Tent Camping in Incelement Weather

News & Tips: Tent Camping in Incelement Weather

To say that I love tent camping would be a big time understatement. I live in Idaho so a majority of my hunting and fishing spots are hours from a town. Or some of my favorite fly fishing spots I may have to drive five hours to get to and then hike in another four hours. If I drove into town every night to sleep I'd never get any fishing time. So I pack along a tent and I'm good to go.

TentsInclementWeather blog
If the wind feels like it's going to blow your tent over and you have no place to tie off your tent to, try placing some rocks inside the tent instead.

Just the other day I had a spot I wanted to hit on the Idaho/Oregon border and someway connived my lovely wife to go along. It was going to be a low-key fishing trip. Fish until late in the night, go stumble into our sleeping bags and then I'd wake up early and do a little fishing while Katy slept in.

When I get out camping I forget all my worries...until I get a torrential downpour or gale-like winds. That can make tent camping rough, but still, you can compensate. A lot of people dig a trench around the uphill side of their tent so runoff runs around the tent.

And a lot of my buddies stretch a tarp over their tent to help further protect them from rain and to keep water from running off the tent and in under it. This works well on canvas wall tents.

I guess everyone knows that it helps preserve your tent floor if you pick up the sticks and rocks before you set up your tent. This also makes for more comfortable sleeping. It also helps protect your tent floor if you lay out a tarp before you set up plus it keeps ground moisture from seeping up into your tent.

But something that I also started doing years ago after a tough elk hunt is to also lay a tarp on the inside of my tent. On this particular elk hunt I got slammed. I woke up two or three times with the roof of my dome tent in my face due to a heavy wet snow. I'd have to tap the ceiling so as to make the snow slide off.

At the end of the day I'd drag back to camp wet and tired. I'd go in my tent to undress and snow would fall off my boots/pant legs and wet the floor. I laid out a tarp under my cot and covered 3/4's of the floor of my tent and undressed on the open spot. That way the snow/water stayed in the corner and the rest of the tent was dry.

Wind can be tough. So what do we do in windy conditions? First off you must buy a sturdy tent. I love my Alps Mountaineering Lynx model tent. If it's super windy but not raining or cold you may want to leave the rainfly off as it catches a lot of wind and will blow you over.  

If you're near trees or brush, tie off to them to help stabilize you. Be careful though. Notice all those dead limbs lying around? High winds is what caused them to fall. You don't want them to fall on you while you're sleeping. So don't camp under dead trees, especially in windy conditions.

So back to my camping trip yesterday. Wow, the winds were howling down the Snake River Canyon up above Hells Canyon. We could barely set up the tent. There was some close brush but it was whipping in the wind like a noodle so we couldn't tie off to it.

I noticed there were a lot of big rocks (that's why they're called the Rocky Mountains). Katy said, "Let's set some of them in the tent," so I set a half dozen along the inside wall and that held it in place great. We didn't take cots so we were sleeping on the ground and the tent was still bending over and hitting us. So it was blowing. But, it held up.

If the wind is jerking your stakes out of the ground and it's blowing too hard to tie the line off to a rock, you might just try putting rocks in the tent. As hard as it was blowing I think that it would have snapped off my poles anyway if I had of snubbed them off to a tree.

Well, next time you hit some bad weather you try a few of these tricks and see if they help...it's better than setting in town!