No one likes to camp in the rain (We’ll I don’t). However sometimes Mother Nature gets the best of us giving us sudden weather changes and temperature drops. Over the years of camping I have encountered some of these rough thunderstorms and had no choice but to stay in the forest camping. Read my tips for camping in the rain below and discover how to stay dry, safe and most of all know how to keep having fun.
(1) Keep Warm And Dry
Your perfectly good camping trip can turn to one of your worst as soon as you get too wet and cold. Combat this by being prepared.
- Take wet weather gear/clothes.
- Pack 2 or more pairs of gloves and socks
- Pack at least 2 warm beanies
- Don’t forget gumboots
I put this tip on my list as #1 priority because knowing how to keep warm and dry while it’s raining can completely turn a potential bad trip into a great one.
Of course you will stay dry but your gear is definitely going to get wet, remember that.
(2 ) Added Shelter
Not just your tent, set up a few tarps around your campsite for extra shelter, so you can at least sit around a picnic table or even a campfire if you’re able to get one going.
This is another reason to take extra tarps in case you encounter a thunderstorm.
(3) Plastic Trash Bags
There are so many uses for trash bags. Learn to love these and they will help you in many, many ways. These are pretty much waterproof so take full advantage of these almost-free trash bags.
Some common uses:
- Covering up your wood pile preventing it from getting wet
- Keeping extra clothes dry
- Cover your hiking bag at night
- Wrap your valuable items up (camera, phone, matches, important papers, licenses, money, passport) to stop them from getting wet, ultimately ruining your whole trip
(4) Your Tent
Placing your tent in the wrong location/position will mean the difference between waking up dry and warm and waking up with your entire tent/campsite washed away.
Don’t do this:
- Don’t pitch your tent in a valley or ditch thinking your safe from wind and rain.
- Do not place a tarp under your tent with the tarp sticking out from underneath. This will allow water to funnel down the tarp creating a ‘pool’ of water underneath your tent.
- Pitch your tent on a slight hill slope so all the rain runs down and avoids sitting near you (Be sure to make your tents door facing downhill to stop water from running into your tent. Also sleep with your head on the top of the slope and feet at the bottom).
- Use a tarp for additional cover over your tent stopping rain from pounding on your roof the entire night.
- You’ll also want to place a tarp at the entrance of your tent as well, to place your muddy boots, wet jackets and wet clothes before hopping into your tent.
- Invest in a hydrophobic jacket (A quick-drying jacket, this will come very handy out in the wild).
- Make sure your tent has enough ventilation to prevent condensation!
- Ensure the seams of the tent are well sealed, if not you will have to do it yourself.
- Keep quick-dry towels with you at all times, wiping any water that gets into the tent. Wring them out and put them out to dry.
What tent do I need? => The Sundome 3 person tent is highly recommended!
(6) Have Interesting Things To Do
The last thing you want is to stay dry and warm, but have nothing else to do. If you don’t want to go adventuring while it’s raining then it’s a good idea to bring additional fun just in case this happens.
- Read books
- Board games
- Drawing materials
- Camera (To look at past photos)
- Ipad/phone for games
- Campfire songs
- Campfire ghost stories
If you want to go the extra mile, take a laptop with you and some movies with a portable battery charger. You and your kids can huddle up in the tent/car and watch movies until the weather clears.
(7) The Tarp Grommets
Protect the grommets by tying a rock or tennis ball around the corner to use as an anchor, and giving you extra protection as grommets tend to be ripped out if a thunderstorm hits you.
If you want to be really prepared then take a gazebo, which will soon become your best friend. The amount of times these have come in handy is priceless and I only recommend you do the same.
(9) The Power Of Separation
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of keeping your wet/damp clothes and dry clothes separate.
Keeping these apart will prevent your blankets and sleeping bags from getting wet which will ruin your whole camping trip. If you notice something is damp, hang it out to dry under a tarp!
(10) Extra Blankets And Clothes
Like I keep saying, preparation is key. If your blankets and clothes end up getting wet, you have some “back up” items already with you. I recommend you keep these in the car until you need them.
Extra blankets are always good to place under your sleeping pad, and even over your sleeping bag if it gets really cold. Want more? Check out ==> how to keep your tent warm!
Alright Rambo, if you’re a complete bad ass and you still want to go exploring while the rain is pouring down, keep these things in mind to prevent you from getting in some serious injuries.
- Rocks – Be careful when stepping on rocks as they can get really slippery when they are wet/damp.
- Water crossings and streams – Take your time and don’t rush it. These tend to be run much faster and more rough.
- Dirt paths – More often than not dirt paths will turn into mud creating a slippery surface, be extra careful when stepping on them.
- Drinking Water – Rain, sunshine, thunder, lightning, snowing, I don’t care what the weather is, if you’re out hiking don’t forget to stay hydrated!
If you plan on going out camping for a weekend and you’re expecting rain it might be in your best interest just to postpone it for another time. It will suck, the kids are going to whinge but you’re more likely to have more fun staying at your house for the weekend rather than staying put in a cold tent with rain pounding everywhere around you.
Of course it’s definitely up to you if you decide to go, just remember that being prepared is key. Without the right equipment and knowledge you’re leaving a huge gap open for your tent/campsite to be fully soaked in water which will cause you to cut your camping trip short.
Avoid this by being prepared for anything
I hope you found this article helpful, if you did then please let me know in the comment section below 🙂
8 thoughts on “Tips For When You’re Out Camping & It Starts Raining”
Great article, When I was a kid, I use to build a mound of dirt around our tent. So in case it rained, if there was a decent amount of water coming down it would go around. That was my favorite part when i was a kid. I haven’t had the opportunity to go camping much as i got older. I plan on going back to my roots and do the things i loved when I was a kid. This will definitely help out a lot, I wouldn’t of even thought of doing most of those tips. So to you, I say THANK YOU.
Hello Taylor, that’s a great way to keep the rain out so good job there! I agree with you, you should go on a camping trip as early as possible because sometimes age catches up to us and before we know it, life is over. Do some exploring before this happens 🙂
Brandon! This is great! There is a storm brewing outside as I read this and I am imagining being in the mountains somewhere unprepared. We camped a lot when I was a kid growing up in Utah and this brings back memories of the fresh mountain air (we live in Ohio now) AND some of the disasters we experienced. Great tips for bad weather and your site has definitely made me want to experience camping in the great outdoors again soon.
Hi there John, I agree with you – I feel sorry for the ones that are camping up in the mountains with no real knowledge of camping/hiking when a thunderstorm hits them. I’m trying to educate as much people as possible because camping is suppose to be a fun task not a complete disaster.
Thanks for these tips – I hadn’t thought about the tarp under the tent creating a pool of water. I can handle rain outside the tent but not inside! I really like the idea of the gazebo – do you recommend any gazebos on the market? Alisa
Yeah, it’s something you NEVER want happening, lol. Of course, the Coleman Gazebo is one I’ve been using for years and never let me down, simple 3 minute set up as well 😀
Thanks for stopping by,
Yes, definitely helpful! I’m an avid outdoor adventurer, and your tips will definitely come in handy when I venture out on a hike or camping in the Summer! I have a substantial amount of experience of the outdoors, and I’m always keen to learn new tips and tricks conquering the outdoors!
Hey George, I’m glad you found my site then, you will find a vast amount of helpful articles related to camping/hiking and even some RV tips if you happen to go down that route. All-in-all you are a fellow outdoors man and I’m here if you need any help 🙂
Thanks for the comment.