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Idiot’s guide to camping weather forecasting

“Weather’s nice today.” It’s a classic conversation-starter and plays to our national obsession with the weather.

But to be honest, I’m a bit baffled about why people get so hung up on it. When we were getting married it was Husband’s total obsession. So much so that when I did some work with the local BBC weather man (get me!) in the week before the wedding I was under strict instructions to ask him about the forecast. That’s right, we got a personal weather forecast for our wedding day and Husband was happy.

I, however, was abut indifferent. Not about the wedding, oh no, I’d been in total control of all the tiny details for that. But I could control those tiny details and the weather was the one thing I couldn’t control. So I didn’t worry about it, but I did plan for it.

I know you’re dying to know, so I’ll put you out of your misery. Yes, the sun did shine – after a massive downpour which had dried up by the time we stepped out for our photos. And it’s been nine years, seeing as you’re asking (I know, I don’t look old enough).

These days technology means I need not have asked the weather man for a personal forecast, I can get one on my smartphone. And that makes planning for the weather much easier.

However, when camping, I find the tent itself is a pretty good weather forecaster. Confused? Well, here’s my beginner’s guide to weather forecasting with your tent:

When you’re in the tent you hear/see/feel Probable weather

A loud drumming noise It’s raining

Someone’s turning the lights off and on again Lightning

Rustling and flapping It’s windy

Unbearable heat It’s sunny

A storm approaching

Night 1: What’s that coming over the hill?

If you haven’t taken my guide camping with you (and if not, why not?) , you could always stick your head outside to get a more accurate forecast.

So, while I’m passing on my infinite wisdom, here’s a few tips on camping in the rain (‘cos, we’re getting pretty good at that).

– Shoes, and wellies especially, need to be stored upside down. Unless you’re planning on sticking a ruler in them and calling it a rain gauge (note Husband’s wellies upside down by the back wheel in the pic above. He did not take this advice)
– Tighten your guy ropes before bed. Doing it in your PJs at 3am while also holding a torch is not fun
– Another thing to do before bed – go for a wee. This is even more important if you don’t want to get wet PJs while traipsing to the toilet block
– Take a golfing brolly so you can send the men outside to BBQ. No reason you can’t still enjoy incinerated sausages just because the weather’s not playing ball. On a serious note, don’t be tempted to BBQ in your tent. There’s a real risk of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and campers have died.
– Stock up on water. Because once you’ve drunk all the alcohol you’ll want a hot drink and perhaps a hot water bottle (although we find the Go Outdoors hand warmers more effective and less hassle. They are the new Ikea tea lights you know; can’t leave store without them). Ensure you pay attention to tip 3 above
– Move things away from the outside of the tent. Husband didn’t know that if the inner tent touches the outer tent it will leak, and then wondered why he woke up with wet feet. Yes, he really is a camping beginner (and a most unwilling student of the subject)

What would your tips be?

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One thought on “Idiot’s guide to camping weather forecasting

  1. Cat Yaffe

    Have the phone number of the local spa/hotel to hand – we didn’t, and bravely (stupidly) shivered in our tent until midnight before scrabbling around for our phones and taking 30 mins to find one that would let us check in so late at night.

    Or, go abroad….& stay in a hotel

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