How To Keep Your Camping Gear Dry When It Rains
Mother Nature can throw a variety of challenges your way during a camping trip. Changing seasons bring changing flora and fauna. Weather is volatile and a storm can lead to a frustrating experience--rainy, wet, and cold. Don’t let this discourage you from venturing outdoors, however.
Rain doesn’t have to put a halt to your next camping adventure. The following tips will prepare you for a variety of difficulties, ensuring a successful outdoor experience.
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1. Choosing The Right Site
If the ground feels mushy beneath your feet, more than likely you’re going to experience a soggy night. Be observant and check the ground. Areas that feel soaked or show evidence of depressions or ground softness may be susceptible to flooding. Instead, seek higher ground.
It’s also helpful to avoid setting up camp under a tree. This will prevent you from experiencing the wet drips from the leafy branches that linger long after the rain has stopped. If you’re an early riser, try facing your tent towards the sunrise and wake up with the sun.
2. Let There Be Light
The night time arrives early in the fall, so be sure to bring plenty of ways to light up your campsite. This will not only be helpful in preparing your evening meal, but it also encourages the camp morale to stick it out in the dark.
Night observations can be very rewarding. Keeping your light functional, while still considerate to the night time creatures, will allow you more opportunities to see more of your outdoor surroundings. A fun trick is turning a gallon jug of water into a lantern with headlamp by simplifying strapping it around the jug with the light facing inwards.
Wet camping can often make people run for the shelter of the tent. Camping is all about enjoying the outdoors, so don’t let a little rain make the whole camp run for cover. Packing a tarp is lightweight and with just a little bit of rope, you can easily create a “go to” shelter to preserve the outdoor camaraderie while staying dry. From there--the activities are endless, card games to storytelling.
4. Dress Smart
Layers are essential for fall camping. The day may provide a warm hike that has you stripping down layers, and the evening will bring a chill requiring a thicker coat. Layering your body with quality moisture wicking materials will not only regulate the temperature of your body, it will also help you retain heat when it starts to cool down.
A polyester and wool base and mid-layer can provide the all the protection you need when paired with a good waterproof jacket. Another good way to prepare your layers is with a pair of wool socks--they breathe well and dry much quicker than cotton if wet. You can always step up the comfort by bringing a second pair to trade off when you return to camp after a wet hike.
5. Art Of The Tarp
Okay, so earlier the tarp was mentioned as being a useful shelter, but it’s versatility doesn’t stop there. Pack one or many, a tarp can be the greatest rainy camping tool out there. Use it to keep dry on a damp ground under your tent, or outside so you can step out without worrying about the mud.
A true workhorse, the tarp can be a quick picnic blanket or tablecloth, a quick shelter for rainy camp kitchen or hang-out spot, and it can even be a quick cover to keep all your gear dry. It’s the ultimate camping wingman!
6. Get Up Off The Ground
The wet ground brings in the cold and you want to be sure your body is not there to absorb it. Having a barrier between you and the ground is going to earn you a better night’s sleep. Double up sleeping pads, cots, etc.--the bottom line is you want to eliminate the contact with the ground.
7. The Magical Plastic Bag
Bags are lifesavers and they come in a multitude of varieties. Trash bags can hold anything from refuse to gear and everything in between. Sandwich bags are excellent waterproof barriers for technology or other important gear that needs protecting.
They can fit almost anywhere in your pack and they can be reused multiple times for different reasons. Plastic grocery bags gain new life by storing important fire materials including transporting dry wood.
8. Hunting Season
During hunting season, we all hope for excellent weather but sometimes life doesn’t always shine down on you. Gun oils promote themselves as water tolerant but a great bang for your buck is R.I.G.
R.I.G. is a rust inhibiting grease for hunters made to prevent water from affecting your gun. The gun will need to be disassembled and reassembled during the process. This means that your scopes will need to be re-adjusted once the greasing has completed.
Campers venturing into hiking areas during hunting season will want to be extra aware. Wearing bright colors will make you more visible. While it’s always advisable to avoid these areas during hunting season--staying safe means making others aware of your presence at all times.
9. Keeping Water
Rain can truly be a lifesaver in certain camping situations. It’s never a bad idea to capture rain if water is needed during your trip. Setting out bottles and cups to capture the water means an extra source of our most needed resource.
In really cold camping conditions, water bottles can easily freeze, leaving you with nothing to drink in the morning. Remedy this situation by flipping your bottle over. Because the water freezes from the top, your bottle should have a bit available in the morning, regardless if it froze overnight.
10. Staying Dry Inside
Before entering your shelter at night, it’s important to remember that if it’s wet going in then it’ll stay wet throughout the night. If you’ve followed the other tips, you already know that rope and a tarp are excellent tools to pack.
Hang wet clothes to dry and put other wet objects that can’t be hung into a dry sack or covered vestibule. If your tent gets wet, be sure to dry it out to prevent mildew and mold from taking hold.