Camping in freezing snow or dry heat brings about unique challenges, some more challenging than others. But these camping conditions can become quite the memorable experience, albeit with the right attitude, the right gear, and especially good camping routines.
So don’t let a little downpour hinder you from cavorting with majestic nature while you explore the wilderness outside, and also within. Heed these five top tips, and soon enough, you’ll be able to pride yourself on overcoming the challenge of precipitation! Then you’ll be able to prove to the hiker within, as well as to others, that with your trusty tent and favourite backpack, you’re ready for anything.
1. Location, location, location
First of all, where do you plan to go? If you plan to hike and camp in rain-prone areas, then prepare accordingly. Also, checking the weather forecast in advance won’t hurt. Second, and I cannot emphasise this enough: always choose the correct site for your tent. Determining the location of your tent can mean either staying dry or waking up in a puddle when the heavens open.
Remember, high, firm, flat and dry ground is your friend. Be wary of sites that are sloped, soft, damp and depressed (not the emotional kind, but you should avoid those too). These risky sites can be dry at first, but a light downpour will quickly turn them muddy and pooling with water.
2. Of tents and tarps
Learning to correctly and quickly pitch both a tent and a tarp are of utmost importance, especially when you expect rain or are right in the middle of it. A properly pitched tarp will also help keep those communal spots, such as your dining and cooking areas, dry.
Incidentally, if you’re caught in the middle of a downpour with yet to pitch a tent, you can try to set up your tarp first. Setting a tarp up over the spot where you plan to pitch your tent will keep the soil from getting too muddy, as well as act as a shield from the rain as you set up. By the way, keeping a groundsheet in your backpack will be invaluable during these moments — just place underneath your tent for added waterproofing and tent protection.
Once you’ve pitched your tent, be sure to correctly set up the tent fly (taut and away from tent walls) and also check you have adequate ventilation. Letting the air circulate by opening your tent’s vents will avoid condensation forming inside. Finally, resist the urge to touch the walls of your tent during a downpour, as this simple act will pull the rainwater in.
3. Your backpack is your friend
Nature has taught me that what you put in your bag will either make or break your camping trip. So, if you want your backpack to assist you in times of need, make sure to pack the right gear. So if you expect rain (or even if you don’t), always have a waterproof jacket in your backpack. Additionally, if rain is close to guarantee on your trip, then bringing some or all of the following gear will help you stay nice and dry:
- Rainfly and groundsheets
- Waterproof trousers
- Waterproof boots
- Rain cover for your backpack
- Lots of plastic bags and Ziplocs
- Super absorbent and quick dry towels
- Newspapers for quick and efficient kindling
- Extra clothing
4. Stay warm as well as dry
Should the rain soak you through, you’ll be miserable. So always keep yourself warm and dry. First remove and hang any wet clothing or equipment up to dry. Second, keep the inside of your tent dry with towels and if possible only keep wet gear outside. Finally, if you can, build a fire.
5. Above all, have fun!
Carry a good book in your backpack, play games and bond with friends, or listen to your favourite tunes. Just entertain yourself, enjoy the experience, the lessons you’ve learned, and the challenges you’ve overcome.
Come hell or high water
Eventually, you won’t just be ready for the rain, you’ll even welcome it with open arms. Remember, it’s the coldest, hottest, wettest and most challenging of adventures that you end up remembering and sharing with your grandkids.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from writer, poet, and explorer extraordinaire Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
Words by: Louise Brown
Louise is the founder of TheAdventureLand.com, where she and her associates blog about outdoor experiences and tips and tricks that will help you have exciting adventures. She’s also a tour guide for a travel company, so knows loads about the wilderness too! Follow her on Twitter and on Google+