What to Do When Camping in Bad Weather

Camping in Bad Weather 1

By Connie Jiang

The life of a busy woman, juggling family, work, a social life, and other obligations can be stressful and exhausting. Sometimes the perfect remedy for the soul is a relaxing weekend or vacation camping. In the highlands or in the woods, nature has a way of melting away stress and can be perfect for a retreat with your female besties or as a family-friendly excursion.

Camping, for this very reason, is why it is a loved activity for so many worldwide. It gives you the chance to get back to your roots, get away from the hustle and bustle, and connect with nature. But unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate. No matter how well you plan your camping trip, unpredictable weather can rear its ugly head and interfere with your outdoor activities.

This guide will provide you with tips on what to do when bad weather gets in the way of your camping trip.

 

How to Prepare for Thunderstorms and Rain while Camping

In order to make sure your camping trip goes as smoothly and as safely as possible, preparation and planning are key. Just like your mother told you (or mother in law you didn’t want to listen to) an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain.

The first step is understanding the possibilities. What is the weather like in the area this time of year? What types of storms does the area get? What is the forecast looking like for the dates you have planned. Staying up to date on the ever-changing weather patterns is crucial. Start researching weather a week or two in advance, and then periodically get updates all the way up to and including the day of the trip.

Based on projected (and potential) weather patterns, make sure to pack items that will ensure you’ll be comfortable. Pack at least one change of clothes that will ensure you stay warm (or cool) depending on potential climate changes.

 

Stay Dry

This seems like a given, but in the excitement of preparation, many of us forget about the very real possibility of having to camp out in the rain. It’s important to not only keep yourself dry but your belongings as well, so they don’t get ruined. Invest in a heavy-duty tarp to use over your tent so that you will be properly sheltered in the event that rain clouds move in during your trip. Also, consider bringing waterproof bags so when you hear the first roll of thunder, you can seal up your belongings from rainy weather.

 

Stay Warm

Even areas normally hot can drop dramatically in temperature at night and with rain or passing storm fronts. In fact, you have an increased chance of getting hypothermia while you sleep, so don’t go to bed cold and wet. Prepare for rainy nights by bringing an all-weather blanket, hand and foot warmers, and water-resistant clothing like a rain jacket that is lined with a heavy fabric like fleece. If your clothes get wet, hang them up so they’re nice and dry when morning comes.

 

 

Stay Comfortable

Rain doesn’t always have to stop you from building a fire at night. Pack an emergency fire starter or waterproof matches and a torch-lighter so you can easily start a fire even in the wettest conditions.

Food preparation may also be difficult during bad weather. Consider packing food and planning for meals you don’t have to cook (like sandwiches and nonperishable items). Dried fruit, nuts, and beef jerky make for delicious and easy snacking. But if you’re a foodie and fancy a hot meal after a long day’s excursion, meal prep ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the wind, rain or lightening peeling vegetables.

 

Choose your Camping Location Carefully

Wind and rain can be an inconvenience when you’re venturing outdoors, but it can be even worse if you’re camping in an area prone to flooding. Before heading out, make sure you’ve picked a campsite that isn’t close to lakes, rivers, or ponds. If you get caught in a downpour, you don’t want to be camping next to a roaring river that starts to flood.

 

Make the Best of your Trip

In the midst of stormy weather, many individuals forget that the most important part of camping is to have fun! Don’t let the rain or bad weather ruin the mood. To make the best of your night, bring LED lights to hang around your campsite on trees or bush branches and make a cozy setting for you and your friends.

Go the extra mile and create an outdoor living room when you first arrive at your camping site. That way you can hunker down in the evening and not head straight to your tents. Creating a makeshift living room can be as easy as tying up a tarp above, and laying one on the ground. Then set out chairs and other items as needed. Bring card games, a battery-powered radio, and plenty of snacks for you and your friends to enjoy while you wait the rain out.

 

If All Else Fails, Head to the Car

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned when camping. It’s important to remember your safety comes first at all times, so if you can’t stay warm or dry throughout the night, it’s best to pack up and head to the car so you don’t risk getting hypothermia. Consider heading into town for a movie night at the theatre or a nice meal at a restaurant indoors.

 

Closing Thoughts

With the right preparation, camping can be a wonderful life experience to spend alone or with friends and family. By planning ahead you can enjoy the best the outdoors has to offer even if bad weather creeps in.

 

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Guest Author at World Weather Online

Connie Jiang is a seasoned editor at World Weather Online.

Connie's extensive knowledge of climate, weather and the environment helps her a lot as an avid hiker. She stays in tune with the most updated forecast allows for accuracy for those utilizing World Weather Online for leisure, business or travel. Connie works with World Weather Online to ensure that everyone has access to the most accurate weather forecasts globally.

48 thoughts on “What to Do When Camping in Bad Weather

  • December 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm
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    It would be really difficult for me to enjoy my camping with a thunder storm, I would constantly be stressed and worried.But your tips are really amazing and useful and also motivation to still enjoy camping with bad weather!

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  • November 15, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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    Worst part of camping when its raining is getting in and out of the tent without getting it wet inside. I like to use a plastic boot/shoe tray with a lip on it to put shoes on inside the tent. Keeps shoes out of the rain and keeps them from getting things wet and muddy inside.

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  • November 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm
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    There are some good tips here. Staying dry and warm are an absolute must xx

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  • November 12, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Me and my friends are planning to go camping. This is very helpful. I’m going to recommend this!

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  • November 11, 2019 at 2:37 pm
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    For those who love camping this is full of great and useful tips to make their camping experience more comfortable

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  • November 11, 2019 at 1:48 pm
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    It’s so important to stay warm and dry when camping in bad weather; who would want to get sick when camping out?
    That’s why, I’m always researching about the local climate of a place and also, ask the locals of the place about their weather patterns so that I can determine the clothing and medication to bring along.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 11:29 pm
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    I’ve been wanting to get into camping more, but summer months always seem to go by so fast and here in Vancouver, we get a lot of rain. Good to know you can go camping and still have fun even when the weather’s not ideal. Awesome tips!

    Reply
    • November 11, 2019 at 5:26 pm
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      The key is to not let the weather dictate your camping experience. Being prepared can allow for unexpected weather conditions!

      Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 9:48 pm
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    These are great tips, especially the tips to stay warm. I would think that must be one of the most important things.. With a little foresight, even some bad weather won’t ruin a camping trip. Although I have never been, you are inspiring me to go camping. I can imaging how beautiful and peaceful the nature must be away from the city.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm
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      I would definitely go on a camping trip! It is both relaxing and fun. Being prepared will play a huge role on your overall experience!

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  • November 10, 2019 at 4:20 pm
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    Very useful tips on camping during bad weather as taking proper precautions are always necessary at such times. Keeping extra layers is highly essential as it is better to keep on layers when it is too chilly and too unpredictable. Also keeping such food items which can be eaten without cooking is also a great tip as during rains we cannot cook outdoors.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:24 pm
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      Extra layers and making sure they stay dry! Packaged food such as dried fruit and nuts are both nutritious and will give you the energy you need!

      Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 3:04 pm
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    That would be such a bummer to have a thunderstorm while camping. Well, since the weather is unpredictable, it would still be best to be prepared. Thank you for these tips. I will pass it on to my friends who enjoy this activity as a family.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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      Thanks Kristine! Spread the word, it is so important to be prepared!

      Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 9:20 am
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    These are great tips, I would really be upset if it rains during a camping trip because that’s when you just get cold and everything is damp and you just feel low. But I like how you make it be enjoyable at the same time.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:22 pm
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      The rain can definitely put a damper in your experience. Being prepared will help offset the low and disappointed feeling!

      Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 11:58 pm
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    Those are great tips! I have never been camping in bad weather so this would be helpful.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm
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      That is great! Definitely always be prepared as Mother Nature is so unpredictable.

      Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 9:49 pm
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    Great suggestions. Reading this reminds me of a time when I and my husband went camping and it rained really hard. Great tips.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm
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      Thank you! Hopefully this helps you plan for a camping trip in the near future.

      Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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    It always rained everytime we went camping growing up. Now my back won’t hold up to go. Your tips are great ideas.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:20 pm
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      Oh no! Definitely make the most of it and not let the rain bother you!

      Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm
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    Great tips and I really like your point about remembering to have fun! Bad weather is partly your outlook. If you are prepared, you’re more likely to find the joy in less than an ideal situation.

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:19 pm
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      That’s so true Mike! It’s so important to remember the initial reason why you’re going on this camping trip – which is to have fun! Don’t let bad weather ruin it but definitely be prepared!

      Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 4:31 pm
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    Good luck staying dry. the car is always a good backup just don’t park too far away 🙂

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    • November 11, 2019 at 5:17 pm
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      Definitely park close enough to make a quick run when it starts pouring!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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    We have been camping in some awful weather! Now we try to camp in a leanto when we can, in case of heavy rain!

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:46 am
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      It’s always important to make sure that weather conditions do not ruin your trip! That is also a brilliant idea – a great place for shelter!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 7:01 pm
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    What a wonderful post. I think it has great advice for anyone who loves camping and the great outdoors.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:44 am
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      Thank you Maria! The goal is to ensure that you are prepared when camping!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 6:15 pm
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    We love to go camping, but you can’t always predict the weather. These are great suggestions! We have had to sleep in our car a few times.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:35 am
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      Hey Kristy,

      That is very true! The weather is so unpredictable, your car is always the best backup.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 3:20 pm
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    Camping in wet weather certainly does add some challenges. But being prepared means it might not send you packing for home. Packing foods that don’t need cooking is a good suggestion. Having an outdoor living room is a good idea to ensure that there is indoor space if you can’t go outside. Good tips to be better prepared.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:49 am
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      I completely agree Linda! Bad weather conditions does not mean camping is over! By being prepared – you can make it one of the most memorable trips ever!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 7:39 am
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    I totally want to go camping again with my friends, it would be so fun. Reading this brought back great memories. Great advice here as the one thing we can’t control out in nature is the weather!

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:52 am
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      Hey Jennifer,

      Make the trip to go camping – I would love to hear all about it! Camping always bring such great joy and memories.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    Choosing your camping location is the one and most important thing when you set up your tent. Nothing is more dreadful than finding yourself in a puddle of water. It happened to some of our friends many years ago on a camping trip. They arrived late in the evening and didn’t realize they set up their tent in a little ditch, near the road. That night it rained big time so all the water from the road was running through their tent. It was a terrible experience! I think your advice of heading to the car when all else fails is the best!

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:55 am
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      Oh no! That is definitely not fun at all and it is quite dreadful. Yes – I definitely believe that your car is the ultimate back-up shelter!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 2:02 am
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    We had a camping trip planned that we cancelled last weekend. I was not looking forward to camping in below freezing weather with rain.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:57 am
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      That sounds rough! Do you have a make-up trip planned?

      Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 1:17 am
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    I’m hoping we can go camping next year. I’ll have to remember these tips in case it rains!

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:56 am
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      What a great event to look forward to! Absolutely – always be prepared!

      Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 11:34 pm
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    Great tips indeed. Weather can sometimes play a real spoil-sport, even for regular travels. Sometimes I book tickets pretty early like 3-4 months prior and then the weather suddenly goes unexpected. I recently went on a island-wide cycling trip and the weather turned unexpectedly rainy! Yeah, we did miss a bit, but our safety and that of our little daughter are much more important as you say.
    Very true about camping near the rivers. Its definitely risky if it starts to rain. Ofcourse, starting and fire and cooking could get really very difficult if its raining.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:59 am
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      Safety is Number One!! Back-up trips can always be planned which allows for more time to be prepared as well!

      Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 9:42 pm
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    Great tips! Staying dry is so important because it doesn’t matter how layered and warm your clothes are, if they are wet you are going to suffer. I haven’t been camping in a long time but you have motivated me to think about doing so.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2019 at 12:38 am
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      Hi Pam,

      I agree, staying dry is super important and can affect your entire camping trip! That is so great to hear! I would love to hear about your camping trip!

      Reply
      • November 11, 2019 at 8:33 am
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        These are so useful tips. Staying dry is very important to avoid any kind of desease. Staying warm is also important as noone wants to ruin their experience. Coz you can’t afford to fall sick. Quite a helpful post.

        Reply
        • November 11, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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          Yes, staying dry is so important!! Great point, not only can it potentially ruin your camping experience but you can definitely get sick which is a big no-no!

          Reply

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