All Weather Camping – Staying Cool Or Warm
Camping is time for fun and relaxation. Being prepared for various weather conditions is a major priority. Knowing what weather conditions you will be exposed to, will help you plan the needs of your camping trip.
Lets Take A Look At All Weather Conditions And See How To Prepare
Depending on your location, temperatures can vary by quite a wide margin. You should have some indication as to what the temperatures will be while on your camping holiday. The best place for this information is NOAA. You should also visit your states website to find average temperatures for that time of the year.
Warm / Hot Weather – How To Keep Cool
Camping in hot weather is not only very uncomfortable, but also very risky to one’s health. If you plan to go camping and the weather seems to be uncontrollably hot, you have to be extremely considerate towards many important aspects that can save your experience and make it more memorable. Check out these simple tips for camping in hot weather.
1. Make Shade Your Number One Priority
When the weather is hot, shade should definitely be your number one priority. Setting up your tent near some big trees is ideal. But, if your camping site does not have many trees, you should always consider bringing some umbrellas with you, or hanging a large cloth/tarp above your tents. Once the sun will not be directly beating on them, the tents will remain significantly cooler, which will make you feel more comfortable than you’d normally feel in these conditions.
2. Keep the Air Circulating
Beyond shadow, you need air – lots of air when it comes to hot weather. Bring along a battery-powered fan for each tent, so you can make sure that the air will be cool enough for you to breathe normally and avoid nausea, headaches, vomiting and similar side effects of excessive sun exposure. One of the best tips for camping in hot weather is removing your tent’s rain fly, which will allow the night breeze to successfully enter the tent and cool the air. If you have some money to spare you can also opt to buy a small tent air conditioning unit which can be pricey and require electric.
3. Bring More Water Than Necessary
When the weather is hot, you will find yourself drinking more water than usual. When the sun is beating down, even the lightest activity can lead to dehydration, which is why you should have plenty of water with you. It is important to drink water almost constantly to prevent dehydration, which can further damage your body’s delicate balance. You should also be aware of signs of dehydration like dry mouth, headache, confusion and dizziness.
4. Dress Properly
Dressing properly for excessive summer heat is critical to your well-being and also one of the best tips for camping in hot weather, so give up those long pants in favor of shorter ones. Choose breathable fabrics and light colors, and never forget that applying sunscreen every two or three hours will help prevent you from getting sun burnt. Wearing hats or sun visors are also recommended.
Cold Weather – How To Stay Warm
- Keeping warm on cool days is fairly simple too.
- Building a campfire is simple and provides plenty of warmth.
- Wear heavyweight clothing, made from materials such as Wool or windproof fabrics with insulation such as Thinsulate.
- If you have electricity available, a portable heater can keep your tent warm and cozy. Use electric heaters with extreme caution, keep away from all fabrics and combustibles.
- Use a 4 season tent, these tents are designed for year round use and usually feature things like a full coverage fly and seams that are tape sealed.
- Keep tent window flaps closed, some fresh air is needed to keep moisture from building up inside your camping tent.
- Propane heaters produce high amounts of heat but should not be used indoors or inside tents.
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water or coffee. Warmed fluids will also help keep you warm.
- A sleeping bag rated to temperatures you encounter will keep you sleeping through out the night.
- Exercise by walking in place or pushups can get your body warmed quickly.
- Snuggle with your pet. Animal fur is always a good way to stay warm.
Innovative Gear For Cold Weather Camping
Cold weather camping gear these days is getting more and more innovative, which means that you can more safely enjoy a camp trip in any kind of weather. Many of the latest and greatest camping supply companies have created some unique types of gear just for sleeping out in freezing or even below freezing temperatures. Here’s what you should know about a few different items that are great for the outdoor enthusiast when it’s particularly chilly outside:
Four Season Tents
These days, a tent isn’t just a piece of canvas you sling over a branch to keep the rain off. Instead, if you’re planning to do plenty of winter camp trips, it’s important to invest in a four season tent. These tents include many features that help prevent problems no matter what the weather is like during your trip. For wintertime trips, it’s especially important to get a tent with cold-crack tested windows and aluminum poles that won’t get brittle even in the worst weather. Plus, you might need separate snow stakes for your tent so that you can stake it out on top of a drift in the mountains.
We’re getting better and better at making clothing from synthetic fibers that is created for a certain purpose. Some synthetics keep you cool when it’s hot out, and others keep you warm when it’s freezing. One of the best innovations is synthetic underwear and outerwear. These new fibers are more insulating and water-resistant than cotton, but they aren’t itchy like wool can sometimes be. Synthetic clothing is great for cold weather camping because you can layer it so that you don’t freeze but so that you also aren’t sweating, which is a big contributor to frostbite.
Coleman Tent Heater
Coleman has long been one of the premier names in camping of all sorts, so a Coleman tent heater is sure to be a great addition to your list of gear for your trip. They offer a couple of good options for any budget including their “BlackCat” series and “SportCat” series. A portable heater that’s safe to use in enclosed spaces can make it easier to keep the inside of your tent comfortably warm, which is particularly important for when you’re sleeping. This is especially important if you don’t sleep well when totally bundled up in a sleeping bag, because you won’t have to be completely zipped up when the inside of your tent is warmed from your Coleman tent heater.
You might not think of food as one of your essential pieces of gear for an outdoor-outing when it’s freezing outside, but it really is. Because your body will be burning so many calories to stay warm, you’ll need to be even more careful about packing enough food on a wintertime trip than you would in the summer. Plus, if you happen to get lost or otherwise delayed, you will be much less likely to be able to find edible food in the middle of nowhere. Freeze-dried foods using the latest technology are easy to prepare and are a simple way to ensure that you’re getting enough calories on your trip.
Other Things To Know Related To All Weather Camping
How To Start A Fire In Wet Weather
Common sense would tell you that this is not possible to start a fire in wet weather but, in reality, fires can be made and sustained in almost any type of weather. Open fires, particularly with alternative or little means, is something that takes practice. Doing it with wet wood is an art form that requires special considerations. And maintaining a fire when it is raining takes more practice than anything. To learn How to Start a Fire in Wet Weather, continue reading.
Starting a fire
Our sedentary habits make us seek shelter and cover up when it rains, and therefore you aren’t as eager to start campfires at such times. However, when you are in a survival situation this may be exactly what you need after a bad rain or storm. If you are completely soaked and it is becoming cold, learning how to start a fire on wet ground can be a lifesaver. Of course, the rules of survival imply that you must achieve the following before starting a fire:
- If you want to know how to make a fire in wet location, make sure you are out of reach of any immediate dangers. For instance, if you are walking in the mountains or on hilly terrain – that is, at higher altitudes – and you are exposed to wind and rain or snow, the first thing to do is get out of the situation you’re in. If this is not possible, then you must try to build a shelter, but the best is always descend towards a flat surface, preferably under trees. Undoubtedly, where you see abundant vegetation, you will also have fuel for the fire.
- Look under rocks, in caves and crevices and under large logs: These are sites that tends to preserve dry matter when all else is wet. Furthermore, if rain is a problem, it is vital you look for dry fuel. You can get leaves, twigs, etc. in the most unlikely of places.
- Empty your pockets and look inside your backpack: Maybe a dry combustible material is available and will help you start a fire.
- Remove the moist materials: If you are on damp land, you might need to dig a bit to find some leaves and twigs. You can also contact your local fire department for tips on how to start a fire in wet conditions.
Starting a fire in the rain is like doing the same on a dry surface. The only difference is that you will have to take extra precautions and may need to make several attempts to stabilize the flames. Just remember that safety should come before all else.
Now, How Can You Anticipate The Weather Changes Before They Happen While Camping?
When camping you are vulnerable to the elements, but don’t let that scare you off. You have all the tools in nature to predict upcoming bad weather, allowing you to be prepared at anything that mother nature throws in your direction. These survival tips are great for everyone, of all ages, and fun to learn. Predicting upcoming weather is not only a great skill when out living it up in the great outdoors, but it could save your life someday. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Great weather predicting comes with experience. With time the subtle cues of your environment will be picked up by your subconscious awareness and you will be predicting without even knowing how. Camping is the perfect environment to sharpen your survival skills of weather prediction. You could even make a game out of it for the whole family. First one to accurately predict the weather is free from dish duty for the day and gets served first every meal.
Methods Of Operation
There are several great indicators that help you to predict weather change.
The wind can be a very accurate predictor of changing weather. If the wind increases or changes direction, the conditions around you are changing. Be very aware. If the wind changes dramatically than there is usually a great change of weather on the way.
Sun & Moon
If a circle forms ’round the moon, It will rain soon – This circle or ring around the sun or moon is called a halo. A ring around the sun or moon means that precipitation, usually rain is on the way. The ring is created when tiny ice particles in fine cirrus clouds scatter the light of the moon and the sun in different directions.
Red skies at night, sailor’s delight; red skies at morning, sailors take warning – This old saying that you have probably heard a time or two has great validity. When the morning sun turns the sky a crimson red, it is often an indication that low pressure is bringing precipitation and a storm is on the way. A red sky at dusk indicates that the next day will most likely be just fine. The sun is just happily shining through the dust particles. Delight in it, as the sailors do.
The animals themselves are known to be great meteorologists – Animal behavior can be remarkably accurate in predicting weather, from temperature, precipitation and storms to the severity of the upcoming winter. The American Indians have observed animals for centuries and predicted weather with accuracy based on these observations. Animals are more likely to react to changes in the environment. They pick up on subtleties that we often do not and they sense the movements in air pressure. Movements in air pressure precede all weather changes.
Birds flying high in the sky usually indicate a nice, clear day – Most birds tend to fly lower to the ground just before a rain, especially insect-eating birds. This is true especially with the insect-eating birds called swallows. They fly lower because the insects are also flying lower. Insects can only fly as high as the air pressure (barometric pressure) allows them to and the swallows go where ever the food is.
Some water birds also fly low across the water when precipitation is on the way.
Seagulls are very sensitive to barometric pressure changes. Often seagulls return to land when the air pressure (barometric pressure) drops, signaling stormy weather approaching.
Bees and butterflies disappear just before it is going to rain. They sense the drop in barometric (air) pressure and will instinctively seek the cover of their nests and homes.
Most animals become very quiet just before it rains.
Some Native American tribes say that the snowfall in the upcoming winter is predicted by the snowshoe hare, otherwise known as the varying hare. If the hares leave very wide footprints in the fall, these extra-furry hind feet are a sign of heavy winter snowfalls that are on the way.
Another belief of some Native American tribes is that black bears predict severe winter weather by sleeping farther away from the den opening than usual. During fall, prior to a mild winter, the black bear will sleep close to the den opening. I would not go looking for any black bears while camping though, to predict the upcoming winter. It is best to avoid bears if possible, although they rarely attack, at times they do. When pressed, they usually retreat, even with cubs. Remember to keep your food in a safe place back at camp, such as the trunk of your car, to avoid them from visiting your den.
The bees come out and get busier when fair to good weather approaches.
It is scientifically proven that you can find the temperature by measuring the mating calls of the cricket. To find the temperature:you must first count the number of chirps per minute the cricket makes. Subtract 40 from this number. Divide the result by 4. Add 50. The result of this calculation is very close to the temperature of the environment the cricket is in.
Trees & Flowers
When leaves turn their back ’tis a sign it’s going to rain – Many trees, such as maple and oak, have leaves that will curl when the wind is blowing and the humidity is very high. Humidity and high winds precede stormy weather.
Flowers do indeed smell best just before a rain – Stormy weather will most likely follow when the flowers seem to be the most fragrant.
The scent in the air is a great indicator of approaching precipitation – Plants release their waste in a low pressure atmosphere. This waste has a scent of compost and predicts rain.
- When smoke rises from a fire and then sinks low to the ground this is usually an indication of a storm front approaching.
- On a clear day, the smoke from the campfire rises steadily.
- Campfire smoke that starts swirling and descending is a sign of low pressure. Low pressure (barometric pressure) usually means that a storm or bad weather is usually on the way.
One of the easiest and best indicator of a change of weather are the clouds. Clouds give a great deal of information about approaching weather. If there are no clouds in the sky, then the weather is usually fair.
Understanding the different kinds of clouds will help you predict weather patterns. Identifying different clouds allows you to read the clouds. They have what you could call a language of their own. It is also a fun camping activity to involve the entire family in cloud identification. Clouds are classified by three things.
#2 Distance from the earth
Cirrus (Latin for “curl of hair”) – These are stringy, fibrous clouds.
- “Trace in the sky the painter’s brush, The winds around you soon will rush.” Cirrus clouds are what this rhyme is referring to. The clouds are the painter’s brush. Often these high-level ice clouds precede the approach of precipitation.
Cumulus (Latin for “heap”) – These are puffy clouds. Often they look like a fluffy piece of cotton floating in the sky separate from one another. Sometimes these clouds look like a person or an animal.
- Cumulus clouds show fair weather but keep an eye on them. Any vertical growth in these clouds can indicate a sudden change of weather and the beginning of a storm.
Stratus (Latin for “layer”) – These clouds form long bands and layers that can cover great distances. These clouds are flat and wispy.
#2 Distance from the earth
Cirro – Clouds whose base begins at or above 20,000.
Alto – Clouds whose base begins somewhere between 6,000 and 20,000.
Nimbo (as a prefix) or nimbus (as a suffix) – Clouds that produce rain.
- NImbostratus clouds are your standard rain cloud. These clouds look like a large, flat sheet of grey cloud. If you see these clouds there is a good chance that it will rain.
Other indication of changing weather:
- “When the dew is on the grass, Rain will never come to pass. When grass is dry at morning light, Look for rain before the night.” There is some validity in this old rhyme. If the grass is dry and free from morning dew, it is likely that there are strong winds and rain is very likely on the way. If there is dew on the grass in the morning it is thought that there will be no rain, unless of course the grass is wet from rain the prior night.
- “When sounds are clear, rain is near.” This is true because sound travels farther before a storm.
Overall, camping is a joy in life that creates memories for a lifetime. Whether you are camping with your spouse, your family, your best buds or even solo with the trees, understanding signs and clues of all weather changes is both fun and valuable.
Browse our Camping List and Tips category for more camping related ideas and information of your interest to guarantee yourself a smooth camping experience!