Camping in the different elements can be fun, challenging, enjoyable, and in the case of heavy rainfall – outright annoying. There aren’t many people who enjoy camping or doing outdoors activities in the rain. But we can’t control the weather so it’s often necessary.
You have two choices. Mope around and be miserable about it, or, you can “batten down the hatches”, beat the rain and have an awesome time. I know that everyone reading this would pick the latter, so here are some actionable tips to help you survive the rain, keep yourself and your possessions as dry as possible, and have a great time camping – despite the rain.
Be Prepared for Rain
Anyone who has been camping before will know all too well how important it is to know what the weather forecast is for your camping trip. Start checking the reports a few weeks out and see how they change as your trip approaches.
Be aware of the maximum and minimum temperatures, humidity, and expected rainfall. Don’t forget to check rainfall overnight too, just because you’re sleeping this doesn’t mean you’re not going to be affected. Waking up to find your belongings you left outside your tent floating away isn’t a good feeling.
Take a Tent Built to Withstand Rain
There are a lot of different types of tent. Not all are built to withstand wind and rain. Generally speaking, you want to invest in the best possible tent you can afford. After all, it’s a pretty important item of equipment!
Choose a tent built from strong waterproof materials and look for reinforced stitching. A good rain-proof tent should also have an overhanging fly sheet to allow water to run-off away from the tent, as well as stopping excessive amounts of mud an dirt splashing up the sides.
Be Careful Where You Pitch Your Tent
When picking a spot to pitch your tent think about what’s going to happen if there is heavy rainfall overnight. Is the floor where you’re pitching up level? Are you in a ravine or a gorge type of area where water is going to run through?
Look for a raised spot, and check the ground isn’t too soft. Some shelter overhead from trees is ok, but sometimes you will find yourself under a run-off from some large branches. It comes down largely to common sense, check the landscape available and I’m sure you’ll find a decent spot.
Check for Holes and Damaged Seams
Ideally you will give your tent the once-over before you leave home, but it’s not always easy to find the time. Plus, if you check your tent before you take it down there shouldn’t be any unwanted surprises when you’re setting it up.
Give your tent a good check over after you set it up. Run your hands over the seams and check for any damage starting in the stitching. Unless you’ve had an accident and ripped your tent you’re most likely going to spot any damage before it becomes a problem and can fix it.
Add an Extra Tarpaulin Roof above Your Tent
Just because your tent it waterproof it doesn’t mean an extra layer of roofing isn’t needed. If you can tie up some tarpaulin to some branches above your tent to take the hit of the rain it’s some extra security.
A couple of tips here; don’t try and do this after rain has already started falling, and, make sure the tarpaulin is very, very secure and set at a good angle to allow the water to run-off. If the tarpaulin starts capturing the rain it will become heavy and you’re either going to have the tarpaulin break away and fall, or a large pocket of water will find its way onto the roof of your tent.
Keep Your Tent Well Ventilated
Although you are taking every measure to lock out any rain getting into your tent, you need good ventilation. Without ventilation you’re going to see condensation build up inside the tent causing moisture inside the tent and a pretty uncomfortable atmosphere.
Ventilation is usually built into tents in with some breathable mesh under the run-off areas near the top of the tent. When its raining hard if you can open a flap or the door a little to increase the air-flow you will feel a lot more comfortable.
Stay Positive and Entertained
As I mentioned in the opener, you can either be miserable about being stuck in your tent under heavy rainfall, or you can have some fun. Take some board games, packs of cards, electronic devices, books, whatever it is that keeps you entertained.
It’s a perfect opportunity to actually talk with the other people in the tent and spend some quality time together. A forgotten art in the fast-paced world when we’re going about our busy lives. After all, this is the beauty of camping, outside or inside the tent you should make the most of it.
Theses tips should be more than enough to help you keep dry and add some much needed protection from the rain. Check out these posts I wrote on summer camping tips, and extreme cold camping tips if you’re faced with these weather conditions.