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Camping in the great outdoors, whether it be some of the most extreme places to camp in America or your local campsite, requires that one is versatile with nature and everything that comes with it: bears, mountain lions, insects, wind, and even rain.
To have the best camping experience this summer, the first step is to be prepared for whatever may occur. All good campers know that something often does go wrong or unexpected on each trip, but it's all about how you react to it.
To help you out, we've put together a list of hacks for camping in the rain to ensure you can continue to stay warm and dry, and most importantly, still have a blast on your trip if rain decides to hit.
Pick a location away from valleys and river beds and where you can hang tarp if necessary.
Setting up camp under tree may not always be an option you have available, but when it is, this is an optimal location to hang up tarps with paracord from tree limbs to ensure both you and your belongings keep dry during light rainfall.
However, if a major storm or heavy rain is hitting, best advice is to stay away from trees to avoid falling branches.
Even more crucial is to set up camp away from a valley if possible. Valleys or locations near river beds can be the coldest and most wet when it rains and put you at risk for dealing with a flash flood. Find a location you can be confident that even with the heaviest of rains, flooding isn't likely to occur.
Know how to start a fire in the rain prior to going on your camping trip.
First things first, if you prefer to start a fire the old-fashioned way, you can do so by watching the helpful video above.
However, especially for newbies, bringing a trusty lighter on your camping trip never hurts. Some may claim it's a camping cheat, but if there's potential rain heading your way, it's a quick way to ignite a toasty fire.
Some options for rainy campsites include:
- Waterproof lighters (e.g., Everstryke lighter, Zippo canister)
- Waterproof matches
- Magnesium fire starters
Another essential hack for camping in the rain is to know whether or not you plan on using a lighter or matches is to opt for tinder if you can spot it on your trip. Tinder is quick and easy to light. Plus, it's lightweight. (We won't judge you if you bring tinder to the campsite.)
Use a warm water bottle or thermos in your sleeping bag for extra warmth.
Rainy nights typically mean colder weather, right? To keep warm and snug while sleeping, place warm water in a water bottle or thermos, and keep it in your sleeping bag shortly before you hit the hay.
If electricity or a warm body of water nearby aren't options you can use for this process, simply heat up water over a fire (but not too hot!). It can get the job done swiftly.
Warm water bottles are also an essential to place on cramps, injuries or sites of swelling, or general regions of pain. Warmth has been proven to soothe the nerves and muscle tissue and speed up healing.
Always bring waterproof gear.
Rain can not only damage or mold your possessions, especially if not properly air-dried, but wearing damp items can also get you sick. At any chance you might get in contact with a rainstorm, your best bet is to opt for waterproof gear for your camping trip.
An umbrella alone just might not cut. Opt for waterproof pants and a jacket that you can quickly put on to ensure you have dry clothing underneath. Waterproof boots and leg gators can also be found. Most importantly, consider bringing a waterproof backpack to keep any sensitive items safe.
Bring empty Ziplock bags and trash bags.
One of the most simple hacks for camping in the rain is to bring a pack of Ziplock bags and/or trash bags. These wet weather camping essentials can be used to store items you wish not to get wet, especially electronics, food, and dry wood.
Ziplock bags are wonderful to instantly waterproof phones and other non-waterproof technology, and trash bags can be great to store clothes and other larger items. Best of all, Ziplock bags and trash bags are affordable and take up minimal space in a backpack or other travel bag.
Trash bags are also great to store dirty clothing, so you can just pop them into the washer when you arrive home from your camping trip.
Dry off with with microfiber towels.
Even if you've taken the extra precautions to keep yourself and your belongings dry, chances are that someone or something will get wet when camping in the rain.
In this case, it's a great idea to bring along microfiber towels or cloths. Microfiber dries quickly, has great absorption, and is also wonderful for wiping off dust, hence why they are often used to clean vehicles and around the house.
Microfiber towels can be found at your local department store, in the cleaning department at home improvement stores, or from online sources such as Amazon.
Do NOT apply waterproof wax or grease to your shoes in attempt to waterproof them.
Coming back to the idea of ensuring your clothes are waterproof, it is important to choose actual waterproof shoes rather than trying to waterproof regular shoes with wax or grease.
As much as we are aware how annoying wet clothing and gear can be, the problem with waterproof wax or grease is that it ruins the breathe-ability of your shoes. In turn, moisture and stench can build up in your shoes, and your risks of developing athlete's foot, toenail fungus, or other similar conditions increases.
Simply put, you're better off going barefoot and then wiping your feet off later if you can't find adequate waterproof shoes.
Bring a camping hammock along.
The idea of bringing a hammock along on your camping trip isn't to get you even more wet; the purpose is to keep you safe from a potential flash flood or even puddles that may try to sabotage your tent camping experience. Getting above ground is the safest option if you are unable to travel elsewhere.
Even if you choose not to sleep in the hammock, you can also use it as a "shelf" to store your items to ensure they won't float away if a bit of flooding does occur, as long as the items are covered or protected in a water-safe bag, etc.
Use the rain to your best benefit.
Because the weather will do what it will do, one of our hacks for camping in the rain is to do your best when dealing with the rain. In fact, see it as a benefit.
Use the rain for cleaning out cooking utensils, wash your clothes while camping, bathing, or as a therapeutic sound as you sleep. Additionally, you can bring buckets or pans to collect rain water to later filter for drinking purposes. Camping in the rain can also help prepare you for disaster and teach you how to be a versatile and strategic camper in terms acting on the spot.
Overall, when you use the rest of our camping tips, you'll be ready to camp in any level of rain from a slight trickle to a heavier rain. Good luck!