If you camp frequently, you will likely have to deal with a little rain on more than one occasion. While your first instinct may be to pack up and go home, there are good reasons to stay and one good reason not to pack up.
Packing a wet tent is cold, miserable and it takes a long time to dry out once you get home. If you stay, and the rain goes away, your tent will dry out faster and easier. So, here are some good ways to deal with the rain on your next camping trip. In most cases, all you need to do is plan ahead.
Over the years, I have learned to expect it to rain at least once during every camping trip. It might only be a brief shower, but even that can cause everything to become damp and uncomfortable, unless you're prepared.
Your tent should have a rain guard. Most modern ones do. You need to set your rain guard up appropriately or it won’t work. The rain will simply run off of the top and into your tent. The usual set up is to have small ropes attached to each corner of the rain guard. The ropes are pulled tight and held in place with a stake. Not all tents come with stakes so you may need to purchase them separately.
You may want to invest in a portable screen house to set up over your picnic table, unless you are into “roughing it”. Although the screen houses are not appropriate for backpack camping, they are becoming popular. You see them often at drive-in campgrounds in parks around the country. They are pretty easy to set up and they will keep your picnic table (and your family) dry during even the worst storms.
Figuring out what to do until the storm passes is the next step. You can plan for this by bringing playing cards or board games. If you did not bring a screen house along, you can play cards in the tent. Your kids will love it.
Tarps can be used to provide temporary shelter during a storm. Even if you are backpacking, it’s a good idea to bring a tarp or two along. A couple of tarps and some rope can be used to provide some shelter for your picnic table, assuming you have chosen a site with some well-placed trees.
A rainy day at camp is a good day to check out any indoor attractions in the area. Most parks have some kind of museum. There could also be theaters or shopping opportunities nearby. Even going for a drive could be something to do while you wait out the rain.