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Tips for how to successfully camp in the rain

Calling Oregon’s weather bipolar would be an understatement. Often in the course of one day, the Pacific Northwest brings almost every type of climate imaginable. Grabbing both a raincoat and sunglasses on the way out of the house is not unheard of. In fact, it is advised.

We Oregonians rest assured that there is always a chance of rain but cling to the hope that the sun will still make an appearance.

This constant forecast of uncertainty has taught us to be prepared in the face of constantly changing weather, especially rain. There are some things that can’t be solved with just a raincoat.

Camping in the Pacific Northwest is all fun and games until you wake up to a puddle in your tent and find out that all your stuff is soaked – nothing says “bummer” like cold, wet clothing. But this shouldn’t mean that summer is the only season to camp in our beautiful, temperate rainforests.

If you are feeling inclined to face the rain and set up camp, here are some tips to staying dry and enjoying the unpredictable Oregon weather:

Bring a large tarp (or two) – Although most tents come with a “waterproof” fly, they can be somewhat unreliable in an unexpected downpour. There are tents that are basically built to withstand a blizzard, but if you are trying to stay within a budget, a large blue tarp is a great alternative and serves many functions.

Tarps are most effective as water-proofers. Laying one on the ground inside your tent will be more effective than underneath the tent itself.

Also, suspending a tarp on a string to form a “tent above the tent” will create a larger and more secure dry space. 

If necessary, a tarp is also great as a makeshift water catchment system.

Plastic bags – These aren’t just for snacks. Keeping electronics and other miscellaneous items dry is imperative to a successful camping trip. Zip-lock your phones, iPods, socks, lighters or anything relatively small that is sensitive to water damage.

Socks – Happy feet means a happy camper. Therefore, socks can be the worst item to get wet on a camping trip. Because the weather won’t exactly be conducive to air-drying any clothing, make sure to have one or two extra pairs of socks on deck to keep your feet toasty and your spirits high.

JETBOIL: Flash Lite Cooking System – Cooking food over a fire in the woods is the quintessential image of a classic camping trip. Unfortunately, a fire is extremely difficult to create with nothing but wet wood surrounding you. The JETBOIL Flash Lite Cooking System is a lightweight and stress-reducing cooking system that requires absolutely no dry wood – not even matches. It lights with the press of a button, boils water within minutes, and doubles as a bowl. If you are an avid camper, this is a great investment.

Along with a raincoat and other obvious camping gear, these items will help you to weather the weather in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

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Carleigh Oeth

Carleigh Oeth