Keys to successfully camping in the rain |

Keys to successfully camping in the rain

Camping in the rain can actually be fun if done correctly.

The weather around much of the country lately has been absolutely wonderful.

If you’re an ark salesman, that is.

But for the rest of us? Not so much.

We’ve endured tremendous amounts of rain in a short period of time. And things figure to stay wet for a while, too.

Now, rain in and of itself is not enough to keep you out of the woods under normal circumstances. But at the same time, it can absolutely wreck any outdoor adventure, especially an overnighter, if you’re not ready for it. That’s especially true for any novices in the group.

The idea is to have fun, after all. And wet campers are often cold campers are often unhappy campers.

The key to avoiding that, and camping in rain successfully, lies in preparation and planning.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions on how to survive and even thrive in the kind of less than ideal weather conditions you might encounter.

Choose your campsite wisely

Veteran campers know to look up for “widow makers,” tree limbs that could come crashing down onto your in bad weather. But when it’s raining or likely to, it pays to look down, too. Meaning, avoid depressions. A low spot will puddle, swamping your tent. Instead, choose high ground, not too close to a creek that could overflow, with no overhanging branches.

Tarp your floor

Most tents these days are constructed to be tub-like, with water-resistant flooring that extends a few inches up the side walls. But placing a tarp underneath the tent adds another, often critical, level of protection. Just be sure no portion of the tarp extends beyond the tent’s footprint or it will collect water. If need be, roll or fold it up – with the rolls turned downward – so that it sheds water.

Tarp your roof

Likewise, consider using paracord and a second tarp to cover your tent, even it if has a rain fly. If it’s large enough, the tarp will give you a porch underneath which you can take off wet gear before climbing inside.

Create a living space

You aren’t going to want to spend all your time “outdoors” in a tent. So take a tarp – are we getting how important these can be – and paracord and give yourself a dry place to cook, eat, sit and just relax. Just be sure to peak the roof. Otherwise, the tarp can fill up with water and collapse, giving you an unexpected shower.

Cover up

Rain gear — a jacket and pants — are a no-brainer if you expect rain. They’ll not only keep you dry and comfortable, but potentially safe as well, as they can help keep hypothermia at bay. But don’t forget a rain cover for your backpack, too, if you’re hiking in to your spot.

Bring some bags

Plastic bags — good, heavy duty ones — are great for keep dry clothes dry and wet clothes separate. Carry an assortment of bags, from freezer-size bags up to contractor-style garbage bags.

Bring extra shoes and socks

Wet feet are just plain miserable. So whether you’re hiking to your campsite or just going from the truck to the tent, waterproof shoes are super important. But even those sometimes lead to wet feet. So pack spares. Dry shoes and socks are nice creature comforts.

Be ready to make fire

Maybe you’re the kind of woodsman or woman who can get a fire going, every time, in the wettest conditions, using just what you find in the woods. If so, great. If not, it doesn’t hurt to cheat, so to speak. Take fire starters – commercially available ones or homemade – to camp with you, along with several methods of starting fire, from matches to lighters to fire-starting tools.

Eat well

A cold dinner — lunch meat sandwiches if you’re car camping, or energy bars if you’re backpacking – might be fine when the weather is pleasant and the sun is shining. When it’s wet and cold, though? Think high energy, hot foods. A mug of hot cocoa, chili or soup goes a long way to keeping morale high.

Dress for success

Cotton clothes lose their ability to provide warmth when wet, so if there’s a chance of rain, leave the cotton at home. Instead, dress in layers of polyester or wool. Tuck some of those clothes in the foot of your sleeping bag when you go to bed at night, too. Then, when you get up in the morning, they’ll be warm as soon as you put them on.

The, the rest is up to you.

This wet weather we’re seeing right now is going to go away, eventually. Bluer skies are ahead.

But there will always be rain, and sometimes it will fall without a whole lot of warning.

Those who are ready – and keep a good attitude — need not let it ruin their campout. So pack right, set up correctly, and have fun out there.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or [email protected] See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

Article by Bob Frye, Everybody Adventures,

Copyright © 535media, LLC

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.