When the Sun Don’t Shine

“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.”

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What happens when it rains? Well, you put on your rain gear and just keep pedaling. And in all honesty, it’s not that bad cycling in the rain – sometimes it’s even a lot of fun! But the camping? Well… That’s a whole different story.

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It’s not exactly pleasant setting up a wet tent in the pouring rain, especially when your tent is already full of puddles from the night before. And it’s especially unpleasant crawling into an already wet tent, in your wet clothes, while it’s raining. In fact, that whole scenario is quite miserable and after days on end, can become disheartening. We both have good rain pants and jackets which keep up dry throughout the day, but even more importantly, we have a tent which keeps us dry at night. And perhaps just as important as a good waterproof tent and sleeping bag are the dry clothes you get to change into once you are in your tent, clothes that no matter what you don’t wear outside because dry clothes are key to survival (if it’s that cold out) and comfort.

Here is our sad attempt at “drying out” our tent during a five minute rain-free break a few days ago here in Georgia.

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Another problem can be cooking, though Kevin and I don’t mind this one as much. Since we normally cook right after we stop cycling for the day, we just stay out in the rain until our food is ready, at which point we bring our hot food into the tent to eat. Though we are trying to move away from cooking in the morning (it’s so much faster to eat something like bread which doesn’t require the stove or clean up), when we do have to cook during a rainy morning, Kevin usually does so in the vestibule so we can cook and eat from our dry sleeping bags.

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We also often try and find some kind of shelter, be it trees we can hang our tarp from, a little bus stop we can cook in, or an abandoned house/shepard’s hut we can sleep in to get out of the rain. This one was taken in Ladakh right after we completed a Himalayan pass. We were so relieved to find this shepard’s hut because we were so cold and wet and the ground all around us was covered with snow.

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With our amazing sticks (which we use as kick stands, to chase dogs, and as a “selfie” gopro stick), the tarp which is usually under our tent, and two pieces of rope, Kevin is able to build us a shelter just about anywhere!

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And on this rainy night we were able to use our tarp as the roof on a rocky Himalayas shepard’s hut.

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Though we could have done without the wet tent, we enjoyed some of the cloudy views this very wet week brought.

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And then once the sun comes out, it’s time to dry everything out!

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Our least favorite part about living in the rain for days on end is the fact that we can never dry out our boots, so our poor little feet spend all day soaked. Though we put on a different pair of clean dry socks every morning, it does no good because within minutes they too are soaked. Spending 24/7 in the rain can be tough, though in all honesty, we both prefer it to the sweltering 45C+ heat we experienced last month!

4 thoughts on “When the Sun Don’t Shine

  1. Back in 1985, my bf and I were touring for 6 months by motorbike, and your story brought it all back….getting soaked through….wet clothes…… wet tent….wet ground….trying to find shelter…abandoned shacks in the Austrian alps….terrible at the time….but you look back at how much fun it really was!
    I was thinking of you guys during that few days of absolutely torrential rain!

  2. Pingback: Surviving Winter On the Bike | The Wandering Nomads

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