Everyone hopes for perfect weather on their camping trips, but sometimes rain can’t be avoided. Luckily, there are still plenty of things to do while camping in the rain.
1. Gather everything that needs to be kept dry
First things first: if it’s raining, you’re going to want to make sure that all of your things that need to stay dry are in waterproof bags or containers. This includes things like your clothes, electronics, and food. Once everything is packed up securely, you can focus on enjoying the rain.
Don’t forget about any firewood you’ve collected and processed! If you have an extra tarp, cover it up. If not, move your firewood under your shelter to keep it dry.
2. Read a book
What better way to relax and enjoy the rain than by reading a book? You can read in your tent, under your tarp shelter, or even under some thicker tree cover if it’s not raining too hard.
Make sure to bring a book that you love, or even several books in case you finish one quickly. Go for softcover books over hardcovers to help save weight and space.
This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some creative self-expression, thought dumping, or brainstorming. You can reflect on your favourite parts of the trip so far, or write about how you’re feeling in the moment.
Listening to the rain can be very calming, so take advantage of the opportunity to relax and write whatever comes to mind. It’s the perfect setting for letting your mind wander.
4. Colour in a colouring book
Adult colouring books are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They’re incredibly relaxing, and they can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.
You can find a wide variety of adult colouring books and coloured pencils on Amazon, featuring beautiful images in a variety of themes and styles. It’s up to you to bring them to life with colour!
5. Play a game
One of the most fun things you can do when camping in the rain—particularly when you’re with other people—is play a game. Card games, board games, word games, and even physical games can be enjoyed at a rainy campsite if you have room for it in your tent or under your shelter.
6. Go fishing
If you’re camping near a lake or river, why not go fishing in the rain? The rain can actually be good for fishing, as it can help to keep the fish active.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the proper gear to stay dry while you’re fishing. A raincoat, waterproof pants, and rubber boots are essential.
7. Go for a swim
If you’re already wet from the rain, why not get a little wetter? Going for a swim in a lake or river is a great way to avoid having to stay dry!
Just make sure that the weather is safe for swimming. If you hear thunder or see lightning, it’s best to get out of the water and wait for the storm to pass.
8. Go for a paddle
If you’re camping near a lake or river with a canoe or kayak, why not get out on the water? It’s a great way to explore your surroundings and stay active, even when it’s raining.
Make sure that you have all of the proper safety gear before going out, including a life jacket and a whistle. And, as always, be aware of the weather conditions and take shelter if necessary.
9. Go for a hike
One of the great things about camping is that it gives you the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up in your tent!
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared for the wet conditions. Wear waterproof boots and dress in layers so that you can stay warm and dry. Bring a raincoat and an umbrella, and don’t forget your map and compass!
10. Take a nap
Sometimes, the best thing you can do when it’s raining is just take a nap. Camping can be exhausting, after all, so a little extra downtime might be appreciated.
Make sure that your sleeping area is dry and comfortable, and that you have enough blankets to keep you warm. Once you’re all snuggled in, close your eyes and enjoy a peaceful rain-filled nap.
11. Have a snack
Whether you’re hungry or just looking for something to help yourself relax and recharge, snack time is always a good idea. If you’re camping with food that needs to be cooked, now is the perfect time to fire up the camp stove and get things started.
Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, try some dehydrated fruit or trail mix. Just try not to spoil your appetite before your next meal. If you’re really keen, you could use this time to do any necessary meal prep ahead of time.
12. Reflect on your trip so far
One of the best things about rainy days is that they give you a chance to sit back and reflect on your trip. This is especially true if you’re camping with other people.
What have you enjoyed so far? What are you looking forward to? What are your favourite memories? What have you learned? Asking these questions and more to yourself and your fellow campers is a great way to pass the time and become aware of just how much you’ve been enjoying yourselves.
13. Tell stories
Another great way to pass the time on a rainy day is to tell stories. Whether they’re true stories from your own life or made-up stories that are just for fun, stories are a great way to entertain yourself and others.
If you’re feeling creative, you could even make up a story about your current camping trip. What adventures have you been on so far? What challenges have you faced? What obstacles have you overcome? Let your imagination run wild!
14. Play some music
If you’re a musical person, why not use the rain as an opportunity to play some music? Whether you’re jamming out on your own or playing along with others, music is a great way to lift your spirits and have some fun.
Just make sure that you’re respectful of your fellow campers and try to keep the noise to a minimum. Nobody wants to listen to someone at the next campsite beside them playing Wonderwall on the guitar for an hour straight.
15. Plan your next outing or activity
If you’re stuck inside your tent or shelter for a while, why not use the time to plan your next outing or activity? If you’re camping in an area with lots of things to do, it can be helpful to have a plan so that you don’t miss anything.
Think about what you want to do and when you want to do it. Do some research and figure out the best way to go about things. When the rain finally clears, you’ll be all set and ready to go.
16. Look at the photos you’ve taken
Chances are, you’ve been taking a lot of photos on your camping trip. Why not use some of this down time to go through them and pick out your favourites?
You can also use this opportunity to delete any bad photos, free up some space on your camera or phone, and make sure that your backup storage is up to date. You could even spend some time editing your photos if you’re feeling extra creative.
17. Watch a show or a movie
If you brought along a device with downloaded TV shows or movies, now is the perfect time to sit back and watch one of them. This can be a great way to relax and unwind, especially if you’re feeling a little stir-crazy from being cooped up inside your tent or under your shelter.
Just make sure that you’re not too loud so as to disturb your fellow campers. And if you’re using your phone or tablet, be sure to keep an eye on your battery life. There’s nothing worse than having your movie cut off halfway through because your device died.
18. Listen to a podcast
Podcasts are a great way to pass the time, especially if you’re stuck inside your tent or shelter. You can listen to them while you’re doing other things, or just sit back and relax while you gaze out across the campsite.
There are podcasts for just about everything these days, so you’re sure to find one that interests you. Just make sure you download one before you set off for your trip, as you may not have reception in some areas.
19. Watch (and listen to) the rain
This may sound a bit strange, but sometimes it can be nice just to sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the rain. It’s amazing how calming and relaxing it can be, especially if you’re in a beautiful natural setting—like on a lake, or surrounded by forest.
The rain is a reminder that it’s good to slow down and just enjoy the moment sometimes. So take a deep breath, relax, and let the rain wash away your worries.
Speaking of relaxing, if you’ve never tried meditation before, trying it in the rain is a great way to start. Meditation can help to clear your mind, reduce stress, and promote feelings of well-being.
Simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your senses. Listen to the sound of the rain, feel the wetness on your skin, and breathe in the fresh, clean air. Let all your thoughts melt away and just enjoy the moment.
21. Wait it out
Last but not least, if nothing on this list strikes your fancy, or if you’re just not in the mood for any of it, then don’t force yourself to do anything. Just hang out and wait for the rain to stop.
Eventually, it will—and when it does, you can resume your camping trip and enjoy all the things that you love about being outdoors. You can’t control the weather, so you might as well just be patient.
What are some other things to do while camping in the rain?
Got any other ideas? Share them in the comments below!
Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).