Not everyone gets a chance to camp in ideal weather; the outdoors can play a little rough too at any time. But do not let high winds ruin your plans. We cover up everything that you need to know about how to camp safely in high winds.
There are many ways to camp safely in high winds; make sure you pack a smaller tent, learn how to anchor stakes in the right way, tie the knot like a pro, stormproof your campsite, find a natural shelter, watch the weather, camp with your friends and prevent cooking inside your tent. What’s more? Here we bring help with pro tips to have safe and happy camp experiences.
You may be a total fresher to camping or a pro simply hunting for more tips. We have everything that you should be aware of to camp properly in high winds. If you ever feel jumpy about next camping in high windy conditions, read and find your safe move.
Pack a smaller tent- invest in a small, windproof tent
A tent is a shelter for you throughout your outdoor stay that needs the right investment. To camp in high wind conditions, you should pack a tent smaller in size and make sure it is wind-resistant.
When choosing a tent for camping, many of us prefer more spacious shelters with more comfort. They can be the best fit to camp in Joshua Tree but seems not the best for the backcountry of Olympic National park. The fact is, tents in larger sizes are best for comfort over performance in changing weather. But if you know you are going to heavy winds, these should not be your best pick.
To make your adventures successful in high winds, you need the right shelter. Pack a small tent that is just half dome or geodesic-shaped. You will probably find these in 2-person tents or up to 4-person bringing a wide choice in the camping gear market today.
Once you have an idea about the tent you are going to take into high winds, you should definitely prioritize on quality of your camping gear. Buy one to withstand windy conditions. Make sure you check for the wind rating under each product to know how much wind can a tent withstand.
Learn how to anchor stakes accurately
Getting your tent ready in windy conditions is far more important than in any other and anchoring the tent stakes is the key. Even though there are many different ways to anchor stakes when camping, all of them do not work when there are high winds. In fact, there is more than just simply sticking the tent stakes into the ground.
Make sure you place the stakes in the ground, oriented at a 45º angle away from the tent. This will keep your tent in the right place and will withstand a lot of force. And further, attach your guylines to trees, rocks, and big logs for ensured safety in windy conditions.
What to remember when pegging down and guy out your camping tent:
- Go according to the manufacturer’s directions when pitching the tent and set up with the pegs and guy ropes. The warranty of most of the tents usually invalidate when they are not properly secured and guyed out as with the provided guidelines
- Anchor the pegs at a 45-degree angle away from your tent than vertically to ensure extra strength to hold out the pressure of the wind may cause
- Angle the guy ropes at a 45-degree angle or even more if possible away from the pole to have extra strength
- Use pegs separately for each guy rope instead of attaching numerous guy ropes to one point
- For additional strength, peg out two guy ropes at awning corners that are at risk or seems weak
Become an expert in tying knots- Be a Pro
Tying knots like an expert is equally important as anchoring stakes. Tying the knots in the right way is vital as those who are unwell are possible to get undone in high wind conditions. If you are pro in tying knots, this going to be fairly easy when it winds.
To have a perfect knot, you do not have to be an expert. But having knowledge on knots like the bowline, the figure eight on a bight, the clove hitch, the trucker’s hitch, and the taut-line hitch is a big support to make camping life much easier.
Make sure you stormproof the campsite
In a nice and pleasant camping condition, it is quite usual to see camping gear everywhere outside in the campsite which is not a problem at all. For example, if you go to any campground in Yosemite National Park or similar, there is no strange in spotting camping chairs, tables, coolers like stuff everywhere around outside. But this can be a problem if it winds outside.
It is vital to be an expert in storm-proofing the campsite if you are going outside when it winds high. Make sure you keep all your camping gear in the backpack or inside the tent when every time they are not in use. Otherwise high winds can make your gear outside gone forever. Especially when you are in mountains, this is quite possible and never leaves a chance for your hiking boots to fly.
Weather is inevitable and in the middle of nowhere, the only protection for you is your tent. Here are some good tips to ride out storms away and stay dry and safe.
- Set up the camping tent accurately using all the poles included, peg points given, and guy ropes attached and use more if required
- To avoid as much as possible set up the tent in a sheltered spot
- Look for sand ridges, bushes, and trees, buildings, or other campers as caravans are the best windbreakers. Keep looking at the route of the wind set up the tent well sheltered
- Use additional guy ropes and pegs to protect your tent maximally from bad weather as guy ropes could drop the pressure off the tent poles and frame
- Drop down the awning poles and make your tent more wind-resistant
Note: If you are going to an area where you find a severe weather warning, you should thoroughly consider setting up your tent there. Instead, you can try if there is any shelter to take like a cabin, shed, or motel. With that, you can save your tent and also your holidays
Look for a natural shelter
Seeking a natural shelter is one of the best ways you can camp safely in high winds. This might not be a solution in every campsite especially a widely open terrain like in Death Valley National Park. But if you spare time to look for a campsite placed behind the cover of a treeline or a wide boulder can share the impact when it starts to howl.
If you are planning for winter camping, making a windbreak wall is a fine way to pay dividends. You can create a wall from snow to bring protection to your tent from harsh winds. The most important thing here is to try out anything to shield you from high winds rather than try nothing. Be extra wise when picking the right campsite.
Take some pro tips at the campsite:
- Look for a sheltered campsite
- Check well for trees around and verify the safety from movable or dead limbs that might collapse
- Face the minimum surface into the wind
- Keep the tent doors closed and make sure the main door is positioned away from direct winds
Check the weather forecast before you plan!
Heavy winds may come with no warning; but if you keep the eye on the weather, you can make yourselves prepared right.
To forecast the weather accurately, you need to have improved skills and a lot of experience outdoors, in mountains and everywhere. Especially, this develops with a lot of time you take and you need to focus.
Pay more attention to the clouds above and watch how they move to have a good idea about what is about to come. And if you see dark-colored cumulonimbus clouds which tend to bring harsh weather like hail, thunderstorms, and destructive straight-line winds. If you see any of the above, make sure you stormproof your campsite thoroughly.
Camp safely with friends and have more support
Camp safely in high winds is indeed challenging and if you have collective effort you can easily win. It is best to camp with friends in high windy environments as you can help each other if things get harder.
Camping with friends definitely makes a lot of things easier, especially when facing serious weather. Just think like setting up your tent when it winds high and has more hands to help with anchoring down guylines. So if you are planning a trip to the high mountains, ask your friends to join to have extra support not only in setting up the tent but to have a lot of fun throughout the journey.
Do not cook inside the tent- What to do when it winds outside?
When it winds outside, you may think bringing your camping stove inside the tent is the solution rather than fighting with winds outside. But do not! Strictly remember that you should not take your stove inside the tent at any time. This can make things worse than battling with the wind outside.
When using camping stoves they indeed produce carbon monoxide as a result of burning the camping fuel. This is normal and no problem when you are outside as carbon monoxide gets diluted by the air. But if you take the stove inside the tent, carbon monoxide can build up too dangerous. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning leading to a life-threatening state. Simply, never bring your camping stove inside the tent even if it is too bothersome to manage with cooking in windy outsides.
Remember to keep the cooking system outside, well sheltered, and properly monitored.
Note: Invest right in a stove with a windshield. If not, shop a windshield to your cooker separately to keep the efficiency of your cooking system even if it winds outside
Stay positive and pack a lot of entertainment
When it winds heavily outside, you will have to stick inside for longer. But you can still make your time calm and positive with the right entertainment. In most of the incidents, it howls for longer than expected and you have to be inside for an unexpected period of time. If you are a high enthusiast about getting active when camping, this type of incident could leave you too bored. But still, you can turn it into a fun time to spend some quality hours.
Do not forget to pack some camping games with you to keep yourself entertained during your stay and even if you have to be stuck up in your tent for longer. But if you are not a fan of camping games, you can bring a book, journal along with you to spend some quality time even when it howls outside. And here, never miss packing your camping headlamp to find no difficulty in reading even after the sun is gone.
Just forget fire
Most of us love spending time around the campfire when at camping; but that will not work if it winds around. Just like for every other thing in camping, you have some tips and tricks to have and maintain fire even if it winds like finding a low spot for pit and etc. But thinking from safety first, as with the chance for forest blaze with fuel around, avoid making fire when it winds and if you find no safety around. Even if the fire is one of the mains to do when camping, just forget if it is too windy.
Keep all your camping gear inside the tent
Storm proofing your campsite is one of the most important things to do when talking about how to camp safely in high winds and there we already consider the importance of storing your camping gear inside. This prevents the chance for your things to get fly away at the same time putting some extra weight to your shelter. If it extremely winds outside, some additional weight can benefit a lot to anchor the tent. Even if you are not inside, you can trust our gear to anchor your tent for you just to survive in a high gale. There, storing gear inside the tent not only secures them but also provides extra support to the tent to survive in winds.
And of course, remember to secure all your rubbish properly to keep your surroundings clean when it winds. And respect the local rules regardless of what unexpected weather you experience at your campsite.
Start a regular care routine
When high winds come, guy ropes and pegs may lose leaving you frightened about the security of your shelter. So it is vital to go through a maintenance routine to secure the campsite. Make sure you check in the morning and before the sun goes and also if you have left the tent for longer and returned.
- Clean up your site and reposition items as required
- Dispose your waste properly to the waste bins you will find in the campsites
- Keep checking the guy ropes, pegs, and stakes to add support to the structure and lessen the noise and possible damage from loosened panels
Get prepared for quick repairs!
If you know you are going to camp in high winds, you should definitely make yourselves ready for it. Even if you are going to stay for a single night, it is a must to pack your repair kit for your tent. Be familiar with the kinds of damages your tent could withstand in high winds and pack the essentials. Bring along a tent repair toolkit to sew and patch as you are required, duct tape, tent hubs, extra poles, and repair instructions as per need.
Just learn to accept
Each and every climatic change would feel differently when you are at the campsite. And if you have invested right in a quality, wind-resistant tent, so you can rest with no trouble when it howls outside just knowing you and all your camping gear are safe and will be in the same place even after.
Planning for camping is one of the most important things to review success in the end. And just as much as picking up the camping essentials, getting ready with camping foods, and things to do while camping, it’s needed to prepare for the potential bad weather. Especially if it says winds, you have to be prepared for it well as winds can be trickier. We hope you follow the tips to ensure all your plans go smoothly. So never let winds spoil your plans!