camping in the rain


Us Aussie fishos and campers are a tough bunch, mostly. We are not easily scared off by a bit or rain or chill. Obviously given the choice rain isn’t ideal, but if it’s unavoidable and you’re caught short there are some ways of minimising the potential fallout from heavy rain.

A few years ago, I got caught out at Flying Fish Point in Queensland and we had a few days of heavy rain. I learnt the hard way the importance of bearing rain in mind when selecting a camping spot and woke up to a small river of water flowing through my tent leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.


This was my error. I had chosen a camping spot where the water was running off from the surrounding ground and my tent and camping gear was nearly swept away with it. Even if it’s sunny, it’s worth considering where the water is likely to run off when you are choosing your campsite.

Bear in mind how the water is likely to run off your tent. Are you in a dip or a trench? Will the water gather under your tent or will it be able to run off towards lower ground?

If you are using a groundsheet under the tent, don’t have it poking out and from under the tent. These exposed areas of tarp will create small pools and funnel the water under the tent.


Ever since Flying Fish Point I never leave home without packing an extra tarp. Tarps are useful to create an extra dry space other than the tent for cooking in. Tarpaulins are also handy if you have to set up in the rain and need to create a dry space to assemble the tent. Furthermore, if any leaks spring, you can keep your tent completely covered and avoid ruining the whole trip.


Waterproof clothing is a must for any winter trip or trips where rainfall could be a problem. Waterproof clothing is pretty easy to get your hands on and in most cases doesn’t break the bank. Something with a waterproof hood should be essential packing. I always carry a lightweight poncho with me in my day bag that can be folded into a tiny pouch and provides instant lightweight rain protection.

Anyone who has camped in the rain will tell you the importance of layers. I know you’ve heard it countless times but staying warm and waterproof at the same time is a challenge during surprise downpours. Cotton just absorbs water and sticks to you, so make sure you have something as an outer layer that is up to the job of keeping you dry.


Taking a couple of bin-bags can be a big help for carrying gear around the campsite. I always make sure I have a couple of bin liners handy. For example, they are a great way to cover anything up that I want to get from the car to my tent – perfect because I want to keep the inside of my tent completely dry.

Bin bags are incredibly versatile. At Flying Fish Point, we even managed to make a waterproof outfit for my youngest by cutting holes in it and having him wear it as a poncho. Not so elegant but it certainly got the job done.


If you have a tarp then your meals should be able to continue uninterrupted. But if you aren’t bringing an extra tarp make sure you have food which can be prepared without the use of a flame. Tins of tuna or vegetables can provide instant relief during a downpour. If the weather is rubbish, the last thing you need to add to stress levels is hunger.


Is there anything you think should be included in this article? Do you have an article you would like to publish? Let us know through the comments section below.

Oli Ward

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.