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The Secret of Camping in the Rain!

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Camping in the RainI was in the checkout line at my local grocery store when I overhead the guy in front of me talking to the checkout gal about his wife and kids at the local campground and how they got rained on last night. They survived…but got a little soggy. Being “The Camping Guy”, I was about to give him some tips, but the line was growing behind me and I was getting “those stares” from other shoppers. So, instead I’ll give the tips here, so everyone can use them.

My all time favorite is Seam Sealer. I written about this a few times and even have a quiz on my blog around this idea. The bottom line is - always check your tent seams. It’s just a good habit to get into whenever you set up your tent. Sometimes it can crack or peel, exposing the stitches where water can get through. A $5 bottle of seam sealer can make the difference between a soggy campout and a dry one!

#2 Ground sheet. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen ground sheets under a tent floor that are sticking out past the tent. Imagine, as the water rolls off the tent roof and down the walls…it puddles on the ground sheet and rolls back under the floor of the tent! Yikes! So, please make sure you fold the edges of the ground sheet under the edges of the tent floor. This way, water will drain off the roof and tent walls and around the edges of the tent and soak into the surrounding ground, not roll back under the tent. (Note to self – make a video on how to properly position the ground sheet under the tent)

#3 Keep your gear away from the walls of the tent! Make sure your sleeping bags, packs, and other gear are not resting up against the walls of the tent. Remember, a tent is designed to deflect the water off the tent and onto the ground. A bump in the tent wall will cause the water to stop, pool and soak through.

#4 Bring Rain gear. Ya, pretty dumb advice, right. But, you’d be surprised how many people don’t plan for rain. I didn’t used to, but I got it drilled into me as a Boy Scout – “be prepared”. So, the next time you are at a Sporting Goods store, spend $2 on a couple plastic ponchos and tuck them into your camping gear for the next time it rains. In a pinch I’ve used green garbage bags, with holes cut out for the head and arms. They work!

#5 Take off wet gear. Once in the tent, don’t lie or sit around in your wet gear and muddy shoes. Take them off at the entrance and leave them there or some designated place for all your wet stuff! This way the rest of the tent space stays dry and warm. Sometimes I put a little piece of carpet or my SUV’s floor mats inside the front of the tent to put my hiking boots on.

#6 Relax and enjoy it. It really can be enjoyable to sit in the tent with the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof, sipping on a hot drink, reading a book or playing a card game. It’s all part of the camping adventure. And, once you know how to overcome rainy camping days, you will enjoy camping that much more.

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  1. Ultimate Camping Guide » Blog Archive » Location De Camping Car - Students grow closer on annual camping trip (The Nashua Telegraph) said,

    September 23, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

    […] Camping in the Rain!Being The Camping Guy , I was about to give him some tips, but the line was growing behind me and I was getting those stares from other shoppers. So, instead I ll give the tips here, so everyone can use them. … […]

  2. NUCLEUS1 said,

    November 26, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

    Also, reapplying a coat of DWR is a good idea. Good tips.

  3. Kindal said,

    March 24, 2009 @ 7:35 am

    Great advice, people always forget that rain can happen at anytime and they never prepare themselves which leaves all the campers miserable and wet…

  4. Big Hank said,

    June 7, 2009 @ 4:18 am

    Excellent post. I remember learning tip #2 the hard way! Kind of like accidentally leaving the shower curtain OUTSIDE the walls of the bathtub… I especially love #6. Rain doesn’t have to ruin your camping. Actually, it should make your trip!

  5. Nathan Mullins said,

    November 21, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Good tip. I have found that by setting up my tent in the yard I can find and deal with any problems ahead. I went camping once near a hot spring in Montana and we got hit with a rain storm, we rolled up quickly and headed home since it was our last day. Next time I got the tent out in the yard I saw where mold had begun to take over. I just wanted to add my experience.

  6. Caravanwise said,

    May 24, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

    Here’s my tip. Make sure that you set up your tent and guy ropes good and taught. That way the water will drain off like it is supposed to. Also make sure that the sides of the built in ground sheet in your tent stand up well.

    I once camped on a terraced camp site in the Dolomite mountains in Northern Italy. We woke up in the middle of a rain storm to find 2 inches of water outside the tent but inside we were dry. We soon abandoned the tent in favour of the car though as it is much safer in a thunder storm to be in a metal box. (tip #2).



  7. vballkel said,

    June 3, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    Hey Camping guy! I have enjoyed your blog. You offer some really good tips. I especially like # 2 about the ground sheet. I think our instincts is that if it sticks out far it will keep the rain from getting under the tent and love Big Hank’s analogy about the shower curtain.

  8. Ann said,

    July 12, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    Very good article. I also like to camp in the rain, not a heavy down pour, just gentle to moderate rain. It is great to put up a dining fly and maybe another tarp to ward off some rain around the campfire. Course you can’t put that tarp up over the fire, but near enough. Then pull out the camp chairs, get that pot of stew bubbling away and enjoy the sound of rain on the tarps. I too learned camping from Boy Scouts due to my step-son. Many happy rainy trips!

  9. Tent Rentals MA said,

    March 1, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    Thanks for this helpful article. Although nothing beats the sunshine, I also enjoy camping in the rain every so often, as long as it is not downpouring. The most important thing to bring is a good group of friends that will also enjoy the rain with you and not complain the whole time!

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