There are two things I absolutely love: Camping and the sound of rain falling to the ground. That being said, camping in the rain isn’t always the most pleasant experience. In fact, if you’re new to camping, it could prove to be quite a difficult battle against the elements.
However, if you stick to these creative hacks for camping in the rain, I’m sure you’ll still be able to enjoy a fun time. After all, these moments of spontaneity and overcoming obstacles are what make camping fun in the first place!
General tips for camping in the rain
Before we get into the neat stuff, here are some general tips for camping in the rain for beginner campers. While these aren’t as nifty as the hacks we’ll cover later on, they can certainly come in handy if you ever get caught in the rain while you’re out camping.
Prepare the right equipment and check everything
The number one tip for camping in the rain: Avoid camping in the rain. However, we know that’s not always possible given the amount of planning that goes into camping trips.
In that case, the next best thing to do is to check the weather forecast for the place where you’ll be camping, and prepare the right equipment.
We’re talking extra groundsheets and tarps, waterproof clothing (especially socks), hand-warmers, quick-dry towels, and extra clothes to change into if you get wet.
Bring a synthetic sleeping bag
Like many avid campers, I love my down sleeping bag. However, while a down sleeping bag is good at keeping you warm, it’s not as helpful in keeping you dry in wet conditions. Instead, switch to a synthetic sleeping bag like this Kelty one if you’re preparing to go camping in the rain.
Pack some extra plastic bags
Plastic bags are extremely useful tools for camping, especially when it rains. You can use them to keep your clothes and other items dry in addition to storing clothes that may have gotten wet if you don’t plan on drying them.
Pitch your tent in the right way
Finally, if you’re camping in the rain, pitching your tent in the right location and in the right direction is key to ensuring you enjoy a fun-filled experience. Generally, you’ll want to avoid overly wet or muddy areas or locations that can easily pool with water.
Apart from that, make sure that you position your tent so that the door or opening faces the opposite direction of the wind! I neglected that when I met a storm while camping once. It was not pleasant. Let’s leave it at that.
Now that we’ve got the general tips out of the way, let’s take a look at some helpful hacks for camping in the rain!
Hacks for camping in the rain
1. Use a seam sealer to plug any potential leaks
Most tents these days are more or less waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant. However, if you’ve ever been camping in the rain, you’ll realize that sometimes, water can still seep through the seams of the tent.
The quick and easy solution to that is to use a seam sealer to seal up the seams on your tent! They are often inexpensive and pretty easy to come by. Just make sure you get the right kind of seam sealer as there are also some that are specifically made for metal surfaces or tiles.
Alternatively, remember those extra groundsheets and tarps I mentioned earlier? Just drape one over the top of your tent and voila: Instant waterproof roof! It looks clumsy, sure, but it works. Just make sure you cover the top of your tent properly or some rainwater might still sneak in!
2. Build a wall, I mean moat!
While a seam sealer and a tarp help keep falling rainwater out, they don’t stop rainwater from pooling around the bottom of your tent. If you’ve ever gone camping in the rain, you’ll know this is bad news. Not only does this allow water to sneak into the sleeping area, but over time, it can also damage your tent.
The simple solution is a surprisingly medieval one: Dig a small moat around your tent! You don’t even need any tools. Just use your foot to draw a line around your tent and it should be able to collect any runoff rainwater from your tent. It’s as simple as that!
3. Don’t forget to air out your tent
No no, I haven’t lost the plot. This is one of those camping in the rain hacks that comes with experience. Basically, the inside of your tent needs sufficient ventilation at all times to prevent the inside from becoming damp.
So, even though it seems to be counterproductive, keep your vents, or your tent door, open even when it rains to keep the air fresh and circulating. Alternatively, if the storm gets really bad, you can zip up the vents and only air out your tent once the rain stops.
4. Waterproof the entrance of your tent
So you’ve waterproofed your tent in every way imaginable and even draped an extra tarp above it for good measure. Yet for some reason, you still find water inside your tent at night? That probable reason is that you’ve forgotten to waterproof your tent entrance.
No matter how careful you are, you will inevitably track in some extra droplets of water after a day out in the rain. To get around this, simply set up a simple dry area at the entrance of your tent by using either a pop-up canopy or by creating an overhang (like a little roof) using a tarp.
You can then remove any wet clothing or footwear at this dry space before entering the tent. This ensures that the inside of your tent stays completely dry, which is exactly what you want.
Additionally, you can drop an old towel or rug at the dry zone outside your tent as well to absorb any water or mud from your shoes.
5. Also create different dry areas around the campsite
Speaking of pop-up canopies, you have no idea how truly useful they can be for when you’re camping in the rain.
Apart from creating a dry entrance to your tent, you can also pack several of these contraptions to create dry areas around your tent site for food preparation, dining, drying clothes, and storage. Alternatively, you can also use a tarp and a paracord to achieve the same effect.
However, one thing to note about these dry areas is that, while they are great for keeping firewood dry, please don’t actually start a fire underneath your tarp or pop-up canopy as this could easily start a fire!
6. Pack flammable materials to help start a campfire
Building a campfire can sometimes be challenging enough. Add to that the howling winds and falling rain, and your chance of starting a campfire using normal firestarters are close to zero.
Instead, bring some flammable material to help get the fire going. Think cotton balls, petroleum jelly, or charcoal. Anything that can catch fire easily is something worth packing if you’re camping in the rain.
Alternatively, bring a propane camping stove to cook with if you have the space for it.
7. Use a windbreak to keep a fire going
Now that you’ve actually GOT a fire going, here’s a nifty hack for camping in the rain to keep your fire going. We already know that using a pop-up canopy is a bad idea. Instead, use your tarp to build a windbreak next to the fire.
You see, most of the time, what puts a fire out isn’t the falling rain but strong winds. As long as you can minimize exposure to the wind, your campfire will likely be able to hold out until the morning. That is unless you’re camping in a biblical-level storm of course!
8. Pack a bivy sack
Sleeping bags are arguably the most popular form of camping equipment out there. However, if you’re expecting rain, then packing a bivy sack is one of the most useful camping in the rain hacks you’ll ever come across.
Simply put, a bivy sack is a lightweight waterproof sack that’s usually made of nylon. It is often used by hikers as an emergency sleeping bag to provide extra protection against the elements. In the case of camping in the rain, a bivy sack can be used as an extra waterproof liner for your sleeping bag.
All you have to do is place your sleeping bag inside the bivy sack. This helps prevent your sleeping bag from getting wet even if rainwater seeps into your tent.
9. Sleep with your dry clothes
You’re probably thinking: Duh! But wait, hear me out. I’m not saying sleep IN dry clothes, I’m saying sleep WITH your dry clothes! Trust me, this is one of those hacks for camping in the rain that will blow your mind.
Before heading to bed, pack the clothes you’ll be wearing tomorrow into a small, breathable bag and stuff it down your sleeping bag. Then hop in and go to sleep.
As you do that, you’ll be using heat from your body to warm your clothes so that in the morning, you’ll have “pre-heated” clothing to keep you warm instead of cold t-shirts!
10. Use newspaper to dry your clothes faster
This one sounds like a weird one but it’s one of the camping in the rain hacks that I’ve actually tried and it…works. Basically, if you ever get wet while camping in the rain, you can stuff newspaper into your clothes to help dry them out faster.
The newspaper acts as an absorbent to drain out the water from the fabric. To help them dry even quicker, place them near the campfire when it isn’t raining.
11. Finally, pack your items in Ziploc bags
Yes, yes, it’s a hassle to stuff your stuff into Ziploc bags before stuffing them into your actual camping bag. But if you’re camping in the rain, then this extra step goes a long way in keeping your stuff dry.
From experience, I recommend using this hack to store medicine, electronics, and food that shouldn’t get wet (like bread or biscuits). If you can find extra-large Ziploc bags, it’s a good idea to store extra clothes in them too!
And there you have it: creative hacks for camping in the rain to make sure the sun (metaphorically) keeps shining even as your go camping in the midst of pouring rain.