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  • Writer's pictureKern River's Edge Team

5 must-have tips when camping in the rain

Many people believe that camping is only possible during the summer months when the weather is warm and dry. However, with the proper preparation, camping in the rain can be an enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next rainy camping trip.

Choose the right campsite.

When you're planning a camping trip, it's important to choose a campsite that has good drainage. This will help reduce the risk of flooding and will make it easier to keep your campsite clean and dry. If possible, try to camp on higher ground. This will give you an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Tips to keep in mind when choosing a campsite in the rain:

  • Good campsites are found, not made. If you don’t camp on well-drained sites, then you may end up in a mud pit!

  • Avoid setting up your tent in places that look like they have flooded before. As an example, stay away from the high-water mark in canyons or at dry stream beds. If it rains, flash floods could end up in these places and wash away your tent!

  • Always camp at least 200 feet away from water sources.

  • Avoid digging trenches or building structures around your campsite.

  • Always camp on durable surfaces!

Bring the right gear.

When you're camping in the rain, it's important to bring gear that will help you stay dry and comfortable. A tent with a waterproof canopy is a must, as are tarps and weatherproof clothing. It's also a good idea to bring along some extra towels and rags to help dry things off if they happen to get wet.

Pro Tip: If you know that it will be raining when you go camping, bring a fire starter along. Our favorite and the easiest we’ve found is, wait for it, dryer lint. You heard that right! It’s simple and burns really well!

Be prepared for mud.

One of the realities of camping in the rain is that things are going to get muddy. To help keep your campsite clean, bring along some biodegradable soap and a brush or broom to sweep up any mud that is tracked into your campsite.

Pro Tip: When setting up your tent, it is really important that you stake down all sides, including the corners and guy-lines on the walls. If not, the rain fly will droop from the pressure of the rain, and the fly and inner tent wall will touch. This will cause condensation to form and your tent will get wet! Any gear touching the walls of the tent will also get wet from condensation.

Embrace the rain.

Just because it's raining doesn't mean you can't have fun. In fact, many campers find that embracing the rain can actually make their camping trip more enjoyable. Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear! So get out there and enjoy nature, rain or shine!

Pro Tip: The moment you suspect that it’s going to rain, move your gear to a safe, dry spot. Bring in EVERYTHING (even the stuff that’s waterproof). If you can’t bring the gear inside your tent, then you make sure you have a big enough tarp to adequately cover it.

Know how to make a fire in the rain.

There’s nothing better than the sound and warmth of a crackling fire when camping in the rain! But making a fire in the rain isn’t always the easiest job. To help you out, follow these instructions:

  1. Scrape away the wet ground so you have a dry base to make your fire on. You can also lay down dense branches and make your fire on top of them.

  2. Use the wood from the bottle of your pile. If you stacked the wood up nicely, then it should still be semi-dry.

  3. Choose the right fire lay for rain. This can include an upside down fire or an A-frame fire.

  4. Use lots of tiny, dry tinder.

  5. If you can’t find any dry tinder, use your knife to shave the wet bark off of sticks. Keep shaving the stick down to create lots of little dry pieces of wood.

Pro Tip: To keep your fire going in the rain, you’ll need a form of natural protection. To do this, look for natural outcropping to build your fire under (like under thick tree branches). You can also prop layers of fuel wood over your fire pit. These can keep rain from getting to the fire below.

With a little bit of preparation, camping in the rain can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your next rainy day camping trip is one to remember!

Need more camping tips, tricks, and resources?

We've got you covered! Check out these additional resources to make the most out of your next camping trip.

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