Have you ever wondered what it’s like to camp in the rain? Not a little bit of rain. Not a drizzle here and there. No, I mean, like, “hey, I wonder what it would be like to go camping in a total, miserable downpour that doesn’t ever stop?” Well, ask no more, friends. I’m here to tell you.
Before You Leave
The first thing you want to do is check the weather. That’s key. And when you see that it’s supposed to start raining a couple hours after you arrive and continue, essentially, for the duration of your campout, just laugh in the weather app’s face. Pshhht! A little rain?! Come on! You’re a Seattle-lite. You can handle a little rain! That’s what the Pacific Northwest is all about. You’ve got this. Besides, the weather app is totally wrong sometimes.
It’s also essential that you are camping with a group. Because when there is a whole group of people going and you’re in charge of Saturday night dinner, you can’t really bail unless the whole group decides to bail. That would be poor form. You can send an email to the group, letting them know about the minor weather sitch and hope that somebody else will bail. But if not? Tough luck. And besides, if everybody else is unfazed, then YOU are unfazed. You are going to rock this campout!
What (Not) to Bring & Do
In order to truly rock the campout, though, you definitely want to forget your rain coats. That will make things much more memorable. And for added good measure, you should probably install the rain fly on your tent upside down. That will ensure that (a) you will eat a good dose of humble pie after bragging to your husband that you nailed the set up while he was biking over from Bainbridge Island, and (b) that you and your family and your pillows and your sleeping bags are adequately wet when you start the first day. It’s important to start the day wet. Then it’s no big thing to remain wet the rest of your trip.
After you eat your breakfast huddled under a roomy pop tent with 13 other adults and 10 kids, it’s time to head out for a hike. But be sure you don’t head away from the rain. That wouldn’t make any sense. No, you want to head toward the rain. In fact, aim for an actual rain cloud in the rain forest and then drive directly into it. That will make for a good hike.
When your kids start crying, though, don’t back down! Don’t admit defeat and head back to the warmth and relative dry-ness of the car. That would be silly. Just because your kids literally look like they just stepped out of the shower and they are shaking with cold, press on, friends! There’s a waterfall just around the bend. Which is excellent because what you need at this point is MORE WATER.
And trust me, when your 5-year-old sobs the entire way down the mountain, don’t sweat it. It’s all good. Just embrace it. Listen to the sound of his squishy little steps and the wail of his weeping (Slop, slop, Whaaaaaaa! Slop, slop, Whaaaaaaa!) and just think of all the grit this is developing. Character building! Yes!
When you return from the hike you will all be soaked to the bone, of course, but just wring a few cups worth of water from your sweatshirts, blast the heater in the car and tell the kids to buck up! Isn’t this a grand adventure? They’ll continue to cry, obviously, but just stop at a diner for some pie on the way back to the campsite and then power on.
Making dinner in a downpour is no big thing. See above about the pop tent. Your kids will temporarily forget their woes while you are slicing and dicing and making mad dashes to and from your car for food and supplies. They will happily run amok in the campground for at least three-and-a-half minutes until one of them falls down. This is inevitable. But when you are that wet, a little mud and sludge never hurt anyone. I mean, really. And besides, it’s all part of the plan! The grit-building, character-developing plan. There are no more dry clothes, little one. Not a single thing. We’ve literally got nothing left. So buck up! Mama planned it this way. It’s for your own good.
Wrapping Up the Weekend
The next morning, you’ll rejoice in the fact that the rain has ceased long enough to eat breakfast outside of the pop tent, even though half of your camp chairs are soaked and most of you are standing up. You’ll even manage to break camp while the rain remains at bay. What excellent luck. And you know what will happen next?
You’ll get cocky.
You’ll think you’ve won. You beat the rain! It’s over and you totally
want to hurt yourself nailed it. So you’ll decide to go on one final hike. Your boys are in their pajamas because you weren’t kidding about having nothing left. You’re wearing a pair of your kids’ socks and a still-damp hoodie but the worst is over. Really. One more hike to redeem the weekend. Never mind that the weather app tells you a downpour is 30 minutes out. Never mind that the kids are frostbitten a tad chilly and completely over it by this point. Ignore all that. This will be the hike to beat all hikes.
When you get home, your kids might loudly declare to anyone who will listen that it was THE NUMBER ONE WORST CAMPOUT EVER but don’t let that bother you. It’s all good. They won’t always remember the soggy pillows and horrible hikes. They’ll forget the mud-soaked meals and their sodden shoes. I’m certain of it. In fact, they might even thank you for it one day. Not any day soon, perhaps, but definitely one day in the far-off very-dry future.