If you plan well, you can have an awesome time even if you end up with a camping trip in the rain. We’re from North Yorkshire, so we know all about rain, even in the summer! In our daily lives, rain’s not a problem. After all it keeps our stunning countryside lush and green, but a soggy tent and damp kit is definitely not on my wish-list for a camping trip!
I’m a bit of a ‘Southern Softie’ fair-weather camper type, but the teen is game for camping in all weathers, so we’ve worked out how not let a little rain (or a lot) spoil our camping trips.
We learned the hard way how to ace camping in the rain
We had a very wet (and windy) camping trip to Scarborough which we (OK by we I mean I) didn’t plan for at all. It was a ‘spur of the minute – need a break now’ holiday. As in ‘purchase tent in the morning, rush home to throw things in a bag and head off to the camp-site that same afternoon’. What could possibly go wrong?
The weather was horrendous when we arrived, but we survived to tell the tale. We had a few wonderfully hilarious mum/son evenings in our little tent and the weather brightened up eventually. A little water doesn’t have to ruin your camping fun. It’s all in the planning! These 7 tips for camping in the rain will keep you (mostly) dry and make your trip much more enjoyable.
1. Check the Weather
Our biggest mistake was assuming that the sun would be shining just as brightly in our destination as it was at home (only 30 miles away where the sun was cracking the slabs`) doh! With the sky turning darker and darker as we drove to our campsite at the coast, I regretted not checking the weather forecast before leaving home. Then we heard on the radio that a storm was on the way with gale force winds and big fat raindrops started to pelt down…
2. Practice Putting Your Tent Up
It’s no fun to arrive at a camp-site in pouring rain with a gale fast approaching, just as evening is drawing in. And we had a spanking new tent in the car. Unfurling any tent in howling wind and torrential rain is challenging at the best of times, but a brand new tent? Sheer madness.
Picture the howling wind blowing half the tent across the site and the paper instructions ending up in a puddle. Picture the boy scampering hither and thither chasing down rogue tent parts. Picture the rude words that were uttered. A lot. Once they’d had their fill of laughing at us, other campers came to our rescue. They’re probably still dining out on the story.
If you’re treating yourself to a new tent
- Don’t buy it the day you’re going on your trip (oops!)
- Try putting it up at home first
- Make sure you have all the bits you need (and that you have extra tent pegs)
- Pop the instructions into a clear plastic pocket, then attach the pocket by string to your tent bag
- Feel super smug knowing you didn’t make a total pratt of yourself like I did
3. Pack The Right Camping Stuff
So we’ve learned that packing the right stuff is essential to having a successful camping holiday. But what is the right stuff?
Tent: Having the right tent makes a camping trip so much better! Here’s a great guide to help you buy the right one
Something to sleep on: Having fallen for the complete lie that self-inflating mats are comfortable (total rubbish) and roll up camping mats are OK once you get used to them (Pah! Also rubbish) the ONLY way to go is air beds. Buy the best one(s) you can afford and your back will thank you for it. A lot.
Something to sleep in: Sleeping bags are great if you have them but your duvet from home might work just as well (worked perfectly for us). If it’s going to be cold, your sleeping bag needs to be suitable and whatever you do don’t forget to take a pillow!
Something to sit on: Fold up camping chairs work in and out of your tent. On rainy days when you’re holed up inside, you’ll want something to sit on.
Something to cook on and with: You don’t have to go crazy and blow the budget, but a teeny tiny cheapo camping stove like the one we bought takes ages to warm up food. Not great when you’re cold, wet and hungry!
4. Pack the Right Clothes
When you’re going to be out in the elements, it’s good to be prepared. Having the right kit with you will make all the difference in the world. Here’s what you need to think about packing:
Waterproof Jacket: Even if you’re going camping in the summer, you’ll need a waterproof jacket you can wear over layers. If it’s a cool season, you’ll need your jacket to be both warm and waterproof. Imagine that early morning/late night trek to the bathroom and then plan your coat!
Moisture Wicking Layers: If you get wet when you’re wearing cotton clothes, you’ll get cold fast as cotton soaks up water like a sponge. It takes forever and a day to dry too. Do yourself a huge favour and leave your cotton clothes at home. Stick to fabrics which wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry. The best moisture wicking fabrics include merino wool and polyester.
Walking Boots and Wellies/Crocs: If you want to avoid the misery of cold wet feet and soggy socks, packing the right footwear is essential. Take it from a girl who loves shoes – camping is the time for substance over style! Wellies/crocs are ideal for slipping on for a dash to the toilet block or shops when it’s wet. Wellies will keep your feet dry and warm. Crocs won’t but they’re quick to kick off when you get back to your tent so you can warm up your toes fast. Walking boots ar the heavy-duty option but essential for those longer treks outside camp when its wet weather.
5. Pack The Right Way
Number 1 rule – don’t let your kit get wet! A water-resistant bag/rucksack is an essential piece of kit. If your bag isn’t waterproof, line it with a large bin bag (and take spares to stow dirty kit in). Then pack your stuff into packing cubes or drysacks for extra protection and to keep everything organised and easy to find.
6. Keep Your Warm Clothes Warm!!
Have you ever dreaded getting out of your toasty bed on a camping trip, because your clothes feel cold and damp in the morning? We did and it’s not a good feeling. We found that you can keep your clothes warm by slipping them into your sleeping bag (or under the duvet) at night. Bingo – lovely warm clothes to step into. They might be a bit creased but that’s way better than damp in my book.
7. Pick the Right Pitch For Your Tent
It feels obvious to say to find a good pitch, but this can make or break your trip, if you do end up camping in the rain. Look for a pitch that’s on level, flat ground, away from any flowing water. If the site is sloped, pick the highest pitch you can as water flows downhill and you shouldn’t end up camping in a puddle.
How do you have fun when you’re camping in the rain? Please share your ideas in the comments below!
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