Although rainy weather is probably not your first choice when venturing off in the wild with your backpack and tent, it doesn’t have to stop you from going!
Last week, I’ve been wayfaring nearly 200 kilometres from the south of the Netherlands to the Eifel region in Germany. Before I left, I checked the weather. The forecast showed endless days of rain, which made me want to cancel my journey straight away. I’m happy to tell you that I did go, and have returned with some fantastic tips and tricks to keep you dry and smiling on your next adventure!
Preparation is key
When confronted with rain, solid preparation can make or break your camping trip. So always prepare for the worst!
Don’t forget to bring your rain coat and pants (if you own any, I prefer to hike in shorts), as well as a set of warm and dry clothes to change into when you arrive.
Certain campsites have bad weather shelters; this could worth looking into if you don’t want to spend all evening inside your tent. Also good to know, a safe shelter can be essential in case of a thunderstorm.
If you love lying in your tent whilst the rain is trickling on your fly like I do, you can prepare for that too. Bring along your favourite treat and a nice read for a cosy night instead.
Check your gear
Equally important is the state of the gear you’re bringing. Make sure to check your stuff before you’re venturing off. Are your rain coat and tent still waterproof? No one wants to be walking around in rain gear getting soaked anyway or sleep inside a leaking tent.
Use dry sacks to protect the contents of your backpack. If you don’t own proper dry sacks you could use ziplock or garbage bags – super handy, but not the most sustainable option.
Pitching your tent in the rain can be a pain, especially if you own a tent which only allows you to pitch the inner tent first.
Although I can pitch the fly of my MSR Hubba NX with the footprint first, it feels like a hassle. What does work? Just pitch your tent as fast as humanly possible, and take a cloth to wipe the insides dry in case any rain has entered.
Tip: Make sure to pack your tent last. When it’s pounding down, you don’t want to go through your entire pack to look for your tent.
When your soaked
It happens. Those days when the rain reached your undies. Once you’ve arrived at your camping spot and have set up your tent, put on a dry set of clothes (even better after a hot shower if there is one available).
I use a line inside my tent to dry clothes. That said, large items might not dry throughout the night. If that’s the case, you just put those wet things back on again when you’re heading out the next day.
When packing up a soaked tent, I fold the inner tent and fly separately into a garbage bag as the inner tent is often still dry. Once I’m on route again, and the sun’s out or it’s windy, I will immediately take a break to dry the tent as well as other wet gear.
A final remark: Be mindful when your situation is becoming dangerous. When you’re jeopardising your health and safety it’s just not worth it. Use your common sense when camping and listen to your body.
As you can see, no need to let the rain keep you from enjoying your epic journey. With proper preparation and these tips in the back of your mind, hiking and camping when it rains can make for an amazing experience!