When it comes to camping in the wind, the first and probably best tip is, “don’t do it”. Of course, though, this isn’t always possible. Either there is no spot sheltered from the wind in the place where you would like to camp, or the wind picks up or changes direction after you have pitched the tent. Purveyors of camping supplies are aware of this problem. There are many wind-specific camping products that can help you brave your way through adverse conditions. After all, camping is all about going into nature – and nature is unpredictable.
However, while there are many circumstances where you just need to grin and bear the high winds if you want to get to sleep that night, there are other windy situations that can be dangerous. These are the ones to actively avoid. For this reason, learning when “windy” becomes “too windy” is all part of learning how to camp in the wind. The dangerous situations are pretty uncommon if you have the right equipment, but even more moderate winds can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Or at the very least, they could just ruin your chances of sleep that evening.
How Windy is Too Windy?
Before going on to a rundown of the best camping tips for windy conditions, it is worth first getting out of the way a point about judging whether the wind is safe or not. How can you do this? A good metric is to test whether it is actually too windy to get there!
Rollercam, a company specializing in cam buckle tie down straps for leisure pursuits, say that while the best fastening equipment can certainly secure a large object to your car, this does make it more difficult to drive in wind. As a rule of thumb then, if that canoe on the roof of your car makes driving in the wind perilous, then it is certainly too windy to camp – and you can know that before you even get there.
For those that want to be a little more exact, the weather forecast is the best bet. Twenty-five miles per hour is a good threshold figure. This is the wind speed at which large branches start moving and it becomes difficult to use an umbrella. You can think of your tent rather like a large umbrella – it will fair just as badly.
Tips for Camping in the Wind
Bring the Right Tent
And that doesn’t actually mean the most robust one. Rather, it means the most aerodynamic one. A large 4-person tent with a porch might be sturdy, but it is going to catch the worst of the wind. A dome shaped tent with a low peak is the best choice.
Bring a Tent Repair Kit
In practice, a tent repair kit for the wind must include two things – a replacement pole and some duct tape.
We mentioned that you might have to adapt to a lack of shelter, but where it exists you should certainly use it. Very often, you might notice a rock formation that could guard you from the wind, or you could aim to camp on the correct side of that nearby hill or mountain.
Pitch Your Tent Properly
Ideally, you should have a low dome shaped tent for wind. If not though, pitch it intelligently, angling any corners into the wind. If the tent is a pyramid shape, you should pitch it with the lower part facing the wind.
Camping in the wind is rarely ideal and you should avoid it if you can. Nevertheless, the hardiest campers out there know how to make it through when the winds pick up.