Wet Weather Camping

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Wet Weather Camping

Postby momma_bee » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:58 am

I had a great post yesterday, and the forum monster ate it.

I am the Momma to a just bridged Boy Scout. His troop gets rained on ALL THE TIME. When it floods, they are there. I took this boys to a camporee, the forecast was 70mph winds and 2-4 inches of rain.

This troop only has 8 boys. 2 Star Scouts, and 6 new Scouts. When we were on this camporee(only 2 newbies went), I asked the SPL to re-teach the tautline to me and the younger boys and he couldn't tie it. :x So, I know they need to emphasize some Scout Skills.

I don't mind roughing it, but I am a fair weather camper.

I would love to hear your tips for avoiding or fixing rain-related problems.

Some things we faced were...

1) How do you dry sleeping bags & shoes (we were in a field, so no place for clothes lines)

2) How do you cook in a downpour if you don't have a dining fly?

3) How do you keep the inside of the tent dry?

4) What were we supposed to do with hot water/dish water and grease?

5) How do you reduce the mud in front of the tents and such?

6) How do you place a dining fly and rain flies? Every configuration we considered was directing water off of one, directly toward a working area.

Now we had other, leadership related issues, and I kept my mouth shut because I was still feeling my way in the troop. I do feel that our SPL should have know to the answer to each of those questions, but I understand why he does not.

Oh, if you have any great ideas I didn't think about, we'd love to hear them. We have our first summer camp soon.
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Postby wagionvigil » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:29 am

Everytime We camp it rains. "If it ain't Raining we ain't Camping"
todays tents are in the most part not water proof. That being said here is what we do. ( cheap tents don't cut it)
1. Get a good seam sealer and do both the inside and the outside of the seams. Let it dry completely and do it all over again
2. Everyone says to put a ground cloth UNDER the tent. WE do that Plus we make a tub in the tent. Each tent has a large piece of heavy plastic cut to fit IN the tent it is big enough that it forms a TUB inside the tent and the water runs under it. ( most tents leak at the corners).
3. Food if it calls for rain we plan on limited cooking. WE use trail meals or simple one pot meals. It may be a bit more expensive but it eliminates alot of problems.
4. Apparently your tents do not have Vestiblues. This stops alot of the mud problems BUT you will never get away from it completely. find a mnore ground covered area.
5. Subscribe to Backpacker Magazine. Buy one at your local book store read it then decide ,BUT I highly reecommend it.
6. Fly Placement is trial by error. Each time its different.
7. This is a hard one but most boys have really Bad rain gear. I still have a BSA poncho from 1961 and It still keeps me dry. Campmor has some good rain gear for youth.
8. ALong this line also I have been know to use an umbrella. Cheap fold up type. I have even attached it to my pack.
9. Look at a Copy of "Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills" excellent book covers it all.
10. We also "re waterproof" our tents each year if we use them alot.( see opening statement)
Hope this helps :D
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Postby Mrw » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:16 pm

I have found that some dome tents tend to leak from the top during a good rain. (Nothing worse than getting dripped on!) A good fix for this is, on a good weather day (dry and no wind) set up the tent and spray the fly with waterproofing spray and allow it to dry before repacking the tent.

Make sure those ground cloths under the tent do NOT stick out. If they do, they funnel the water right under and everything gets wet.
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Postby Rick Tyler » Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:25 pm

Camping in the rain! A subject on which I am an expert! Boy Scout troops in Western Washington learn how to camp in the rain. As a friend told me when I first moved here, "If you wait for it to stop raining, you'll never go camping." If you aren't willing to do what it takes to be prepared for rain, don't camp when it's wet.

The key to camping in the rain is to never get wet. If your issues are on things like how to dry out clothes and shoes, you've already lost the war.

1. Get and use good rain gear. Waterproof/breathable is good but expensive. Waterproof but non-breathable is not quite as good but a lot cheaper. Rain jackets or parka shells combined with rain pants are a lot better than a poncho. No one in our troop uses a poncho for anything other than completing a ten essentials checklist at Camporee.

2. Get and use a good rain hat. I wouldn't go camping without my Seattle Sombrero. Both my sons have $20 REI Seattle Sombrero look-alikes.

3. Your footwear should be water resistant. Leather boots are good, especially if coated with water resistant stuff. My boots are Goretex lined, which is not so good for Texas in summer, but just the thing for bad weather camping.

4. If the rainfly on your tent does not go all the way to the ground (within two or three inches) it's not going to keep you dry. I spent $220 on a tent five years ago. It's still watertight. You can get a really good tent for $150, and sometimes a good one on sale for $75. Cheap tents are good for backyard sleepovers, but they won't keep you dry. Look for a tent that has factory-taped seams. I would tell you to check out the cost-benefit ratio of the Alps Mountaineering Taurus 2AL at www.scoutdirect.com, but I wouldn't want to sound like I was recommending a model of tent that I've purchased 16 of (for my troop).

5. If it is raining when you setup camp, the first thing you set up is the tarp. Once the tarp is up, you set up your freestanding tents (your tents are freestanding, right?) under the tarp, cover them with a fly, then carry them to the campsite you've chosen for them. Alternately you could pitch the tent underneath a tarp held by some other Scouts, but it's much harder. Remember, the only way to dry a wet tent in the rain is to never let it get wet in the first place.

6. Boots never come inside the tent. They belong outside the tent in the vestibule (your tents have vestibules, right?) along with your rain coat and rain boots.

7. No need to simplify your menu. Once you get a tarp flying, you have a dry place to cook. Tarps are your friend.

8. Our troop carries a half-dozen cheap 6-foot aluminum poles to help rig out our rain tarps. When backpacking, take a lightweight tarp and use your trekking poles to help rig it out. You can do a lot with some parachute cord and a tarp.

9. Unless you are in a bad campsite, you should be able to find someplace that is less muddy. Look for grass, heavy needles or leaves on the ground, or next to a large tree (I think the roots help stablilize the ground.) Higher spots usually don't get as muddy. Think like water -- look for places where it will run rather than stand.

10. Your tent footprint (a tarp under the tent) should be exactly the same size of the tent. Otherwise the tarp will become a private lake for your tent. I do sometimes carry a small piece of plastic to make a "doormat" inside my vestibule.

That's all I can think of now. Remember, of you don't get wet, you don't have to dry out. Bring tarps.
Last edited by Rick Tyler on Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lynda J » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:22 am

I'm like Wagion. If it aint raining it aing camping. I think every camping trip I have EVER gone on it has rained, except for this summer camp.
The last two years at day camp we got rained out the last day. I have camped when it rained so hard the sleeping bags washed out of the tents.
(years ago when you only had puptents). You simply have to be prepared.
Kevin and I both have rain suits. And rubber boots. I reseal the seams on our tents after every third camping trip.
But I love camping in the rain.
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Postby ASM-142 » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:05 pm

Lynda J wrote:I reseal the seams on our tents after every third camping trip.
But I love camping in the rain.


Lynda - Do you reseal the seams on your tent alone or on Kevin's as well. I would think that Kevin should be responsible for his own tent.
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Postby momma_bee » Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:49 am

What great ideas!

I'm planning on letting the Scout read them for himself, hopefully before Saturday.

We used personal equipment for this event. The SM was less than helpful in listing what the troop owns, in part because for the last few years, the boys have used their private equipment. With packing snafu's and such, we had 4 boys in one large tent - that have never been set up by the boy who brought it and had no instructions. A tent without tentpoles. And, my tent, (which no longer has tentpoles, because of a packing up problem)

The dining fly left something to be desired.

I'm wondering, if you have rain gear one, whether it is a parka, poncho, or suit, where do you put it to drip? The boys wore theirs into their tent, which resulted in water inside. However, if they had taken them off outside, they would have been soaked getting in the tent - and still need to put the gear someplace.

My personal opinion? If we are camping like this all the time. I need 2 two-man tents. One for me or hubby, one for my son, and we take care of our own stuff.

I love the idea of building the tents under the dining fly - the one we took up had the pole in the middle, so I don't know how well it would have worked, but that is completely do-able.

Our site was assigned. Well, we had one assigned, the other adult requested a switch so we weren't near anyone else. :shock: We ended up on a corner that wasn't as well prepared and when I came back with gear, our original, good spot was gone. We had no trees and were on a road (we had foot traffic into our site, which contributed to the mud) And, the boys never really talked to anyone outside of our troop.
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Postby wagionvigil » Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:55 am

When you buy a tent Make sure it has a Vestibule that you can get also. That give you an area to store went and dirty items. There was a company suggested to you in one post. Take a look at their tents.
Eureka also has good tents. They are study and you can get vestibules for them.
Dome tents are not the way to go.

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Postby Rick Tyler » Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:43 am

momma_bee wrote:We used personal equipment for this event. The SM was less than helpful in listing what the troop owns, in part because for the last few years, the boys have used their private equipment. With packing snafu's and such, we had 4 boys in one large tent - that have never been set up by the boy who brought it and had no instructions. A tent without tentpoles.


If I had a dollar for every time a scout tried some new piece of equipment on a campout without trying it at home first...

I'm wondering, if you have rain gear one, whether it is a parka, poncho, or suit, where do you put it to drip? The boys wore theirs into their tent, which resulted in water inside. However, if they had taken them off outside, they would have been soaked getting in the tent - and still need to put the gear someplace.


A "vestibule" is an area covered by the rainfly but outside the tent proper. My primary personal tent (after a few years in Scouts you will probably have more tents than people in your family) has a vestibule that is about five feet wide by two or three deep. It's a contortionist act (I'm 6'3" tall), but I leave my rain gear on a plastic sheet under the vestibule. Sometimes if it isn't completely soaked I fold it up on top of my pack inside my tent, but I tent alone and have plenty of room. Scouts usually tent like sardines...

I love the idea of building the tents under the dining fly - the one we took up had the pole in the middle, so I don't know how well it would have worked, but that is completely do-able.


The best way to hang a fly is to string a rope (1/4-inch should be big enough) between two trees and hang the tarp over it. Stretch out the sides by pulling it out with other ropes. Those 6-foot poles I mentioned earlier go under the corners. If no trees are available you can pitch the ridgeline with the poles, staked out with ropes -- but this makes a lower, darker cooking area.

Our site was assigned. Well, we had one assigned, the other adult requested a switch so we weren't near anyone else. :shock: We ended up on a corner that wasn't as well prepared and when I came back with gear, our original, good spot was gone.


Sometimes, it's just miserable. Ask me about our 2001 snow cave trip sometime...
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Postby diamondbackAPL » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:18 pm

I'll have to remember this when we go camping. It rains on us quite a bit.
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