Camping, whatever the weather
June, 22 2018
You can go camping all year round but that also means you can be confronted with a whole range of different weather conditions. Even at the sunniest destinations the weather can suddenly change and you could find yourself in the middle of heavy rainfall or a hail storm.
I can still remember times at the campsite when the weather took a turn for the worse. Like the time my father and I hung on the flaps of the tent canvas to stop the wind getting under the tent and blowing it into the valley. And there was that time nearby Granada when it was so hot that the campsite opened the swimming pool in the middle of the night so that everyone could cool down. But what can you do if you are faced with extreme weather conditions at the campsite? This time I will be looking at camping during heavy rain, storms and gusty winds. Next time, you can read more about cold and extreme heat during your camping holiday.
When the heavens open
Before setting up it is a good idea to check that you aren’t putting your tent or caravan on a steep slope, because if you are, water can run straight into your awning or tent. It is a classic novice mistake but still worth mentioning. Once it is raining do not touch the tent canvas and make sure the outer layer of the tent does not hang on top of the inner tent layer through the weight of the water. If that happens, there’s a big chance water will leak in.
If you are setting up your tent in the rain make sure you get the tent out of the car first, so that the rest of your camping equipment stays dry. If need be, walk back and forth to the car a few extra times. But, if you have the chance, it is better to simply wait to set up the tent until it’s dry.
A bit of rain is not all that bad, there is still plenty to do. But if it rains so badly that the water stays in the tent, then there is little else you can do than to dig a little ditch alongside your tent so the water can run away.
Thunder and lightning
The crucial question is of course, are you safe in a tent, trailer tent, caravan, or motorhome in a storm? If you are in a tent or trailer tent you are advised to sit in your car or go to the campsite reception or campsite restaurant during extreme storms. If you are in a caravan or motorhome with aluminium outer walls, you can stay put. Do keep the windows and doors closed, but as storms are usually accompanied by rain you will have probably closed them already.
There are a number of things you can consider when setting up your tent or parking your caravan. Do not put your tent or caravan etc. on the highest point of the campsite. Lightning always strikes the highest point. But also take care that you are not at the lowest point of the campsite. If it rains hard then all the water will run to the lowest point of the campsite. You are also better avoiding pitches next to metal fences and poles.
If heavy storms have been forecast and you can see them on the horizon, then you are advised to disconnect the electrical connections and store them away. You are also advised to disconnect the antenna connection.
Strong winds can also be an annoying factor and can cause a lot of damage. If the wind really picks up it is sensible to roll up the awning or even remove it (also on caravans or motorhomes). You can opt to use extra storm lines or storm straps. Do keep in mind that the tent canvas must be pulled as taut as possible to prevent it flapping and ripping.
More about extreme weather conditions next time: extreme heat or cold. And if you have any tips or want to share your experiences then please do below.