How To Survive Camping In The Rain

Post Summary: How To Camp In The Rain and Tips On Staying Dry Outside

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?

Yep. Rainy.

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 on camping in the rain…

How To Survive Camping In The Rain

Note: This post contains affiliate links to useful tools to help you stay dry while camping. Any purchase made will help us stay dry too!

Tell Someone About Your Camping Itinerary

It’s important to take all safety precautions when camping, especially when you are camping in the rain. Make sure to leave a copy of your itinerary with someone you trust. Tell them when you’ll be back, and disclose any other important details like your car model, reservation numbers, or ticket confirmations.

If you are taking a solo camping trip, make sure to follow these handy solo camping tips to make your trip as safe as possible! A lot can happen to you when solo camping, and the risk is especially high when camping in the rain. Make sure to be prepared before your next Pacific Northwest camping trips!

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!

Note: This also applies when camping on the beach in Washington. The higher the ground, the more likely you’ll be high and dry!

Get A Tarp

Tarps are the quickest, cheapest way to waterproof any campsite. You can practice the best set up strategies at home, too. 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.

Buy/Borrow A Set of Bungee Cords

Really,  bungee cords 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.

Sleep Warm

One of the most important aspects of successfully surviving a night of sleeping in the rain is to stay warm and stay dry. One way to do this is to choose a sleeping bag that is extra warm, and ideally water repellent.

Generally, the warmest material in sleeping bags today is down feather, although technology is catching up, which means there may be a more ethical contender in the near future!

Read More: The 10 Best Sleeping Bags For Camping and Backpacking

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 portable clothesline with small clips like this one (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. At the end of your trip, lay out your tent in a backyard, or over a railing to let it air dry completely.

Read More: How To Avoid Overpacking

Bring Proper Rain Gear

Like above, nothing is worse than 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 raincoat 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!

Bins are especially helpful if you are sleeping out of your car. Moving them around to make room when you are going to bed exposes them to rain, and it’s important for your gear to be covered in transport!

Packing in plastic bins not only keeps your stuff dry but you can also re-pack and reuse the bins over and over again. Store things like your camping hygiene kit, camping meals, and miscellaneous backpacking gear in storage bins.

Read More: Our Essentials For Any Camping Trip

Camping in the Rain PNW Style

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!

Read More: How To Winter Camp In The PNW

Want to gear up for your own camping trip? It doesn’t have to be simply camping 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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One thought on “How To Survive Camping In The Rain

  1. Thanks again Heather! I appreciate the support. 🙂 The goal of our blog is to share beautiful places in the PNW while giving you real advice on what to expect there. I’m so glad you found it useful!

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