If you go camping enough times, you will get rained on. Count on it. Instead of cursing the weather gods, however, smart, experienced campers embrace it. It’s part of enjoying the outdoor lifestyle, after all, so why not?
Embracing the rain is much easier to do if you’re prepared and properly outfitted. Tents, for example, carry a waterproof rating denoted in mm—3,000mm, 5,000mm, 10,000mm etc. It’s not a measurement of the fabric’s thickness, but rather the amount of water it takes to force seepage through the fabric. The higher the value, the more waterproof the fabric.
Yes, tents with a higher waterproof rating will cost more, but those concerns are quickly forgotten when the first big raindrops start to fall upon the campsite.
The same goes for personal rain gear. Rain jackets and pants that shed rainwater, yet let body moisture escape are more expensive than a yellow slicker, or green rubber rain jacket. But they pay dividends in comfort and satisfaction.
Bring Extra Tarps
You may use a tarp as a ground sheet under the tent, but a couple of extra tarps in the camp box can save a rainy day.
Draped over ropes strung between nearby trees, a large tarp can act as a rain roof over the tent and a good part of your campsite. You can hang a separate tarp roof over the dining area and cook stove if needed, and even a third over the campfire ring, provided it’s at least 8, and preferably 10, feet above the ground—and you don’t go crazy with your fire-building.
Plastic bags, too, can be sanity savers on a rainy day. With a supply of stout trash bags and a box of heavy-duty zip-top bags, you can keep just about any piece of camping equipment you can think of from getting soaked through. In a pinch, you can even turn a trash bag into a rain poncho.
A deck of playing cards, a book or a board game can help while away a few hours, but even being prepared in that way for a rain-delay isn’t the most important thing. Most of all, you have to be mentally prepared to have fun in the rain. That might mean a wet walk along the beach or an easy trail. Or, an afternoon spent telling stories in your tent.
Every experience you have at a campsite will someday be a pleasant one. And a little bit of rain won’t change that.