Camping is one of the most affordable and entertaining activities out there today. It is a versatile hobby and can drop you right in the midst of what you enjoy doing most. Whether you are into water sports like paddle boarding, mountain climbing, or just relaxing in the calm of nature, camping gets you there and allows you to stay for as long as you like. So what do you do when nature decides to take a shower?
Some of this advice may seem a bit obvious, but these tips all come at the expense of having spent some long weekends feeling less than dry. Many times the only things required are self- awareness and some early, preventative actions on your part.
Consider avoiding the rain before you even plan on going anywhere. You should select a tent on which the bottom material (usually thick plastic sheeting) extends up the sides of the tent itself. Seams can leak on even the best tents. If your tent has seams above potential puddles, it may be less likely to leak. You can also apply a waterproofing spray to the outside of your tent, but make sure to do this long in advance as it takes time to dry properly.
It is also critical that you are comfortable with how to set your tent up. This is your home away from home and your best line of defense against the elements. Take a few practice runs if you are unsure of the setup process and even if you think you have a "general idea" of how to do it, give it a go at least once. Most tents have the same general concept of being set up yet can be vastly different in application. The time you spend reading your tent's directions in the woods may be the difference between spending your weekend wet and staying dry.
Once you arrive at your destination and are ready to set your tent up, take a quick scan of your surroundings. Avoid putting your tent in anyplace with current puddles since water will most likely accumulate there again. Another thing to look at is the general slope of the land. If you see that the surrounding areas all run down to where you plan on putting your tent, you may be in the midst of a dry stream bed. Look for signs like grooves in the dirt where water washed away soil or collections of leaves and pine needles that seem out of place given the trees around you. These may have been moved by a now absent stream of water. You should also check for trees in the near vicinity. It is possible to suspend tarps in trees as a potential shade piece or rain break. Also, always make sure to place a tarp under your tent. This gives you another barrier between ground moisture and yourself.
If you find yourself in the midst of a rainstorm while camping there are a few things you can do to try to minimize that damp feeling. Always ensure that window and tent flaps remain closed during the worst of it and that you are accurately using the rain flap provided with your tent. Check for areas where water may be pooling on top of your tent and adjust the flap as needed.
You should also do your best not to let anything touch the sides of the tent. Anything that comes into contact with the sides of your tent will act as a bridge between the water on the outside and your dry items on the inside. This is especially true of blankets.
If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in the midst of a newly formed stream all is not lost. Do your best to divert the water by digging a small channel around and away from your tent. This doesn't have to be elaborate or deep and will help divert the water from your immediate area.
These tips are not exhaustive by any means, but may offer some practical advice to anyone looking to get outdoors in the coming months. Camping is an adventure each time you go. Challenges like dealing with rain are what make camping exciting.