By Connie Jiang
The life of a busy woman, juggling family, work, a social life, and other obligations can be stressful and exhausting. Sometimes the perfect remedy for the soul is a relaxing weekend or vacation camping. In the highlands or in the woods, nature has a way of melting away stress and can be perfect for a retreat with your female besties or as a family-friendly excursion.
Camping, for this very reason, is why it is a loved activity for so many worldwide. It gives you the chance to get back to your roots, get away from the hustle and bustle, and connect with nature. But unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate. No matter how well you plan your camping trip, unpredictable weather can rear its ugly head and interfere with your outdoor activities.
This guide will provide you with tips on what to do when bad weather gets in the way of your camping trip.
How to Prepare for Thunderstorms and Rain while Camping
In order to make sure your camping trip goes as smoothly and as safely as possible, preparation and planning are key. Just like your mother told you (or mother in law you didn’t want to listen to) an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain.
The first step is understanding the possibilities. What is the weather like in the area this time of year? What types of storms does the area get? What is the forecast looking like for the dates you have planned. Staying up to date on the ever-changing weather patterns is crucial. Start researching weather a week or two in advance, and then periodically get updates all the way up to and including the day of the trip.
Based on projected (and potential) weather patterns, make sure to pack items that will ensure you’ll be comfortable. Pack at least one change of clothes that will ensure you stay warm (or cool) depending on potential climate changes.
This seems like a given, but in the excitement of preparation, many of us forget about the very real possibility of having to camp out in the rain. It’s important to not only keep yourself dry but your belongings as well, so they don’t get ruined. Invest in a heavy-duty tarp to use over your tent so that you will be properly sheltered in the event that rain clouds move in during your trip. Also, consider bringing waterproof bags so when you hear the first roll of thunder, you can seal up your belongings from rainy weather.
Even areas normally hot can drop dramatically in temperature at night and with rain or passing storm fronts. In fact, you have an increased chance of getting hypothermia while you sleep, so don’t go to bed cold and wet. Prepare for rainy nights by bringing an all-weather blanket, hand and foot warmers, and water-resistant clothing like a rain jacket that is lined with a heavy fabric like fleece. If your clothes get wet, hang them up so they’re nice and dry when morning comes.
Rain doesn’t always have to stop you from building a fire at night. Pack an emergency fire starter or waterproof matches and a torch-lighter so you can easily start a fire even in the wettest conditions.
Food preparation may also be difficult during bad weather. Consider packing food and planning for meals you don’t have to cook (like sandwiches and nonperishable items). Dried fruit, nuts, and beef jerky make for delicious and easy snacking. But if you’re a foodie and fancy a hot meal after a long day’s excursion, meal prep ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the wind, rain or lightening peeling vegetables.
Choose your Camping Location Carefully
Wind and rain can be an inconvenience when you’re venturing outdoors, but it can be even worse if you’re camping in an area prone to flooding. Before heading out, make sure you’ve picked a campsite that isn’t close to lakes, rivers, or ponds. If you get caught in a downpour, you don’t want to be camping next to a roaring river that starts to flood.
Make the Best of your Trip
In the midst of stormy weather, many individuals forget that the most important part of camping is to have fun! Don’t let the rain or bad weather ruin the mood. To make the best of your night, bring LED lights to hang around your campsite on trees or bush branches and make a cozy setting for you and your friends.
Go the extra mile and create an outdoor living room when you first arrive at your camping site. That way you can hunker down in the evening and not head straight to your tents. Creating a makeshift living room can be as easy as tying up a tarp above, and laying one on the ground. Then set out chairs and other items as needed. Bring card games, a battery-powered radio, and plenty of snacks for you and your friends to enjoy while you wait the rain out.
If All Else Fails, Head to the Car
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned when camping. It’s important to remember your safety comes first at all times, so if you can’t stay warm or dry throughout the night, it’s best to pack up and head to the car so you don’t risk getting hypothermia. Consider heading into town for a movie night at the theatre or a nice meal at a restaurant indoors.
With the right preparation, camping can be a wonderful life experience to spend alone or with friends and family. By planning ahead you can enjoy the best the outdoors has to offer even if bad weather creeps in.