Nothing ruins a good hike like a sudden downpour. Rainstorms are always a risk when camping, especially in the spring and late summer, but that doesn’t mean your trip has to end when a little water falls from the sky. Here are some hacks to help you enjoy your camping or backpacking trip, rain or shine.
Rather than trudge through the rain and attempt to find a few twigs that haven’t been drenched, try packing your kindling before you leave. This way you’ll keep it dry in your pack and won’t have to struggle to make fire. If that doesn’t work for you, pack a bag of Doritos instead. They’re highly flammable.
Cuddle Your Clothes
The best way to keep your clothes dry and warm is to sleep with them. Slip them into your sleeping bag at night and cuddle up next to tomorrow’s shirts, socks and underwear to keep them out of the cold and toasty for the next morning. They’ll draw heat from your body and the bag will keep everything insulated so it won’t escape.
Sleep in a Hammock
Setting up a tent on a soggy patch of ground is never a fun task. It’s even worse in the morning when you have to clean up mud and dirt off the bottom before you can pack up. Avoid this by using a hammock while you camp instead. Attach it to a couple of sturdy branches and you’ll be safe and dry above the ground. Just remember to put up a tarp overhead first.
Bring Trash Bags
Trash bags are the ultimate camping resource. They can be used to keep your clothes dry or as a makeshift poncho in a pinch. Most importantly they’re great as impromptu pads to sleep on. Just pack a trash bag with surrounding moss, leaves and other soft plants (or even mud) and you’ve got yourself a cheap DIY sleeping pad that’ll keep your backside dry and comfy in the dreary weather.
Shellac Your Matches
If you’re the type to keep things old school when you camp and still try to light fires with matches you’ll want to keep them dry as possible. Or, you could just cover them with shellac or clear polish. It’s perfectly safe to coat your matches with the gooey resin and they’ll still light up when you strike them. Best of all, water basically rolls right off of it.
Camp in a Clearing
While it might seem smart to pitch your tent under a tree in order to mitigate the amount of rainfall on your roof, you’re actually more likely to get soaked this way. The buildup of rain in the leaves comes down more heavily beneath a tree so you’re better off setting up camp in a clearing. You’re going to get wet either way, so you might as well get a decent view out of it.
Bring a Sponge
If there’s one thing that holds true no matter where you camp in the rain, it’s that water is going to find its way in. Whether you spring a leak or just end up tracking some in on your clothes, rain has a nasty habit of sneaking inside the tent and dampening your gear. Rather than wiping it up and leaving damp towels lying around the campsite, which take forever to try, bring along a sponge. You can find a cheap one at the dollar store nearest you and they mop up water like nobody’s business. Once you’re done, give them a quick squeeze and they dry out within an hour.