Necessities for camping in the rain

Camping in the rain can be a lot of fun but takes a little extra prep work.

Online access to campsites makes them easy to book most times of the year. However, popular destinations may require planning many months in advance to secure a spot. Once the camping weekend rolls around, the weather may not always be favorable. But don’t cancel that reservation just because it’s raining. Follow these seven simple steps for a pleasant rainy weekend.

Leave cotton clothing at home

It’s a common saying among the outdoors community that “cotton kills,” and for good reason. When cotton clothing gets wet, it takes longer to dry, which can lead to hypothermia even in mildly cool weather. Stick with synthetic clothing or wool (especially socks) that will dry faster and wick moisture away from the skin.

Pack waterproof matches or a reliable lighter

Waterproof matches have an outer coating that allows them to spark and light even after they are submerged in water. This can be the difference between a warm meal and going hungry on a rainy weekend outdoors.

Bring a dry bag

Dry bags can be submerged in water without having the interior get wet. Keep your clothing and first-aid kit bone-dry by storing them in a dry bag at camp.

Pack newspaper and trash bags

You can never pack too much of either on a rainy weekend at camp. Newspaper can be balled up to help clothing and shoes dry out or it can be used to start a fire. Trash bags can store wet clothing or be draped around your pack to keep it dry while hiking.

Invest in extra tarps and a good rain fly

Not only can tarps be hung over your camp to keep the rain at bay, but they can also be used under or inside the tent floor to keep moisture away from sleeping bags. Make sure your rain fly covers the mesh and windows of the tent you plan to camp in or rain could blow into your tent.

Prioritize dry campsites

During a heavy rainstorm, plan to camp away from a water source. Streams can rise several feet with just a couple of inches of rain. Also, if you can choose your tent site, the higher the ground, the better your chances of staying dry. Rain follows the path of least resistance, and I have witnessed many wet tents due to campers selecting a site based on view rather than elevation.

Find dry firewood

Seek out dry firewood from a reputable source to bring with you and keep it covered with a tarp during the rain. If you are forced to scavenge for dry kindling and wood, sometimes taking the outer layer of bark off the wood will help it burn easier. Also, kindling found hanging in trees has a better chance of being dry than when found lying on the ground.

Camping in the rain can be a lot of fun but takes a little extra prep work. Sleeping in a tent listening to the rain is relaxing and worth the trip. Take a couple of extra items and select a campsite on high ground for a more enjoyable and drier experience.