As fun and enjoyable an experience as camping is, it can also be challenging, especially when the wind starts to blow. Pitching your tent in the wind requires some extra effort and technique to ensure your shelter stays secure and safe, and avoids the potential for broken equipment! Below are some tips to help you pitch your shelter in windy conditions.
Choose a sheltered location
The first thing to look for when pitching in windy weather is a spot that is sheltered from the wind as much as possible. A row of trees, rocks, or hills can act as a windbreak and will provide some protection. Make sure to pitch your tent with the side that faces the wind against the windbreak.
Consider using a windbreak
If the wind is particularly strong, consider creating a windbreak. Natural windbreaks as described above are fantastic, however you can also create your own windbreak in addition to this. The best way of creating your own windbreak is by using a tarp shelter. Remember to position the windbreak on the side facing the wind to provide maximum protection.
Note: Although creating a wall of rocks can be a great windbreak, please remember that it is always best to avoid moving any large rocks or boulders that you find to ensure that you leave no trace.
Warning: Never pitch your tent next to a tree during a storm!
As the Scouts say, always be prepared! In case the wind is too strong, it’s important to have a backup plan in case you need to relocate or take down your tent. Trying to relocate to a better location is usually always the best thing to do to avoid damaging your shelter!
Bring along extra stakes and guylines, and have a plan in place for how to quickly pack up and move if necessary.
Position your tent wisely
Position your tent so that the narrow end or back is facing into the wind gusts. This will help reduce the surface area exposed to the wind and prevent you from being blown away.
Stake your tent down
Staking down is critical in windy weather. Make sure to use stakes that are long enough and sturdy enough to hold your shelter in place. Place the stakes at a 45-degree angle away from the tent, with the hook facing away to provide the most resistance against strong winds.
Pictured: MSR Groundhog Tent Stake
If the ground is too hard to stake, consider using sandbags or rocks to anchor your tent.
Most tents come with guylines, which are cords attached to the tent that can be secured to the ground using stakes. Use these to further secure your tent in windy conditions. You can also attach additional guylines to your tent and stake them down at a 45 degree angle from the tent.
Pictured: MSR Tindheim 3
Similar product: MSR Tindheim 2
Adjust the tension
This bit is really important! Adjust the tension of your guylines and stakes to ensure your tent is taut and secure.
Too much tension can damage the fabric or tent poles, while too little tension can cause the tent to flap around in the wind.
Use a firm but gentle pull to get the right tension.
Pitching a tent in the wind can be challenging, but with the right techniques and preparation, it is possible to secure your shelter and enjoy a comfortable camping experience. Remember to choose a sheltered location, consider using a windbreak, stake your tent down, use guylines, adjust the tension, and always be prepared for anything! (We do suggest you check the weather forecast before camping though!).