5 Tips for Enjoying Camping in the Rain

Guest Blogger: @ginaoutdoors 

We know the fall and winter months can get pretty rainy here on Vancouver Island (the nickname the “wet coast” didn’t come from nowhere) so we partnered with local adventurer Gina, to get 5 of her best tips on making the most of a rainy camping trip. Now you’re ready to get out there and enjoy our backyard regardless of the forecast!

So, the forecast shows rain. I know it’s not what you were hoping for. Maybe you’re hard-set on getting out, or maybe you’re considering staying home. With the right preparation (and of course the right expectations) camping in the rain can be cozy, serene and a real joy.

Picking the spot to camp is particularly important when the weather is challenging. You may want to opt for a more sheltered campground if the weather calls for rain, and especially if it is going to be windy. Choose a spot with sturdy trees to shelter you from the wind, which you can also use to put up your tarp! If you plan to camp in an area without trees, free-standing tarp setups and outdoor tents are also available.

Besides setting up the tarp, another great way to keep dry is to set up the tent right when you get to camp. Get it up quickly and put all your gear inside to stay dry. The last thing you want is to crawl into a wet sleeping bag, so keep it nice and cozy!

Tip #1

Always set up the tent (including the fly) and tarp right when you arrive. That way your gear will stay dry & you can get right to relaxing.                                            


a person in a yellow raincoat makes a fire

Once everything is set up, then its time to crack that beer, get the fire going & take a seat. A roaring fire will make a good gathering place, and can be just the thing on a moody day. Keep the wood in a tote or under cover, and stoke the fire frequently to keep it going. Tea and chocolate can be a perfect campfire accompaniment, I picked up these treats from a local coffee and tea shop Stonehouse Teas and they hit the spot on our last rainy camping trip!


Tip #2

You burn more calories when you’re cold, so treat yourself! Sweet goodies & tasty treats taste extra good on a moody day, and will help you stay warm.

5 Tips for Enjoying Camping in the Rain

Hopefully you’ve checked to make sure that your rain jacket is fully waterproof and doesn’t soak through, you may even want to wear some rain pants or cover your legs with a wool blanket to stay warm. Being properly bundled up is the #1 key to having a good time when you camp in the rain.

Tip #3

Make 100% sure your rain jacket is as waterproof as you think it is… that old coat that seems “good enough” might soak through after a few hours of rain.                                                 

A group of women sit around a fire looking out the lake

To make sure you are warm at night, pack a special outfit that you keep in the tent and reserve for sleeping ONLY! Before bed, when you first get into your tent, take off your wet smokey clothes and put on your sleeping outfit. Not only will this keep your sleeping bag warm and dry, it will also keep it from getting dirty and lessen the amount you need to wash it. 

Tip #4

Keep a designated sleeping outfit in your tent that you don’t wear outside the tent. That way, even if your clothes do get soaked, you will be able to warm up and sleep well.                                                

a multi coloured pile of sleeping blankets

 If you think you might get cold, layer up before you actually get there. Wool stays warm when its wet, but if you are wearing down, cotton, or synthetics, they won’t keep you warm if they are damp. Either cover up those materials with a rain shell, or opt for the fool-proof wool option!

If you do get cold, taking a little warm-up in the tent can be cozy and lead to some awesome naps! Extra points if you cuddle with your pup. Bring a towel to wipe off your dog before they get in the tent.

Tip #5

Layer up! Fleece and puffy jackets are great, but make sure they stay dry. Wool is the only layer that will stay warm when wet; I recommend always a wool toque and a merino wool base layer.                                               

a black coffee cup sits on a picnic table, coffee is being poured into it

Cold weather means you need to use calories to stay warm, so make sure you are snacking often. I recommend having a nice big meal before bed, this is the best way to keep you warm during the night even in the winter. 

Some of my most relaxing camping trips have been well-planned rainy outings. The serenity of the rain hitting the fly, the contrast of the fire with the gray sky, the fact you usually have the place pretty much to yourself. Rainy camping is an undervalued treat, and done right, you’ll never want to cancel your plans again!