Spring and summertime camping excursions are popular among families, scout troops, and other outdoorsy souls, but the fun of these trips can often be significantly “watered down” by sustained showers over the course of days or even unexpected rainstorms. If you’re an experienced camper, you know that rain doesn’t have to ruin your fun or cancel a long-awaited trip—it just has to be planned for and worked around.
Today’s post offers some of our best advice for keeping dry, or at least keeping comfortable and happy, while camping in wet weather.
Even if the forecast is showing perfect bluebird skies for the duration of your trip, it’s always wise to anticipate cloudbursts and unpredicted storms. No matter if you camp in the comfort of an RV or prefer to ultralight backpack camp with minimal excess gear, you’ll want to think about rain while you’re packing.
Pack Your Rain Gear
Every camper should own a durable, truly waterproof rain jacket. Also, if you plan to do a lot of hiking while camping, a full rain suit is worth serious consideration. When you’re getting ready to head out, be sure that you pack these essentials in an easy-to-grab location, as well. Rain gear is only useful if you remember to bring it with you and make sure it’s accessible when you need it!
Here at Kool Dri® Rainwear, we have a few tried and true options for both those individuals who plan to just hang out at the motorhome and occasionally walk to the camp store for a snack and for those who will hike miles before pitching a tent at night.
Our 3/4 Length Rain Parka Jacket is a strong choice for a variety of outdoor activities. Its long length protects your body and upper legs, and it also features a removable hood to keep your head dry, as needed. Of course, if you know that you’ll be hiking for hours in sustained rains, you may need the full-body coverage that only our Kool Dri® Rain Suits can offer—and don’t forget that these suits are available in bright, solid colors like yellow and fluorescent orange to guarantee that you’ll be safe and seen when hiking through hunting lands.
Pro tip: Develop a good layering strategy beneath your rain gear that accounts for warmth, water resistance, and breathability. Believe it or not, you will want to avoid cotton clothing, like jeans, and opt for quick-drying polyester or performance wool base and mid-layers for better comfort.
The comfort that comes with having a dry place to sit is something many people don’t think about, but if the weather will be damp and rainy during your camping trip, you can be sure you’ll miss that comfort when you don’t have it! There are many ultralight camp chairs on the market today that fold down small, often into water-resistant bags. Keep a few in your car or camper, so you never have to sit on a wet picnic bench or log again!
Plan for Lighting a Fire in Wet Conditions
Getting a fire started in the rain can be a special kind of challenge. Making sure you have planned ahead for this important camping task will keep you from being cold and/or hungry at camp.
Create a Watertight Matchbox with Strike Pad
Making a DIY watertight matchbox like this great one that involves incorporating a matchbox striking surface on the underside of a small jar lid can be extremely satisfying.
Discover a Ready-Made Fire-starting Tool
Or, you might opt to purchase a fire-starting tool like a piezo lighter (most useful to ignite camp stoves) or magnesium striker.
Bring Enough Tarps
Along with rain gear you can wear, tarps are an indispensable wet weather camping item. You can hang them to create “roofs” over areas of your campsite, drape them over specific items you want to keep dry from the rain, or even use them to protect your tent floor from the wet ground underneath it. If you’re RV or car camping, bring as many tarps with you as you can. And if you’re backpacking, consider bringing at least one lightweight tarp to use for a variety of situations. (Note: your tent’s rainfly can also be used as a tarp in a pinch—if you’re backpacking, it may be all you need.)
Tips for Once You’re “Out There”
If you’ve packed smart for wet weather, you’ve definitely got a huge advantage against Mother Nature. But, there are many things you’ll need to consider once you’re setting up camp, as well.
Choosing Your Campsite Wisely
If you’re car or RV camping, it’s probably true that you’ve already chosen your campsite during the reservation process online or over the phone. But, if you have your pick of several sites—and especially if you will be sleeping in a tent—there are a few things to watch out for that will work against you in rainy weather.
- Views of the water are lovely, but don’t choose to pitch your tent right beside a body of water unless there is a bit of elevation between it and you. Creeks and streams especially can rise quickly during a downpour and flood you out of camp.
- Don’t pitch a tent directly under a tree. It will continue to shed rainwater from its branches well after a storm has passed, and those branches also pose a hazard for injury should they break and fall.
- Being able to see the rising morning sun from your site helps motivate you also to rise and greet the day. Sunlight is great for drying wet gear and clothing, too. Make sure you can take advantage of it!
Gather Your Fire Fuel Ahead of Time and Shelter It
Again, if you’re car or RV camping, you have the luxury of packing space, and you’ll probably want to purchase some seasoned firewood to bring with you to make a proper campfire. Of course, pest quarantines are common so you may not be able to carry in your own wood. In these cases, you may need to collect fuel once you arrive onsite—stacking it up off the ground and covering it with a tarp will help assure that it stays dry in the event of rain.
Properly Manage Your Wet Clothes
Despite your best efforts, you managed to get wet out on the trail—what should you do? It’s essential to allow clothes to dry as thoroughly as possible, even if the rain continues to fall. Always hang your wet clothes to prevent mildew from forming.
Experienced campers always know to bring a clothesline, which may be a simple piece of rope or a repurposed guyline from your tent, and string it under a tarp so you can hang all your wet clothing to dry.
Kool Dri® Rainwear Makes Happy Campers
Are you getting ready to head out on a camping trip but don’t know where to find the best rain jackets and suits? Shop with us here at Kool Dri® to discover high-quality, feature-rich gear made from truly waterproof materials right here in the USA. We also love to hear from our customers and answer all of their outdoor-related questions. Get in touch with us today!