How to Set Up a Tent in the Rain

Don't get discouraged if rain is forecast - you'll love it
Don’t get discouraged if rain is forecast – you’ll love it

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t go camping even if it’s raining: it’s all part of the game. What you need to make sure is to know what to do when you’re on the field.

The Right Gear

Before you pack your camping gear and head out, you should always check the weather forecast.

Even if rain isn’t forecast, always prepare for it:

  • Bring essential rain gear with you (waterproof jacket, rain pants, extra socks, etc)

  • Don’t neglect footwear and bring rubber boots to keep your feet dry

  • A rain cover for your backpack to keep your gear dry is also a good idea

  • Finally, consider packing your clothing and sleeping bag in waterproof stuff sacks

Choosing Your Tent

When you go camping in the rain, your camping gear is not everything that matters: the type of tent you’ll be sleeping in can make a big difference.

On the topic of tents, there are several different types, but for this article what matters most is:

  • Double wall tents: like the name implies, these are a combination of inner tent + a separate rain fly, and provide excellent protection against rain. The barrier that they create keeps the inside of the tent dry, even if it’s raining heavily

  • Single wall tents: although they are lighter than double wall tents, they don’t offer the same level of protection

Which one you should choose will depend on your personal preferences and budget. However, what we recommend is that you have a reliable rain fly and a good tent floor to protect you from the wet & cold ground.

What About the Campsite?

Location is key so don’t randomly pick a spot. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Avoid low lying areas where water can accumulate

  • Instead go for the higher ground (bonus points if you find a spot with natural windbreaks such as bushes)

  • If you’re between two trees, you should string an extra tent tarp above your tent for extra rain protection

Setting Up Your Tent

When it's time to pitch your tent, do it quickly
When it’s time to pitch your tent, do it quickly

If your tent has a fast fly setup, use it first and get the rain fly in place: this will keep the sleeping area dry while you finish setting up the rest.

Don’t forget to use all the guy lines and tent pegs to secure your tent – this is particularly useful in rough weather conditions (heavy rain and strong winds).

Creating a Rain-Proof Living Space

Once your tent is set up:

  • Lay a ground sheet inside to add another layer of protection between you and the ground

  • If it’s raining heavily, try digging small trenches around your tent to divert rainwater – it works wonders

  • Finally, keep the inside of your tent dry by storing your wet clothes, boots, and gear in the vestibule or under a rain cover

Staying Dry and Warm

After you’re done setting up your tent, change into dry clothes as soon as you can. Your priority in these weather conditions should be to keep your body heat.

Store your wet items in a separate waterproof bag to keep the rest of your gear dry.

Also, if you have a double wall tent, you can use the space between the inside of the tent and the rain fly to air out some wet gear.

Ending the Trip

As your camping trip comes to an end, remember to:

  • Pack your wet items separately

  • Let your sleeping bags and tent dry completely once you’re home to prevent mildew & mold

Rtivities’ Additional Tips

Camping in the rain is a different experience
Camping in the rain is a different experience
  1. Smaller tents are a great option for bad weather:

    1. They tend to be easier to set up quickly

    2. Their smaller compact size means that you’ll have less surface area that can get wet while you set it up

    3. They can be more manageable in windy conditions

  2. If you’re car camping:

    1. You’ll be able to store your gear in your car while you set up your tent

    2. You can also use your car as a shield against the rain

  3. Practice setting up your tent at home so you can do it quickly outdoors


Setting up a tent in the rain might seem difficult, but if you know what you’re doing and have prepared before, it will be super easy. Remember to keep your gear dry & to choose your spot carefully, and you’re in for a great adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Double Wall Tents A Great Choice to Go Camping in Rainy Weather?

The design of double wall tents (the 2 layers that it has) offers strong protection against tough weather conditions, keeping the inside dry even during heavy rain.

Is It Possible to Keep My Gear Dry While Camping in Heavy Rain?

Yes: use waterproof bags or containers and store any wet gear under an extra tent tarp. Also, keep your wet boots outside the sleeping area.

What Type of Rain Gear Should I Pack?

You should take a waterproof jacket, rain pants, and a rain cover for your backpack. Also, don’t forget to pack extra socks and water-resistant footwear like rubber boots.

Are Single Wall Tents Good For Rainy Weather?

Single wall tents are lighter and easier to set up, but don’t offer the same level of protection against rain as double wall tents. However, if you invest in a good single wall tent that has a waterproof coating and properly sealed seams, you’ll be fine.

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