How to Pass The Time On A Rainy Camping Trip

Rain needn’t necessarily ruin most holidays. If you’re in a hotel or a self-catered cottage then you can still have fun lounging about your rooms, watching the telly and either ordering room service or raiding the fridge. Even if you’re in a caravan, rain might not be a total disaster. When you’re camping though, rain pretty much ends the game.

If even if you’ve put your tent together correctly, and found a high, flat piece of ground to ensure your tent doesn’t rapidly turn into an outdoor bath, and soaks everything in your rucksacks, you’re still basically trapped in a small, enclosed space without much in the way of entertainment.

To make it worse, you’ve no idea how long it will last. This could be a short shower, or you could be in for a couple of days of heavy downpour.  So what can you do in the meantime?


If you’re camping out on your own, your choices are divided pretty evenly between this, and endless Sudoku. This is why I never travel anywhere without either a good, brick sized paperback, or a well loaded Kindle. Make sure you always bring a decent torch with you, as tents are often not the best lit places you could hope for.

Word Games

If you’ve got company, this opens up some other options. I’m going to say it now: I-Spy is not one of those options. You’re in a space maybe as big as two coffins stuck together and you’re going to run out of options really quickly. Instead, word association is the way to go. The Alphabet Game is a good one- pick a subject, then take it in turns to go from A to Z, picking a word related to that subject for each letter. If that seems a bit too much, a quick round of Mornington Crescent will pass some time for you (I’ve not got the space to explain the rules here, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find them somewhere on the web).

Of course, the truly ultra prepared among you will be able to play:

Card Games

A deck of cards has saved many a bored pair and are an essential piece of camping equipment. Board games are a risk, the more pieces there are, the more chance there is of those pieces going missing and then working their way into the small of your back while you sleep. Card games are compact and easy to keep together.  Games like 8 card whist, gin rummy, black jack, and cheat are a great way to kill some time and, should wish to, take some of your tent-mate’s hard earned money.

Of course, if the card games and word games begin to get dull, you can instantly make them much more entertaining by:


In moderation of course, but a hip flask of some good whisky will make the tent seem a little bit warmer, and your company seem far more charming and interesting to talk to. Taking a shot every time you lose a round of whatever games your playing does add a little extra something to the game.

Of course, while usually drinking to excess is absolutely the best fun, here it’s crucial that you keep yourself well hydrated and don’t go overboard. There are few worse places in the world to have a hangover than the inside of your tent.

Adult fun

Just saying, if you’re camping with your partner of choice and it is too wet to go outside, well, you’re both their in a confined space without much else to do but play gin rummy. This does seem like the obvious option. In fact I’m kind of surprised I didn’t list this first.

Escape to the Pub

This option is the last resort, because it does involve actually going out in the rain. However, if hiding under a six by three foot rectangle of canvas gets too much for you, it may be time to suit up in all the waterproofs you can lay your hand on, and just leg it to the nearest pub, where you can have a point, sit by the fire, and laugh at all those people stuck out in the rain in their tents.

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