You don’t have to let rain dampen your camping trip! The following tips can help you make the most of your camping trip, even if unexpected showers find you. Regardless if there is rain on the forecast or not, there’s always the chance it could rain while you’re camping. Here are some other things you can do and bring along to help protect yourself in a storm even if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
1. Bring Plenty of Plastic Bags & Trash Bags
If you don’t want to spend money on endless high-end dry bags for camping, cheap plastic bags keep water out too. Bring plenty of plastic bags in various sizes, from Ziplock bags to trash bags. Large trash bags are great for shielding your hiking pack at night as well as keeping firewood dry.
If you’re relying on natural materials to start a fire, don’t forget to store some twigs, branches and other flammable materials in bags. Otherwise, it’s likely everything will be too wet to spark a fire later. Keep your digital camera, shoes, fishing license, money, passport and other items in smaller plastic bags, even if they are inside the protection of your tent.
2. Don’t Go Camping in the Rain Without the Rooftop Cargo Bag
The Rooftop Cargo Bag serves two purposes: It provides 15 cubic feet of additional storage space for your camping gear that easily straps to the top of your vehicle. And, it is completely waterproof and serves as a great place to store things you don’t want to get wet if you’re camping in the rain.
3. Use a Tarp to Keep Water Out of Your Tent
Place a tarp on the dirt beneath your tent to provide an extra layer of protection against moisture getting inside. The tarp does its job better if kept on the outside of your tent as opposed to lining the interior floor.
4. Know the Signs of Hypothermia
It doesn’t have to be that cold for you to develop hypothermia. All it takes is consistently wet weather for your core body temperature to dip dangerously low. Anything below 95 degrees F is problematic and likely to induce impaired judgement, pale/purple skin, slurred speech, frostbite, or shivering. If there’s a hospital in the area, get there as soon as possible. If that’s not an option, remove wet clothing and cover the person in dry blankets or clothes to try and keep them warm while monitoring their temperature.
5. Collect Rain Water
One benefit to rain is the ability to collect clean drinking water. Bring buckets or use open water bottles to collect rainwater and make the most of a storm. You could also set up an open tarp to collect water and then funnel it into bottles or cooking pots.
6. Watch Out for Thunder & Lightning
Did you know lightening kills over 50 people every single year in the US? Camping in the rain is further complicated as soon as you see lightning and hear thunder. Many tents no longer contain metal poles, but tents still offer no protection against a thunderstorm. Your safest bet is to go inside of a hard-topped and completely enclosed vehicle. Lightning travels around the frame of a metal vehicle, essentially protecting anyone inside from electrocution. Don’t touch the door handles and turn off all equipment until the storm passes.
If you don’t have a car with you, try and get to the lowest level possible and then crouch low to the ground. Stay on the balls of your feet and don’t touch the ground with your hands, the goal is to have as little point of contact with the ground and other surfaces as possible. Avoid standing on or near anything tall or made of metal like fences or poles. You should also avoid standing beneath large branches or trees with the potential to come crashing down on you.
If you can see lightning and hear thunder within 30 seconds of one another, remain sheltered in place. The rule of thumb is that it’s safe to reemerge 30 minutes after you hear the last roar of thunder.