Camping in Wet Weather – What You Need to Know
Camping in wet weather can be a miserable experience unless you are well prepared to deal with the elements. A surprise rainstorm can come when you least expect it, but if you have the right camping gear and know a few important tricks, it doesn't mean your trip will be ruined. Here are some useful tips to make your wet weather camping a tolerable time.
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Select an area that is uphill. In rainy weather, you'll be happy to have your tent pitched in a spot that allows the moisture to roll off the tent and run downhill, away from your shelter. It should also be away from rivers and streams in case of flash flooding.
The most important thing will be to stay warm and dry in your shelter. In anticipation of wet weather, start with the right tent for the job. It should be fully waterproof and rated to withstand the wind and a possibly driving rain. Choose a tent that has waterproofing on the fabric, comes with a waterproof rain fly and has been treated at the seams and zippers.
To prevent moisture from coming through the bottom, it should also have a footprint, or you can use a waterproof tarp to lay down on the bottom before you pitch your tent. If you can find a location that is under a canopy of trees, this will give you extra protection from the rain.
Room for everyone
When the weather outside is wet, you'll appreciate a large sized shelter that everyone can fit comfortably inside. Choose a tent that has ample room for the number of people camping with you. It should be large enough to stow all of your gear and belongings to keep these important things dry as well. Consider a tent that has additional storage pockets, lofts and vestibules. You may want to consider a multi-room shelter that offers a place for everyone to gather for eating and playing games to pass the time when it's too wet to be outside.
Placing waterproof mats on the outside entrance of the tent can help to keep moisture outside. It will also give you a place to wipe wet leaves, dirt and other debris before you go inside. This will help to keep the floor of the tent free of mud and debris.
Waterproof awnings help to keep cooking areas drier when it rains. It can be difficult to stand outside when it's windy and rainy as you prepare your meals. Either a waterproof awning or tarp will offer protection from wet weather while you're cooking.
A nice hot meal with comfort foods can be soothing when it's cold and rainy outside. Bring along foods that are high in carbohydrates. The additional calories will help in maintaining body temperature. Be prepared with the right foods and beverages to throw off the chill of a rainy day.
Dress in layers
Layered clothing helps to keep out the cold, even when it's windy and rainy. The additional layers of clothes act as insulation that traps your body heat inside. Make sure to pack a few extra pair of socks. If your socks get wet on a hike, changing into a dry pair will make you feel more comfortable.
Pack a portable clothesline
Set up a portable clothesline in the vestibule of your tent. This gives you a convenient place to hang wet clothing. It will dry faster and avoid becoming moldy. Throw in a few clothesline pins to secure them for convenience.
Put your clothes in the sleeping bag with you
It's miserable to put on cold clothing in the morning. If you put them in the sleeping bag with you, they will be warm in the morning. Your body heat will warm the change of clothes making it more comfortable.
Insulate the ground
You'll stay much warmer if you insulate the ground under your tent. While a footprint can do nicely, you can add additional insulation. You'll be amazed at the difference that it makes. Adding a bivy bag will help your sleeping bag to retain more body heat and it will also protect your sleeping bag from any moisture that accumulates.
Pack hand warmers
Hand warmers are excellent for camping in wet weather. You can place them inside your boots to keep your feet warm, or place them anywhere that you feel cold. They offer an instant warm up when it's cold outside.
Following these simple tips can make camping in wet weather a more pleasant experience. You can't predict when rain will fall, so it's recommended that you are prepared for it at all times. A little pre-planning, and the right camping equipment will save the day.