Stay Dry at Camp

Make your campsite a sanctuary with these tips.

Photo: Getty Images/Design Pics RF

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Packing for Success

1. When hiking in wet weather, load your pack to minimize the number of times you’ll have to open it—and how much gear will get exposed when you do. Place your shell and snacks in outside pockets, and the tent at top of the main compartment. That way, it’s the only thing exposed when you arrive at a rainy camp.

2. Use waterproof stuff-sacks, and for very wet conditions add a pack cover.

Site Selection

1. Keep your tent out of ditches or depressions where water can pool.

2. Use natural surroundings for rain protection. A stand of trees or a rocky outcropping can help weather the storm (though you should be extra cautious if lightning is present).

Tent Pitching

1. Keep your inner tent dry. Pre-pitch it in a sheltered area without staking it, drape the fly over, then move it as needed.

2. Tighten sagging rainflies; you want a taut pitch that separates fly and tent, which increases air circulation and reduces condensation.

Pack a Porch

1. When heading into extremely wet environments, like the Olympics or Smokies, pack a small, ultralight tarp. Pitch it at lunch breaks to stay dry, and create an extended vestibule for changing clothes and stowing soaked boots, shells, and gear by stringing over the front door of your tent.

Stay Dry

1. Divide your clothes into “sacrifice” layers and “sacred” layers. Hike in your sacrifice layers and store them wet, in your vestibule. Keep your sacred layers dry. Always.

2. String up a clothesline inside your vestibule to dry clothes

3. Bring small water bottles you can fill with boiling water. Put hot water bottles inside your socks to dry them out, and tuck one inside your sleeping bag at night to drive out moisture.

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