Ultimate Guide to Camping in the Rain

Even though you’ve been organizing a huge family camping vacation for months, the weather report isn’t looking promising. There’s no need to put off things.

While camping may be a challenge even when the weather is pleasant, the sadness of abandoning your camping plans may be far worse than getting a little wet.

Camping in the rain isn’t always a bummer, either. A little knowledge is all that is required. Make sure you know how to choose a campsite, put up a shelter, and keep yourself and your kit dry by learning how to layer up and waterproof your gear.

Here’s all you need to know about camping in the rain to keep the fire alive.

Where Should Your Tent Be Sited?

Consider the surrounding surroundings before deciding where to pitch your tent. When it’s already pouring, it’s simpler to find a location for your tent. Keep away from puddles.

Looking for higher ground if it isn’t In order to avoid waking up in the middle of a puddle, the water must be lower than you are.

The best area to set up a tent is against a natural windbreak, such as a boulder or a shrub. If there are trees and plants around, it will be easier for you to put up your tent. It’s not, however, a good idea to pitch up camp under a tree.

Even if a tree offers adequate shelter from heavy rain, the dripping will continue for several hours after the rain has stopped. The tree’s shade will keep everything from drying out even if the sky clears up.

Make sure your tent’s door is facing away from the wind as you set it up.

Make sure you don’t set your camp too near to a body of water. When it rains a lot, it’s possible that your tent will fill with fish and frogs.

Choose a campsite with tent pads if you’re heading to a designated campground. Wind and heavy rain are often considerations in the design of these tarps. Trenches are even excavated around the perimeter in certain cases.

Extend Yourself

Make sure to dig a trench around your tent in a scattered campsite. There is no need for a large moat around its perimeter. You should also excavate a channel to divert moat water away from your tent in case the trench fills up.

Tarps Must Be Prepared

Set up a tarp before you set up your tent. Tarps should be twice as large as the footprint of your tent when purchasing one for your camping gear.

Bring a couple of additional tarps and a good amount of paracord with you just in case! When it comes to tarps, a single sheet just won’t cut it; you’ll need many to protect your tent, spruce up your stuff, create an overhead shelter, and more.

It’s also critical to have good-quality tarps. Polyester tarps coated in vinyl or vinyl-coated polyester are the finest for camping.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little extra on thicker, more durable tarps if rain is a continuous worry when camping. As soon as the rain starts, you’ll have to replace all the grommets on your tarp if you get anything inexpensive.

How to Use a Tarp as a Shade

It’s best to practice setting up a tarp shelter before heading out, especially if you want to build a large community kitchen and outdoor living space.

One of the most common methods of tarp hanging is known as ‘rope in the centre’, but there are several more. It works like this:

  • Your tarp has to be long enough to cover the area where your cords are attached.
  • Make a high line by tracing the path of your two most prominent trees.
  • The paracord should be roughly 20 feet long. Wrap the cord around a tree branch (about 13 to 15 feet high). Then, take a couple walks around the three.
  • After that, you’ll be able to use a tie to secure it to another object, such as a branch. Make sure the cable is strong enough to hold the tarp up in the wind. So go ahead and give it a solid tug.
  • Toss the cable over a branch on the other side of the tree.
  • Make sure the cable is centered before placing the tarp over it. The tarp can then be tied to the cable with a wire tie or a short length of twine through the tarp’s center eyelets.
  • Lift the tarp before connecting the other end of the cable to the tree.
  • Another cord should be tied to each of the tarp’s corner eyelets. In either case, you may stake the cord approximately 7 feet away from the other three. Tie a short rope or string to each of the corner eyelets to keep them in place.
  • Inside your tent, put down a tarp as well.
  • One tarp can also serve as a groundsheet for your tent, as previously mentioned. Do this even if there’s no rain in the forecast. The tarp will press down any protruding twigs or brambles and keep moisture from the ground from leaking into the structure.

Even though it may seem like a more logical option, putting a tarp underneath your tent is a bad idea. When the groundsheet is set on top of it, water will accumulate between the groundsheet and your tent. There is a chance that water will eventually seep through the tent’s fabric.

Any water that gets inside the tent will gather under the tarp after it’s placed down. Everything on top of the groundsheet will remain dry, including your sleeping pad.

Tips for a Wet Weather Campfire

Make sure you are aware that setting up a campfire in the middle of an open-air area is typically not recommended. Sorry, we’re still talking about tarps.

Even if you don’t want to start a blazing blaze that consumes everything in its path, your tarp may nonetheless burn holes in it.

It is possible to kindle a fire safely under a plastic sheet, but you must be quite cautious about it.

The best place to make a fire while it’s raining is at the very edge of the tarp—just far enough away to keep you dry.

The higher you raise your tarp, the better it is. Ideally, you want to elevate the corner of the tarp closest to the flames to a 45-degree angle. You won’t have a shelter for very long if you position it flat.

Bonus points are awarded if the tarp’s furthest end can be pulled so low that it nearly touches the ground. In this manner, the tarp’s edge will roll up and allow the sparks, heat, and smoke to escape.

Bring a Propane Stove for Backpacking

However, constructing a campfire is more fun, and using a gas stove will keep you safe if you want to cook beneath your tarp.

You won’t have to worry about being smoked out of your shelter as you enjoy huddling around those warm flames.

How to Build a Campfire During a Rainstorm

If you’d rather do things the old-fashioned way, you may do so! Regardless of the weather! There is a list of things you will need.

Lighting the Fire

When damp, ordinary matches are worthless, and a cheap disposable lighter will always fail you when you need it most. And don’t bother rubbing dry sticks together to start a fire (YouTube makes it look way easier than it really is).

Rain or shine, you should always have a dependable method of making a fire on hand while camping. When the weather is rainy and humid, magnesium fire starters are your best choice. It is also a good idea to use storm-resistant matches.


If you’re going camping, be sure to have water-resistant tinder. Vaseline and cotton balls should be in your carry-on bag for this trip. Cotton wool makes a wonderful wet-weather tinder when soaked with vaseline.

There is no need to panic if you fail to include emergency fire-starting gear. If you’re camping in a damp and rainy area, you have a few alternatives for tinder.

Always check beneath pine trees when looking for tinder in the rain. For the most part, pine trees have a dense layer of needles beneath them. If you’re prepared to dig a little further, you could come upon some dried needles.

If the fallen log isn’t totally submerged in water, you can use it to manufacture tinder. Check the wood’s dryness by peeling up the bark. If this is the case, thin wood shavings can be cut with a knife.


We’ve all heard that vaseline-coated cotton balls may be used as tinder, but have you ever heard of Doritos? We’re not playing a joke on you. Check out more insanity-inducing, yet really useful, campfire and outdoor tricks.

Great kindling may be found out there in the wild. Dry pine cones, twigs, and branches can be found in dense shrubs, thick grass, and trees.


Camping far from home necessitates skipping the firewood. If you do this, you run the danger of transmitting illness to trees.

After having the tinder and the kindling in place, it will be much easier to light the fuel.

When starting a fire, make careful to stock up on as much wood as possible. Only use wood from trees that have died or fallen. Remove the bark off the trees and cut the logs for the fire. It will be much simpler to burn this way.

You won’t have any trouble keeping the flames going once you get started. Even with mild rain, a campfire will continue to burn, so there’s no need to cover it with a sheet.

Foods That Do Not Need to Be Cooked Should Be Packed
A rainy day may make grilling less appealing than an otherwise sunny day, but you may still enjoy outside cooking. Always have hiking snacks and ready-to-eat meals with you when you’re going on a camping trip. Even if you don’t need to go into full survival mode, you should have some MREs on hand.

For those of you who are short on inspiration, here are a couple of no-cook camping meals:


Camping breakfast oatmeal is a staple since it’s both filling and quick to prepare. To save the hassle of heating water, overnight oats are a perfect no-cook supper. Put everything in a jar and let it there overnight.

You may bring a cooler with milk and granola in it if you like. You may also buy dried milk as an alternative. Cereal is one of the simplest breakfast options.

Because avocado toast is so popular, there’s a good explanation for it It’s quick, tasty, and nourishing all at the same time. In addition, there are a plethora of methods to flavour your avocado toast.

Make a quick tuna salad for lunch before you leave the house. As an alternative, bring canned tuna and assemble your meal on the picnic table. The addition of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers adds a satisfying crunch.

Vegetable wraps with hummus provide both nutrition and flavour in one package. Wrap up your favourite veggies in tortillas, dip them in hummus, and serve them to your guests. In addition to the above, hummus goes well with a variety of other vegetables and fruits.

A substantial sandwich may be a great snack when trekking or camping. Classic, filling, and delicious: the Italian hoagie sandwich. Pack a few Italian staples, like some bread or rolls, and you’ll be ready to go. Follow this Philadelphia-style Italian hoagie recipe for a filling lunch on the go.


Bring a charcuterie board and your favourite cured meats and cheeses for a simple-fancy camping meal. Make your own spread using crackers and toppings like honey or jam.

Preparing a pasta salad ahead of time is another excellent idea. Toss in your preferred ingredients of choice.

Parmesan cheese, chopped onions (plus a little salt and pepper if you like), and a few slices of bell peppers are all good additions. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of Italian dressing to finish.

More ideas may be found here. Find out what to eat when you’re out in nature with our crash course on outdoor nutrition.

Multiple layers are involved

The importance of layering cannot be overstated when venturing out in inclement weather. Pack a waterproof shell and an insulating layer that stays dry at all costs as well as a basic base layer.

Long underwear and shirts made of merino wool or polyester are good options for base layering. These materials are quick-drying and wick away moisture.

You can keep warm in the winter with a lightweight fleece jacket. However, if the weather is a little cooler, a lightweight down jacket may be a better option.

The obvious thing to remember is to carry a pair of rain pants that are both waterproof and breathable. Ripstop nylon or polyester coated with DWR is the most common material for rain trousers. Waterproof, breathable laminates in the better versions are normally 2.5- or 3-layers in thickness.

A rain jacket with a waterproof/breathable membrane like eVent or Gore-Tex is a good investment.

Gore-Tex products are the finest when it comes to waterproof outerwear and footwear. However, several companies have created their own proprietary waterproofing technologies that are quite close to the real thing.

A PVC rain poncho or rain suit can do if you want something basic. PVC rain suits, despite their lack of breathability, are a cheap and effective way to shield yourself from the rain.

Clothing made of cotton should be avoided at all costs. As comfy as cotton is, when wet it will remain so for a long time.


Gore-Tex is a common component of high-quality hiking boots and shoes. Waders or gaiters may also be a good idea. You may save money by purchasing rubber boots if you don’t expect much rain.

Ensure That Your Equipment Is Waterproof

Over time, rain gear loses its ability to keep water out. Ensure that your equipment will keep you dry by water-proofing it yourself. In addition, you may waterproof equipment that wasn’t designed to be waterproof in the first place.

When it comes to waterproofing gear like shoes and backpacks, nothing beats beeswax. DWR (durable water repellent) sprays, on the other hand, are a superior option. In addition to coats and jeans, shoes and backpacks may all benefit from these adhesive patches.

The following are a few of the greatest waterproofing products now available on the market:

Otter Wax Boot Wax and Leather Salve (for boots only)
Seam Grip by Gear Aid (for jacket seams only)
Scotchgard Water Shield for the Outdoors
Dry bags from Nikwax TX Direct are your best friends.
Store your least water-resistant things in dry bags, such as undergarments and some foods.

Ziploc bags may be used to store the most vital stuff. It’s usually a good idea to have some trash bags on hand. They’re great for storing kindling and fuel, but you can also use them to protect yourself from the rain.

Even if your backpack is water-resistant, you should still protect it with a rain cover. Having a waterproof cover for your backpack helps keep your goods safe from the rain. They are inexpensive and may be used to protect other items, such as sleeping bags and food.

This is all there is to it. After reading this guide, you’ll never have to cancel a camping trip due of bad weather forecasts again.

Check out our post on the best dispersed camping near Flagstaff as well.