There are a few attractive reasons for setting a tent under a tree, but there are also a few of them why this is not a good idea, and one is if it rains.
If you set up a tent under a tree, you may have a pleasant shade. This will make the atmosphere in the tent cooler, and you will also have space around to sit in the shade. These are very good reasons for having the tent under trees.
But in the case of rainstorm combined with winds, there may be danger of falling debris from the trees. Lightning is yet another reason to be concerned. In addition to this, there may be droppings from birds and other animals falling from the trees, as well as sap from some sorts of trees. So it is important to choose wisely.
Advantages of setting up the tent under trees
If you have ever been in a tent that is under direct sunlight, then you know it is like in an oven. So when you see the top picture above, you can easily understand why it is great to have a tent under such trees.
Otherwise, the tent is useless during the day, and you will also wake up when the sun is up. You will also not have place around to sit in the shade.
I am a mountaineer and this means most of the time above tree line. So when I get back to the tent or to the car, the only two things in my mind are i) shower, and ii) shade. Of course none of it is available.
So it is easy to give general advises to avoid trees with your tent, and you will find them plenty on the Internet, but the reality is against this. Frankly speaking, I doubt that those advises come from people who have been in tents.
Some possible downsides of having a tent under trees
If you know for sure that there will be rain all the time during your camping, then this is your bad lack, and it may make sense avoiding trees.
There are some reasons that are mentioned above. Indeed, falling limbs from old trees in the case of wind and rain is a real danger. They are heavier and softer when soaked with rain. So make sure you choose carefully when you set the tent under a tree.
It appears that birds love to poop on tents. This may be annoying and harmful, this in particular for canvas tents. If the poop stays there long, it can be difficult to wash it out. Trees may also be infested with caterpillars, and in such an environment the tent will be covered with droppings.
One additional annoying detail about having a tent under trees. I was recently in the Alps, and my tent was under pines similar to the picture above. In fact, you can see it here below and more about the tent you will find in my review.
When the ground is wet, those pine needles on the ground stick on shoes and slippers and you cannot get rid of them. They also fall from the trees on the tent and remain there. But the good thing is, when it all dries, they are all gone from the tent. But meanwhile, you may have lots of them in your tent where you brought them on your shoes and sleepers.
So, you remember the starting question from the title, is it good to set up a tent under a tree if it rains? I would rather see this issue from a different perspective.
No matter what some may claim, if I can chose, I would never set the tent up under a direct sunlight. Such a camping would be a misery. If you do not take this as a fact, go and try it. So my tent would be under trees or close to them.
Now, is this optimal and without possible dangers if it rains? You have seen some arguments above, therefore the answer is no. But would I move the tent if I realize that it is going to rain? The answer is again no. I would rather choose my tent’s position carefully in the first place.
Note also that, to have a shade, the tent does not necessarily have to be directly under trees. Perhaps you can choose such a position that the trees are on your south side and you will have shade most of the time during the day when the sun is at its highest position. In such situations even small trees can provide a pleasant shelter from the sun.
Let me know what you think, there is a comment box below. Check also my text about tent poles. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.