Don’t bail on a camping trip just because there’s rain in the forecast. Get prepared and you can stay (mostly) dry. Here’s how.
Pick the Right Campsite:
This is key to avoiding a river of water flowing underneath your tent. First, choose a site that’s away from a stream or any water feature—or terrain depression—that could overflow in a rainstorm. Second, think high and dry. Don’t camp at the bottom of a slope (no matter how gentle it is) where water could pool. Look for a flat spot on higher ground. Third, find a forested spot if possible. Thick trees provide natural shelter and allow you to set up a tarp for added protection. Big boulders and cliffs can also provide shelter from the prevailing wind, just stay clear of any potential rockfall.
Pick the Right Tent:
A roomy, well-ventilated tent with a large vestibule will help keep you and your gear dry.
Orient Your Tent:
Set up your tent with the door facing away from the wind to help prevent water from blowing inside when you enter and exit.
Set up a Tarp:
Nothing beats having an extra tarp or two while camping in the rain. Here’s how to use them:
- Rig a tarp to create a dry space for cooking and hanging out (camping in the rain is a lot more fun when you’re not confined to your tent).
- Hang a tarp above your tent to keep things extra dry; this is especially welcome if you’re getting in and out a lot.
Tip: In hard rain, set up your tent under a tarp before moving it to its final position, in order to keep it dry before the rainfly is set up.
Bring a Footprint:
A footprint/groundsheet underneath your tent adds an extra layer of protection below. While tent floors are waterproof (or should be), a footprint adds insurance against small rips or tears that could lead to big leaks. Make sure the footprint doesn’t extend past the perimeter of your tent, otherwise it will actually collect water.