Camping in the rain can be fun!
Staying inside a soggy, wet tent all day isn’t.
Here are 10 tips to help make camping and backpacking in the rain an enjoyable experience.
10 Tips for Backpacking in The Rain
If you think of damp, cold feet, a runny nose, and cold fingers when you imagine camping in the rain, you’re not alone. It’s not a good feeling at all. Recently, I went hunting with my AR-10 equipped with a 6.5 Creedmoor scope and I camped overnight. And guess what happened…it rained. I wasn’t prepared. So, I decided to do some intensive research on this matter and learned 10 tips from Kenneth Kramm that will help turn every camping day into an enjoyable one!
Tip 1. Think of it as training
Just like the old saying: “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Bushcraft, bug out, and survival skills are perishable.
You want every opportunity to hone your skills. Every adventure in nature will give a new insight into how to do it better, faster, and easier. Practice making a fire in the rain. This is enough of a fun challenge for many.
Tip 2. Practice your skills during nice weather then apply when raining
The mental drain of hiking in the rain, whether it’s hot or cold, can be significant.
Try to fill your memory banks with as many good days practicing during nice weather that you can draw upon when you’re not as happy to be on the adventure.
It’ll be less of a challenge to backpack and camp when the weather is nice. Make use of it to get as ready as you can.
Tip 3. Get a good pack
You’re more likely to notice when the gear isn’t comfortable when you’re not comfortable.
Make sure your pack fits properly, and that you can carry your load. Does your pack have waterproof zippers? When it’s raining – but before SHTF – is a good time to find that out.
Tip 4. Bring tarps
Keep your rain gear at the top of your pack, for speedy access. Practice setting up a tarp shelter to help keep you and your gear dry while you set up your tent or hammock.
When it’s raining hard, SPEED COUNTS!
There are literally dozens of ways to set up a tarp for the best protection. Respond to your environment and weather. Make sure your tarp is stretched taught to prevent puddling. The only way to get fast (and good) at setting these up, is to practice this often.
Tip 5. Pick a good tent
Is it light? Can you set it up easily and quickly (more practice)?
You’ll want a tent with a “bathtub floor” to keep water out. Also, a vestibule or extra space for storing your gear is essential. Keep your pack close, always.
Even the bathtub floor gets a little damp in heavy rains. You don’t want dampness in your sleeping bag and gear. Trash bags, plastic, or another plastic tarp can be used to line the floor and keep moisture away from your sleeping gear.
Ventilation for your tent might not be your first thought when you’re looking to buy, but it’s an important feature to keep in mind. Better ventilation means less condensation. We’re trying to stay dry here!
You don’t want to add to that soggy, waterlogged feeling by stewing inside a tent with poor ventilation.
Tip 6. Go for the high ground
You’ll want to select a spot as high as possible, and that will protect you from drainage.
If you don’t, then even light rain can turn your campsite into a pond or river. Avoid camping in a low lying area.
Tip 7. Keep supplies organized
Keeping your spare clothes in a plastic bag can then double as a pillow.
Break your gear up into functions and store together.
Lighting equipment (headlamp, flashlight), fire starting equipment, etc. stored in plastic bags together for easy access and use. Don’t forget your first aid kit.
Tip 8 Practice fire starting
This one tip is important to master BEFORE going out into the rain.
If you can’t start a fire fast in ideal conditions, you won’t have much success in the rain. Once you’re good at one fire starting method, add in another. Pine resin can be used as a fire starter. Digging into the bark of a pine tree with a knife or even a sharp stick should get you enough resin to be useful.
Have fire starting “kits” ready to go and test them out in the rain. Strike anywhere matches wrapped in a paraffin-soaked cotton pad will give you enough ignition to catch your dry tinder and get things rolling.
Although you’ll want to use the shelter you’ve just put up to help you get your fire going, be careful. You don’t want to lose your gear! Carry a deep tin container (something very light) that you can pack with tinder and sticks, to get your fire started.
This will help keep your fire contained and is somewhat portable. The tin gets hot fast, though!
Tip 9. Hike the trails
Familiarize yourself with the surrounding areas. Geography, local plant life, wildlife. Knowing these things well in advance will pay you back 100 times over. For example, American Beautyberry plants repel ticks and mosquitoes.
Tip 10. Lightning and Widowmakers
Be safe! Follow local recommendations.
Here’s a video on lightning safety:
Use caution when there’s lightning. Stay away from trees. A car will be much safer than a tent in a lightning storm. If you can, return home. You’re safer indoors.