You planned your camping adventure for weeks, maybe even months, only to end up huddled in your tent as a thunderstorm pummels the area. Camping is all about rest, relaxation, and enjoying the great outdoors, so when things don’t go according to plan, it can ruin the whole weekend for everyone. Here are some things you can do that, while they might not guarantee a perfect weekend, will go a long ways to ensure that everyone has a good time.
Check the Weather
Any time you head into the backcountry, it’s important to check on the weather conditions in the area. I like to use Weather Underground®, which gives a five-day forecast, along with a wealth of additional information. I particularly like their WunderMap™ feature, which shows the weather stations in the local area. The map is interactive, so you can click on individual weather stations to see detailed information – very slick!
Monitor Changing Weather Conditions
I have previously praised the Eton FR500 Solarlink weather radio for its ability to solve multiple problems (weather radio, AUX-in Jack, alarm clock, gadget recharger, etc.). When you’re in the backcountry, a weather radio can notify you of weather warnings, forecasts and other emergency information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Note that in order for weather alerts to make any sense to you, you’re going to have to know where you are. The alerts will tell you where the weather is heading and what counties will be affected.
Weather can change quickly, so it’s important to always be prepared for changing conditions. This means raingear and an extra layer of warm clothes for everyone, even in the middle of summer. It also means that when positioning your tent on the campsite, look for potential avenues of water runoff, and hazardous overhead branches that could come down in a heavy storm.
Remember, the smartest person in the campground is the local Ranger, so don’t be shy about asking for advice. He, or she, knows exactly what your campsite looked like the last time a thunderstorm came through and can be an invaluable resource in recommending a location for your tent that’s out of harm’s way.
What about you, are you riding-out that rain storm or loading-up the car and heading for home?