You can have fun camping in the rain with kids: you just have to know how! Check our advice and plan your next camping trip with Campsited.com.
The vision is idyllic – you and the kids escaping the stresses of life, hanging out as a family in The Great Outdoors, flopping into bed at night exhausted from all the fresh air and fun. The reality may be quite different, however, if the rain decides to join you as an uninvited guest.
How to Survive Camping in the Rain with Kids: tips and advice
Make sure bad weather doesn’t spoil your family adventure (and imagine if you also have a dog with you!) with these top tips.
1. Invest in proper rain gear
Where would we all be without wellies and waterproofs? Rather than take shower-proof jackets on your trip invest in proper waterproof gear, including trousers, for everyone in your party. Tucked into boots they’ll keep kids warm and completely dry, opening up a world of outdoor fun in the downpour. You don’t need to spend a fortune either.
Top tip: Supermarket chains frequently sell kids’ raingear, including wellies and dungarees with elasticated cuffs, at great prices.
2. Steer clear of cabin fever
Whether you’re staying in a caravan, mobile home, campervan or tent, rainy weather can bring cabin fever. You may need to hide out temporarily, but if the rain looks set to be a long-term prospect you will need to psych up everybody for a trip outdoors. Given that you’ve packed the right gear you can set off hiking or exploring knowing everyone will remain relatively dry.
Top Tip: Cold hands can put anyone in a bad mood, so, on cooler days, insist on little people wearing gloves, even hats.
3. Book a campsite with a good laundry facilities
No one wants to put on damp clothes or soggy footwear. You’ll have a bunch of miserable kids on your hands if they’re pulling on wet gear, yet drying out clothing is a permanent challenge for wet weather campers. Avoid the headache by doing your research and booking campsites with decent laundry facilities and covered drying areas.
4. Pack plenty of newspaper to help dry footwear
Footwear always dries out best when toes are stuffed with newspapers. Help boots along by having an old newspaper or two stashed in the car. Be sure to pack extra socks too. There’s nothing like cold, wet feet to put little people (even adults!) in a bad mood.
5. Make fun of the rain
Wet weather hiking can be great fun, so long as you don’t make the outings too long for little people. Try to celebrate the downpour, looking at the way it dances on lakes or the ocean, seeing how it lands on leaves and plants, watching how it increases the flow of a river. Forests, beaches, lakes and villages all change in the rain. Encourage splashing in puddles and games of poo sticks off bridges. By making the rain a feature of your games it becomes a fun thing rather than an annoyance.
6. Pack a Rainy Day bag
Camping is all about travelling light, no matter whether you’re pitching your own tent or rocking up to a fully furnished mobile home. However, it would be foolish to leave home without the Rainy Day Bag (so important we’ve given it capital letters!) This will be your survival kit for days when you’re stuck indoors.
Depending on the kids’ ages it should contain colouring books, paper, pens, puzzle books – word searches are good – and card games. (Never underestimate cards, which appeal to all ages, and are nicely compact.) A favourite family board game is always a winner, but avoid one with lots of little pieces which may get lost.
Top tip: Save all these distractions for rainy days only. That way they’ll have novelty value when you really need them to entertain.
7. Bring a laptop, for emergencies only!
As a last resort a fully charged portable DVD player or laptop can be used for movie time. Camping allows kids to escape the technology that increasingly dominates their lives, so only fall back on this one as a last resort.
8. Have a Plan B for barbecuing
Prolonged rain can easily hamper your barbecuing plans. It can kill off campfire plans too. Take a stash of non-perishable food that can tide you over and maybe even be rustled up in a campsite kitchen. Pack plenty of snacks too (more than you think you’ll need) which can help life spirits and re-energise water-weary children,
Top Tip: If bad weather prevents outdoor cooking have emergency budget set aside for a dash to the local chippy or campsite restaurant.
9. Shine a light on things
Rainy weather can bring dark skies and poor light, even in the middle of the day. Pack extra batteries for torches which may get lots of use.
Top Tip: Head torches are a big hit with kids and should accompany any camping trip.
10. Try swimming in the rain
Swimming in the rain is a wonderful experience everyone should try! It should never be attempted in stormy conditions, but should be safe and enjoyable if there’s no wind. You’ll need to pack wet suits or dry suits for everyone (unless you’re somewhere especially warm) and make sure everyone’s comfortable with the plan.
You can’t predict the weather for your next camping trip with the kids but you can adopt the Scout’s motto and ‘be prepared’. Rain doesn’t mean your holiday is a wash-out.