If you are headed out into the wild and run into a real gully washing, frog-strangling rainstorm here’s ten more tips for camping in the rain that should help you get through the storm in style (the first ten tips are here.)
1. Poncho on a stick
Umbrellas are under-rated camping accessories. When conditions are right I much prefer an umbrella to rain gear. A big, sturdy, golf umbrella for car camping and a lightweight collapsible model for hiking. If I need both hands, if it’s cold, or in windblown rain I’ll opt for rain gear.
2. Waiting Games
If you are stuck waiting out the weather having a few games or diversions up your sleeve helps pass the time:
Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe only requires a pencil and or you can make it up from some twigs and pebbles. It’s a game that can be played by two or by teams.
Players in two teams face each other. One side has a coin, pebble or some object that can be hidden in the hand. One side counts down from ten as one of the players from the other team conceals the object in their hand while the teams passes it behind their backs. When the opposite side reaches “one” they shout “STICKUP” and the opposing team holds their hands out. The other side has a number of chances (half the number of hands on the opposite team) to find the object. Only their captain can tap the hand they suspect holds the object. If they find the object it is their turn to hide it, if not the team with the object must show who has it and the game starts again.
Buzz or Whizz-Buzz
Players count in turn, but whenever the number 7 or a multiple of 7, or a figure with 7 in it (such as 14, 21, 27, 28, etc.), the player whose turn it is must say “Buzz.” After two mistakes player drops out. For example 71 is “buzz one,” 77 is “buzz-buzz.” After each mistake the count starts again at 1. Whizz-Buzz is exactly as above except that as well as saying “ Buzz” for 7, the players also say “Whizz” for 5 or any multiples of five; for example 57 is “whizz buzz’, 75 is “buzz whizz.”
Two Hands Kim’s Game
Each person puts a small object in each hand, they hold the object in the palm of their hand so it is visible to everyone for thirty seconds, when thirty seconds are up they close their hands. A leader questions each person in turn; “What has Jane got in her right hand?” or “Who had a pocket knife?” if the player answers incorrectly they are out.
3. Capture Rainwater
Take advantage of the downpour to collect rainwater. A little ingenuity, a carefully placed pot or water bottle and you’ll capture enough water for your next meal. (Treat or boil the water if you think it is necessary.)
4. Know the 30/30 Rule
If you are camping in an electrical storm you’ll want to understand and apply the 30/30 rule to stay safe.
5. Campfire Shelter
This illustration demonstrates how to rig two tarps to shelter a small campfire in extended rainy conditions.
6. Making a Fire in the Rain
It’s not impossible, but it can be challenging to build and maintain a campfire when the weather is wet, here’s an infographic that shows how.
7. Flexible Plans
Don’t ever feel you must stick to your original plans when the skies open up on your trip. It would be foolish to climb to an exposed peak in a thunderstorm or cross a rain-swollen creek. Let’s remember that we aren’t Marines on a mission to save the future of democracy, we’re camping !
A couple of 6 mil. plastic ‘contractor’ trash bags pack small and won’t add too much to the weight of your gear. With some ingenuity, a sharp knife and perhaps a strip or two of duct tape you can fashion an acceptable pack cover, a stylish ‘rain kilt’, a mini tarp, accessory wind break or any number of other accoutrements that can make the rain more bearable.
9.Setting up camp in the Rain.
Keeping what’s dry dry can be a bit of a challenge. If you must set up a tent in the rain consider first pitching a tarp and then setting up the tent underneath the tarp and moving it when the fly is attached. If you haven’t got a tarp consider spreading out the rain fly first, then carefully unpack the tent and spread it out underneath the rain fly (it’s a challenge but it’s possible).
10. Get Wet but Stay Healthy
How can you avoid problems if waiting for clear skies is not an option and you have to keep moving . No matter how breathable it may be, no matter how hard you try no rain gear will keep you dry if the humidity is approaching 100%. Rain gear will keep you warm, though, and that’s important because hypothermia is a possibility even in relatively warm weather. The rule of thumb is; if you feel chilly or cold, put more clothes on! Since you’ve chosen your clothing wisely and have synthetic or wool long johns, underwear, pants and shirt (no cotton!) you can get thoroughly soaked but stay warm. A broad-brimmed hat will help keep water out of your eyes.
If you are soaked and you need to keep moving remember to lubricate any areas prone to chafing, and be prepared to treat any chafed areas.
Accept that it is almost impossible to keep your feet dry. Waterproof boots or shoes aren’t really going to help because the same properties that keep water out will tend to keep water in when it’s humid and raining. Footwear that drains fast and dries quickly makes more sense for wet weather. You’ll want to be careful to keep your feet well-lubricated with vaseline or something similar to prevent rubbing and blisters.
As wet as you may be remember to keep well hydrated and well fed.