How To Cook When Camping In The Rain

Camping on a rainy day can be challenging enough as it is. Imagine preparing and cooking food while trying to keep everything else in your tent safe and dry.

That said, a sudden downpour should not prevent you from recharging with a nice, hearty meal. With proper planning and preparation, you can discover the joys of outdoor cooking even when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

In this article, we will share 10 helpful tips on how to cook when camping in the rain. We will also cover the most common questions that beginner campers tend to have about choosing the right equipment and minimizing potential safety hazards.

Our top 10 essential tips for cooking in rainy weather

We’ve had our fair share of sudden downpours and thunderstorms while camping. Over time, we learned practical ways to prepare tasty and filling meals no matter what kind of day it was.

You don’t have to go through the same trial and error. Check out below the 10 points you should keep in mind when you are planning your trip.

1) Portion meals in Ziplock bags

Resealable plastic bags can be your best friend in keeping your food supplies organized, prolonging their shelf life, and preventing them from getting soaked in rainwater. They can also serve as your makeshift plate to reduce the cleanup afterwards.

Pack your food in single-serving portions and label each bag with the name and packing date. Then, store them in a cool, dry place until mealtime arrives.

2) Wear waterproofs when cooking

Layer on your raincoat, waterproof hat, socks and boots before heading outside to cook. Doing so will allow you to focus more on finishing your meal preparation while preventing hypothermia.

Avoid wearing loose-fitting gear. No matter how robust the material is, it may still catch fire while you are cooking over an open flame.

3) Waterproof your backpack to keep food dry

Much like waterproof tents, a backpack with an excellent waterproof rating should be considered as part of your camping essentials. It is not just meant for your clothes and valuables.

Remember, you have limited storage options while out in the wild. Leaving food lying around can also attract pests and predators. Store your packed meals in a waterproof backpack to protect them from moisture, bugs, and other elements.

4) Set up a camping tarp

If you must prepare large meals, we recommend propping up a tarp to keep the rain away from your designated cooking area.

Fasten the corners on tree branches or poles at an angle to prevent rain from pooling above. When needed, lower one edge of the tarp and use it to shield you from raindrops and gusts of wind.

5) Pop open a trekking umbrella if needed

Some campers don’t mind a light shower when exploring nature. However, the same cannot be said about outdoor cooking.

An easy solution for such days is to set up a trekking pole over your camping stove. Position it at a level where you don’t have to worry about trapping the steam and fumes beneath it while also serving as protection from the rain.

6) Avoid cooking in your vestibule

We understand how tempting to stay and cook within the safe confines of a vestibule. Don’t make this mistake since you will expose yourself to toxic fumes.

Remember, you should only use a camping stove in a well-ventilated space, even when it rains. Outside the tent is ideal in most cases. If not, leave the tent windows and doors open while cooking.

7) Use the correct stove

A liquid fuel stove is a wise investment, especially if you intend to go camping throughout the year. This type is consistent, eco-friendly, and compatible with many top-rated winter camping tents.

We recommend pairing your stove with a screen or a small rock wall to keep the flame going during breezy days.

8) Bring a lighter for quick fires

Have a lighter on hand when you are cooking, no matter if it is sunny or rainy. It’s a convenient tool to start a fire or relight a stove, particularly when your fingers are too slippery to deal with traditional matches.

Be careful in handling the lighter fluid, though. Store this device in a plastic bag when not in use to avoid spillage on your gear.

9) Place your campfire just on the edge of your tarp

Whether the rain is pelting straight down or from the side, you must position open fire near the edge of your tarp and away from the sloping angle.

By doing so, the heat and smoke can flow out to the open space unimpeded. It will also prevent your tarp from getting damaged by being too close to the flame.

10) Keep positive and enjoy the experience

When the dark clouds start amassing just when you’re about to prepare a meal, don’t panic! Learning how to cook when camping in the rain is more than just having the proper tools. It’s also about gaining a positive mindset.

Remind yourself that camping can be enjoyed regardless of how fine the weather is. Therefore, when the raindrops start falling, take the opportunity to experience outdoor cooking with a few added challenges.

Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Spirits

Camping can be enjoyed across all seasons with a bit of planning and preparation. Aside from picking the best waterproof tent, it would be in your best interest to learn valuable skills for your enjoyment and peace of mind.

As demonstrated in this article, learning how to cook when camping in the rain is essential to experience nature in all its forms. We can try our best to time our trip when it is less likely to rain, but there are no such guarantees, as we can attest through our years of experience in wild camping.

We hope the tips shared earlier have boosted your confidence in outdoor cooking during rainy days. Keep them in mind as you consider what to pack for your next camping trip.

FAQs about cooking when camping in the rain

Can a camping stove get wet?

As much as possible, protect your camping stove from excessive moisture. Water can damage the valves and prevent the stove from igniting. The risk becomes higher if you use an electric model, which can also cause physical harm to you. In case your stove becomes soaked, please refrain from using it until it is completely dry again.

How do you keep a campfire burning in the rain?

This is only possible if you build your campfire in a sheltered location—for example, under the trees or a tarp. Then, to keep the flame going, use dry tinder and kindling. Add them slowly because too much may smother the fire. We also suggest using a metal screen or wire mesh to protect it from the wind.

How can I make camping in the rain enjoyable?

The key is to plan well. That means packing the waterproof camping gear and finding a campsite that is safe from flooding and strong winds. While you might be disappointed when you cannot head outside the tent during a heavy downpour, you can keep yourself entertained by reading your favourite book or playing indoor games while waiting for the weather to brighten up again.

How do you keep a tent dry in the rain?

Water leaks and seepage are some of the most common tent problems faced by campers who do not know how to choose a suitable model. If you did bring waterproof camping gear but the issue persists, you may use a tarp to lessen the amount of rainfall directly hitting your tent. A groundsheet can also shield you from the wet ground. Remember to maintain proper air circulation to prevent moisture build-up inside the tent.

Can you cook under a camping tarp?

Yes, but you must set things up correctly to ensure your safety. Secure the tarp at an angle to protect you from the rain and wind. Place your camping stove near the tarp’s edge to avoid trapping heat and smoke in your cooking area. Remove all flammable materials nearby and have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an accident.

Can you cook in an open tent?

Yes, though we don’t advise doing so. However, if you have no other choice, use only a camping stove designed for indoor use. That equipment has safety features against accidental fires and toxic fumes. Pay close attention to the stove at all times and switch it off immediately when you are done cooking.

How high should the tarp be over the fire?

The ideal height varies depending on the actual situation, but positioning the tarp around 2 meters above the ground generally does the trick. You might have to place it higher if you have an intense flame that produces a lot of smoke. Conversely, lowering the tarp may also be needed if the rain is pelting down sideways or if the wind is blowing too strongly.

How to use a tarp over a fire?

First, look for trees or use trekking poles to support the tarp. If possible, the location should also be sheltered from too much rain and wind. Arrange the tarp so one side slopes downwards while the opposite side is high enough to prevent the build-up of excess heat and smoke underneath.

Can I use a gas burner inside the tent?

Yes, but it is not recommended due to the safety hazards involved. If you really must use one, select a model intended for indoor use. Open the tent door and windows to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Place the burner on a stable, non-flammable object, and remove all combustible materials nearby.

How much rain is too much for camping?

Though many heavy-duty tents promise to shield you from extreme weather conditions, you should exercise caution, nevertheless. Before going on your camping trip, check the most recent weather forecast. If the precipitation rate exceeds 7.6mm per hour, the rain is likely too heavy for you to stay safe and enjoy the outdoors.

Can you use a camping stove in the rain?

Yes, as long as you prepared well for it. Look for a secluded area that is shielded from the rain and wind. Use a tarp, trekking umbrella, or metal screen as further protection against the elements. Remember to wear waterproof gear and bring a fire extinguisher to ensure your safety, too.

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