It can be challenging to predict the weather before going on a trip. Things could change last minute to make you dread ever heading somewhere in the first place.
This is more likely to happen on camping trips than any other type of trip. Remote campsites on high elevations are more exposed to high winds and dark clouds. So, the weather's chance of worsening is greater than ever.
But what happens if strong winds start imposing on your trip?
How windy is too windy for you to continue your camping trip?
If you want to read more information on this topic, stick around for the rest of the guide. There will be many helpful tips you can follow whenever you deal with wind on a camping trip.
Table of Contents
What Is Considered Dangerously Windy?
Campers know that everyone should check all details of the weather forecast for the upcoming days when preparing for a trip. Those details include more than the temperature and the possibility of rain but also the predicted wind speeds.
But do you know which wind speeds are too dangerous for people? A general rule is that anything above 25 mph will be too uncomfortable to camp in. The same goes for other outdoor activities that do not include an enclosed area.
Anything that is above eight miles per hour is going to be okay, as that wind speed is only going to rattle the branches. This speed is not considered high wind speed, and anything above it will only become less and less comfortable.
If the wind speed reaches anywhere from 20 to 25 miles, you should explore your sheltering options and consider securing your tent. Otherwise, you will be left to the wind's will, and the wind is only sometimes the nicest towards campers.
So, it is wise to look into the forecast before going on a trip to ensure wind speeds will not exceed 25 mph. If the weather predicts dangerous winds, staying home and putting off the journey for some other time is better. I stress this because it is the best thing to do for your safety. And the safety of all those who will accompany you on the trip.
Is It Safe to Camp in High Winds?
Camping in high winds is not the most dangerous, but it can still be frightening and challenging. It will be best for you to avoid camping in high winds, but if you do not have that option, you can do a few things to stay safe.
One of the first things I want to mention is that you will need quality gear and an excellent spot to stay safe. While I will talk more about the equipment later, I want to tell you more about how you can make the most of your campsite on a windy day.
Choose a Good Location
To stay safe in high winds, you must ensure that your tent is set in the correct location. That location would be away from larger trees and the tops of cliffs. Stay closer to the ground, in a sheltered area, like under a cliff.
Remember that the initial position where you set the tent can be different throughout the trip. You can always move the tent if you suspect the light wind will turn into a strong wind.
Check for Rotting Branches
Staying safe on forested campsites is always more challenging because strong winds can break branches and trees. This is why, when setting camp, you need to check for any branches that you suspect could fall off the tree when the wind starts blowing.
Please do your best to remove such branches and set them far away from your tent. If they are unreachable, consider moving the tent under trees that seem safer.
Set the Tent in the Right Direction
Setting the tent properly can save you from a world of trouble. You need to set it the right way to avoid it being ripped from the ground by the winds. The winds can even damage the tent and make it unusable, leaving you to invest in a new tent should you want to camp again.
So, make sure that you follow this tip – set the tent with the lowest part or the smallest side turned to the direction of the wind. Ensure that the lowest part or side is not the one with the door. You will want to keep the door away from direct wind.
Another thing you should do is keep the door closed at all times. You can leave smaller windows open so the tent has enough ventilation. But the door needs to be zipped at all times.
Peg the Tent
Try using pegs and guy lines to pitch your tent well. The pegs need to be steel, or the wind will be able to rip them from the ground. Make sure you push the pegs into the ground at a 45-degree angle.
If it is impossible to set the tent like that, consider placing it behind a larger rock or cliff. You can also park a car in front of the tent to block the wind. Also, you can use a tarp for the same purpose. Anything is better than leaving things to chance.
Secure the Campsite
Finally, secure the campsite to the best of your abilities. Try to remove broken branches, put aside fallen branches, clear out the garbage, etc.
All these things could start flying around when the winds arrive, so it would be best to clear them out before the wind reaches the campsite.
How Do You Sleep in a Tent When It is Windy?
Sleeping in a tent on windy days can be challenging. When you hear the winds causing rumbles outside of your tent, it is understandable that you might feel a bit scared. But do not let that ruin your trip – try to make the most of the situation.
First things first, if there is a fire – put it out. If you have a cooker in the tent – place it outside and away from the tent. Make sure the cooker is off and cannot turn itself on.
Then, ensure that your tent is set according to the directions mentioned in the previous section. The door should not be facing the wind, whereas the smallest side of it should be. This is crucial to stay safe while sleeping in a tent.
Next, check the guy lines and pegs to ensure the tent is secure. As you enter the tent, zip the door and wait to open it until you hear the wind slow down.
In the meantime, use a second layer of clothing, a blanket, or a sleeping bag to keep yourself warm. Try to think positively and let the wind serve as white noise that will help you fall asleep faster. Usually, high winds do not last that long, so chances are it will all be over by the time you wake up.
Can You Be Blown Away in a Tent?
While it is not likely for the tent to fly away while you are inside of it, there is the possibility of the wind blowing the tent away while it is empty. Your body weight will keep the tent grounded, but if you choose to exit the tent, the wind will get to it fast.
Because of this, when camping, you need to have quality gear – most of all, a quality tent. The tent should be smaller, dome-shaped, and made with thicker and breathable materials. Look into famous manufacturers because investing in a good tent from a trusted brand is wise.
Next, you must ensure that you have a tarp you can use for protection. You can set and remove the tarp as needed. It is also essential to stake the tent and tarp using steel pegs that cannot bend and damage.
Finally, bring a tent repair kit with you. With you in it, the tent will not be blown away – but it can suffer some tearing and damage. Rain will leave you and your things exposed to moisture if the wind is accompanied by rain.
The tent repair kit does not cost that much and does not take up much space in a hiking backpack. You can use it if your tent suffers damage so that you leave yourself with sheltering options.
Tips for Camping in Windy Conditions
You will find many tips on camping in windy conditions as you go over various online guides. Any of them will help you stay safe when the weather takes an unexpected turn. I have covered some of them in this guide, but you deserve a few more tips. So, let’s look into other things you can do to stay safe in the case of high winds:
Once the winds start blowing, try to avoid moving around the campsite or looking for alternative campsites. It will be best to stick to your tent. If you go outside, you risk being carried away by the wind or hit by something that the wind has taken hold of. So, try to stay put.
Look for Alternative Shelter
If the winds are worse than you expected, you can try replacing your tent with another shelter. If there is a cliff you can hide under or some enclosed area like a store or bathroom – go into it. These areas could be safer than the tent because of their sturdier construction.
Offer Help to Others
If you see someone panicking or not knowing how to deal with the rain, go to them and share some advice. Have them join you in your tent and try to talk them out of their panicked state. Try to seek help or at least have someone know where you are so that they can help you if things worsen.
Try to Stay Positive
Finally, try to stay positive. Lay around the tent and think about what you could do to better the trip after the high winds go down. Consider listening to some music or reading a book. Anything could be better than making yourself feel like a sitting duck.
Thank you for reading this guide on camping trips in extremely windy conditions!
Please remember that it is crucial to check forecasts before trips, have quality gear, and set the equipment in the right spot to avoid problems. Once the winds come around, try to wait them out without panicking.
If you know of any other tips on camping in windy weather, please share them with me in the comments, and I will make sure to read them as soon as possible!