Tips and Hacks for Camping in the Rain
Full, deep blue clouds hang in the sky. It has been raining for days. You’re sitting in your tent soaked and freezing. It is dark. On the floor next to you, your sleeping bag lies in a cold puddle of cloudy, muddy water. It’s going to be a tough night.
There are several tricks you can use to stay dry and have a good time even in the biggest downpour. In this guide, you will learn the best tips, equipment, and techniques so that your camping holiday is guaranteed not to fall into the water!
Find the right campsite
No matter how green the grass and how soft the moss is: never pitch your tent in a hollow! In heavy rain, an impressive amount of water collects even in small depressions. Your feet will stay dry on a slight hill.
Surprisingly, trees are not a good place to be when it rains. Long after the rain has stopped, drops of water keep falling on the tent and your head. A place where the sun can shine on your tent is ideal so that it can dry (and warm) quickly again.
Test your tent at home with the garden hose
Not every tent is waterproof. Some tents are damaged by wind or flying sparks when barbecuing. Newly purchased tents may have minor manufacturing defects in the seams that allow water to get inside.
Fortunately, you can easily test whether your tent will stay dry in the rain. Build your shelter in the garden and close all doors and windows.
A garden hose, the lawn sprinkler, or watering can create an excellent artificial rain shower that mercilessly reveals weak points on the tent!
If drops of water are then visible inside, you have to repair your tent.
Professional tip: by running a sheet of blotting paper along the inside wall, you can find even tiny drops of water and the smallest holes in the tent wall.
Make your tent waterproof and make sure it stays that way
So that you don’t get rudely awakened by cold water droplets on your face in the morning, you should make a leaky tent waterproof again before going on a camping trip.
Repair leaky seams with a seam sealer. You must use a silicone-based seam sealer for tents with a silicone coating.
You can also seal small holes in the tent wall with the seam sealer. When camping, we always have a tube in our luggage so that we can react immediately to minor damage.
Somewhat older tent walls like to soak up rainwater. Protect your tent by looking at it regularly.
Every tent also needs a little maintenance from time to time so that it stays beautiful and waterproof for a long time.
Bring the right tent
Camping in the rain is so much more comfortable when you have a good crap-weather tent with you. Make sure to pay attention to the following features:
- 2,000 mm water column. Sealed seams and a water column of at least 2,000 mm reliably keep the rain out.
- Double-walled tents protect you from the nasty condensation that forms on the inside of your tent tarpaulin in damp weather.
- A completely closed floor is an insurmountable barrier for water from below.
- A spacious awning is an ideal place to stow wet items. So your sleeping place stays dry!
- Clever assembly system. The faster the tent stands, the less rain you will get. Very important: It is possible that you can put up the outer tent in front of the inner tent first.
- Equipment loops on the ceiling make it easy for you to hang up damp clothes & socks to dry.
The right clothing: polyester yes, cotton no!
Clothing made of cotton is not a good idea because cotton gets wet quickly and dries very slowly! It doesn’t even have to rain for that. A high level of humidity and sweat are sufficient.
Clothing made of polyester or nylon is much better. The lightweight synthetic fibers absorb less moisture and dry much faster.
This is the reason why good-quality outdoor clothing is practically always made from water-resistant synthetic fibers. Dry clothes are extremely important for your comfort and health!
Treat your inner tent like a dry sanctuary
Your most important equipment is stored in your inner tent. It’s also extremely important to stay dry while you sleep so that you don’t get chilled at night!
So leave your wet shoes and rainwear in the outer tent. This will prevent your sleeping bag from getting wet. You also reduce the build-up of condensation in the inner tent.
Has your backpack soaked you full of water? Hopefully, you’ve stowed its contents in dry plastic bags! Take the dry contents with you into your inner tent and hang the backpack overnight in the outer tent so that it can drain off.
With the right rain jacket, you are guaranteed to stay dry
The right camping rainwear will help you stay dry when you go out and retain your body heat when you relax.
For us, these rain jackets have proven to be ideal:
- Long raincoat. An extra-long raincoat is easy to throw on when you step outside the door. The coat is much longer than a rain jacket. That’s why your pants stay dry too. If you want to transport a backpack or other large objects dry, you can use a wide rain poncho instead.
- Breathable all-weather jacket. On longer tours in the rain, we prefer to wear a breathable, waterproof weatherproof jacket. These jackets are comfortable because they have a breathable membrane and transport sweat outside during physical exertion. If possible, choose a model with ventilation openings under the arms so that you can regulate the temperature. The zippers must be waterproof.
In heavy rain, you won’t get very far with water-repellent fabrics. You need clothing with a waterproof coating. You can recognize waterproof clothing by the fact that it has water column information.
Open the ventilation flaps regularly to prevent condensation
Even when it rains, open the ventilation flaps on your tent now and then so that warm, moist air can flow outside. This is especially important in the time after sunset when it is colder and wild outside. This will reduce condensation in the tent at night.
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air meets a cool surface. It mainly forms on the inside of your tent walls, but also on the tent floor when the tent is on a cold surface.
So water in the tent doesn’t always mean that your tent is leaking. Maybe you just need to ventilate again to lower the humidity.
Wet clothes? Hang up & hang out!
When you get wet, it is tempting to just put the wet clothes in a bag and put on dry spare clothes.
Do not do that! In a plastic bag, damp textiles get mold stains and can get moldy over time.
Hang your things up to dry. You can simply stretch a clothesline in your awning or under a pavilion.
Many campsites have a drying room or even a clothes dryer.
Yes, it takes a little time to dry. But it’s worth it: Your camping holiday is much more pleasant if you always have dry clothes that don’t smell musty!
Pro tip: polyester dries much faster than cotton. Do you like to shower and often? Then you’ll love these quick-drying microfiber towels.
The right sleeping bag: down clumps, synthetic fibers dries quickly
A down sleeping bag is light and wonderfully warm – until it gets damp. Then the down clumps and loses its insulating effect.
Synthetic sleeping bags made from polyester fibers are ideal when the humidity is high. Synthetic fibers do not clump and retain their insulating effect when they get wet. Another advantage: They dry quickly.
Would you like even more protection against moisture and cold? Then a bivouac sack is right for you. This additional layer of insulation protects your sleeping bag from moisture and helps to retain heat at night.
The bivouac sack should be breathable so that no condensation occurs in the sack.
Water-repellent pants for short showers, waterproof pants for heavy rain
Leave your favorite cotton jeans at the campsite today. Cotton soaks up water and dries slowly. Water-repellent, quick-drying, functional pants made of synthetic fiber protect you from getting soaked.
In heavy rain, you need waterproof pants that you pull over your functional pants. Just like your jacket, the pants should also have a waterproof coating and ideally a breathable membrane made of Gore-Tex or comparable material.
Dry feet are happy feet!
After a downpour, the air is clean, pure, and fresh. A hike is now a special experience! However, damp grass and wet leaves can get you wet in no time. Loose shoes are no fun.
Waterproof hiking boots give you a good grip and stay dry in the mud.
You can give your boots additional protection against water and dirt by freshly waterproofing them before camping in the rain.
Another very important piece of advice to keep your feet happy: Take spare socks with you. Lots of spare socks. And keep a dry pair that you only wear in the tent.
Yesterday’s newspaper saves your shoes today
Put dry newspaper in your wet shoes to help them dry faster. The paper soaks up the moisture.
Also practical: you can light a cozy campfire with the newspaper!
Of course, kitchen paper is also suitable for this purpose. However, old newspapers have the advantage that they are unrivaled in terms of price – they cost nothing.
Take plastic bags with you. Lots of plastic bags.
When it’s pouring down and the wind is shaking your tent, large, waterproof plastic garbage bags and small zippered bags can be more valuable than gold.
- Large garbage bags keep your backpack and luggage dry when you have to walk through the rain.
- You can carry muddy shoes and wet pants in them. Everything else stays dry.
- Before the storm, collect dry firewood in a plastic bag. After the shower, you can easily light a crackling campfire and warm up.
- Pack an “ emergency bag ” with spare clothing (don’t forget your socks!), Food, medication, sensitive electronics, and all other items of equipment that must not be allowed to get wet under any circumstances.
Are you often out and about in nature? Then you will surely have a situation in which you would have wished for a small, fine plastic bag.
Position the tent entrance on the leeward side
Set up your tent so that the tent entrance is on the leeward side. This simple trick will minimize the amount of rain that gets into your tent when you open the tent door.
With many tents, this direction of assembly has another advantage: the sun does not shine directly on your sleeping cabin at sunrise and you can sleep better in the morning.
Brace your tent well
Prevent water from collecting on the tent! A small puddle on the roof is not a problem but remember: water is very heavy. A large pool above your head can damage the tent and find its way into the tent surprisingly quickly.
You can avoid such experiences by tensioning your tent well. Avoid sagging areas and create tension on the flysheet.
A good technique is to stretch the guy ropes out from the center of the tent.
Pro tip: Make sure that the sidewalls of your tent are also tight enough. The inner tent must not touch the outer tent at any point. Otherwise, condensation can run from the outer tent into your inner tent.
A tent pad protects you from water from below
Tents are often flooded not from above but from below. You can easily protect yourself from this wet fate by just putting a tarp under your tent. The sturdy, lightweight tarpaulin protects your tent floor from sharp stones, water, and mud. This also makes it easier for you to clean your tent after your vacation.
Very important: the tarp must not peek out from under the tent! Otherwise, rainwater will collect under your tent. Slide any protruding corners under the tent floor. You did it right when you can no longer see the tarp.
Pass on your wisdom
Camping in the rain is a skill. Knowing how to stay dry and have fun despite bad weather makes inexperienced campers jealous. Remember the days when you sat in a cold, damp tent and share your wisdom about camping on rainy days with other campers. They will appreciate your help.
Dry your equipment and your tent
Damp objects tend to mold. So don’t forget to dry your gear and tent after your outing in the rain before packing them away at home.
The easiest way is to spread the tent out on the ground in the sun. Make sure to open the doors beforehand. The clothesline in the basement is also good, the tumble dryer is taboo.
Enjoy the rain
The relaxing, rhythmic drumming of the raindrops on your tent roof. The wind rustles in the treetops. The clear, fresh air after the rain shower. Rain has a beautiful side.