Wet Weather Camping with Kids

Camping in the Rain by Joel Friesen via Flickr.

Camping in the Rain | Photo credit: Joel Friesen

Rainy weather, even minor thunderstorms, do not have to interfere with your family’s camping plans. By following the simple tips below, you can make your camping experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone, rain or shine:


  • Make sure your tent has proven itself rain-worthy. If the tent is new, hose it down in the backyard several days before your trip and crawl inside to check for leaks. Let the kids help, if they’d like! Allow the tent to dry thoroughly and then apply seam sealer to the leaky areas you discovered.
  • Check the “lay of the land” for any dry stream beds or evidence of previous runoff, and do not pitch your tent(s) anywhere near these areas. Try to find as level a campsite as possible; if a tent pad is provided, use it!
  • Use a ground cloth beneath your tent, but make sure none of the material sticks out from underneath once the tent is pitched– any excess will serve to channel rainwater directly under your tent.
  • Rig tarps over the living areas of your campsite–tent(s) and picnic table–to provide protection from rain and sun.
  • If it is raining when you arrive, either wait the storm out or pitch the tent you can set up fastest under the tarp so your family has shelter.
  • Bring a sponge to mop up water or other spills inside the tent.


  • Bring the appropriate clothing for everyone–rain gear, socks, “camp shoes” (shoes you don’t mind potentially ruining), swimsuits–and bring plenty of spares.
  • Stow items you will need for the evening/next morning (spare clothing, extra flashlight, etc.) in the tent so no one has to make a mad dash to get them when the rain hits. Store everything in resealable plastic bags (ZipLock) or some other waterproof container.


  • Bring “rainy day” indoor games, such as a deck of cards and boardgames, for the kids to play when weather confines activities to inside the tent.
  • Bring field guides for the area in which you are staying, and share them with the kids. Learning how to identify common birds, wildlife, insects, trees, and wildflowers in the area makes a camping trip more enjoyable for all.
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