Camping when the wind is gusting around you is not all bad. Yes, it’s a minor irritation, but if your tent does not succumb to the relentless forces the wind generates, then there is still a lot of indoor fun to be had. There are certain factors though, that will ensure your tent stays intact and lasts until the wind dies down once again.
Here are our top 10 tips to ensure you beat the wind:
- The first thing to do is to check the weather forecast. Nobody wants to have to survive a hurricane if they don’t need to. If the weather forecast predicts severe weather, at least you can prepare for such conditions beforehand or postpone the trip.
- The more robust your tent the better. On the other hand, it is not necessary to have the most expensive tent. Common tent brands are tested rigorously in a variety of conditions, including high winds. Pegging down the tent correctly is the best way to secure it and prevent unwanted damage. There are short pegs, long pegs, even spring-loaded storm pegs, and storm straps. Be a good scout by being prepared for whatever nature has up her sleeve.
- If you arrive at the campsite and have a choice of camping stands, then we suggest you do a small reconnaissance of the area to find the campsite that offers the most shelter from the wind. Camping stands set on higher ground or hills are usually more prone to wind.
- Using any natural windbreaks is another way to reduce the effects of high wind. Sand mounds, hedges, thick bush, and even small buildings will act as natural windbreaks. Parking your car side-on to your campsite will also help alleviate some of the wind.
- Take note of the wind direction and pitch your tent with the entrance facing away from the main thrust direction of the wind. This way the wind is buffeted down the sides and over the top of the tent, leaving the area in front of the tent’s entrance and the awning area relatively free of wind.
- Pitching a tent in windy conditions can be incredibly difficult, so get the whole family involved. Everyone needs to work together to hold the tent down while pegs are hammered into the ground to secure it. Remember to hammer in the pegs at about a 45-degree angle for the best hold. A good rubber mallet and strong metal tent pegs are suggested.
- Put the poles together and slot them into their various sleeves. Extra guide ropes and tie-downs can also be used for added stability. Use all the available guide ropes on your tent, as modern tents generally have lots of guide ropes.
- With stand-alone tents fitted with sewn-in groundsheets, it is a good idea to put the heavy camping gear, such as a camping fridge, in the corners – for extra anchorage. If the wind is strong enough to lift the tent with the fridge in it, then it might be advisable to pack up and go home. Weighty cooler boxes and other heavy camping equipment can also be placed in the corners of the tent for added stability.
- Cooking can be done inside the tent if space allows, but care needs to be taken when cooking with gas in enclosed spaces without the proper ventilation and, of course, there’s the threat of fire. If you don’t feel comfortable cooking with gas, then a single plate cooker with an induction top, that plugs in via an extension lead to the power source at the campsite, is the way to go. Alternatively, take your spouse out for a drive and have dinner at a restaurant in the area.
- Camping should always be fun and exciting but if the wind reaches levels that are making your holiday a misery, it might be time to pack up and head for different hills. Motorhome and caravan owners can simply retire indoors. Camping in the wind doesn’t have to be a chore but rather, with a little planning, it can be a lot of fun. On a recent trip we did, the wind was howling at around 80km/h but this did not deter my partner and me. We pitched the tent, facing away from the prevailing wind and brought our camping chairs inside the zipup atrium part of the tent. With a small table between us and coffee on the go on the gas stove, we chatted happily for hours, playing board games, reading, and spending time on Facebook until we turned in for the night. There is something very special about sleeping in a secure tent while the wind lets loose around you.