How to go Camping in the Rain and Still Have a Good Time

Table of Contents

A great camping trip doesn’t have to go bad just because it rains. If you come prepared and have the right rain-gear, it can be just as fun as any other camping trip. And when you’re prepared, you can sit back and enjoy the storms rolling through instead of focusing all of your attention on keeping you and your belongings dry. So, here’s some tips on how to have a great camping trip in the rain and still have a good time.

Always Bring Plenty of Plastic Bags and Baggies!

Any time you go camping your packing list should include a box of large thick black trash bags and a few boxes of different sized zipper sealed plastic baggies. I always bring one box each of gallon, quart and sandwich sized baggies. Baggies and trash bags are not only good for packing snacks and lunches and keeping your campsite trash free. They are essential if it starts to rain. You can use the large trash bags to keep any wet clothes in so they don’t get everything else in your tent wet. Of course you can use these large trash bags to keep any number of other things dry in the rain like food, camping gear, cooking gear and more! The most important thing to keep dry on a rainy camping trip is the firewood. Throw your firewood in some large plastic trash bags and when it starts to dry up a bit outside then you can have firewood that will still burn. There’s nothing worse than a soaking wet camping trip and no way to light the fire to stay warm and dry off. As for the zipper baggies, these are great for keeping your smaller items safe from the rain, like a cell phone and first aid supplies, books, and even snacks. And they make it easy to organize your smaller items. Don’t forget a permanent marker to label your baggies! This make it much easier to find what you’re looking for especially on camping trips with larger groups.

camping in the rain with tarp
Having a tarp can save the day when camping in the rain

Pack Tarps and Rope

Tarps and ropes are probably the most essential items to bring besides your tent. Underneath your tent you should place a tarp to keep the bottom of your tent dry and to keep the mud off of your tdent. Be sure to have a medium to heavy duty tarp to do this, as the thin tarps tend to rip very easily especially if there are any small rocks underneath it. You should also place tarps above your tent and social/eating area. This is where the rope comes in, tie your tarps to nearby trees and make sure to make the tarp tight and at an angle. Keeping the tarp tight help from it to flap frantically in the wind. And the angle allows the water to flow off instead of pooling up and possibly breaking and dumping tons of water on your campsite. Of course, you need to make sure where you’re directing the water from the tarp. You don’t want to direct all of the run off right towards your tent!

Good tent placement when camping in the rain

Be Strategic With You Tent Placement

When deciding on where to put your tent on your campsite there’s a few things you need to keep in mind if it’s raining. First, keep your tent on high ground to prevent any flash flooding from getting into your tent. Next, if you have your tent directly underneath a tree it will continue to drip water on your tent long after it stops raining. And it will shade the sun from drying out your tent. But you will need trees nearby to suspend your tarp above your tent so if you have to be under a tree so you can hang a tarp then do that. A lot of storms usually blow in a certain direction, like a southerly wind blows from the North to the South and a westerly wind blows from the East to the West. So, lastly, you should position your tent with the door facing away from the direction the wind is blowing. This way, when you open your tent to get in and out, less rain will blow in and get your stuff wet.

Keep the Fire Pit Dry

(And Bring a Shovel)

Always keep the fire pit and your fire wood dry. If you are strategic with your tarp placement and it’s not too close above the fire you can successfully have a campfire in the rain. And when camping in the rain it’s all about staying warm and dry. If you’re in a pinch and it just started raining out of nowhere, grab a plastic trash bag to cover the fire pit and throw your firewood in another trash bag. Then, take the time to properly put up a tarp above the fire pit.

If you come to a campsite and it’s already rained or it is still raining then your fire pit is most likely full of ashy mud. And starting a fire on a pile of mud is near impossible. But if you bring a shovel you can shovel away the mud and create a dryer environment for your fire to start on. I always bring a folding shovel with my camping gear because it takes up almost no space especially compared to a garden shovel. Once the fire starts going it will dry any dampness around the fire pit and you can stay warm all night.

Bring Proper Rain Attire

This should be mostly common sense but if you’re not used to inclement weather then you may not know how to be super prepared for it. If you know it going to rain when you’ll be camping you’re going to want to bring the proper gear. A nice rain jacket and waterproof boots/shoes are essential. And for clothing you want to stay away from cotton materials and bring wool or synthetic material that has “wicking”. Wool naturally wicks moisture away from your body keeping you felling dry in wet weather. There are synthetic materials that mimic this wicking action of wool that work just as well. And having wool socks and a wool sweater in rainy weather makes it so much better. And of course, don’t forget your umbrella!

Sit Back and Enjoy the Rain!

As long as you are staying warm and dry, rainy weather doesn’t have to dampen your experience. When I was a kid, growing up in North Texas, rain would show up out of no where. It could be a beautiful day and then all of a sudden it would be dark as night and it would be raining cats and dogs! And those North Texas Storms aren’t gentle by any means. But I loved laying in my tent listening to the pitter patter of the rain and the rolling thunder in the distance while I read a good book.

And if reading isn’t your cup of tea, then there’s still plenty of other things to enjoy in the rain. You could listen to music by placing a portable speaker in your tent to stay dry. Or you could even watch a movie in your tent if you download a movie from Netflix or bring a portable DVD player. And if you’re near a lake or river you could always go fishing! And it may be fisherman’s superstitions but I was always heard that the fish bite more if it’s raining. So any time I was camping out by the lakes or rivers and it started raining I would just put on my rain gear and go fishing!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Stay up to date on the Nomadic Lifestle

More To Explore:

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

What to Bring to the Beach

The best beach days are the one’s where you brought everything you need and you can just take it all in. So, here’s a packing list for your next beach day to help you stay organized and have fun!

Read More »
Girl floating on ocean

What is a Digital Nomad?

There are many different types of digital nomads. But the one thing they all have in common is living a nomadic or location independent lifestyle while generating income from a digital means. This could mean very different lifestyles depending on what your skill set is.

Read More »

Skoolie for Full Time Travel

There are so many choices out there for a home for full time travel; tiny homes, RVs, trailers, vans, skoolies, pretty much whatever you can think of you can live in it! This is why I chose a skoolie.

Read More »