Often times we book “car camping” sites well in advance. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country (in my opinion anyway) and many places we enjoy will fill up quick with reservations. If we have paid for a reserved site we will go even if there is a slight chance of rain. If there is a 100% chance of rain however we probably wouldn't. The way this has typically worked for us is that we will plan a trip, look at the forecast every day leading up to the trip, there will be a less than 0% chance of rain, we pack up and head out, and as soon as we set up camp torrential down pours… Ok so maybe there was a 10-20% chance but jeez that’s pretty slim and it never fails! Especially when we have convinced our teenage daughters to come and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors! Monsoons do not exactly enhance their camping experience! Ha!
To help you prepare for this phenomenon - less than 0% chance of rain = torrential down pours as soon as camp is set up – here is a list of seven very helpful tips (lessons learned):
- Avoid camping in rain… Brilliant tip I know and one day maybe we will figure this one out (probably not, we are beginning to think our girls do rain dances before heading out to camp ha!).
- Take tarps! Take extra tarps! Take a couple more! Ok maybe that’s overkill but having one down under your tent and one over top if the forecast is iffy will help tremendously.
- Keep important things like camera, cell phone, lighters/matches, etc. in zip lock bags and pack a few plastic bags just in case!
- Bring a deck of cards! On one of our trips, no joke, we set up camp and headed out on a hike around a lake we were camping by, we got only a few steps away from our tent and the sky opened up and began pouring!! We headed back to the tent and for six hours we played Rummy! We had fun even though it was pouring rain!
- Be sure to also have food that doesn't have to be cooked! On said trip above fortunately we had tons of snacks to eat since we couldn't get outside to cook our hot dogs. Otherwise we might have perished! Just kidding but it was great having sustenance throughout the evening while we were trapped in the tent!
- Ponchos are also good to have on hand and can easily be made part of your standard camping packing list. At some point someone will have to go to the bathroom… Yep in the pouring rain! It’s best to at least attempt to keep dry (or dryer then you would be without the poncho).
- Keep some extra plastic bags and towels in the car. Sometimes you are left with no other option then to tear down camp and make a run for it! Do not stick around if conditions get scary! On the aforementioned trip by midnight we were left with no options as we had a foot of water rush through the bottom of our tent (which we no longer use by the way – a good tent might have held up better but we were beginners) and so James told us girls to run for the car and he quickly rolled the whole campsite up, crammed it in the back of the car and we headed home!