Fresh air, green trees, and time together with the family without the distractions of everyday life—there’s nothing quite like a family camping trip. That is, until mother nature decides to literally rain on your parade. Next thing you know, you have fussy kids, soggy supplies, and a less-than-pleasant campout.
But just because they call it “roughing it” doesn’t mean your trip has to be rough, even in the rain. Knowing what to do if it starts raining while you’re camping will help turn a little shower into an adventure.
Prepare in Advance
As the saying goes, “The best offense is a good defense.” Even if you’ve triple-checked the weather for the day of your big campout, it’s always good to pack rainy-weather supplies just in case. Here are a few essentials to toss in the trunk:
- A tarp
- Rain jackets or ponchos
- Foam mats to put under your sleeping back
- Extra sets of clothes and towels
- Waterproof sleeping bags
- Extra layers
- Waterproof containers and bags for supplies
Tent technology has also come a long way over the years, giving you waterproof options that will help you endure the ravages of rain. Whether you ultimately go with a hard-shell or soft-shell tent, ask how well it holds up against inclement weather before you invest in it.
Watch Where You Pitch Your Tent
There are few things worse than a flooded tent. While you can’t always predict when a light drizzle will turn into a deep puddle, you can avoid places that are more likely to flood.
For instance, water tends to accumulate at the bottom of inclines, so, if possible, try to pitch your tent on higher ground. Also, be wary of pitching your tent too close to bodies of water that are likely to swell, such as creeks or ponds.
Hang Your Clothes
Once the rain starts falling, you’ll probably focus your energy on dashing for cover to keep yourself, your family, and your valuables dry. Because of that, when it’s time to change into dry clothes, it’s easy to peel off your layers and toss them in a corner without thinking about them.
But wet clothes sitting in a pile will leave you with moldy, mildewy scents that you will have to live with for the rest of your trip. Once you get your new clothes on, hang a clothesline so that your clothes can air out and dry more quickly.
Shoes are the trickiest item to dry and the most important, given the dangers of running around with wet feet. If you have newspapers in the car, try rolling them up and pushing them into your shoes to help your footwear dry more quickly.
Rainy weather isn’t ideal in any camping situation, but knowing what to do if it starts raining while camping will keep your family safe and help create memories that will last a lifetime.