Tips for Using Shelters in the Rain
If it seems like it might rain, you will definitely want to figure out where you are going to position your shelter (or shelters) in addition to the camper. This positioning can make or break a rainy trip.
I have to tell you that we are not the super over-cautious rain campers that we have seen with some other teardrop users. I don’t think you’ll ever see us camp with the little sidedoor tents that are meant as changing rooms and to help you get out and put on your rain jacket on in the rain.
When we are expecting rain, we have two setup variations depending on how much rain we expect and how long we are going to be there. We use primarily tent shelters and have found two that work well in conjunction with the camper. A lot of campers like to use “Easy-Up” type shelters. We don’t because they inevitably don’t pack particularly small.
Setup 1 works when we are expecting to be camping for just a couple of days and the rain is not going to be torrential. Setup 2 is for a longer trip, particularly one where we are expecting to either see no sun whatsoever or where we are expecting rain for the first few days, but then sun.
Setup 1 has the Big Agnes shelter over the back of the camper:
In this setup, we position the Big Agnes so that the cross-beam is side to side with the camper. This allows us the most flexibility with adding side panels. We can leave the back canopy open or attach a panel and get coverage along the back. This setup allows us to move the chairs and our little table under the cover so that we can sit and talk or prepare food and eat and not worry so much about the rain. We can tuck the chairs under here at night if there is a threat of rain and know they will likely stay dry. If it is particularly awful out, we can use a second panel to cover another side so that there is only one opening.
Setup 2 has the Big Agnes shelter over the picnic table and the ABO Gear Tripod shelter over the back of the camper:
In this setup, we have more places to go outside the camper. We will setup the Big Agnes so that the cross-beam is over the length of the picnic table and both side panels are used to ensure that the picnic table seats stay dry.
We setup the ABO Gear Tripod shelter over the back of the camper so that there is some coverage to get things out of the galley. With this setup, there isn’t as much night time coverage behind the camper and inevitably, rain blows into this area.
The older 3 legged shelter (ABO Gear Tripod) that we have looks awesome with the teardrop. It’s silver color works really well. But alone, it doesn’t have the shelter area to really keep other equipment dry and it doesn’t have any side walls. It was really meant more as a shade shelter for the beach than a rain shelter for camping. An ideal setup might be to have two Big Agnes shelters, though we haven’t yet made that investment.
Other rain tips:
- Buy good rain jackets and rain hats. These are seriously worth the investment and can be used outside of camping. There is nothing worse than being five days into a camping trip with a rain jacket that has soaked through and will not dry out. Gore-Tex is the best waterproof fabric for jackets. We bought some nice Marmot jackets at REI last year in the middle of a very rainy trip. We also really like the Outdoor Research hats that have a folding brim. They are easy to stash in a pocket and will keep your head dry.
- Each person should have two waterproof bags inside the camper- one to put your shoes in and one to put your raincoat in. These can either be tucked in at the end of the bed or put in the cabinets without getting other things wet.
- Be sure to always have at least one “rain friendly” easy to make meal handy in case you are suddenly faced with making a meal in a downpour. I recommend frito pie as an easy thing to make under the canopy and also a hearty filling camp meal for dinner. Breakfast sandwiches work great in the morning.
- Know where the nearest pizza parlor is. Days into a rainy period while you are camping calls for pizza.
- Have some movies or tv on your iPad. Some of the best camping days are the ones where you spend the day snuggled up inside the camper watching silly movies while the rain drizzles outside.