A few hours of rain can turn into more serious situations like ruined electronic devices, soaked clothes or hypothermia. But water doesn't have to spoil your next wilderness adventure if you're prepared with the right gear and know-how.
Even if inclement weather isn't in the forecast for your trip, most campers know that rain showers can pop up at any minute—especially during the spring and summer months. So, don't ever leave your rain gear at home and always pack a rain fly for your tent.
Here are 10 more tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your next trip.
Watch Your Surroundings
There are some natural environmental queues that tend to precede a change in the weather. A sudden calm (or, conversely, sudden gusts of wind) indicate that the barometric pressure is fluctuating and can signify an approaching storm.
Many fishermen have noted that fish bite more frequently immediately prior to a storm, and pet owners often note dogs' erratic behavior as well. Don't ignore these hints—they're thousands of years of biology telling you to be prepared for some nasty weather.
More: 5 Ways to Plan for a Camping Trip
Bring a Lot of Plastic Bags
The wonderful things about plastic bags of all sizes—trash bags, sealing sandwich bags (Ziploc) and so forth—are that they keep water out just as effectively as higher end "dry bags." They take up virtually no room in your pack and cost next to nothing. You can't reuse them like you can the brand name camping dry bags, but for a single trip, cheap plastic bags work wonders.
I always carry a trash bag to cover my hiking pack at night, in case of rain. I also carry a trash bag to store dry firewood. And, I use little Ziploc bags to protect smaller items like digital camera memory cards, matches and important papers like fishing licenses, money and passport.
More: Rain Gear Maintenance
Newspaper Comes in Handy
Take along a little newspaper and keep it dry. This can be highly beneficial if it rains for several reasons. In addition to possibly providing some reading if you have to pass the rainy time hunkered down in a tent, it also serves as a useful fire starter if the rest of the forest is waterlogged.
Also, stick a few rolled-up clumps of newspaper into your shoes at night. This will speed up the drying process by sucking moisture out of the shoe leather like a sponge.
More: 10 Ways to Keep a Clean Campsite