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Camping in the rain is one of those things that every full timer has to do once in a while. After all, how are you going to live in an RV full time and avoid the rain 100% of that time?
That said, there’s no reason camping in the rain has to be miserable. The next time rain is in the forecast, use these tips and tricks to weather the storm like an RVing pro.
Preparing for Bad Weather
First, you will want to prepare for the weather that is about to hit. Making sure you’re fully prepared will make things go smoothly and help you avoid problems that can arise when camping in the rain.
Make Sure the RV is Well Sealed
It’s very important that you keep your RV well sealed at all times in order to avoid water damage. Obviously, this becomes especially important when rain is on its way.
Get up on the roof and check all seals, making sure to go over them again with RV roof sealant if it’s been a year or more since they’ve been sealed. Check weather stripping to be sure it’s still doing its job, and make sure the windows and vents are closed up before the storm hits.
Always Have Tarps and Eternabond on Hand
Even if you keep up with all of your RV maintenance, it’s still possible to miss something and end up with a leak. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to fix leaks when a storm is in progress. Therefore, we recommend keeping tarps on hand to cover up leaky spots until you can seal them up. Eternabond can also come in handy if you have a break between showers.
Download the Right Weather Apps
Having the right set of weather apps will alert you when rain is on the way and keep you in the know should things start to get extra bad so you can seek shelter. We recommend these weather apps for those who RV full time, as we find they are the most reliable as we hop from one place to the next.
Have a Bug Out Bag Ready
Usually a rainstorm is just that: a rainstorm. That said, it can happen that a rainstorm can turn into something much more. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have a “bug out” bag at the ready. This is a bag with all of the essentials that you can grab and take out the door with you in case of a weather emergency such as a tornado or flood.
A bug out bag should contain:
- Quality flashlight
- Crank-style weather radio
- First aid kit (including prescription medications)
- Survival knife
- Fully charged phone charging block
- Emergency blanket
- Nuts, protein bars, and other nutritious, shelf-stable snacks
- Bottles of water
- Money and credit cards
Driving and Parking an RV in the Rain
Sometimes the storm hits on travel day, putting an even bigger kink in things. Here are our tips for driving and parking when you get caught camping in the rain.
Plan around Rain when Possible
Depending on how flexible your travel plans are, you might be able to plan around the rain and avoid traveling in it at all. If you see rain in the forecast and have the ability to change your plans, do it. It’s a lot easier and a lot easier to move the RV in dry weather.
Take It Slow and Leave a Gap
Of course, it isn’t always possible to change your moving day. In this case, driving the rig on a rainy day might be necessary. In this case, take it slow (55 mph is plenty fast enough) and leave a large gap between yourself and the person in front of you. Honestly, this is how RVers should always drive, but it becomes especially important in rainy weather.
Having trouble keeping your windshield and mirrors clear enough to see as you drive in the rain? RainX is a fantastic product that can help with this. Put it to use!
Pull Over when Needed
If the rain starts coming down so hard that you can’t see, or if you get tired of fighting the wind, pull over and take a break. Getting an early start on moving day will ensure you have plenty of time for breaks, and even if you don’t make it in time to check into your campground, you can always camp in a Walmart parking lot for the night and check in the next day.
Choose Your Campsite Wisely
Once you arrive at your campground, the next step is to get parked in a campsite. Be sure to avoid sites that are near rivers or other bodies of water that might flood due to the rain. It’s good to avoid campsites that are situated at the bottom of the hill, as you’re bound to end up with big puddles in your yard as the rain continues to fall.
Practical Tips for Camping in the Rain
You’re at the campground and parked in a campsite—now what? Well, there are a few practical things you can do to make camping in the rain a relatively good experience.
Create a Waterproof Outdoor Living Space
We’re all well aware that RVs aren’t the biggest of living spaces, and they start to feel extra small when you can’t head outside and spread out. For this reason, we highly recommend creating a waterproof outdoor hangout space so that 1) the kids can play outside, 2) you can relax in the great outdoors, and 3) friends can come hang out, all without getting wet.
In our opinion, the best way to go about this is to invest in a Clam tent. These tents are fantastic because they are easy to set up, easy to take down, and they are quite large, meaning a whole group can use one as shelter from the rain.
Store Firewood in a Dry Place
If you like to have real wood fires, you will want to make sure to store that firewood someplace dry until the rain passes. After all, you can’t very well start a good campfire with rain-soaked wood.
Set Up an Indoor Clothes Line
Drying towels, swimsuits, and clothes that are wet from the rain can be tricky when an outdoor clothesline isn’t an option. For this, we recommend a retractable clothesline in the shower (along with the vent fan to get air moving). You could also set up a clothesline in your Clam tent.
Keep Rain Boots by the Door
Keeping rain boots, Crocs, or some other waterproof shoes by the door will help keep your camper floors clean and dry. Put them under the awning or slide them under the RV to keep them dry, and pull them in if the rain becomes heavy.
What to Do when Camping in the Rain
As mentioned above, one of the worst things about camping in the rain is being stuck inside. Setting up a dry outdoor living space helps a lot, but there are other ideas you might want to consider as well. These will help keep the whole family sane and happy until the storm passes.
Play in the Rain
A little rain never hurt anyone! If there isn’t any lightning and it isn’t too cold, why not let the kids play in the rain for a while? This will allow them to get some energy out while having a blast, and we guarantee it’s a memory they will hold onto for a long time to come.
Keep Craft Supplies Handy
As far as inside activities go, crafts are always a winner. For this reason, we like to keep a big box of craft supplies on hand at all times.
Fill the box with paper, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, popsicle sticks, and anything else you can think of, and then let the kids go to town! Heck, you might even find yourself wanting to join in the fun.
Pull Out the Board Games
Family game night is the perfect activity for a stormy night. Pull out your favorite board game and challenge your family to a round or two. Not only will you pass time while the rain falls, you’ll also become closer as a family and have fun doing it.
Create a Rainy Day Box
A “rainy day box” can be a great tool to have when the storms roll through. Fill the box with toys, books, games, and movies that only come out when it’s raining. This makes the items extra special and more likely to hold the kids’ attention. Be sure to change out the contents of the box from time to time to keep things interesting.
Go on Field Trips
Lastly, if you happen to be in an area with indoor attractions such as museums and aquariums, rainy days are a great time to get out and explore these things. This will get you out of the RV and will almost certainly make the whole family happy. On top of that, the kids might even learn something new without any fighting about schoolwork!
Camping in the rain might be a bit of a bummer, but it certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Use these tips and tricks and we’re betting your next experience with camping in the rain might not be too bad at all. In fact, you might even find you have an extra good time!
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