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Tips For Tent Camping In The Rain

Sooner or later, it's bound to rain on your parade... Or rather, your camping trip. Rain without a roof over your head isn't always fun so what do you do when you are caught in the rain with nothing but a tent on the ground to keep you dry? Use these tips to make your trip a success, rain or shine!

 
 

Take the High Ground!

If you have a rooftop tent and somewhere to place it, you're all set! That should keep you high and dry however, they come with a pretty steep price that will deter many, myself included, from getting one. With the rooftop tent option out, that leaves you firmly on the ground. What you will want to do first is look around and observe your site. Look for evidence of water run-off or erosion and any low points that may collect water as you will want to avoid these areas. Don't rule out your parking pad if it happens to be the high and dry ground! The last thing you want when tent camping on the ground is to have a stream of water flowing in, around, and under your tent or worse, a swamp form where you setup up your tent. Find the high ground even if it's your gravel or concrete parking pad. You should have a sleeping pad with you so it shouldn't be too uncomfortable sleeping through the night on such a hard surface.


Tarps, Tarps, and more TARPS!

Believe me, you can never have too many tarps! You can use them as a table cover, a ground cloth or tent footprint, cover your gear to keep it dry, a makeshift rain shelter, and so much more! While you're at it, get yourself some ropes or tie down straps, my personal favorite, to setup a decent rain covering over all your important gear! It may not look all that appealing but you won't care as long as you and your gear will be dry!


Activities

It's pouring down outside your tent. You were wanting to go hiking but obviously can't. What do you do with your time now? Plenty! Just like if you were at home, minus the electricity in some cases, you can read a book, play a game, stream cat videos on your phone if you really want, and so much more! Regardless of what you choose, you will definitely want to have some kind of indoor activities planned to keep yourself, your spouse, your kids, or anyone else with you occupied. Being stir-crazy in a tent while raining can be pretty bad if you're intent on keeping dry. Of course, if you don't mind the rain, throw on your swim-wear and go dance in the rain as they say! Why not?


Plastic bags for wet gear

It finally rained. At minimum, your tent is soaked on the outside. If you couldn't get a decent spot and wound up in a swamp you didn't know existed, what do you do with all your wet gear? Typically, you will want to pack your gear when it's dry but, if the rain is persistent and you need to get out before the next round of rain, how is that going to happen in a short window? The truth is, it won't. You'll have to let it dry out at home but until then, getting it home without soaking your other gear, vehicle, or trailer, will be the challenge. So what do you do? Simple! Bring some large 40 gallon plastic trash bags and bag it up! That will get it home, keep the water from the soaked gear from spreading all over, and allow you to get packed up and rolling out before more rain returns.


A great camping trip held in the rain doesn't have to be mythical. Armed with your observational skills, you're more than prepared to beat the rain!

  • Tent Placement

    • Look around your campsite to find the highest point. That's where you want your tent.

    • Look for signs of water runoff or erosion. This is most likely where the water will flow the strongest and where you should avoid placing your tent, in around, and especially at the base of the flow.

    • If an area seems like it could be muddy if wet, and it's definitely not a high traffic area, chances are it holds water when it rains. Avoid setting up your tent in this area!

    • If all you have is your parking area as the high and dry ground, use it! Beats having all your gear soaked...

  • Rainy Day Gear

    • Bring plenty of tarps to keep your gear covered and dry. Don't count on leaving it in the vehicle if it takes up too much space, you might just want to climb in the vehicle yourself if things don't go well!

    • Have activities on hand to keep yourself occupied if it rains. You won't be bored and feeling stir crazy.

    • Bring large 40 gallon plastic bags to hold wet gear. This could be your bedding, clothing, or even your tent if it's too wet to pack up in the stuff sack. This will keep your wet things away from your dry things

With these tips, may your next camping trip in the rain be every bit as fun as a campout in the sun!


Happy Trails!

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