Putting Up A Tent in The Rain

1. Set up a lightweight tarp first

This is probably the most important tip of all. When camping in an area with trees, you can employ this strategy. After you set up the tarp, you can work to put up the tent in relatively dry conditions.
Without a tarp, there is a good chance you can use your rain fly. All you need is some paracord in case the guy lines aren’t long enough. This tip works best when there are two or more people. However, if you are a solo camper remember that practice makes perfect!

2. Purchase a tent with zip out panels

Consider getting a tent with zip-out panels. They are better when setting up a tent in the rain than tents that are made of all permeable mesh (without the rain fly). The panels keep the inside dry. Once the rain fly is attached, the panels can be removed. Voila! The inside of your tent is as dry as it was in your car!
The only downside to this strategy is that the panels add a bit of weight. That is fine for car campers, but backpackers may want to consider another method for setting up a tent in the rain.

3. Pick a good spot

There are a few widely accepted rules when choosing a good spot for setting up a tent in the rain. It is important to select a spot carefully to do as much as possible to keep from getting wet.
The absolute best place to pitch your tent is the lee side of a natural windbreak, like an overhang or a boulder. This means finding shelter in the side away from the wind.
Furthermore, you will want to pick a location on higher ground than the area surrounding it. Avoid low-lying areas, depressions, canyon floors, and washes. Additionally, do not camp at the bottom of a slope or other area where water seems to gather. Rivers and streams can also be a no-go, because of the probability of flooding.

4. Wear appropriate footwear

Setting up a tent in the rain is uncomfortable. Setting up a tent in the rain with inappropriate footwear is downright unbearable! What is considered appropriate depends on the season as well as the situation. Waterproof hiking boots are acceptable in situations where some rain is expected.
If you expect a ton of rain at your desired camping location, you will want gaiters or waders. Or duct taped on trash bags. Even if there is no rain while you are out, the grass has the potential to be wet from previous storms. Rubber boots and waterproof hiking shoes are good for keeping this annoyance at bay.
In the summertime, or in warm climates, nothing but sandals is necessary! The best sandals for camping are specifically made for outdoor wear. They dry fast, grip wet surfaces, and fit comfortable enough for hiking.

5. Roll the fly inside of the tent

When expecting rain, this tip can help keep the inside of your tent dry. While still at home, open the tent and stretch out the rain fly inside. Although wetness will come through the mesh portions of the tent, the fly will cover the floor of the tent keeping it dry. Then, set up your tent as usual.
When it comes time to remove and reposition the rain fly, be careful – there could be small puddles of water. If you accidentally spill the water out onto where you sleep, you can clean it out and consider it practice!

6. Buy or make rain gear

Some campers are more concerned with getting wet themselves than getting their gear wet. If this sounds familiar, you will want to buy rain gear and carry it with you at all times. If you car camp, go ahead and leave it in your vehicle. On day hikes, keep your gear in the front pocket.
What about those outdoors people on a budget or interested in a quick fix? When push comes to shove, make your bodily rain protection out of garbage bags! These are great for makeshift waders and ponchos, because they are compact and weigh next to nothing.

7. Purchase a single wall tent

Setting up a tent in the rain is faster and easier with a single wall tent versus a double wall tent.
Do you know which kind of tent you have? If there rain fly and tent are separate, you have a double wall. These are the most difficult to set up in the rain, because you have to set up the most vulnerable part of the tent first. Additionally, they take more time and effort to put up. Single wall tents can be erected in one quick go. Why? There is no separate rain fly flapping in the wind while you try to hold it down!