It’s pretty common knowledge that the Pacific Northwest is rainy 9 months out of the year. June-August is a glorious time where we finally see the sun, but that doesn’t mean the rain is completely gone. We’ve learned the hard way that if you’re camping in the PNW, you must bring the proper rain equipment with you!
Example: We are driving down the Pacific Coast in a few days and camping along the way. I’ve been checking the weather, and guess what it looks like?
So, after a mini fit, I decided to do some research and go through our camping bin to make sure we had all the equipment needed to survive the rainy nights ahead. A lot of the following tips include everyday things you can ‘hack’ to fit your camping needs. Most of these things you can borrow from your neighbors, like tarps and tents. Berty and I are young and fairly stingy, so we tried to be as thrifty as possible. Here are our tips for your rainy PNW camping trip…
We plan to update this post with pictures after we get back from our Pacific Coast Trip. Get on our email list here to be sent summer camping tips and nearly-real-time updates as we drive south!
How To Survive Camping In The Rain
Set Up Your Tent On The Highest Surface
This is a no brainer – but higher ground means less risk of flooding your tent. It prevents water runoff from pooling under you as you sleep, and you’ll remain high and dry!
Get A Tarp
They are the quickest, cheapest way to waterproof any campsite. You can practice the best set up strategies at home, too. Here’s a great article of clever ways to use a tarp. Make sure to angle it away from the places where you are eating and sleeping, too. If you are going to put a tarp under your tent, make sure to tuck the edges under so that water doesn’t pool into the center. Thanks for the tip, Eli 😉
Buy/Borrow A Set of Bungee Cords
Really, these things should be a staple in any camping set. They are great for keeping your rain tarp in place and for securing things overall from the weather. We bought a bundle of 20 at Target for $12.00, which is totally worth the price.
Elevate Yourself Off The Ground
The more you can lift yourself off the ground, the warmer you will stay when sleeping. Berty and I like to use a sleeping pad with our sleeping bags. If you don’t have one, try stacking blankets or newspaper between you and the ground. Anything helps! We also found a link to setting up a tarp when using a hammock vs a tent. Super useful!
Bring A Clothesline To Dry Wet Clothes
No matter how prepared for the rain you may be, chances are you’ll need to dry things out. Pack a retractable clothesline (or in our case, just string) and hang it under your tarp cover. If there is absolutely no dry place to air out your stuff, temporarily pack it and hang it out again when the sun comes out. Just don’t pack it away for good when it’s still wet. Mildew is nobody’s friend.
Bring Proper Rain Gear
Like above, nothing is worse that cold, wet clothes. Bring some rain boots or waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet dry. If you are planning to camp often in the PNW, it’s smart to invest in a quality rain coat as well. Our favorite, trusted brands are Patagonia, Columbia, and The North Face to name a few!
Pack Plenty of Garbage Bags For Wet Items
Something didn’t fully dry? Pack it in a garbage bag to prevent it from getting all your other gear wet once it’s packed away. Just remember to take it out to fully dry later!
Store Gear In Sealable Tubs
Just recently, we bought a large bin from Lowe’s to store all our camping gear (like this one below). Turns out, it also doubles as convenient rain-proof storage! Packing in plastic bins not only keeps your stuff dry but you can also re-pack and reuse the bins over and over again. Hellooooo sustainability!
Warm Up Your Clothes In Your Sleeping Bag
There’s nothing worse than changing into freezing cold clothes early in the morning. To make changing more bearable, we pack our clothes in these compressible organizers and put them by our feet when we sleep. We wake up to pre-warmed clothes!
Want to gear up for your own camping trip? It doesn’t have to be just in the Pacific Northwest! We’ve made a super-easy checklist you can print out and use as you are packing! It’s totally free!
What tips do you have for camping in the rain? We’d love to hear more tips and tricks – leave us a comment below!
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Thanks for reading!