The Best 0.1-Oz Accessory for Camping in Rain

April 1, 2014

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and despite your best efforts water is leaking into your tent. To keep you and your gear dry, you need to get it out. And the only way to do that is to mop it up.

You could use a camp towel, sock, T-shirt, or bandana—and I’ve used them all over the years—but the single-best solution is an inexpensive sponge. You know the type, the small cleaning sponges that measure roughly 5 by 3 inches and cost a few dollars for a multi-color pack of four.

Dry, each one weighs less than a tenth of an ounce. Having one in hand makes it much, much easier to remove unwanted water from inside your tent.

An inexpensive sponge also makes it easier to deal with a wet rain fly after a night of rain or heavy dew.

First roughly shake the moisture off the rain fly while it is still attached to the tent. Then use the sponge to wipe up as much residual moisture as possible. While it’s impossible to get it completely dry, you can certainly remove significant moisture. This will help it dry faster if you have time (and rain-free weather), or save you from carrying extra water weight if you need to pack it up.

Soak it up.

One caveat on sponge selection. Do not use styles that have an abrasive side for scrubbing (most “kitchen” sponges), which can definitely wear the thin threads and fabrics on many of today’s tents.

Learn more about dealing with heavy rain:

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.