RAIN CHECK: WHERE TO CAMP AND WHAT TO PACK FOR NASTY WEATHER
As we all know, rain can come at any time. One minute you’re sitting in the sunshine enjoying your weekend or holiday and suddenly the clouds gather and start to dump water on you and your mates. A few hours of rain and you may find yourself with ruined electronics, damp clothes or in severe cases, even hypothermia. Whether you saw it in the forecast or not, a seasoned camper will know to pack and plan for rain anyway. Showers can come out of nowhere, especially during certain seasons and in different regions, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. With some gear options and a little know-how, you can protect yourself, your belongings and your campsite from the elements.
CHOOSING YOUR CAMPSITE
Be smart about picking your campsite. If possible, choose a site that does not have a slope, angle, indentation or very soft earth. It may seem like a good idea, but whenever possible, don’t camp under tree canopies especially if you know in advance that it’s certainly going to rain. With big wind gusts, branches from the trees have a high probability of falling to the ground and it’s not just the large branches you have to worry about. Smaller branches can fall and poke or rip your tent, causing damage that would have been avoided by camping under an open sky.
Depending on the ground conditions at the campsite, dig a ditch around your tent, if necessary. This will cause water from tent and on either side of the ditch to flow into the moat instead of into your tent. Do dig in gravel or sand, as they are easy to replace into the ditch to repair the campsite. It is not advisable to dig in the dirt at a campsite unless you are far out in the wilderness as this can ruin the site for the next group to stay there.
KEEPING YOUR TENT DRY
To keep your tent dry first and foremost, make sure you’ve purchased a tent that has tightly joined seams and an accompanying rain fly. Flies are made specifically to fit your tent and will redirect rain from your tent roof to the ground. If you are expecting intense rainstorms and are determined not to reschedule your adventure, you can also tie a plastic tarp at a slope higher up over your tent to divert the water away. Make sure the tarp is much larger than your tent and secured tightly. It’s a great idea to bring several tarps of varying sizes, as they are infinitely useful in a pinch.
USING A DRY SAC
There are a variety of uses for ziplock plastic bags, such as keeping food, snacks and small items dry. If you’re bringing along electronics, however, a good investment to keep your items from getting ruined is a dry sac. This can range anywhere from a small pouch for your mobile, keys and wallet, to a larger duffel to keep a range of personal items and electronics in. Make sure your dry sac is one made specifically for that purpose and your belongings are sure to stay dry through the storm.
CAMPFIRE PRO TIPS
Stock up on items to help make a fire, such as fuel, starter logs and old newspaper. When it’s windy and especially when it’s rainy it’s difficult to start a fire, let alone keep it going. Tiki oil is a tremendous option for a rainy-day fire, as it can be used to soak paper and kindling in to keep them burning despite the moisture. A great camping hack is to combine paraffin wax and dryer lint in a pan and cut it into chunks to toss into a waning fire to keep it going strong.
It may go without saying, but proper attire will make all the difference between a spoiled trip and an exciting experience. Bring a brolly or two and several pairs of warm socks, an extra pair of trainers or boots and a rain jacket, as well as emergency hat, gloves and hand warming packs for more severe weather patterns. You won’t regret it!
THINKING AHEAD AFTER THE STORM
Airing out wet gear is essential for future use of many of your most important pieces of camping gear. This will prevent items from becoming susceptible to mould and mildew. Always make sure to air out your tent until it is bone dry as packing it back up and storing it while still damp is a sure-fire way towards disappointment when you get back to unpacking it.
Out in the wilderness, anything can happen, including an unexpected bucket down. When it does, you know you’ll be amply prepared by following these simple steps to ensure your items and campsite are dry and you and your mates will have a great time, right as rain.
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