Camping in the rain happens if you go camping enough times. Sure, we would all like to camp when it’s bright and beautiful out. A rainy day doesn’t have to ruin your camping trip. With some preparation and know how camping in the rain can still be fun and enjoyable. Here are some helpful camping in the rain hacks to help make your next day camping in the rain more enjoyable.
- Camping in the rain hacks
- 1 – Check the weather forecast
- 2 – Picking a campsite for camping in the rain that won’t flood
- 3 – Hang up lights around the campsite
- 4 – Tarps and paracord/line are your best friend when camping in the rain
- 5 – Choosing a tent for camping in the rain
- 6 – Pitching a tent in the rain
- 7 – How to keep the tent dry in the rain
- 8 – How to keep the tent floor dry
- 9 – If your solo camping a hammock with a tarp over it makes a great rain tent.
- 10 – Use an awning for more space outside the tent
- 11 – How to keep a fire going camping in the rain
- 12 – What to wear camping in the rain
- 13 – How to dry clothes after it rains
- 14 – Hand and toe warmers to keep from having cold soggy fingers and toes
- 15 – How to sleep camping in the rain
- 16 – Rainy day camping meals
- 17 – How to pack your gear to keep it dry
- 18 – Camping seats and chairs so your not sitting on the wet ground or wet logs
- 19 – If your hiking in the rain or after the rain be careful of wet slippery surfaces.
- 20 – Dry newspaper is really handy
- 21 – Camping in the rain activities
- 22 – Camping in the rain checklist
- Camping in the rain FAQ
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Camping in the rain hacks
1 – Check the weather forecast
Always check the weather forecast before your next camping trip. It’s a good idea to check a couple weather forecasts to get the majority opinion. Let’s face it, weather forecasting still isn’t that great. In my experience if the forecast says 30% chance of rain and thunderstorms, it is a 100% chance that it will happen. If the forecast says 70% chance of storms, it’s probably going to be a sunny day out. If there is a chance for rain, make sure you are prepared to camp in the rain.
Acuweather, The Weather Channel and Weather Underground are 3 good places to look for weather forecasts. I always check more than one site because the majority opinion forecast tends to be more accurate than any individual forecast.
2 – Picking a campsite for camping in the rain that won’t flood
Picking the right campsite is much more important during rainy weather. Water flows downhill. Water collects at the bottom of hills. You don’t want your tent to be in the middle of a stream. You don’t want your tent to flood during a storm.
- Choose a campsite on higher ground – If your tent is on the top of the hill water will flow away from it. This is the best case for where to put your tent when rain is expected.
- Don’t camp next to a rising stream, river, or pond – You don’t want your tent to flood. Don’t put your tent next to a stream or river that may rise when it rains. Pay attention to any flash flood warnings and never camp somewhere prone to flash floods.
- Don’t camp where water flowing downhill will go into your tent – If your camping on a hill side take a look around and think about where the water is going to flow. Are there any gulleys or ditches where the water is likely to flow. Are there any ridges or high spots nearby that will collect water.
- Find a sheltered spot under trees – Find natural shelter to camp under. Camping in a dense forest will be more dry in a storm than camping out in the open.
- Look up in the trees to make sure there aren’t any large dead branches (widowmakers) directly overhead – Widowmakers are large dead branches that are still up in the tree. They will fall down at some point. You don’t want to be under them. Take a look overhead and look for any branches that might fall on you in a storm. Don’t camp underneath these. Go here to learn more about widowmakers.
- Don’t camp in the middle of an open field in a lightning storm – If a thunderstorm might happen while you are camping you don’t want to get struck by lightning. Do not camp in an open field, under an isolated tree or group of trees or on a ridge top. Lightning tends to strike the tallest object. Look around for anything that might be a natural lightning rod and don’t put your tent near it. See this article from the US Forest Service for more tips on how to avoid lightning in the outdoors.
- Dig a trench if needed to divert rain around your tent – If it is raining and water is flowing under your tent, you can dig a small trench to divert the water away from your tent. We usually want to avoid altering nature as much as possible when camping. If you suddenly find your tent in a stream of water flowing down a hill you either need to move your tent or divert the water.
3 – Hang up lights around the campsite
A rainy evening can be really dark and dreary. To make your campsite feel more warm and inviting try hanging up some lights. You can use a string of LED lights that don’t need much power or a few LED lanterns. You’ll be amazed how much better some lights will make your campsite feel on a dark rainy night.
4 – Tarps and paracord/line are your best friend when camping in the rain
There are a ton of uses for tarps and paracord or parachute line when your camping. You can use an extra tarp over your tent for more protection from the rain. You can create a covered entrance for your tent with a tarp. You can make a shelter or cooking or hanging out. You can put a tarp inside your tent as a barrier against water. Be sure to pack some paracord or line and a tarp on your next camping trip. There are so many camping in the rain hacks you can do with a simple tarp and line.
5 – Choosing a tent for camping in the rain
Some tents work much better in the rain than others. Tent features such as a rain fly, enclosure and waterproof floor will help keep you much more dry. See our guide to the best tents for camping in the rain for some suggestions.
- A rainfly that covers everything – Some rain flys do not cover all parts of the tent. Sometimes they only partially cover an enclosure. Some rain flys have windows in them. You don’t want a fly with window openings. Any openings in the fly may leak water. Make sure the fly has plenty of attachments for guy lines to stretch it out away from the tent.
- Enclosures are nice – A built in enclosure or awning gives you extra area in your tent. You can use this area to keep your wet stuff. An awning makes a great place to take off your rain gear before entering the tent. You can hang wet clothes up under the awning. It just gives you more space to sit around if you are stuck in the tent while it’s raining.
- Waterproof floor – Some tents have a waterproof floor that extends up several inches off the ground. This heavy duty waterproof layer acts as a tub that water will flow around and not go into your tent. Tents with this feature are well worth it over a tent with a floor seam at ground level. Water will eventually find its way into that seam.
- Tent poles that attach with detachable hooks instead of fabric loops – Some tents have plastic hooks that clip the tent to the tent poles. Cheaper tents tend to have fabric loops built into the tent that you pass the poles through. If it’s raining you can put a tent up with plastic looks by putting the poles and rain fly up first. Then put the tent up underneath. If you have fabric loops, the best you can do is lay the rain fly on the top of the tent and try to fish the poles through the tent. You’ll need to set the tent up before attaching the fly since the fly can’t stand on its own.
6 – Pitching a tent in the rain
The best way is to put the rain fly up first with the tent poles and then put the tent up under it. If you can’t do this then the next best thing is to lay the rain fly on top of your tent as fast as you can. Then fish the tent poles into the tent as best as you can under the fly. The goal is to put keep as much of the tent under the rain fly and dry as you can while putting up the tent.
If you have an extra tarp along, you can use some parachord and hang it over the area where you want to put your tent. You can pitch your tent while staying dry under the tarp.
The below video shows how to put a tent up in the rain under the rain fly.
7 – How to keep the tent dry in the rain
Making sure your tent is as waterproof as it can be is an important step before camping in the rain. Using waterproofing spray and seam sealer are good ways to keep the water outside your tent. New tents are made from waterproof materials or have waterproofing already applied. Some tent manufacturers do a much better job than others. Waterproofing wears out with time. Your old tent may not be as waterproof as it once was.
- Waterproofing spray – Spray on waterproofing will help restore the water resistance of your tents fabric. Nikwax is one of the best products out there for restoring your tents waterproofing.
- Seam sealer for seams– Seam sealer is used to reseal the seams on your tent. Anywhere fabric is glued or sowed together is a potential leak point. Smear some seam sealer into seams to restore their waterproofing.
- Put a tarp over your tent – If you have some paracord and an extra tarp, you can hang it over your tent. This will provide another layer of waterproofing. More is better when it comes to waterproof layers above you to keep you dry.
- Have something to patch your tent if it leaks. If your tent does start leaking, you want to stop the leaks. Nothing sucks worse than water dripping on you all night long and waking up in a puddle. Waterproof repair tape is the preferred method to fixing your tent leaks. Seam sealer works if it’s leaking at a seam. In a pinch, duct tape can cure most things. Duct tape deteriorates over time so it’s not a permanent solution.
- Close your tent windows and doors – Close all the windows and doors in your tent when it starts to rain. These are all potential leak points. If your tent’s rainfly completely covers a window you can leave it open for ventilation. If water can blow under or around your fly into the window or door you should shut it. If you are leaving your tent for the day and it might rain you should close all the windows and doors just in case.
- Open any windows and doors on your tent for ventilation after the rain stops – After the rain stops you want to dry out your tent as quickly as you can. Open up all the windows and doors that you can to air out the tent and remove the moisture that is now trapped in there.
8 – How to keep the tent floor dry
A good rain fly and waterproofing will help keep water from falling into your tent. Keeping the ground dry in your tent is another challenge.
- Clear the ground of anything that could puncture your tent. Check the ground where you plan on putting your tent. Make sure there are no sharp sticks or twigs that might puncture your tent. Look for any other debris or trash on the ground such as broken glass that might cut your tent.
- Use a ground cloth under your tent – Put a tarp under your tent to protect it from whatever is on the ground that might cut or puncture your tent. It will also keep your tent from getting muddy. It will be easy to clean up later. The tarp can create a place for water to pond under your tent which is the downside.
- Use a sheet of thick plastic inside of your tent to act as a water barrier – Use a sheet of heavy plastic such as a painting drop cloth to keep water out of your tent. Lay this in your tent after setting it up. Make sure the corners and sides of the plastic sheet fold up several inches above the ground. This will create a plastic tub that water will flow around and under without getting you wet.
- Use a rug or mat just inside the tent door – The rug will give you somewhere to stand and take off your shoes. It will soak up all the water off your shoes so it doesn’t flow around inside your tent. When the rain stops hang up the rug outside to dry it out.
9 – If your solo camping a hammock with a tarp over it makes a great rain tent.
A hammock can make a great rainy day tent for a solo camper. The hammock hangs above the ground so you won’t get wet by any water flowing under you. Use a tarp or other rain fly over top of your tent. This will protect you from any falling rain. The below video shows how to setup a hammock for camping in the rain.
10 – Use an awning for more space outside the tent
Bringing along an awning is one of the great camping in the rain hacks that lets you do a lot of things. An awning can give you extra dry space for cooking or activities. You will really appreciate having somewhere else to go after spending a few hours cramped in a small tent. An awning setup near a fire gives you somewhere dry to prepare food before putting it in the fire. An awning over a picnic table gives you somewhere to play games or any other activity you can think of.
Don’t put an awning over a fire. The fire will sooner or later catch the awning on fire or start melting it. It’s a great way to destroy an expensive awning. If you want to cook under an awning use a propane stove.
If you don’t have or want to carry an awning with you camping, you can use a tarp strung up between trees as an awning. Tarps have many potential camping in the rain hack uses.
11 – How to keep a fire going camping in the rain
Camp fires can be a bit frustrating in the rain. With a little prep you can easily start a fire and keep it going in the rain.
- Find or buy dry firewood before it rains – If you know rain is in the forecast. Gather as much firewood as you will need before it starts raining. Go out and buy your firewood before the rain if you can’t find firewood around your campsite. Dry wood will make your fire much easier to light can keep going then water saturated wood.
- Cover up your firewood to keep it dry – You don’t want to waste all that effort finding dry firewood. After you gather your firewood, put a tark over it to keep it dry. The easiest way to have dry firewood on a rainy day is to keep it from getting wet to begin with.
- Remember to find tinder and kindling too – Don’t forget to find tinder and kindling when you are out searching for wood. It’s easier to ignite small pieces of wet wood, dry wood is still preferred. Gather up some twigs, sticks and pinecones and put them under your covered wood pile so they stay dry.
- Have a lighter or waterproof matches – It won’t do you any good to have a nice pile of dry wood if you have nothing to light it with. It’s a good idea to have keep matches in a ziplock bag or waterproof container to keep them dry. Sometimes things still manage to get wet. Having a supply of waterproof matches will save you if your well intentioned matches in a bag get wet. A lighter is also a good thing to have on hand. Most butane lighters will still work when wet.
- A firestarter such as “instafire” – A firestarter such as Instafire will do wonders if you need to start a bunch of wet kindling and tinder. If you know you might be camping out in the rain, go pick up a few to make life easier on yourself. They will work wonders for you if your not that great at starting fire when everything is dry too.
- It’s easier to keep a fire going than to light one in the rain – If you can, keep your fire going. It’s much easier to keep feeding a fire than it is to light it again in the rain. Find some large hardwood logs you can put on the fire that will take a long time to burn. A few good sized logs can keep a fire going for hours.
12 – What to wear camping in the rain
Your clothing choice can and make or break your experience camping in the rain. If all you have is cotton clothes you will be cold, wet, and miserable. With some wool or synthetic layers and a rain jacket and pants, you can be warm and cozy.
- Rain jacket and pants – A rain jacket and pants will help you stay dry and help you stay warm. A waterproof jacket won’t totally keep you dry. It will stop the wind and evaporative cooling from sucking the heat out of you. Even if your damp underneath you will still be much warmer wearing a rain coat.
- Goretex or other waterproof and breathable materials are worth it – Get a jacket and pants made with Gortex or other waterproof breathable material if you will be out in the rain a lot. It will help the moisture leave your jacket if you sweat or put your coat on with wet layers underneath. It’s expensive but worth it.
- Leg gaiters for hiking after the rain – Once the rain stops, the ground, trees, bushes, and other brush will all still be wet. A set of waterproof leg gaiters can help when hiking right after it rains. It will keep your legs dry while you are walking past wet grass and brush. It will be much cooler than wearing a full pair of rain pants and allow the rest of you to dry out.
- Ponchos work well too – Ponchos are a cheap alternative to a rain jacket. Ponchos will cover your upper body and some of your legs. Sometimes they will fit over your backpack and other gear. It can be a good idea to carry a poncho around in your hiking backpack all the time just in case situations.
- Hats help keep the water off your face too – Wearing a hat will help keep the rain off of your eyes and face. For those of us wearing glasses, they make it much easier to see. Always being along a baseball cap or other hat with a brim to put on under your hood when it’s raining.
- Waterproof boots or shoes – Cold wet feet will make you feel miserable very quickly. A good set of waterproof boots or hiking shoes is essential if you will be out camping or hiking in the rain. Goretex is good here too so that your boots breathe and don’t trap all your sweat moisture inside the boots.
- Bring warm clothes – If it’s going to be cool out during the day or night you need warm clothes to stay warm. Pack a set of base layers/long underwear and a good mid layer and sweater to wear on top.
- Avoid cotton. It is very cold when wet – Cotton is the absolute worst material for clothes when it is cold and wet out. Cotton loses all insulating value as soon as it gets wet. Avoid cotton for your camping clothes unless you want to feel cold for your entire trip.
- Merino wool is the best material for being warm when wet – Merino wool is the opposite of cotton. It retains it’s insulating value when wet. It is much softer and not scratchy feeling like traditional wool. A set of merino wool baselayers and socks will have you feeling warm and toasty when camping out in the rain. Go here to learn more about Merino Wool.
- Layer clothes for comfort – Layering clothes works great in almost any situation. The ability to add or remove layers keeps you from being too hot or too cold. A good set of layers would consist of a wicking base layer, a mid layer, a sweater, or fleece outer layer. Wear a jacket or shell on top of that. If your too cold still you can double up on baselayers or mid layers or add a down insulator.
- Bring extra clothes – If your out camping in the rain, your clothes are going to get wet no matter how careful you are. Having extra clothes you can change into will save you from the cold. Pack what you need and then add some extra layers just in case you need them.
- Bring some towels to dry off with – After you get wet, you need to dry off. Having some towels can help so you don’t have to try to air dry in a cold tent. You don’t want to change clothes when wet and put new clothes on without drying. You’re new clothes start out wet so you are in the hole already trying to stay dry and warm.
13 – How to dry clothes after it rains
After the rain stops it is a good idea to dry out your clothes as much as you can. Dry them out before putting them away if at all possible. You don’t want a pile of wet clothes that can get moldy sitting around in your tent or car. If you get something wet, dry it out as soon as you can.
- Hang up wet clothes to dry – Find somewhere to hand up your wet clothes to dry. If you don’t have a rope, you can use branches or set them across your tent or car. Anything you can hang them from so they will get good air circulation will work.
- Make a clothesline – Here is another use for that paracord you brought. Tie it between 2 trees or other objects and use it as a drying line for your clothes.
- You can dry clothes with your fire with caution – You can put clothes near the fire to dry. You can hang clothes over the fire to dry from the heat. Be careful if you do this. Sparks and embers from the fire can burn your clothes. Shoes sitting too close to a fire can melt quickly. I once had a friend growing up who set a pair of hiking boots right next to the fire for a few hours and forget about them. When he went to get them at the end of the night, the soles were melted to the rock they were sitting on.
14 – Hand and toe warmers to keep from having cold soggy fingers and toes
Chemical hand and toe warmers can keep your fingers and toes warm for hours. They are safe and non-toxic. If you are prone to cold hands and feet at night or any time you go out in the cold, get some to bring along. Warm hands and feet will make camping in the rain much more tolerable.
15 – How to sleep camping in the rain
When you are camping in the rain, you need to make sure you are dry and comfortable for sleeping. If you are can’t sleep because you are cold, you will start the next day feeling bad. It can be tough to recover after that and ever feel good during that trip. Here are some camping in the rain hacks for staying warm and dry at night.
- Use a sleeping pad to keep off the cold wet ground – You don’t want to sleep directly on wet ground or the wet bottom of your tent. Use a sleeping mat or self inflating mat (SIM) sleeping pad. Don’t use a 6 inch thick air mattress as they will actually make you colder. A thin mat will insulate you and keep you above the moisture on the bottom of your tent.
- Use a bivy bag over your sleeping bag – A bivy sack is a large waterproof bag you can put over your sleeping bag. It will keep your sleeping bag from getting wet if water gets in your tent. It will also block wind or other weather and keep you warmer. Better use breathable material so you won’t turn into a giant sweat sponge while sleeping in it.
- Don’t go to sleep in wet clothes – Always change into fresh clothes when you go to bed. Starting the night in fresh dry clothes will make you much warmer in your sleeping bag. Don’t ever get in your sleeping bag with soaking wet clothes on. You’re sleeping bag will never dry out and you will be wet and cold all night.
- Sleep with tomorrows clothes in your sleeping bag – Put your clothes for tomorrow in some plastic bags and put them in your sleeping bag with you. When you wake up in the morning your clothes will be at your body temperature. This will be much better than putting on clothes that are at whatever cold temperature it is outside.
See our article on how to keep your tent warm in the winter for more tips on staying warm in your tent when it is cold out.
16 – Rainy day camping meals
Your meal plan can make or break your rainy day camping experience. Here are some tips for cooking and what to eat while camping in the rain.
- Hot comfort food – A good hearty warm meal can really warm you up inside. Beef stew is an excellent choice. Chili and other soups can work well too. They are easy to prepare either from a can or homemade. Carbs are important for giving you the energy to stay warm.
- Food that doesn’t need to be cooked – It’s a good idea to bring along some food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Cooking in the rain isn’t always easy or fun. Sometimes you get caught in a downpour with hurricane strength winds. There is just no way you are going to cook anything in that situation. Bring along some snacks and food that is good cold for these situations to hold you over.
- A camping stove is easier to cook with than a fire in the rain – When it is raining, a butane or propane camp stove is much easier to cook with than a camp fire. You can use a small backpacking or camping stove almost anywhere. Set up an awning or hang a tarp and make a cooking area underneath it. Set up your stove there. If you really want to cook with a fire you can try a small wood burning camp stove too. See our guide to the best wood burning camp stoves for more information.
- Don’t cook inside your tent – Do not try to cook inside of your tent with a fire or gas burning stove. If your tent doesn’t have enough ventilation the carbon monoxide fumes can harm or kill you. Some tents are designed for use with a wood burning stove or teepee fire in the middle. Most are not. Always use caution burning anything inside of an enclosed space. See our guide to the best tents with stove jacks to learn more about tents you can use with wood burning stoves.
- Dutch ovens work well for cooking in the rain – If you have to cook on a campfire in the rain, dutch ovens can make it a bit less painful. You can prepare a stew or other food somewhere undercover. Throw the ingredients into a dutch oven with the lid on and heat it on the fire. It makes an easy low effort meal that you don’t need to sit out in the rain too much for. Keep the fire going and stir every now and then.
17 – How to pack your gear to keep it dry
When camping in the rain you need to keep your clothes and gear dry. If you have to put on wet clothes you will hate life the rest of the camping trip and that is no fun.
- Dry bags or waterproof containers – Use a big waterproof dry bag to store all your clothes. If you are backpacking you can use one inside of your backpack as a liner. Use one to store any electronics or other items that really need to stay dry. Large plastic bins or containers with lids that seal work well too if your car camping and don’t have to hike far.
- Use ziplock bags – Ziplock bags are your best friend for keeping clothes dry. Put individual clothes items into ziplock bags inside of your larger dry bag. This will protect your clothes in case the dry bag leaks or water gets in some other way. You can organize your clothes by bag. Use one bag for each day or night. When you go to bed you can quickly grab the clothes for that night to put on and the next day to warm up in your sleeping bag.
- If your backpacking use a rain cover for your backpack – Get a raincover to put over your backpack. Even if your backpack is water proof this gives you another layer of waterproofing. They are cheap and don’t weigh much.
18 – Camping seats and chairs so your not sitting on the wet ground or wet logs
Bring along some chairs or pads so you don’t need to sit on wet ground or wet logs. Sitting on cold wet ground, rocks or logs will sap the heat out of your pretty quick. This will go a long way towards making you more comfortable while hanging out at the campsite. Get some folding chairs if you are car camping or a small backpacking stool.
19 – If your hiking in the rain or after the rain be careful of wet slippery surfaces.
After the rain stops, the ground can be wet for hours or days. Be aware of this while hiking over rocks or other potentially slippery surfaces. Slipping and hurting yourself will put an end to your camping trip. If your backpacking it could put you in a situation where you can’t walk out and need rescued.
20 – Dry newspaper is really handy
Dry newspaper can be a helpful thing to have when camping in the rain. The keywod being dry. It has 2 great uses around your campsite in the rain.
- You can roll it up and use it for tinder for starting a fire – It burns easily. Roll up a few sheets and stuff them under your fire to get it started.
- You can use newspaper for drying out the inside of your shoes or other clothes – Stuff some dry newspaper inside of your shoes. Newspaper is really absorbent so it will suck the moisture out of your shoes. Once the first newspaper is soaked, replace it with more dry newspaper if you need more drying.
- If you are bored you can read whatever article was in the newspaper giving it one more use for a rainy camping day. Maybe there is some comics or a crossword puzzle in there too as a bonus.
21 – Camping in the rain activities
You can still have a lot of fun at your campsite when it’s raining. Just because the rain is falling doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Below are some activities you can do at your campsite or nearby area while it’s raining.
- Play a game – Board games, card games, or conversation games
- Read a book
- Sing cheesy songs
- Tell camping stories
- Make some crafts
- Learn knot tying
- Take a nap
- Visit nearby sites such as landmarks, visitor centers, or museums
- Plan what to do when it stops raining
22 – Camping in the rain checklist
Below is a list of things to bring with you when you are camping in the rain.
- Tent with enclosure
- A few tarps
- An awning
- Paracord or other rope
- Plastic sheet for inside the tent
- Warm sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Bivy sack
- Camping stove
- Dry bags
- Ziplock plastic bags
- Backpack cover
- Snack food that doesn’t need to be cooked
- Canned food such as beef stew
- Folding chairs or backpacking stool
- Mid layers
- Fleece or sweater
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Rain pants
- Waterproof matches or lighter
- Dry firewood, kindling, and tinder
- What to see and do guides
Camping in the rain FAQ
Q: What to do if it rains while camping?
Do not panic, if you go camping enough, sooner or later it will rain on you. Check the weather forecast before going. If it’s going to rain make sure you have rain jackets and pants to put on and waterproof boots or shoes. Prepare for eating in the rain. Bring some extra tarps. The most important thing is to stay dry or have more dry clothes so you can get dry again.
Q: How do you make camping in the rain fun?
The easiest way to make camping in the rain fun is to be prepared for rain. If you can stay dry, or at least warm you can still have fun. Bring along some games or other activities to do in the rain to keep yourselves entertained. Sooner or later the rain will stop and you can get back to your original plans.
Q: How do you camp in the rain without being miserable?
Have a tent that is waterproof and keeps you dry. Bring along some tarps or an awning so you can make a shelter for staying dry while cooking. Have extra clothes so you can get dry again if you get wet. Plan some activities you can do in the rain so you don’t get too bored and miserable stuck in a tent waiting it out.
Q: Is camping in the rain worth it?
You can still have lots of fun camping in the rain. Sooner or later the rain will pass and it will be dry again. In some parts of the country it rains almost every afternoon so you just have to plan for it. Don’t stay home and miss out on all the fun stuff you could be doing just because it might rain.
Q: Should I put a tarp under my tent?
A tarp can protect your tent from sharp objects on the ground that might puncture it. It keeps the mud off the bottom of your tent making it easier to keep clean. A tarp will make your tent last longer. In the rain a tarp can pond water under your tent so there is some potential downside to a tarp as well.
Q: Why does my tent get wet inside?
Condensation will form on the side of your tent when it rains. People inside the tent warm it up, breathe, and sweat releasing moisture into the air. Moisture also comes in on wet clothes gear you bring into the tent. The cold walls are colder than the air inside the mositure in the warmer air condenses on the colder tent walls.
The best way to prevent condensation in your tent is through ventilation. Move the hot humid air out of your tent before the water can condense on your tent walls. A fan in your tent can also help with this. See our guide to the best tent fans for more information.
Q: Does touching a tent make it leak?
Touching a tent in the rain will not make it leak. It may appear to make it leak at that spot. Condensation on the tent wall will feel wet when you touch the side of the tent. In a canvas tent, the material will wick moisture to the spot you touched. Water will continue to condense at that spot after you touched so it it may start dripping. This water is coming from the moisture and condensation inside of the tent. It’s not leaking in from the outside.
Q: What do you use to waterproof a tent?
Use a waterproofing spray to make the tent waterproof again if it has started leaking. Use seam sealer on any seams that have started leaking. Nikwax spray and Gear Aid seam sealer both work well for restoring waterproofing.
Q: Can you waterproof a tent from the inside?
It is best to spray waterproofing onto the outside of your tent and rainfly. The water inside of your tent when it’s raining is from condensation inside your tent. Waterproofing the inside will only make this worse. If your tent is made from breathable material, waterproofing the inside will keep it from breathing.
Seam sealer to waterproof the seams of your tent is usually applied to the inside of the tent. If your tent has taped seams from the factory they are always taped on the inside.
Q: Is 3000mm waterproof enough for a tent?
Yes, 3000mm waterproofing is enough for most situations. If you are going to camp in a monsoon or hurricane with very heavy rain and strong winds you will want more. For the average spring, summer, or fall rainstorm, 3000mm is fine.
Q: How do you waterproof a tent for cheap?
Nikwax waterproofing spray costs less than $10 a bottle. A bottle will be enough to waterproof most tents. It’s hard to get much cheaper than that. It’s the best product out there for waterproofing tents. Why go and use something less effective when the best solution is cheap. The below video shows how to waterproof a tent.
Q: How often do tents need waterproofing?
If you use your tent for a few weeks a year every year, the waterproofing will last several years. If you aren’t sure you can wait until your tent starts to leak a little and then waterproof. If you are more conservative and don’t want your tent to leak, apply new waterproofing every 2 or 3 years.
Q: Does my tent need waterproofing?
Your tent should come from the factory with waterproofing. Your rain fly should not leak from the start. All tents are tent waterproofing are not created equal. If you by a cheap tent it may leak from the start. When looking at a tent, read the reviews and see if there is mention of leaks and where. Some tents may need waterproof sprayed on.
It’s more common for seams to leak on cheaper tents. They do not tape or bond the seams and pinholes from stitching can leak. If leaks are mentioned factor in the cost of waterproofing or seam sealer into the cost of the tent.
Q: Does waterproofing a tent work?
If you follow the directions for your waterproofing spray or seam sealer they do work. The keyword is following the instructions and applying it correctly. You can turn a leaky tent dry again with waterproofing spray and seam sealer.
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About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.