It’s happened to us all. You’re just snuggling in for the night, having managed to wash, change into your night clothes, stash your gear, zip up the tent, get into your sleeping bag, and position yourself onto your foam mat—when, plop, it starts raining, and the dreaded drips start rolling down the inside of your tent and onto your sleeping bag.
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This has happened to adventurer Bear Grylls too, but being Chief Scout and a survival expert, he knew what to do. Here is his advice on clever ways to deal with a leaking tent:
Dig a Water Trench
First, if you expect some wet weather, dig a water trench next to the tent to collect rainfall (make sure you are in an area where this is permitted and will not cause environmental damage).
“A bit of digging can help avoid a flood in your tent,” says Bear. A shallow drainage ditch means that the water will flow down the side of the tent and into the trench, rather than into the tent.
Rig up a Drip String
Another nifty idea is to rig up a “drip string” inside the tent. Run the string from the top of the tent down into a bowl at ground level. Place a stone in the bowl to hold down the string. “This allows water to drip into a bowl rather than into your sleeping bag,” Bear says.
Set up an Outside Drip String
You can also set up an outside drip string from the top of the tent, so that water can run along it. This diverts the water from reaching the anchor point of your tent and dripping down inside it.
Patch up the Hole
If you have a hole in your tent or a split seam, try applying some duct tape to seal it up. You can also buy special tent-patch kits to close up a hole or use a seam sealant if the holes or leaks are along the seam.
It’s a good idea to test your tent outdoors before your camping trip to make sure it’s water-tight. Either test it during an actual rain shower or spray it heavily with a hose to check for holes or leaky seams.
Finally, always check the weather forecast before you set out for your camping trip, so that you are not surprised by any downpours.
Have you faced a leaky tent while camping? How did you fix it?