Camping gear can last you for many years and numerous camping trips if you take proper care of it. However, many people are unfamiliar with some of the best practices when it comes to breaking camp in the rain. Simply folding your equipment and letting it dry off is not an option – you will end up with mold, increased chances of wear and tear, and numerous other issues that could render your gear unusable.
Of course, every camper tries to dodge bad weather whenever possible, but nature may always catch you by surprise. If you end up in such a situation, then you better refer to these tips on how to break camp in the rain and what steps to follow to ensure that you will avoid long-lasting damage to your equipment.
Remember that when camping in nature, it is impossible to avoid some of the unfortunate side effects, such as getting wet and muddy. If the rain hits hard, water and mud will get everywhere, no matter how hard you try – the only way to prevent this is to prepare beforehand. This includes packing liners, dry bags, tarps, or even trash bags to keep your equipment and gear as dry as possible. Of course, this involves bringing a lot more stuff on your trip, and that is something that most people would rather avoid.
What to do When Breaking Camp in the Rain?
You should try to act as quickly as possible when it comes to packing from the rain. This will help keep water away from most of your equipment, and you will also manage to avoid the muddy experiences that are usually a result of breaking camp in the rain. If the rain is not that heavy, try to quickly get rid of some of the water before packing stuff away in your vehicle. Last but not least, cover any exposed equipment with tarps to keep it as dry as possible on the trip home. There’s nothing more to do at this point – just get home safe.
If the weather is good at your place, then it is time to unpack again. Pop open the pop-up camper, spread out the tents, and any other equipment that needs drying. Keeping it folded in a place without sufficient airflow is guaranteed to result in mold in the near future. You do not want to do this under any circumstances. Ideally, you should be able to lay all equipment that needs to be dried off in your yard.
Some additional tips to follow for specific gear:
- Cooking gear – clean it off thoroughly, and make sure not to leave any food or crumbs behind. These may quickly attract rodents or insects.
- Tents – as mentioned already, set it up in the yard, so it dries off. Inspect the stakes and poles to ensure that there is no dirt or sand left.
- Sleeping bag – air it out and let it dry if it is wet. For storage, it is best to hang it from a hanger or lay it under your bed. Storing it in the stuff sack for long periods may ruin its insulation. You should use the stuff sack only during transportation.
- Electronics – any battery-powered gear (flashlight, headlamp, GPS, etc.) should have its batteries removed when not in use. Store them away in a sealed plastic bag, and pop them in when you go camping. This will help avoid corrosion and battery leakage in the long run.
Remember that once mold starts appearing on your gear, it may be difficult to get rid of it completely – even if you try using the best chemicals and treatments available on the market. Many inexperienced campers end up losing tents and other equipment because of negligence when it comes to drying off their equipment.
Depending on the weather conditions and humidity in your area, your equipment might need up to a day to dry off completely. Make sure to inspect it closely before packing up again and preparing it for your next trip – you do not want any moisture left behind.
What if the Weather is Bad?
If your camp was not that far away from your home, then maybe the bad weather does not go away once you are home. So, what do you do with your equipment, now? Putting it in the yard is out of the question, so your next best bet would be to use your garage. Keep it open to ensure that there is some airflow, and then spread out as much of the equipment as possible. Your tents and tarps should be your top priority to dry off, as they are the ones that could suffer the most damage if left wet.
Of course, do not hesitate to bring it out as soon as the weather is good again and the grass has dried off.
Any Other Alternatives for Tent Maintenance?
If you want to make sure that your tent will not be left wet for too long, then there is an alternative you could try. Depending on the size of your tent, it might be possible to put it in the washing machine for a quick rinse. After this, use the dryer to get rid of the extra moisture. Of course, make sure to use programs that spare the fabric, as tents are usually not made for washing machines and driers. However, they are a possibility if you want to speed up the process or if you cannot use your yard/garage to dry off equipment.
While this tip is applicable in certain situations, we would not advise you to rely on it regularly. It may shorten the lifespan of the tent, so this should be your last resort.
Other Helpful Tips for Breaking Camp in the Rain
Packing in a hurry is never a great experience, especially when dealing with wet equipment. The bad news is that even if just your tarps and tents are wet, they may still get water all over your other gear. This is typically unavoidable unless you have packed some heavy-duty bags and materials to separate your equipment. If you are unsure whether the weather will surprise you during your camping trip, we advise you to bring some dry bags or even trash bags – they can help keep some of your essential gear away from moisture.