No matter how carefully you plan your camping trip or how often you check the weather, rain happens. From gentle drip to torrential downpours, if you’re a regular camper, you’ll face them all. The trick is to pack the right gear to handle the weather conditions. With the right stuff and the right campsite, you can keep reasonably dry, even during the worst rain storms.
1. Pick the Right Campsite
Where you set up can either leave you high and dry or sitting in a mud pit. You want a campsite that is level and above the waterline. Look for signs of water and avoid areas that get bogged down in the rain. A level site is important because you avoid having water run down and into your tent.
2. Tarps Are Nearly Magical
When packing rain gear, tarps should top the list. These modular and water-resistant sheets can create rain shelters with a few bungee cords and some rope. Use the surrounding trees to string a center line and drape the tarp over it. Then, secure the corners using the bungee cord. This creates a pitched roof that lets rain roll down the sides and away from your site. If you have several tarps, you can even add a side wall or two for those storms with a lot of wind.
3. Don’t Skimp on Your Tent
Spending a little more on your tent can give you a shelter that is nearly rainproof. Kamp-Rite tent cots are a great option for rainy weather since they keep you off the wet ground and include a rain fly. A tent without a rain fly is just an invitation for water. The rain fly directs the water away from your sleeping area, helping you keep gear warm and dry.
4. Bring Lots of Bags
Top-zip bags and reusable waterproof storage bags all let you keep your things organized and dry, regardless of the weather. Pack for the trip like it’s already raining, and you won’t get caught by surprise away from your camp.
5. Set up a Drying Line
Getting back to camp when soaking wet means it’s time to hang up your clothes. You definitely don’t want to bring them into your tent, so you’ll want to use a clothesline early and often. If you’re out of dry clothes, you can bring in a damp set to line your sleeping bag overnight. Your body heat will help things dry so you have something warm for the morning. It might invite condensation into the tent though, so only do this when it is actively raining.
If you’re building a campsite and staying on a single base, you really can’t overpack for the weather. Towels, bags, newspaper, tarps and other gear are all a great way to keep dry while enjoying the great outdoors.