Storm survival while backpacking

By Rebecca Hext
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Storm survival while backpacking

Rebecca Hext
 
 
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Running into bad weather while backpacking is one of the toughest things to deal with. A storm will derail your trip plans and deplete you emotionally and physically.

Take a look at our tips to finding the light at the end of the tunnel when you are faced with bad weather.

Avoid It

The best way to survive it is to avoid it! Always make sure to check the weather before heading out on the trail. Know the temperatures, humidity, and wind patterns when you are deciding on a trip. If the weather is going to be questionable, but you still want to go, make sure you take the correct gear.

 

When the Storm Starts, You Stop

When the weather starts to get bad, immediately find a sheltered area to set up camp. One of the worst things you can do is wait too long and think the storm will pass. Better safe than sorry for this one folks!

Make sure to find a spot that doesn’t have any hazards. Don’t set up underneath a tree if it is windy in the case of falling branches. Setting up your tent in a location where water won’t pool is also important. Even if you are in a location that is less sheltered by trees, setting up away from hazards is more important.

Watch for The Wind

Remember that elevation will cause temperatures to drop drastically so be sure to plan accordingly to not end up in a frozen forest
Remember that elevation will cause temperatures to drop drastically so be sure to plan accordingly to not end up in a frozen forest

Strong winds can be an absolute nightmare to sleep through if you don’t set your tent up correctly. Spending the time to orient the tent correctly will drastically improve your situation.

Face the lowest side of the tent towards the wind to make it more aerodynamic. Additionally, never have the tent door facing the wind.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

If you have a hiking partner, help each other out and divide up the tasks. When the wind is howling and everything is soaking wet, the extra hands will save you tons of time. Have one person in charge of holding down fabric while the other attaches the poles.

 

Quick tip: put your packs inside the tent right away while you set it up. This will keep your gear dry and help hold the tent down in the wind.

 

Tightly staking your tent and rain fly down will keep you warm and dry while you wait
Tightly staking your tent and rain fly down will keep you warm and dry while you wait

Stake Like Your Life Depends On It

Effectively staking your rainfly down is arguably the most important part of getting through a storm. Take the time to do it right the first time; you will thank yourself later. If you have extra stakes, use them! The more secure the better, especially if it is windy. If you can find them, rocks are also a great way to help hold your stakes down.

Don’t Panic

The most important thing is to stay calm. Storms are a huge bummer, but if you hunker down and wait for it to pass you can still have a great trip. Once you think the storm is over, wait 30 minutes to make sure it is gone for good!

 

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