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Here are a few simple tricks for car-camping in the rain. Most of these may be well-known to people who camp in the wet... but for those new to it, here are some little lifehacks we've put to use in various state parks here in the northwest.

Step 1: Tip 1: Raise that tarp

When car-camping in the Pacific northwest, the first order of business is often to get the tarp in place.

To start, tie a rope around a tree near your eating area. A good knot to use is a bowline knot ("the rabbit comes out of the hole..."). You can also use a "no-knot," in which you simply wrap the rope a few times around the tree; friction will keep the rope in place.

Keep the tarp high enough to allow good light in. Use a forked stick, or a "chuck-it" ball-thrower if you have one, to coax that rope higher up the tree.

<p>I've been camping for years, but learned several new tricks here! THANKS SO MUCH for sharing this wisdom. Can't wait to try them.</p>
<p>You are welcome, and thank you very much for your kind comment! I always learn things from other campers... it's fun to stroll around the campground and see what techniques are being used in the various sites.</p>
<p>This is so informative, you've covered all the scenarios with pegging down your tent for windy conditions to making sure your shoes are dry. Awesome job! Thank you so much for sharing :D</p>
<p>Thank you for your kind words!</p>
<p>Good ideas! What's your take on strapping on a tarp, like you have here (I always get rain puddles on mine) or buying one of those pop up tarps with 4 legs? My daughter said I need to be careful of the winds not blowing it away.</p>
<p>The diagonal corners of the tarp should be highest on the tree, with the other two corners lower. Make sure your lines are tight by using knots that can be cinched to tighten them up.</p>
<p>Great stuff.... but one more thing for tarping: Use webbing around the trees with a biner for the cord to avoid damaging the bark when cinching. Be kind to the trees at campsites or they will die leaving you an ugly campsite. Thanks for the great tips!</p>
<p>I like the tennis ball or rock trick. Now why didnt I think of that? LOL</p>
<p>I used a rock this year camping, it worked wonderfully!</p>
<p>We kept adding more and more &quot;shade-inducing-artifacts&quot; to our eating area last week, and even applied some of the tricks seen here, but I think the next time it will be better... See the sagging of the covered area after a light summer storm in Spain!</p>
<p>I got some small door matts cheap at Grocery outlet for this purpose. The size makes it easy to fold over once and store under feet in the backseat of our sedan. Also, I found some rag rugs to put inside the tent. We drew lines of silicone glue along the back of them to reduce slipping.</p>
<p>(burning man survivor) </p><p> - I like the tennis ball idea(rocks will work, too. Plastic tarp clips are handy for attaching to a tarp at any point on the edge. </p><p> - Housewrap makes a good cheap tent ground cloth(cut smaller than the tent, of course.) Just cut it a few inches smaller and lay it down before pitching the tent. It doesn't need to be tied. </p><p> - Some say you should tie your tarps and tents with heavy rope. I prefer to use small string. Storm blows up, breaks string. Tent falls down. Tie on new string and put it all back up. When a big windstorm or thunderstorm blows in, SOMETHING will break! </p>
<p>that tennis ball trick is brilliant - it almost needs an instructable to itself</p>
<p>nice tips,makes caping much easier.</p>
<p>Great tips for the tarp! I've been camping in rain for years, and always curse at my sagging tarp. This should take my cursing down a few notches. :)</p>
<p>We don't have a dog and usually only have a tennis ball around if I find one in the woods or a park when I'm out geocaching. However, I usually have on sneakers or hiking boots. I put a clean grocery bag on the end of my 28-year-old hiking stick (to protect the inside of my sneaker), stick my hiking stick into the sneaker, and use that to push up my tarp for drainage.</p><p>As an Alaskan Scouter (adult volunteer Boy Scout leader), this is my 43rd consecutive year of Scouting, and I grew up in the NY Catskills camping all the time as a kid. Our youngest son made Eagle in a very active troop that camped every month year-round (the coldest I've camped with my Scouts is 39 below). I love camping with them, and the adult camaraderie around a bedtime campfire is awesome! (We don't carry alcohol on Scout trips; campfire coffee is the only coffee I usually drink.) If a troop is not going out when I want to, I camp alone (which always unsettles my non-camping husband).</p><p>Dressing for the weather, using layers of clothing, and avoiding cotton (&quot;Cotton kills&quot;) are all helpful tips. I remind my Scouts to change ALL clothing at bedtime - socks, underwear, the works. There are many youtube videos with all kinds of camping and sleeping safe and warm tips, and more recipes than you could ever use.</p><p>Thank you for this well-organized camping 'ible. The pictures and camping tips combine for great instruction. Good job!</p>
<p>Very informative, like the tennis ball trick.</p>
<p>My bf in Hawaii and I earned the title Campers in the Rain, and we did many of the suggestions and camped under tarps with no tents and lots of mosquitoes even. What were we thinking? Wonderful presentation and wonderful comments all. Thanx so much for the trip I took down memory lane. Now I live a similar rustic lifestyle in rural FL farmland so no longer have to camp to get in Nature!</p>
<p>Another good idea is to face your tent towards the Dining fly so you can leave and enter without getting wet</p>
<p>Hi Gang:</p><p>For my tent I cut a blue tarp to size for a ground cloth. I put grommets and innertube rubber band to latch them to the corner stakes. The advantage is it is just the right size and doesn't stick out to gather water from the roof.</p><p>Then I cut a second tarp over sized for the inside. I have had an inch of water in the tent and my sleeping bag was still dry in this tarp boat.</p><p>Thanks, Carl.</p>
Fire sterilises ALL! just wire brush the grille... I need to take ya camping...that said...nice instructible
<p>I like your tip #10 but I find a log or rock that is big enough to put under the grate that will make it open up flat. Then I can use it for pots &amp; pans that have just come off the fire and a prep table if I don't have a picnic table in the campsite. You just need a cutting board or small sheet of plywood if you are worried about cleanliness. If it is sturdy enough for it, you can bring a 2'x2' concrete paver along with your dutch oven (heavy I know but not a big deal if car camping) and you can use that spot for your dutch oven &amp; leave the ring for your campfire.</p>
<p>The tennis ball/rock trick has lighten my day. Thanks for sharing such a great tip!</p>
<p>OK, here's a big one I've learned from long term camping in festivals and gatherings where storms would come in and take out 90% of the tarps in a few minutes. If you are going to see much wind at all, with a tarp, you want some decent tension as well as slope to avoid the dreaded pooling, yet also need to be ready for wind to blow that guy around like a sail. If you can be sure of wind direction in advance, you can probably set it up to deflect. But storms can be variable and gusty. So what do you do? Set up something that will give you just as much tension as the tarp can handle and then let the tarp move when the wind gets strong enough to rip it out. Bungee cords, which I used to hold in disdain, can do allow this needed flexibility in select places. Not everywhere, but in one or two key spots. Even better sometimes is using a weighted tie. For your rain spilling points, instead of tying down to ground, you can use a weight, a rock branch or whatever to pull the tarp down but be lifted up in high winds so you still have a tarp when the gust dies down. Another way to do it is run the tie line for your spill side loose and then hang your weight in the middle of the tie line to give it tension. That way, it has whatever the slack is to flex and move with high winds. </p><p>Another way to get flex is to use thinnish branches as your shock absorbers. But be careful just using connected, leafed tree branches as tie-offs as they can work to a degree but then in higher winds the branch itself is taking your tarp for a ride! Better to use a cut branch fixed to something on one end. But I like the weights best for adjustable flexible tension. </p><p>Many think that they can simply outpower the windy storms with good ties, but it usually takes a commercial weight tarp on a full framed structure to pull that off. Better to allow for movement if flying free-form.</p><p>Of course in some places, it rains without wind and practically anything works in those regions/conditions. Happy camping!</p>
To tie the line and be able to tighten it anytime without having to untie it, try tieing what they call a Taut Line. http://www.iwillknot.com/taut_line/
<p>(this entire thread is good) but your linkage to the Taut Line is pretty awesome. It's exactly the knot I'm looking to utilize for setting and maintaining tarps. My thanks for sharing it.</p>
<p>From one squid to another - Thanks for bringing up this knot!</p><p>This is a great article - I have many missing grommets on my tarps! Never thought of securing it with a tennis ball or rock! Thanks!</p>
Thank you! I've been learning a few things from these comments, so I'm really glad I posted the Instructable..!
<p>That is my absolute FAVORITE knot! What the site doesn't show well is that it works like a ratchet. It's really quite remarkable. I've been using it for almost 20 years since I learned it in the Klutz Book of Knots and it still amazes me today how it works.</p>
<p>I hadn't seen that before -- that's a great tip. Thanks!</p>
<p>Really nice ideas. Hope to use a few soon!</p>
<p>Awesome, a couple of years ago we were camping in the rain and I could have used these hacks. </p>
<p>Thank you! Hopefully they'll come in handy for next time. :)</p>
Great tips, been using the truckers hitch for many years and it does the job. A couple of things, never lay a tarp right ontop of your tent fly and always make the under the tent tarp a few inches smaller than your tent so that water doesn't hit it and channel under the tent. Parachute cord is all you need for tarps and tents, just be sure to melt the ends after cutting it. Thanks again.
Good points! <br><br>As you note, a tarp laid right on top of your tent fly will cause water to soak through the fly, and through your tent wall. There must be an air space between your tent fly and your tent (and between your tent and any overhanging tarp above it).<br><br>Some people don't bother with under-the-tent tarps, but if you do use one, that's great advice to keep is slightly smaller than your tent... for the reason you point out.<br><br>Thanks for the tips!
<p>Excellent tips! As I've commented before on other's postings, this is what I joined Instructibles for - not silly &quot;Build your own Star wars laser cannon replica&quot; posts, but useful, practical tips for better living and using/reusing materials in unique and clever ways. Well-done! </p><p>(One thing which I will respectfully take exception to however, is your suggestion to twist the line around itself to take up slack after the nighttime rain. IMO a Taught-line hitch or similar knot would be an easier and more elegant solution.)</p><p>Lt. Greg - Former Boy Scout, old fart and certified cranky old Curmudgeon)</p>
<p>Nice camping tips.<br>But aren't there *some* things that can be learned from &quot;Build your own Star Wars laser cannon replica&quot; posts? I've gained some construction, gluing, and painting techniques from the set-desginers. (/me gives a full three-finger salute to Lt. Greg. Be prepared!)</p>
<p>:-)p</p>
<p>Thank you, Lt. Greg! I appreciate your feedback.</p><p>I plan to use that taut-line knot more often -- that does indeed seem like the most elegant way to cinch up a line.</p>
<p>Another use for your tennis balls is to cut a slit in one and stick it on the end of a long pole or branch. Then you can use that to prop up the tarp to direct water runoff where you want it to go. Without the ball you may compromise the waterproofness of your tarp with a nice hole... thank you mister experience. </p><p>Another trick is to direct all of the runoff to a single low point in your tarp at a grommet. Tie a rock or heavy tent stake to this grommet so that water drips down it and into a large pot that you can use for camp water or just to wash muddy feet and hands in. Plus it keeps the water from making a mess near the edge of your tarp. For those of us with kids it minimizes the luring mud puddles at least close to camp.</p>
<p>Nice ideas -- thank you!</p>
<p>I NEVER go camping w/o my big tarp &amp; nylon rope. My 1st order of business is to set up the tarp over the tent, picnic table &amp; fire ring. By launching the rope up over tree branches I can pull my tarp up high enough to safely have a fire under it and not feel like I'm living under ceiling of celephane wrap.</p>
<p>That's a big tarp! I'm really lame about throwing the coiled rope over tree branches -- it always takes me 4 or 5 tries -- but that's a great way to get that tarp secured nice and high up the tree.</p>
<p>I had a few big tarps left over from a nightmare roofing job. Trying tying your rope to hammer and then launch that. Makes a rainy camping trip much more comfortable if you have some dry real estate with a fire.</p>
<p>I will try that hammer trick! Thanks.</p>
<p>and if someone is already using the hammer there are Heaving Line Knots that can be used(best with a good solid rope). Seems like when camping with good sized group(like scouts) the hammers are being used or are on the other side of the campsite and get claimed just before you get there.lol</p>
<p>That is true! It's been a while, but I've made a &quot;monkey fist&quot; at the end of a line to use as a throwing aid.</p>
<p>Super tips and helpful comments ! </p>
<p>Thanks very much!</p>
<p>Also if you hunt you can use the method in step 2 to skin a deer in a few seconds. just cut the hide down the center of the chest and up the inside of each leg. making sure to connect the leg cuts to the center cut. then cut a ring around the bottoms of each leg and around the neck. peel back some hide from the back of the neck, and instead of using a tennis ball you use a golf ball. place a tarp under the deer near a tree and tie the neck to the base of the tree. attach the rope surrounding the golf ball to the front bumper of your truck and SLOWLY back away and the skin will peel off.</p>

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