This time of year, pop up showers and storms are just part of the forecast. What starts out as a sunny day can quickly turn into a downpour. It can easily wreck plans and ruin a day if you don’t have a plan for staying dry should you be caught in a summer storm. Here are some tips to find shelter (or make your own!) if you are stranded in the rain.
If you are outdoors and find yourself in unexpected rain, the first thing to do is look for an indoor or covered shelter. If you’re camping or in a park, this might be a picnic shelter, restroom, or covered pavilion. You could also seek shelter under a large group of trees if it isn’t raining too hard. If none of these options are available, you’ll have to get creative and create or find shelter using what you have to work with. You will also want to be aware of signs of severe storms and be on the lookout for lightning. If you spot any lightning, you definitely want to be indoors as quickly as possible.
Umbrellas are an obvious temporary solution to keep you dry, but many people don’t carry them. It’s always a good idea to keep one umbrella for every person in your family in your vehicle. You could also keep an umbrella in your emergency kit, hiking pack, or bug out bag. Pack a couple of small ones or one of the large sized umbrellas that will shelter two or three people. You can also carry lightweight rain ponchos for everyone in your bug out bag – they are small and can often be folded down into a pouch the size of a bread slice.
Garbage bags can easily be turned into a makeshift tarp in a storm. You can also cut out a neck hole and arm holes to make a poncho from these, too. The black contractor type bags are more sturdy than traditional kitchen trash bags. If you don’t already have them in your stash, add them today! They make a great addition to your camping gear, hiking bag, or emergency kit.
Temporary rain shelters can be made from a tarp in an emergency. If you carry a tarp as part of your gear, you can quickly make it into a decent shelter. All you need is a couple of trees, some sturdy rope, stakes and your tarp, and you’ll soon be drying off! You can watch a video on how to make a shelter from your tarp here. It’s probably a good idea to have several sizes and styles of tarps at your disposal when camping, hiking, or living off the grid.
If you’re close enough, you can make a run for your vehicle and use it as emergency shelter. It’s waterproof, and sturdy, and you can also sleep safely there if you need to. This is another good reason to keep an emergency kit, including food and water, in your vehicle if at all possible. You should also keep a change of clothes, including dry socks and footwear there, as well. It’s important to make sure the tread on your tires is good, and your battery is strong, too – as you make have to leave the area in less than ideal driving conditions. The last thing you want or need is a car that won’t run or tires than could cause you to skid on wet roads.
As with any aspect of prepping, being prepared before a rainstorm is key. Wear the proper clothes. Often people aren’t wearing the right clothing for outdoor activities and this can be disastrous should they be caught in a rainstorm. So if you’re planning a camping trip or going for a long outdoor hike, choose lightweight, water repellent clothing that you can wear in layers. It will dry quickly, and some clothing will actually wick away the water keeping you from getting as wet in the first place. You also want to choose shoes that have good tread on them and aren’t prone to slippage. Flip-flops are not a good choice here! Once you do get some type of shelter created, or if you find one, you will want to get dry and warm as quickly as you can, to prevent getting sick.
Keep in mind that a pop up storm or rain shower doesn’t have to ruin your outdoor plans. With a good sturdy shelter, you can find ways to pass the time until the shower is over, and still enjoy camping or hiking activities. Being prepared is the key to any successful outdoor adventure! Taking the time to be ready will be worth it if rain shows up as an uninvited guest.