Super windy conditions can be incredibly frustrating when camping. They make it hard to set up your tent, leave you worried about it blowing over, and can make your walls annoyingly flap in the wind.
Fortunately, we’ve learned several tips over our years of camping that make dealing with high winds feel like a light breeze. In this article, we’ll discuss steps you can take to prepare for your trip, how to set up your tent in the wind, and upkeep tips to ensure it won’t blow away in the middle of your camping trip.
Camping effectively in windy conditions starts with being prepared for them before you go camping. Make sure that you check the following boxes before you leave for your camping trip.
1. Check the Weather Forecast
You won’t know how bad the wind will be unless you check the weather forecast beforehand. Once you know this information, you can come more prepared by, for example, bringing extra tent stakes and guy ropes if you see there are high winds.
If the weather is extremely windy, then it also might be smart to find another location or avoid camping that day altogether. That’s why it’s important to know the weather where you plan to camp.
2. Choose a Wind Resistant Tent
When it comes to withstanding windy weather, not all tents are created equal. If you expect there to be wind, then you should bring a smaller tent, as it will limit the surface area that could be caught by a large gust.
Along the same lines, you should opt for a dome tent over a cabin or other tent in windy conditions. The straight walls of a cabin tent do a poor job of deflecting wind, making them far more likely to blow over in strong winds.
3. Make Sure You Have the Necessary Gear
You won’t make it far camping in high winds unless you come prepared with the necessary gear. First, you should bring all of the available tent stakes and guy ropes that come with your tent, including the extras.
Also, windy weather can damage your tent even if you do a good job taking care of it, which means you should pack a tent repair kit in case anything breaks while camping.
Setting Up Your Tent
Pitching your tent properly is the most critical step to make sure it is secure in high winds. Follow the tips below closely if you want your tent to remain stable.
4. Pick a Protected Area
The wind is always the strongest out in the open, which is why you should set up your tent in a protected area to avoid the worst wind gusts. The best spot to set up is next to a large boulder or rock that at least partially blocks your tent from the wind.
You could also set your tent up next to a forest or a large collection of trees. If the wind has to get through them to reach your tent, you’ll be much more protected than you would in the open.
5. Don’t Pitch Under Large Branches
Camping near some trees is fine, but you shouldn’t set up directly under them, especially if they have large branches. Strong winds and storms tend to break branches off of trees, and they could fall on you or your tent if you’re not careful.
It doesn’t matter how strong your tent is either, it’s not built to withstand a 100-pound branch falling from 50 feet above you. Stay away from big tree branches if you don’t want to get hurt.
6. Face Your Tent Door Away From The Wind
Once you figure out what direction the wind is blowing at your campsite, you should face your tent so that the door will not be looking directly into it. This has multiple benefits for you.
First, if you’re camping in colder weather, this will reduce the amount of wind that goes into your tent or blows you in the face when you open the door.
Also, if you happen to get a strong wind gust right as you open your tent door, it could catch on the inside of your tent walls and blow it away. You can avoid this by facing it in a different direction.
7. Face the Narrowest Side of the Tent Towards the Wind
When you set up your tent, you should face the narrowest side (besides the front) in the direction that the wind is blowing.
Doing this will stop the wind from effectively catching against your tent walls, which will reduce its chances of suddenly blowing away.
8. Secure Your Tent As You Pitch It
Nothing is more frustrating than your tent constantly blowing away as you’re setting it up. That’s why you should stake it as you’re pitching your tent.
When you lay down the tent groundsheet, stake out one or two corners to partially anchor it into the ground. While you may have to adjust them later, this will hold your base in place while you set up the poles and the rest of the structure, saving you time in the end.
9. Stake Your Tent Properly
Staking your tent the right way is even more important in high winds, as you might watch your tent blow away if you do it wrong.
When you stake your tent, you should drive your stakes straight into the ground as deep as you can, and make sure that the guy lines are tightly secured around them for maximum stability.
10. Use All of Your Available Stakes and Guy Ropes
While it takes a few extra minutes, windy weather is no place to skimp on the number of places you stake your tent. Each one you add will further increase how strongly it’s anchored to the ground.
If your tent has an available stake loop, then you should use it. The extra support will give you peace of mind when you’re away from your tent during the day.
Other Tips For Camping in High Winds
While a well-pitched tent is a great start, you always have to be on alert if you’re camping in consistently high winds.
11. Keep Your Camping Gear Inside The Tent
Especially when you’re not inside your tent, it’s a good idea to weigh it down with something during the day. The extra mass will keep it anchored to the ground and reduce the chances of your tent blowing away.
You should keep camping gear like boots, your backpack, or a cooler inside your tent, along with anything else you can fit in there while still sleeping comfortably. This will also help keep those items from blowing away as well.
12. Check Your Tent Condition Daily
If you’re camping for multiple days, you should know that high winds can dislodge your stakes and loosen your guy lines over time. Every morning, you should take a lap around your tent to make sure that everything is still anchored in there properly.
If anything has come loose, fix it up to keep your tent secure.
As long as you come prepared, a bit of windy weather doesn’t have to ruin your camping trip.
Do you have any other tips for camping in windy conditions? If you do, please let us know in the comments below. Happy camping!
If you’re using stakes and guy lines like we recommend, the average dome tent can withstand winds of up to 40 miles per hour. This drops to about 20 miles per hour if you’re camping in a freestanding tent.
Listening to your tent flapping in the wind is no fun, but it’s hard to stop completely. The best way to limit the noise is to keep your guy lines tight. This will keep the tent walls taut and stable, limiting how much they can flap around in the wind.
Carl is a content writer for The Camping Buddy, specializing in informational camping articles and product reviews. Carl has been a freelance writer for outdoor news sites while spending his time backpacking across the world. His favorite camping spot is Malaekahana Beach in Hawaii.