You have decided to go for camping and are all geared up to set off for a memorable experience at the ideal site. The weather is all clear and you are confident that nothing would go wrong but won't it be a little impractical to completely believe in the weather forecasts for the week. Weather conditions can change suddenly and if you are camping out in areas that face sudden torrents frequently you need to rethink your preparation. A sudden downpour might ruin all your camping plans hence you need to prepare yourself before any such thing happens.
Cancelling your plan or packing your bags might be an option but if you are adamant on camping then enjoying the rain is all possible, you just need to be geared up for such situation and live an experience that you can tell others on other camping days. Unfortunately, we humans have not yet advanced to the verge that we can control the weather but yes we can very well accommodate to the situation without giving up. Present day it is indeed possible to camp in the rain and still keep your tent dry from inside even if it is a heavy downpour outside, so let's understand how we can keep our tents dry and still enjoy the rain.
Prepare your tent with a seam sealer
Buying a waterproof tent is not enough. Your waterproof tent can only remain dry inside if there isn't any place for water to seep in, no crack and no hole. If you would clearly observe the sewn edges of the tent it would contain bumps and holes. As the edges are sewn with thread and needle it makes little holes at the seams. Though the holes are small, it is enough to get a lot of water inside your tent. Seams are then covered with heated adhesive tape that covers the holes but it is not necessary true that all of the seams are covered with tape and even then the tape doesn't provide good enough protection as it doesn't stick properly to the fabric due to bumps.
You need to be double sure and secure it with a seam sealer. Buy a good quantity of seam sealer as it can be your true savior from water puddles. Buying the sealant and keeping it in your kit isn't what you need to be doing, instead you need to apply the sealer to the tent seams beforehand. Don't wait for the rain, prepare your tent for the sudden downpour. Here is how you should work with it:
- Clean your tent. Especially at the seams so that the sealant could properly cover the fabric.
- Take out your tent on a warm day and set it up in your backyard. You can manage it in a room too but setting it up outside will make the task easier.
- Next, you need to apply sealant at all of the seams, those with tapes too. Put the same amount and width of sealant on each seam inside the tent.
- Do cover the floor seams too.
- Then close the tent's opening and apply the sealant to the outside of the tent as well.
- For tents with rain fly, apply the sealant to the inside seams of it and then rotate it to apply the seam sealer to the outside.
- Wait patiently for the sealant to dry. That will take around a day. Do not scribble the sealant after every few minutes to check if it is dry. The sealer is an adhesive that contains toxic substances hence handle them carefully.
Choose a good camping site
What if your tent is all sealed and geared up for the rain but the camp site gets flooded? Ahh you excitedly enter your tent and step in the puddle of water getting soaked up. Time for you to curse the rain and the tent but really is that the cause? You need to choose your camping area that is not prone to submerging in case it rains.
- Set your tent at a higher ground away from foot hills or low regions. Low areas or foothills will definitely get submerged in water so go for high areas that trickle the water away from the tent.
- Don't choose a completely flat terrain as it will allow water to get inside the camp. Modern tents come with bathtub floors that have a bathtub shape at the entrance to collect any water that might come in. That is truly a helpful but anyway make sure you do not give water any chance to come inside your tent.
- Avoid soft muddy areas as it may not only add to the mess but also the stakes of the tent might come out.
- Look for every sort of indentation or slope that may provide water a course to end up at your camp site, hence choose an elevated area.
Gear up yourself
Keep yourself dry amidst the rain with the right gear. No matter your tent is water proof, you need to carry clothes that keep you dry. In case, you need to get out of the tent or have to set up the tent in the rain, you would definitely require things to help survive the weather. So keep your raincoat or rain poncho with you. Put a set of dry clothes and other essentials in a plastic bag that keeps them dry. You definitely did not camp to remain inside so wear your rain jackets and boots and go out hiking or playing or simply enjoying the rain. You can always get inside your tent and dry yourself. Take quick dry towels and use fabrics that dry easily so that you do not wet your tent with water dripping from your clothes.
Groundsheet or tarp is essential
Before setting up the tent you must lay a groundsheet or a tarp to prevent the tent floor from getting wet. The groundsheet locks the moisture of the ground beneath and doesn't let it come to the surface of the floor of the tent thus keeping it dry. The groundsheet can be a footprint or a floor protector designed to act as a barrier between the ground and the tent floor. If you prefer a tarp, you need to choose one with the correct size. It should not be generously lying beyond the walls of the tent. Why? Water will collect over it and seep inside. The next morning you might find yourself waking up in a pool of water. If your tarp is peeping out of the tent floor then fold the corners inside the tent.
Set up the rainfly
It is needless to point out the importance of rain fly in the stormy weather. Stack your rainfly such that it covers the tent properly. Also make sure that its corners are not aligned to the walls of the tent as in that case your rainfly will be of little use. The rainfly must prevent the water from trickling down on the tent. You can use a tarpaulin too.
Ensure proper ventilation inside the tent
Open up the vents of the tent for proper circulation of air, and avoid condensation inside. As you would be sitting inside the tent, which would be for the most of the time as it is raining outside, your exhaled breath will dampen the surroundings. How? The moisture in your breath condenses in the cold weather forming droplets that stick to the walls of the tent and finally drip down making it all damp and suffocating inside. The vent would allow the moist air to escape out and also keep the inside of the tent dry. Thus good ventilation lessens the condensation keeping the tent dry and airy. Hence it is advisable to unzip a window or two so as to allow circulation of air.
I hope that now you feel much more assured of your camping plan! The sudden weather change will not hamper your trip if you will be prepared for everything beforehand. Following the before mentioned steps is indeed the best way to keep inside of your tent dry in the rain. But if you feel that it is too stormy and you do not want to make it all a mess or your companions are too fussy about it then it is better to roll back. If you have not left for camping yet then you can always shift your plan ahead. However be prepared for sudden showers and enjoy nature's spontaneity. Also, do carry some books, magazines or cards for entertaining yourself and passing the time if you get stuck up inside the tent due to heavy downpour outside.
P.S. Try to camp near your car so you can pack everything and drive home quickly.