So you're camping, and it’s started to rain. Where do you pitch your tent? How do you stay dry? Brace yourself for some basic info that may save your bacon!
Location, Location, Location
- Don't camp near a river, it’s a river for a reason, water runs to it, so you'll get wet. The river may also rise unexpectedly at night and catch you out.
- For the same reason, avoid exposed rock faces. Yes, they may have an Instagram vista to wake up to, but if you stumble out in the dark you may find yourself taking the short cut down to the bottom of the track.
- Look up and look out! Be aware of any dead or dying trees lurking around your campsite before pitching up. They call trees ‘widow makers’ for a reason. Also, an ill placed pinecone could damage your cosy tent.
- Back to the wind. Having your door face the wind will mean water blowing in every time you enter and exit the tent.
- Beware the soft spot. Oh it looks nice, but that flat area will most probably become a puddle in the rain. Choose a very slight, gentle slope on an area on higher ground.
A tent for the conditions
- Make sure your fly has sufficient overlap, so that rain won't splash up into the tent.
- Make sure the tent is waterproof and seam sealed.
- Dome tents are shaped with wind in mind, and are incredibly weather resistant. They’re also light weight, so get the right size, that way you won't carry more weight than you need to.
Tarps are your friend
- If you missed the dry spell and you have to pitch – even if it’s persisting down. Rig a tarp up to trees, your car or anything you can, so you can keep your work area dry. You could also use our Kereru Tent Flies
- Use a tarp under the tent too, fold under the sides of the tarp or groundsheet so water running down the tent the won’t pool on the tarp and flow between the tarp and tent floor.
- If your door area is covered, you can extend the tarp out to create a ‘mud-room’, where you can deposit your wet hiking boots and jacket before going into the snug tent.
- Tighten the guys. If your fly and inner touch, water will seep through, so make sure both are nice and tight. You should be able to bounce a coin off your fly. For this reason it’s best not to pitch a tent in sand.
- 'Ditching' around your tent. This isn't common anymore, as ground sheets have lips that keep water out, even if it’s in a puddle. In extreme cases though, you can still dig a 'ditch’, ‘trench'' or small moat around your tent area for the water to go into, make sure it diverts the water away from the tent. It’s not great for the environment though and you may need a foldable camp shovel
- Ventilate. It may seem weird, but if you close up your tent completely, all the moisture you breathe out and take in on your clothes will evaporate and condensate on the inside of your tent making it damp. For this reason, you need to have your ventilation ports open.
The pack up
- If you have to pack up and head home in the rain, make sure you put the tent out to dry as soon as possible when you get home. If the tent is even still damp, it will create mildew that will compromise the tent’s next outing, not to mention smell.
Above all, be prepared before you go. Check The Met Service, to make sure you're not heading into anything unexpected. You can invest in a Spot Satellite Tracking Device, so even if your mobile won't work, you can be found in case of emergency.
Above all, enjoy the adventure! We live in a somewhat unpredictable country, but it has to be one of the most beautiful in the world!