, the excitement will be the same. I’m sure you are familiar with setting up your hammock/tent/tarp, so there’s no need for me to elaborate.
However, here is a video showing ideas on how to pitch a hammock when it rains. >>
Here are some tips on how to keep your tent dry:
What I think is essential with tents is to keep it dry on the inside. My tent has a one-piece tub floor, so it’s an advantage to rainy weather.
Unfortunately, my tent doesn’t have a floor cloth, so I did a quick buy for it. If you purchase one, pick the one that is marginally smaller than your tent floor size. It prevents water from coming inside the tent.
Tarps are practical too, as an alternative. You need to fold the edges to make it work. And yes, towels can be handy to soak up water.
Don’t wait for the rain to pour before pitching your tent. Worst times, when torrential downpours caught you by surprise, it would be safer to wait for it to mellow down, before setting up.
I usually backpack with a group, so teamwork helps. I do the poles ready; others will do the rest. It’s faster than doing it by myself!
Keep your tent ventilated to minimize condensation.
The importance of a tarp
Whether I’m in for hammock camping or tent, tarps are always my trusted best friend especially when it rains. Pitch the hammock tarp correctly so you can keep specific areas dry. I can make use of the dry ground as a cooking and eating space and even a spot where I can hang-out with everyone.
As I have mentioned earlier, you can use tarps to lay on your tent floor. But tarps can also be utilized over my tent or hammock for an additional rain protection. On top of this, the dry space it provides is an extra space to hang my wet clothes and towels.
Related article: How To Make A Tarp Shelter – 15 Designs with photos
How to build a fire/campfire shelter under the rain?
What’s camping without a fire? One of my favorite pleasure in camping is the campfire. It’s not all about the marshmallows. What I love is the warmth and the ambiance it gives in the place at night.
Nonetheless, do you know how to light a fire when it’s raining?
Here are the steps!
1. Prepare the tinder. Well, it would be hard to find tinder when it’s all wet right?
2. So, it may be a good idea to bring some ahead if you already have a hint it’s going to rain. If there’s none, look for tinder like:
- Pine needles- it does not absorb much water. It dries fast.
- Bark- peek at a dry side of a tree. Scrape some shavings under for tinder.
3. Look for a place where there’s a bit of shield for dry items. Building fire under the tarp is acceptable if you make sure it won’t catch fire.
4. Layer the dry branches, leaves or barks in such a way that a little air can go through in rising direction. Some call it a Tee-Pee technique.
5. Make fire
I have a lighter and some fuels. It’s easy to make a fire that way. If you like a little challenge, kindling will do the trick. Now, keep the flame alive!
Related reading: Starting a fire against all odds
Chill and have fun!
Do you know that camping in the rain can bring us closer to our friends than in summer? Literally, yes! Think of the limited dry space. Kidding aside, it is a beautiful opportunity to bond under the tarp or tent!
Campers, here are what we did to keep the time lively and entertaining. Take note!
- Conversation- naturally, this comes first. Talking about funny experiences or people that are left behind. It will last, but not for too long. Try converting to storytelling games!
- Deck of cards/board games- conversing while minding the cards is impressive. It keeps our mind and hands busy.
- Music- camping without music for me is boring. I love to listen to guitar and sing some group songs. It keeps the group alive and lightens up the mood!
- Enjoy Food- you may think the food is scarce during No way, it’s like a feast to me. Talk about sharing what you have. On the contrary, some bring food for everybody!
And the hot chocolate and the warm tea are my favorites that I continuously look forward to.
- Books – well, when all are down and calm, it’s time for your beloved book.
- Rain Hikes- if you love the rain like me, you will enjoy walking in the rain. Just make sure the path you choose is not prone to accidents.
Of course, we can’t enjoy camping to the fullest without strict discipline and safety rules. I don’t want to end up in trouble within a remote area.
To minimize danger along the way, I guess, stating some important safety rules is advisable.
Cooking Safety Rules
- Keep your food and water safe.
- Don’t use fuel-burning equipment inside the tent.
- Keep food hidden from animals.
- Cook far enough not to burn the tent.
Health Safety Rules
- Keep yourself warm.
- Drink plenty of water.
Activities Safety Rules
- When hiking in the rain, avoid poisonous plants like poison Ivy as well us slippery, rocky and narrow paths.
- Don’t go beyond your limit to prevent injury.
- Keep the medical kit always ready.
- Never wander alone.
- Keep a close watch on kids.
Time to go home!
It’s much hassle for me when it’s time to pack up. When everywhere is wet, I don’t like to move around a lot.
There’s plenty of things to do that I want to stay. Well anyways, what’s vital are:
- Put all the wet stuff in some sealable plastics.
- Store the equipment in separate bags.
- Make sure nothing’s left behind.
It’s just a new experience that I long to happen again. It may not sound right to you, but I love the rain. In fact, I take time to bath in the rain even at home.
My backpacking journey was indeed an unexpected adventure that was full of laughter.
If you happen to camp in the rain, remember these tips, and you’ll be okay. With the proper gear and equipment, you are ready to let it happen.
Don’t forget to stick to backpackers who are good friends. In a place far from home, they’re the only ones who can help you out. And of course, in times of boredom, they’ only people who can cheer you up!
Did you find this article helpful? Pass this on to fellow backpackers!
This Article was written by Laura Reese for Prepper’s Will.
Laura is the founder of CleverAdventurer, where she shares her knowledge, tips about hiking, camping, backpacking in the wild.
She is a young blogger who is very passionate about outdoor activities. She wishes to share her experience during the adventure with people who have the same passion.