Ah,the great outdoors. Nothing like taking in fresh air, warm sunshine and a cool breeze. Unfortunately, when camping – especially in New York State, you can’t always anticipate sunshine and clear skies. On the bright side, with many advancements in gear, clothing and weather forecasting, there’s no excuse to stay home when the weather is bad. These bad weather camping tips and tricks will help you get through even the most ominous weather you encounter.
First and foremost, get weather forecasts
There’s no way to completely eliminate the chance of unexpected weather surprises, but there is a way to limit it. Check weather forecasts online or on your phone near or around your next camping destination. Not only are these services easy to use, but they’re extremely convenient; Some even can text live weather updates.
No service? No problem. Weather radios can serve as a go-to backup plan. Albeit a bit ‘old school,’ they are pretty reliable. Ranging from simple battery-operated weather alert units to crank-type radios that require no batteries at all, weather radios might be that one item to pack that gives you that full camping feel.
Rain is perhaps the most underestimated danger to campers. A little bit of water can sometimes create a lot of problems. But there’s always solutions to deal with these natural occurrences in a calm and logical manner.
Find elevation. Did you know it only takes about 18 to 24 inches of water for the average vehicle to float? It’s best to stay on high grounds until the rain and flooding subsides. While rain in the forecast can discourage some campers, with the right gear, there is no need to cancel your plans. Instead, you can prepare accordingly and relax in comfort, listening to the sound of rain on your tent, RV or motorhome.
So what happens when it starts to storm? Sure, lightning can be fun to watch from a distance, but you don’t want to be guessing where it might strike next. In contrast to the precautions you’d take to avoid the rain, with lightning, you actually do not want to be the tallest object around – or even near it for that matter. Lightning is attracted to whatever is closest to it. Seeking shelter at the base of a large or tall tree is something to avoid during a heavy storm.
Lightning has been known to travel miles before striking the ground. If you see it, take cover. The 30/30 rule suggests that if you see a flash and thunder reaches you in 30 seconds or less, find shelter. Wait another 30 minutes after the last lightning strike and thunder before resuming any activities.
• Anything BUT cotton fabrics
• Waterproof bags/tent
• Waterproof matches/lighter
• Rain boots, rain jacket
• No-cook meals
• Hand and foot warmers
Hiking and camping offers very little protection from high winds – especially at higher elevations where trees are likely to have shallow roots. If you find that high winds find you on your next camping trip, seek shelter in a heavy, solid structure.
Flatland’s without ground cover will blow around dirt and gravel, which can pose as a serious hazard – not to mention all of the other things that can blow around depending on the speed of the wind.