When most people hear they might end up camping in the rain they change their mind about their camping trip. But part of going camping is experiencing nature. And part of experiencing nature is going to be camping in the rain at some point in your camping life.

While many things about the rainfall are beautiful….the sound…the smell…the knowledge that the environment requires it, many things about camping in the rain are not so beautiful either. There is nothing fun about having a wet sleeping bag, wet clothing, or a puddle in your tent. Add some cool temperatures into the mix and you have a recipe for camping disaster….and a spouse or family that never wants to go camping again.

Rather than packing up and going home, or staying cold, wet, and miserable, let’s talk about some camping tips to help you be prepared the next time you are going camping and it rains.

Always Pack A Few Items In Case Of Rain

Since we are usually car camping, it is easy for us to throw in a few extra items to help us stay dry in the event of rain:

  • Rain Ponchos – A rain poncho will be invaluable to help you move around in comfort in the rain, and in case you end up setting up your campsite in the rain.
  • Tarps and Ropes – Extra tarps and ropes are a lifesaver when you are camping in the rain. Use these to cover your gear, put a rain fly up, or to put a rain fly over your tent.
  • Extra Large, Heavy-Duty Plastic Trash Bags – Many times I have the kids actually pack their clothes in these. Place the empty trash bag right into the duffle bag or suitcase, open it up, and push sides all the way out to the sides of the bag, using the trash bag as a liner inside your duffle bag. Now pack all of your clothes inside the bag as you normally would. Don’t forget to twist closed the top of the bag to make sure it is thoroughly closed. Now if your duffle bag or suitcase should get wet, you still have dry clothes.
  • Extra Large Ziplock Bags – I love those jumbo-sized ziplock bags. Again, these are perfect for clothes. Pack your clothes by outfit (one complete outfit for each day per bag) or by clothing type (all socks in one bag, shirts in another bag, etc.) Also great for keeping your phones, cameras, and papers dry.
  • Umbrella – I don’t think I have to explain this one!

When setting up your tent it pays to be prepared just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. It is much easier to take a few extra minutes to set it up properly in beautiful dry weather, then to have to move it or set it up in wet weather. Make sure you don’t set your tent up in a spot that will puddle if it does rain. Using a tarp, set up a rain fly right over your tent for added protection. Don’t let your gear or air mattress touch the sides of the tent or water will start to leak in.

A dining fly set up in the middle of your campsite not only keeps you sheltered from the sun during the day, but is a great place to congregate during a rainstorm. Pack some family games or other rainy weather activities to have on hand to keep you and your kids occupied. Or just sit back, relax, read a good book and enjoy the sound of the rain falling on the leaves around you and on the tarp above you.

Not too far from civilization? A last resort, and one I have used once or twice in my years of camping, if the rain turns to downpour and lasts for an unreasonable amount of time don’t suffer. Pile into the car and explore some local indoor attractions, walk around the mall, see a movie, or head to the bookstore until it passes.

So the next time you are going camping and the forecast calls for the possibility of rain, don’t cancel, just prepare in advance, go ahead…go camping in the rain and enjoy a different side of nature than you were expecting, but one that is just as beautiful…especially if you are cozy, comfortable, warm, and dry while it is raining all around you.

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