Camping in the Rain: Planning for a Wet Camp

Let’s go camping in the rain

If you think all experienced campers cancelled their camping weekends because of rainy weather, nothing could be further than the truth! Veteran, hard-core experienced campers don’t let a little or even a lot of rain dampen their camping plans. Most experienced campers pick up their tents and gladly go “Camping in the Rain”. I’ve always said that a day (any weather day) of camping totally beats sitting home thinking about camping.

While camping in the rain requires a different attitude, with having to endure sloppy puddles and wet socks; it can be fun if you carry along the right attitude. Think of every puddle you step into as an amusing story to regale others with at future campfires. The slipped tie-down as “you should have seen it when” tales for future campfire brags. Soaking wet fireside stories sure beat pitching a tent in the dark stories any day.

Choosing the right tent and packing the right gear can help make your rainy camping trip a bit drier, at least a little more comfortable while you sleep at night.

Choosing the Right Tent

Choosing a good quality, rain-proof tent is most important. You may be able to endure anything a rainy camping trip throws up at you while you are awake, but there’s nothing faintly amusing or interesting about a tent that sprouts a leak when you are tired or fast asleep. Read the label carefully and ensure the coating of the tent is waterproof; not water-resistant.

Most tents available today come with waterproof floors that are designed for camping on wet areas and when its raining. The entrance of these tents is usually a few inches above the rest of the floor. They also have a full rain fly to protect the tent from morning dew and rain. You should require those features when looking for your new tent.

Packing the Right Gear

Always carry one or even two spare set of clothes, a towel and a change of shoes. Wrap them all up in waterproof dry bags so that they stay dry no matter what. Other handy necessities are the same as for any camping trip in dry weather and would include a first-aid kit, flash light and most important of all, a lighter. Soggy matches do not a bonfire make.

A word about cotton and cotton blends.  Cotton has a bad reputation for staying wet and cold, read “hypothermia-potential”, that makes is a poor choice for wet weather gear.  Be careful about cotton gear, except for towels. We’ve found that the newer dry-tech exercise materials work best in wet and also sweaty weather. They will wick water away from your body and dry amazingly fast.

A pair of flip-flops or beach shoes will come in really handy if you need to make short trips to check on something outside the tent. They are easy to slip on and off at the front door.

Though an umbrella may sound like a strange choice for a camping trip, it is invaluable for keeping things dry when moving them from the car to the tent. They can keep the water out of your eggs when you cook breakfast too.

Consider packing a tarp to lay on the ground under the tent. This helps protect the floor of the tent from tearing on roots and rocks. We cut the tarp to be about eight inches smaller than the floor of the tent so it stays completely underneath it. A tarp that is larger than your tent’s footprint will do just the opposite of what you want. It will collect the water that runs off your tent and direct it nicely under the tent floor.

And, take a small rug to put down in front of your door. Even if it gets a little wet, it will help you keep the mud out of the tent and off your clothes, sleeping bag, and other gear. And, since it’s really nice to have a large area at the door that is out of the constant downpour, a second tarp, 6’ by 8’ or larger can be rigged up over the threshold of your tent, and extend 6’ or more in front is really a good option to have.  This helps you open up the zippered entrance without getting a bunch of rain too.  If you go 8’ by 16’, you can cover the picnic table and have a nice, cozy, vestibule, dry and ready for your enjoyment.

Don’t dismiss the satisfaction you receive when you’re snug under a dry tarp or tent, listening to the rain pitter-patter, while you sit dry and warm, enjoying a hot cup of cocoa or coffee, reading or even just watching the campground as it adjusts to the weather.

One last note. When you go car camping in the rain, toward the end of the weekend you tend to use the shelter of your car or van more than usual. It’s a nice dry place to keep things out of the weather. On a recent rain-soaked trip we learned the hard way that after a weekend of opening doors to put things in and out etc. the battery wasn’t able to start the van anymore. Make sure you have jumper cables or some other plan to start things on Sunday afternoon. I now carry one of those portable battery packs to jump start the van.


Our camping lists usually menCamping tenttion tents. We’ve used lean-tos, but usually we rely on a tent of some sort for shelter and privacy. The price of tents has drastically reduced in recent years. This may be due to stiff competition from foreign manufacturers, new fabrics and designs, or just over production.  Whatever the reason, I like the result. Again, as in previous posts, we’ll leave backpacking shelters to the specialized sites.  Remarkable claims are heard today of ultralight trail tents or under 5 pounds for a 2-person enclosure with rain fly.  The price changes don’t seem to have found this market yet.  These wonders of manufacturing and design can easily go over $300.

[Read more…]

Camp Cooking: One Pot Buffalo Chicken Recipe

Here’s a quick Buffalo Chicken recipe that can become part of your standard menu or saved, mostly, for the next trip when the fish aren’t biting.

Camp Cooking: One Pot Buffalo Chicken and Rice Recipe
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Here's a quickie meal that can be part of your menu or saved, mostly, for the next time.
  • 1 envelope flavored rice. We like Knorr Buffalo Chicken version.
  • 1 can chicken breast - Aldi's works. All breast meat 12.5 oz. for under $2
  • 1 Red Pepper (can be green or yellow)
  • 1 medium Onion
  1. Dice the onion and pepper, sauté briefly in a 3 quart pan
  2. Add rice and liquid according to the recipe on the envelope.
  3. Use the liquid from the canned chicken for the liquid, adding water to get the required amount,
  4. Cut the chunks of chicken breast into bite-size pieces and simmer until the rice is done.
  5. That's it! Easy-peasy. Good for 2 hungry campers. The onion and pepper you'll have to replace, but if you don't need this, leave it in your kitchen box until the next time.


Camp Cooking Gear – Pots, Pans, Silverware etc.

camp-cooking-fire-potAt some point, you’re going to want to cook, probably, when you’re camping. All our checklists show cooking gear as a take along item. It isn’t usually necessary to buy any camp cooking gear designed specially for camping, except backpacking. You probably already have everything you need at home.

Pots & Pans


A skillet is nice to have for the bacon. Well, eggs and burgers and maybe home fries, too. Steer clear of the light weight aluminum ones that are used as the lid to most camp cooking gear kits. They are great for boiling water but they are so thin that cooking without sticking is almost impossible. A nice heavy non-stick stainless or anodized aluminum skillet is a good item to carry.  A nice seasoned cast iron skillet works well, too. [Read more…]

BioLite Camp Stove – High & Low Tech


Biolite Campstove

The BioLite camp stove is a recent development in the technology department that sounds like it’s too good to be true. The BioLite camp stove is a high tech stove that burns wood with the aid of an internal fan, and produces enough electricity to run the fan and recharge your cell phone.  The part that’s too good?  It’s costly, and you have to burn something to get juice.  It probably weighs as much as most liquid fueled alternatives, when you include the weight of the fuel.  And you do need to continue to feed the burner to make the internal fan operate and the generator to work.  Still, nicely designed piece of gear.

Here’s some specs from their website:

Fast to boil: 4.5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water
Fire power output (peak): 3.4 kw (lo) 5.5 kw (hi)
USB power output: Max continuous: 2W @5V, Peak: 4W @5V
Compatible Devices: Most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones
Fuel: Burns sticks, pine cones, pellets and other biomass
Packed size: Height 8.25 inches, Width 5 inches
Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz / 935 grams
Pot weight limit: 8 lbs or 1 gallon of liquid
Materials: Stainless steel, aluminum, plastic