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August 18, 2022 4 min read
You’ve loaded up your car and have packed for days for a weekend in the woods. As you get to your campsite the unimaginable happens – a downpour that doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon. It’s a camper’s worst nightmare but you’ve come too far to turn around now, and you shouldn’t have to cancel your camping trip you’ve looked forward to (you are in nature after all)!
Camping in the rain is not how many people would prefer to spend their relaxing getaway, but faced with a situation where you have no option but to tent up in the rain, there are measures you can take to keep yourself warm and even entertain yourself. Whether rain is in the forecast or not, having some rainy camping hacks on hand is never a bad idea.
The number one priority when tenting in the rain should be staying dry. If temperatures drop overnight you want to avoid being exposed to water so you don’t put your health at risk.
When you arrive at your campsite, try to get an understanding of the landscape. Are there big hills around you that will direct the rainfall one way or another? Are there bodies of water in the area that could be at risk of flooding if enough rain falls? These are some of the questions you need to take into consideration before setting up your tent to avoid any dangerous or unfortunate situations.
Search for trees close to each other that would allow you to tie a tarp across to make a temporary roof for the night. This method of providing overhead cover is better than setting up under trees themselves due to the fact that trees will continue to drop moisture on your campsite even after the rain has passed. Where you set up your tent is the most important part of your camping journey, so put thought into your decision.
Being exposed to rain outdoors usually means you won’t have a method of drying your clothes. You’ll want to pack extra layers of clothing before even setting out on your trip in case this scenario occurs. Extra layers of clothing will allow your base layers to stay dry and warm all day long.
Make sure you have at least two layers on top of your base layers throughout the day. Attempting to sleep in damp clothing overnight, when temperatures are at risk of dropping, could result in hypothermia or even just a sleepless night.
One of the biggest questions when camping in the rain is “How will I start a fire?”. This is a big concern as fire can be your primary source of heat and method of cooking. Especially if you didn’t pack canned or pre-made foods, you may have to start a fire in order to eat.
Just because it is raining outside and most trees and bushes are wet, doesn’t mean you cannot find suitable wood for your fire – you just may have to expand your search. Start looking for branches and leaves that are under the shelter of trees, rocks, and bushes. Thesefirestarters may be damp but should have enough protection from the rain that you can still set fire to them to cook your dinner.
Alternatively, if you are heading into the camping trip expecting some rain, or know that there has been rainfall the day before, stop at a store to pick up a fire starter or two to expedite the process. This may take away from the rugged camping experience you were looking for, but we guarantee it will lighten your load in the woods!
You may think your plans to go canoeing or hiking over the weekend may be squandered by the rain, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun. By planning accordingly you can still be sure to enjoy your time in the woods despite gloomy weather. While packing to go camping, there are a few items you can pack in your bag that will keep you entertained and occupied if the weather takes a gloomy turn.
Start by packing a deck of cards and one or two of your favorite board games. If you are going camping with a group of people, this will be a great way to pass time while having laughs and enjoying each other’s company.
Also pack a book in your bag if you are expecting some downtime during a rainfall. Getting lost in a new book, or finishing one you have been working on for a while is a great way to spend your day camping in the rain. The best part about these rainy camping activities is that they take up little to no space when you pack – better safe than sorry!
While many of your activities you had planned are likely not possible due to the rain, if you were planning on fishing at any point during your camping trip this may be the perfect time to do it.
Believe it or not, some anglers actually think fishing during rainfall provides better results than normal! Make sure you wear waterproof clothing to stay warm and dry on the lake or stream, and grab your rod and bait and head out for the day. As many fish will be less active with a bright sun, the rainfall and clouds provide them with the conditions they need to feed. This can greatly increase your chances of catching some fish, and maybe some dinner for the night (not to mention there’s less fishing competition during a rainfall).
Due to the nature of fishing, we would greatly advise against fishing if the rain fall is accompanied by lightning and thunder. However if there is no risk of lightning, by all means try your hand!
Use all the above rainy camping hacks to your advantage when stuck in the wet conditions you didn’t plan for. By packing a few extra items in your bag you can turn a miserable, wet camping experience into an enjoyable time that matches what you were looking forward to!