Staying Dry While Camping In The Rain

There is something very peaceful and soothing about camping in the rain. Of course that means if you are prepared ahead of time and do it right. Don’t misunderstand me. I would much rather have dry weather, but camping in the rain is really magical in its own way. Being prepared is key to enjoying camping in the rain.


- Always check the weather forecasts the night prior to camping. Knowing what to expect is half the battle.

- Be sure to bring the right equiptment for the right weather…especially wet weather. Here are some essential items for camping in the rain:


OK! You’ve purchased the best quality tent that you can afford. Right? You do not want to go cheap-o when buying a tent, which is one on the most impotant pieces of your camping gear. Remember… A cheap tent = a leaky tent = unhappy campers. Take the largest, best quality tent you have to make being tent-bound as comfortable as possible.


As much as you might love your camping partner(s), you don’t want to be stuck in a tent with them all day, do you? A camping rain shelter gives you room to cook, eat, and hang out while staying connected to the outside world.

There are several options here. You can get a basic, inexpensive Poly Tarp and rig it between trees, or get a more expensive, specialized tarp like the Kelty Noahs Tarp, which is freestanding and easier to set up.

Camping Rain Gear

A waterproof, breathable shell like the Marmot Precip rain jacket will keep you the most comfortable, although an inexpensive rain poncho will work too.

If you don’t like the restricted vision of wearing a hood, get a wide-brimmed rain hat like the Seattle Sombrero.

In really wet weather, rain pants provide an extra level of protection.

* Clothing

Avoid cotton. Synthetic clothing dries faster and keeps you warmer when wet.

* Waterproof Bags

Use Ziploc bags, garbage bags, and/or dry sacks to keep clothing, electronics, and sleeping bags dry.

* Entertainment

Bring something to pass the time in your tent: playing cards, mp3 players, video games, board games, books, etc.

Pitch the Tent

When you’re camping in the rain, it’s important to choose your tent site carefully. Don’t pitch your tent in a depression, where water can pool.

Use a groundsheet under your tent floor for extra protection, and make sure the tent completely covers it; if part of the groundsheet sticks out, it will funnel water under the tent.

It’s a challenge to set up a tent in the rain without getting the insides wet. You can minimize this unpleasantness by packing the rain fly with the tent body so that when you unroll it, the fly is already on top. Then get under the fly, insert the poles, and raise the tent with the fly on top.

If your tent is freestanding, you can set it up under a tree, tarp or other shelter and then move it to your tent site before staking it down.

Stay Dry

Don’t carry moisture into the tent with you. Leave wet clothing and gear outside the tent, if possible. Rig a clothesline to hang wet clothing on.

Open all the vents in your tent; maximizing airflow will minimize condensation build-up when camping in the rain. Don’t let your gear press up against the walls of the tent; it will pull moisture in.

Have Fun

In prolonged rain, you may not be able to stay completely dry. Just accept it. Getting wet isn’t so bad-as long as you can get dry when you need to.

Keep a change of clothes and your sleeping gear in durable, tightly sealed waterproof bags.

Don’t forget to bring your PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). Look on the bright side! A bad day camping is better than a good day working, right?

Remember how important rain is to the health of the forests, the animals, and even us humans. It’s a good thing! So don’t be afraid to get out in it, even if you do get a little wet.

Look for rainbows. Splash through puddles. As long as you have a warm, dry change of clothes and a dry tent and sleeping bag to crawl into, you’ll be fine.

Dry Out

If and when the weather breaks, lay your wet gear out in the sun to dry.

When you get home, make sure you immediately hang the tent and any other wet items where they can dry completely before being put away. If you pack them away damp, they will get moldy.

Just Do It

Don’t be afraid to go camping in the rain. You might enjoy it more than you think! With a little preparation, the right gear, and the right attitude, you can have a great time.

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