How to Stay Dry While Camping in the Rain

May 16, 2016 How to,News

Sometimes rain happens. The best way to avoid the rain is to check the weather, but unexpected thunderstorms could still catch you by surprise. To stay warm and dry in your tent while camping in the rain, you must not only have the right gear but also practice preventive measures to make your night’s sleep enjoyable. Whether you plan on backpacking or simply camping in the rain, these tips should help you stay dry and safe during a rainstorm. Now, do take caution if inclement weather is about to hit, especially if there is a flood watch. It might be in your best interest to pack up and leave instead of waiting the weather out in your tent.

Rainy day

Photo Credit: Aaron via FlickrChoose the Right Spot to Set Up

Choose the Right Spot to Set Up

If you know that a rainstorm is about to hit, make sure you set up your tent in the best spot for camping in the rain. Do not camp on top of a mountain to reduce the risk of a lightening strike. Also, avoid camping on clay or packed soil because rain will not be able to infiltrate the ground very well, creating a puddle underneath your tent. Furthermore, make sure you aren’t camped near any signs of old flooded areas; look for signs of washed out debris.

Rainy fall camping by adrimcm via Flickr

Photo Credit: adrimcm via Flickr

Invest in Quality Gear

Not only should you invest in a quality tent that has waterproofing on the seams and comes with a waterproof rain fly, but also invest in a ground cloth, rain jacket (and pants if you prefer), and an inflatable sleeping pad. The right gear will matter when camping in the rain. The ground cloth will prevent leakage from underneath, while the inflatable sleeping pad will be your small ‘island’ if water does infiltrate into the tent. If you are backpacking, you should definitely have a rain cover for your pack. This rain cover should not only be used while hiking in the rain but also should be used while camping to protect your pack from getting soaked. There is nothing more annoying than putting on a wet pack the next day.

waterproofing tent material

Don’t Leave Anything Outside

If a storm is about to strike, the worst thing that could happen is that your gear that you hung up outside will get soaked. Keep your camp space tidy and prepare for any and all weather by stowing all your items in a waterproof casing, underneath your tent’s vestibule, underneath a separate rain fly, or inside your tent. If you are camping in bear country, invest in a waterproof stuff sack to keep your food up on a bear line. One of the common things that seems to be left out of the tent accidentally is hiking shoes or boots. Stow your shoes in your pack, pack cover, or simply in a waterproof plastic bag. If you are a backpacker, line your pack with a trash bag or trash compactor bag (trash compactor bags are more sturdy than regular trash bags) to keep your gear super dry while hiking and to have a plastic bag for storage during those rainy camp times.

Rainy weather coming in near the tent


Waterproofing materials keep water out but also can keep moisture in. Make sure to invest in a rain jacket and tent that has adequate ventilation. If you don’t have good ventilation in your tent, you will wake up with moisture on the inside. Always consider how you can utilize your gear to its fullest extent. Keep moisture out by remembering that ventilation is important too!

weather outside of tent

Photo Credit: Leon Wilson via Flickr

Have Cold Weather Gear

Even in the summer, the temperature can drop during a thunderstorm. Make sure you at least have a jacket and a dry pair of socks. Hypothermia can occur during the summer during rainy and chilly weather. Therefore, consider bringing some cold weather gear as well as a cozy sleeping bag if you do end up being stuck in the tent for the day.

Warm weather gear while camping in the rain

Bring Things to Occupy Your Time

Being rained out on a camping trip might seem like a bummer, but if you have something to do, your time spent cooped up in your tent might not be all bad. Make sure you have plenty of snacks that don’t require a stove. Backpackers might find it hard to add extra weight to your pack for the sack of boredom. However, a pack of cards, your smartphone, or even some sort of travel or camp game, could definitely boost morale when the bad weather forces you to retreat to the tent for hours.

Rainy day in the tent

How do you stay dry in your tent during a thunderstorm? Tell us your recommendations in the comments below!

Madison Dragna