The Best Way to Take Down a Tent in the Rain

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Camping and hiking are two fantastic ways to stay in shape and enjoy the great outdoors. However, sometimes the weather can shift, and your once-sunny weekend can become a soggy, rainy nightmare. Taking down your tent in the rain certainly poses some concerns.

The best way to take down a tent in the rain is to dress in waterproof gear, remove your belongings from the tent, shake off excess water, and fold the tent down for storage. You’ll also want to create a drying plan for your tent, remain calm throughout the process, and enlist help when necessary.

This article will discuss some of the best ways to take down a tent in the rain. Rainfall itself won’t change the tent deconstruction process, but it’s bound to alter how you go about it. Lightning, flash flooding, and a lack of help could pose a unique set of watery problems.

Dress for Success

Before you open the tent flap and begin getting to work, you’ll need to dress for the rain. Light rainfall may only necessitate a rain-repellent windbreaker or jacket. Heavy rain could require you to pull out the waterproof boots and poncho.

No matter what kind of rain you’re dealing with, you’ll be glad that you put on the right gear before facing it. Dealing with a massive, sodden tent is terrible enough without having to wring water from your clothes, socks, and shoes.

Pack and Remove Belongings

If possible, go ahead and pack away any remaining belongings. If you’re hiking, you’ll want to pack your belongings away into your backpack. If you have a waterproof cover for your bag, now would be the time to hook it up.

If you’re an overnight or weekend camper and you’ve got a vehicle nearby, you’ll want to quickly transfer your tent’s content to your car’s trunk or storage space. Once the tent is completely cleared, you can go ahead and begin working on taking it down.

This part of the process can prove frustrating for campers, especially if there’s heavy rainfall. The general rule is, the faster and fatter the rainfall, the quicker and more carefully you’ll need to work.

Shake Off Raindrops

Unless it’s coming down, you should take a moment to shake off excess raindrops before collapsing the frame of the tent and squashing it down. Though this might seem like a silly or pointless task, it can reduce the amount of collected water you end up carrying around.

This issue might not seem like a massive deal for those camping from their car, but it’s bound to help hikers that need to reduce their carry weight. Though you may not be able to dry your tent instantly by giving it a few good shakes, you could reduce its overall heft by a noticeable amount.

The type of bag you have prepared for your tent can also affect its dryness and ability to repel further rainfall. A waterproof tarp-based sack or drawstring bag is preferable. Be sure to choose a carrying bag that is to handle or attach to your backpack.

Create a Drying Plan

After packing away your tent, you may begin moving toward human-made shelters to escape the rain, or you may decide to hang out in your car for a bit. Either way, you should already have a drying plan in mind. Your tent isn’t going to warm itself to a dry state on its own.

If you fail to enact a drying plan, you could end up with a moldy, mildewy tent that’s a pain to clean and use. While most tents are made of nylon or polyester, two materials known for their mildew-repelling properties, that doesn’t mean that tents are impervious to bacteria and mold.

You could choose to air dry your tent at home, spot-cleaning as you go. If your tent has survived a particularly muddy or damp camping trip, you could even bathe your tent before setting it up in the garage to dry. Just be sure to keep a dehumidifier handy to prevent household mold.

Don’t Let Yourself Feel Frustrated

When taking down a tent in rainfall, it can be easy to let yourself feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or angry. However, by allowing yourself to give in to these feelings, you could be slowing yourself down and making things more difficult.

When we’re stressed out, our bodies begin to release specific hormones and chemicals. Adrenaline may make our hearts race, allowing anxiety to take control. Rather than untying some superficial knots with calm and ease, you could end up cursing yourself as you fumble with slippery ties.

If you begin to feel yourself losing patience with your wet tent, take a moment to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Remind yourself that this situation is only temporary and that you will soon be done with it. 

You should find that this simple act helps you regain some calm and clarity, allowing you to dismantle your tent more quickly and effectively. Deep breathing is only one of several calming techniques you could use to help yourself combat the rainy-day tent-packing blues.

Enlist Help

Heavy rain can be nearly impossible to work in, especially if high winds accompany it. If you’re stubbornly trying to take down a tent in heavy rain and there are other campers nearby, feel free to enlist their help. Doing so could help you complete your deconstruction more quickly.

Besides, when it’s raining cats and dogs, you’ll need all the help you can get. Rainwater may begin collecting on top of the soil, making it tricky to walk or stand. If you’ve set up camp at the bottom of a hill or incline, you may begin to experience flash flooding.

You’ll need to pack up that tent and get to safety as soon as possible if you’d like to keep your tent and your life. Flash flooding can happen within minutes of heavy rainfall, so always camp at higher elevations far from riverbanks or streams.

Camp on Elevated Terrain

This last tip might not help you take down a soggy tent, but it could help you prevent one. By camping on elevated terrain, you could enjoy a flood-free camping experience, even during rainy days or nights. 

Naturally, lightweight tent platforms can also achieve this, but they can leave long-lasting marks on the underlying brush and wildlife. The temporary weight of a tent bottom, human body, and their gear are unlikely to harm plant life lying beneath. 

And when it rains, the water will rush to the lowest point of elevation, leaving you feeling pleasantly high and dry. In this way, you might be able to avoid the saturated consequences of flash flooding. Instead, you might enjoy a lightly misted tent that’s easy to dry out and pack away.

Seek Shelter From Lightning

Another essential thing to keep in mind when taking down a tent in the rain is lightning. Some of the population groups most prone to lightning are campers and hikers. If you spy lightning or hear repetition thunder, it may be worthwhile to seek shelter in a nearby bathroom, clubhouse, or vehicle. 

Don’t take shelter beneath a tree, as trees are commonly struck by lightning. When the lightning has subsided, you can safely return to your tent and continue your deconstruction. 

Though you may be frustrated to wait or deal with a soggy tent, it’s far better to face those problems than being struck by lightning. Depending on the strike, it could prove fatal.


When you decide to camp in the rain, there are specific skills and techniques you’re choosing to master. Cooking on sputtering fire or without any fire, avoiding flooded tent bottoms, and taking down a tent in the rain are a few such skills.

Should you go camping on a rainy day and need to change your tent spot or go home, it’s crucial to wear waterproof clothing and gear during the process. You’ll also want to shake away excess raindrops before collapsing the tent and storing it away. It’s also crucial to dry your tent after it’s become wet.


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