7 Tips for Camping in the Rain

Rain is peaceful and cleansing, but doesn’t always make for great camping conditions. Rain certainly happens, and you shouldn’t let it ruin your camping experience. There are a few camping in the rain tips and hacks you can use to make the experience worthwhile and help you stay nice and dry when the wet stuff falls from the sky.

Our camping in the rain tips are easy to follow and sure to make your wet weather outdoors experience fun and even exciting. Be prepared and get ready to enjoy the smooth and steady sounds of drops falling on your rain fly.

Is it Worth Camping in the Rain?

Don’t let wet weather ruin your camping experience. It can be totally worth it, and even enjoyable, to camp in the rain. With the right information and tips for camping in the rain at the ready, you’ll likely see rain switch from an annoyance to a welcome challenge.

Camping in the rain tips and hacks vary from simple choices like making sure you find the right camping spot to having the right gear. All in all, camping in the rain is worth it when you are prepared.

Get ready for spring and summer showers with these 7 tips for camping in the rain.

Tip 1. Check the Forecast Before You Head Out

Watching the weather forecast can give you an idea for when you need to have your rain gear at the ready. It’s wise to get a good handle on predicted weather a few days before your trip and monitor as you set out. Weather predictions can change quickly, and it’s best to always be prepared.

It is also important to know the weather conditions where you plan to be camping. For example, if you’re conquering the Cross Florida Greenway in the Central Park of the Sunshine State in the summer months, it is wise to prepare for afternoon showers and steamy subtropical conditions. Along the same lines, it is wise to be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions with climbing elevation if you’re camping in the mountains in search of a breathtaking top summit sunset to see.

Signs of coming rain, regardless of what’s on the forecast, include:

  • Red sunrise in the morning
  • Heightened sense of smell with a “clean” aroma (ozone or petrichor) in the air
  • A halo around the moon at night
  • Loud croaking frogs

Tip 2. Come Prepared with the Right Tent

Any experienced outdoors person will likely tell you that your gear can make or break a camping trip. From properly waterproofed boots and the right socks to a tent with the right rainfly, the right equipment is essential during a wet-weather camping trip.

Essentially, you’ll want to invest in a tent with a proper rainfly. The rainfly should cover doors and windows, along with any mesh vents. Some cabin-type tents even have rainflys that cover the tent like the roof of a house.

You might also choose a tent with a vestibule. A tent vestibule is essentially a mudroom for your tent. Not only does it give you a place to remove wet or muddy clothing, but it also can protect your door from getting too damp. Even some small backpacking tents are equipped with vestibules.

Regardless of the tent you choose, it is essential to waterproof your tent before heading out. Waterproofing spray and seam sealer can be your best friends when getting your gear ready.

Tip 3. Find the Right Spot for Your Tent

Is rain on the forecast? Did you wake up to red skies? It is best to be prepared for the coming wet weather by finding the right spot for your tent.

The best tent spots for rainy weather are high and dry. Find a flat spot at the top of a slope. You’ll find that water is unlikely to collect here and you’ll have much better luck here as the wet weather comes. You’ll also want to avoid camping places adjacent to a creekbed, river, or lake, as heavy rains can push boundaries into your camping spot.

You might also consider setting up your tent in an open area. High winds that can accompany rain storms can send branches down, potentially damaging your tent, or worse yet, causing an injury.

While you’re at it, make sure you set up your tent on top of a heavy-duty tarp. Tents usually flood from below rather than above, so the barrier is extra important. It is also important to note that your tarp should extend no further than the footprint of your tent. Water could collect and flow under the tent if the tarp sticks out.

Tip 4. Dress For the Weather

Does the forecast look damp? Another essential camping in the rain tip is to plan your wardrobe appropriately and dress for the weather.

Avoid cotton clothing when camping in the rain. Cotton is very absorbent, which means it can get wet easily and practically never dry out. Even avoid cotton base layers, including socks and undies, in favor of synthetic fabrics or even merino wool if you prefer natural fibers. Wet clothing, especially at your base layer, can be uncomfortable and even lead to blisters, chafing, and other skin issues.

You’ll also want to make sure you have rain pants, a rain shell or waterproof jacket, and water-resistant boots for a rainy-weather camping trip. A brimmed hat and poncho are also good wardrobe staples to have in case of rain, too.

Another thing to keep in mind when planning a wet-weather wardrobe? Color. Bright colors are safer to wear during wet and overcast weather. Bright colors will keep you visible to others in your party and even other folks on the trail.

Tip 5. Opt for Weatherproof and Weather-Resistant Gear

There are many types of gear on the market today. If camping in the rain is on your agenda frequently, you’ll want to choose a pack and gear that is weatherproof rather than weather-resistant.

What’s the difference between weatherproof and weather-resistant? Simply put, weather-resistant gear is engineered to withstand light exposure to elements like rain, sun, and wind. Weatherproof gear is designed to withstand routine exposure to natural elements and inclement weather.

If you enjoy camping in the rain, it is likely worth the investment to assemble a collection of waterproof gear. It is an investment, as you’ll likely find this rugged gear comes with a steeper price.

Weather-resistant gear is more affordable and still a great choice, especially if you do your hiking and camping during the dry season. For most of us, weather-resistant gear fits the bill and is just fine.

Tip 6. Pack Plastic Bags

Plastic bags can be your best friend while camping in wet weather. From large black garbage bags to small, Ziploc-style bags, you’ll find multiple ways to use these handy essentials.

Black plastic garbage bags can protect a pack. You might even use a large black trash bag to keep firewood dry before a storm. Smaller kitchen trash bags can hold soaked clothing and shoes, and prevent them from getting everything else wet. Fire starting equipment fits easily in a waterproof Ziploc bag. You can also use zip-seal bags to keep other essentials like medication, nutrition, I.D., and other small items dry.

Plastic bags are inexpensive and easy to pack, so you will surely find uses for them on the trail and at your campsite.

Tip 7. Embrace the Rain

It is a fact: wet weather happens, even during camping trips. The most important of our camping in the rain tips is to simply trust the journey and embrace the rain. 

Build a campfire in the rain, prepare your site, sit back and enjoy the drops falling from overheard. Rainy day camping activities to enjoy might include card games, reading, swapping stories, meditating, and much more. 

Embracing the rain while camping can give you a sense of inner peace and calmness. 

Gear Up with BivWack Outdoors

Make your next trip memorable. Enjoy the weather with the 7 camping in the rain tips above and equip yourself with outdoor essentials. Gear up and get outside!