How to Make a Rain Cover

Written by toby pendergrass
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How to Make a Rain Cover
A homemade rain cover can protect your expensive equipment from weather damage. (Hiker Above Tarn/Mountain Lake image by Chris Gardiner from

A fun afternoon hiking or camping in the woods can become costly if a storm emerges and your camera or another piece of equipment is without adequate cover. While sporting good stores offer a variety of rain covers, many carry significant price tags. Making your own rain cover in advance of your next outdoor trek can be accomplished in two hours or less with relatively little expense.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Nylon fabric
  • Elastic cord
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Cord lock

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  1. 1

    Select an elastic cord and type of fabric. Your decision should be based on how much exposure your rain cover will receive. Light nylon is suitable for occasional outdoor use, while frequent exposure to harsh weather requires a stronger material.

  2. 2

    Estimate the amount of nylon your cover will need. Ideally, a rain cover should have at least 1 foot of clearance on all sides of the gear you plan to protect.

  3. 3

    Measure the circumference of your equipment in relation to the elastic cord. The cord should be slightly smaller than the frame so it will accommodate the frame, while still allowing enough tension to cover your gear securely.

  4. 4

    Cut nylon to the desired size with rounded corners. This will make it easier for the elastic cord to retain its shape.

  5. 5

    Iron creases into the nylon at a low temperature. The first crease should be about .20 inches from the edge to prevent unfolding. The second crease should be where you will sew a small sleeve or tunnel for the elastic cord to slide through with a snug fit.

  6. 6

    Sew your sleeve before threading the elastic cord. This will avoid broken needles that can result from attempting to sew the cord into the fabric.

  7. 7

    Thread the cord into the sleeve. Based on preference, this can be accomplished by going an inch at a time or faster by pressing a safety pin through the cord and then threading the pin through the tunnel.

  8. 8

    Pull both ends of the elastic cord through a small cord lock until they are evenly matched. The fabric also should be even, if possible. For a secure fit, tie a small knot to the end.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have nylon at home, visit a used goods store or flea market or check online.
  • Ask a tailor in your area to seam tape the lining of your rain cover to ensure your cover remains waterproof even in extended periods of wet weather.
  • Take a picture of your work both in the early stages and when complete to show family and friends.
  • Pinning the creases of your rain cover rather than ironing can result in the need to stop sewing periodically to remove the pins.

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