If you’re after easy, practical, and time-tested tips for camping in the rain then you came to the right place.
Below you will find my 21 rainy day camping tips, which were tested time and time again during my 20+ years as a camping enthusiast.
I split my tips into 3 distinctive sections by topic:
- Tent Related Tips For Camping In The Rain
- Clothing Related Tips For Camping In The Rain
- General Tips For Camping In The Rain
These are my favorite tips for camping in the rain
You are aware of how unfriendly the weather can be when you are camping. The wind howls, the rain pours down, and the temperature can drop significantly.
Despite all of this, you still want to go camping. After all, there is nothing like spending time in the great outdoors.
But, before you head out into the wilderness, you need to be prepared for the bad weather. And this is where my tips for camping in the rain come in handy.
Tent Related Tips For Camping In The Rain
1. Waterproof tent with seam sealer and waterproofing spray
Before you head out on your trip, make sure to waterproof your tent.
A seam sealer will help prevent water from leaking through the seams of your tent, and waterproofing spray will help keep the fabric of your tent dry.
Trust me, there is nothing more annoying than a leaking tent.
2. Pitch your tent on higher grounds
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to pitch your tent on higher ground if you’re expecting rain. You don’t want to be camping in a low area, because these are prone to flooding when it’s raining.
You want to pitch your tent on the flattest and highest spot possible. However, the terrain should be slightly sloped to allow water drainage and avoid pooling.
3. Use a high durability tarp underneath your tent
A durable tarp placed underneath your tent will help keep the ground dry and prevent water from seeping in.
It’s also a good idea to use stakes or guy lines to secure the tarp to the ground. This will help keep it in place in case of strong winds or rain.
Your waterproof tarp will collect the water that goes dripping along the sides or seeps up through the floor thus keeping your sleeping bag and other items dry.
Additionally, the tarp will protect the floor of your tent from getting muddy or wet.
4. Place an additional tarp on top of your tent
An additional tarp placed over your tent will provide extra protection from the rain.
It’s important to make sure that the tarp is securely attached to the tent so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind. You can use stakes, guy lines, or even rocks to weigh down the tarp.
The good thing about an extra tarp is that you can also use it as an awning. Just make sure to leave some ventilation so that your tent doesn’t get too hot.
5. Isolate the tent floor from inside
A good practice to further waterproof your tent is to isolate the floor from the inside.
You can do this by placing a plastic sheet, floor tiles, tarp, or even carpet on the floor of your tent. This will create a barrier between the wet ground and your sleeping bag, keeping you dry and comfortable.
6. Use a mat in front of your tent to catch mud
Placing a mat in front of your tent will help catch any mud that could be carried inside on your shoes. And it will also help keep your tent clean and dry. You can also use old carpet or foam tiles
If your tent features an awning, you can use the mat to create a dry area for changing clothes or storing gear.
7. Create a rain-free “living room” to hang out and cook
You can use a large tarp to create a rain-free space in front of your tent. Just secure the tarp to poles or trees around your tent to create an awning. You can even stretch the tarp over your tent to keep the tent AND the area around it dry.
The dry area is ideal for relaxing and cooking comfortably even during rainy days and in my opinion, is a complete game-changer. It is so much more enjoyable than being cramped inside of your tent the whole time.
8. Ventilate your tent when it stops raining
This will help prevent condensation from building up inside your tent.
To ventilate your tent, open the door and/or windows and let some fresh air in. If it’s not too cold, you can also leave your rain fly off to help ventilate your tent.
Just make sure that you don’t leave your tent open for too long, as this can allow insects and other pests to get inside.
9. Consider bringing a tent with a vestibule
It’s a good idea to bring a tent with a vestibule.
A vestibule is an area that is covered by the tent but is not part of the main living area. It’s a great place to store wet and muddy gear. Additionally, a vestibule will help keep the inside of your tent dry.
10. Find the ideal camping site
When camping in the rain, it’s important to find a campsite that is away from any bodies of water. This will help you avoid flash floods.
Additionally, try to find a spot that is on high ground, which will help you stay dry in case of flooding.
Clothing Related Tips For Camping In The Rain
11. Keep a change of clothes in Ziploc bags
When camping in the rain, it’s important to keep your belongings dry.
Ziploc bags are great for this. You can use them to store your change of clothes, your cell phone, and other important items.
Additionally, Ziploc bags are great for storing wet clothes. If your clothes get wet, you can put them in a Ziploc bag to prevent them from getting your other belongings wet.
12. Pack water-resistant clothing and shoes
This one is pretty obvious I think. Bringing water-resistant clothes and shoes is a must when camping in the rain. This will help you stay dry and comfortable while you’re out in the elements.
In this case, quality counts and that comes with its price. But in my opinion, money spent on waterproof gear is money well spent.
If you don’t have any water-resistant clothes, you can always use a raincoat or poncho.
13. Rain jacket and pants are a must
They will help you stay dry while you’re out in the elements. Rain jackets and pants are usually made from waterproof materials, such as Gore-Tex or nylon.
They usually have sealed seams to prevent water from leaking through. Additionally, rain jackets and pants usually have a hood to help keep your head dry.
When choosing a rain jacket, make sure to choose one that is breathable. This will help prevent you from getting too sweaty while you’re wearing it.
14. Dress in layers
When camping in the rain, it’s important to dress in layers. This will help you stay warm and dry while you’re out there.
Dressing in layers will also help you regulate your body temperature. When choosing your clothing, make sure to choose items that are made from waterproof and/or water-resistant materials.
Additionally, choose clothes that are loose-fitting and breathable. This will help you stay comfortable while you’re camping in the rain.
Choose to clothe with wool or polyester fabrics. These fabrics will help you stay warm even when they’re wet. Cotton clothes are not a good option to wear in the rain, because once cotton gets wet it stays wet for a longer time.
And remember to pack a change of clothes in case you get wet.
15. Dry your clothes once the rain stops
Dry your clothes as soon as it stops raining, just them up inside your tent or in a tree. You can also use a clothesline.
If you don’t have any of these things, you can lay your clothes on a tarp on the ground.
You do not want to pack wet clothes because they will mildew. And they’ll be much heavier than they would be if they were dry.
General Tips For Camping In The Rain
16. Pack extra hand warmers
Hand warmers are a great way to keep your hands warm while camping, especially during cold and rainy days.
Hand warmers are small packets that contain a chemical that produces heat when it’s activated. You can usually find them at your local sporting goods store or online.
17. Buy firewood instead of collecting it
If you’re camping at a campsite that sells firewood, it’s best to buy it there instead of collecting it.
Not only will it help prevent the spread of wood pests, but it is also always dry and already split up. It is much more comfortable than collecting wood at a campsite in the rain, which will be obviously wet and is very hard if not impossible to start a fire with.
And don’t forget to cover the firewood with a tarp when at your campsite.
18. Start fire before it rains, if possible
If you know that it’s going to rain, try to start your fire before the rain starts.
This way, you’ll have a nice hot fire to keep you warm and dry. And will also help with drying out your wet gear and/or clothes.
If it’s not possible to start your fire before it rains, don’t worry. Just make sure to have some dry wood and kindling on hand so that you can get your fire going as soon as the rain stops.
The best way to start a fire in the rain is by using InstaFire. This is a product that is specifically designed for starting a fire in wet conditions. It’s easy to use and it works perfectly.
You could also check out this YT video, to see how to light a fire in wet conditions.
19. Pack extra towels
When camping in the rain, you will inevitably get wet. That’s just part of the experience. But that doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable.
Pack extra towels so that you can dry off when you get wet and to cuddle in when wet. Bring the larger sort (e.g. beach towels), if you can afford it space-wise. This will help you stay warm and dry throughout your trip.
Additionally, extra towels are effective for soaking up water inside your tent. If your gear gets wet, you can use a towel to soak up the water and prevent it from pooling.
20. Light up the nights
One of the best parts about camping is sitting around the campfire at night. However, this could be not possible when it’s raining, if you didn’t start your campfire in time.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a campfire-like feeling.
There are electric lanterns that give off the same light as a campfire. Just make sure to keep them away from any wet areas. And you can use these lanterns to dry your wet clothes.
21. Stay Positive
One of the most important things to remember when camping in the rain is to stay positive. Try to find the silver lining in the situation.
Yes, the weather may be bad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Just make sure to be prepared and to dress appropriately.
You may not be able to sit around the campfire but you can use that time to explore the area.
Some of the fun activities you can do include playing cards, telling stories, and hiking. Just make sure to stay safe and have fun.
What To Do Next…
If you made it all the way down here and read all of my tips for camping in the rain, you are for sure ready to accept your first rainy day camping adventure.
I am aware you won’t be able to implement all of the above tips, just cherry-pick the ones you liked the most.
Should you have any other tips for camping in the rain, feel free to share them in the comments below. I will make sure to add them to my list.
I think you may like my How to find free camping article or alternatively check my other camping tips and guides.