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Tucking into a secure location to avoid wind vs a scenic camping spot.
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Tucking into a secure location to avoid wind vs a scenic camping spot. on 11/26/2012 13:42:42 MST Print View

This year I was caught in a few rather unpleasant storms and want to prevent this from happening again.

In the first scenario I was initially caught on a peak at 12,500 feet when 40 MPH winds kicked in.

It was almost impossible to even put on my wind breaker without fear of losing it.

The next 3 days were like this and I ended up having to abandon my plans and simply find the lowest elevation possible tucked into some trees and within a canyon behind some rocks.

This provided some shelter as I could hear the wind in the distance and above my head.

The second situation was when we camped at a lake near Tahoe (just east of Echo lakes area).

We were RIGHT on the water and the wind didn't have any breaks so once we had setup camp we were just battered left and right the whole night.

I think what I want to do from now on is to enjoy the view during the day, but at camp just find some place that is nice and secure.

If the weather turns at 3AM you're not really in a position to move to a new locale. Having views in the morning is nice of course but I don't like to stay in camp long anyway.

What is your strategy ? Would be nice to hear from other people.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: high winds and camping on 11/26/2012 14:39:30 MST Print View

If I think there's a good chance winds will be steady at 30 mph or more I find a sheltered site (if possible). Even with a bomber shelter I sleep better that way (noise).

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Sheltered site preferred on 11/26/2012 15:36:04 MST Print View

But remember to be wary of avalanche chutes, low spots that collect rain and flying/falling tree limbs in high winds. (Also hang your rabbit's foot in your tent and make burnt mealtime offerings to the storm gods.)

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Sheltered on 11/26/2012 18:25:30 MST Print View

I agree with Dave. Unless I'm fairly sure that I won't be blasted by high winds (which is 50/50 here in Colorado), I spend my day hiking in beautiful places above treeline and drop below to camp.

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
Changing weather on 11/27/2012 12:02:43 MST Print View

Changing weather is the reason I dont use ultralight pegs. A well oriented and staked out shelter should be able to handle high winds. If your shelter has extra tieouts for guy lines, use every single one of them. I have also hiked a few miles less and more than my daily objective to find a sheltered spot when the weather shows signs of souring. Having a proper map helps aid in decisions where to bail if the time comes (just dont let it blow away)

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Stay or Move? on 12/27/2012 13:55:38 MST Print View

First off, I'd like to see what type of shelter you're using. Maybe you mentioned it and I missed it. Often, the common plea of many ultralighters when they encounter tough conditions is to repeat the mantra "Better Site Selection." This happened on a recent BPL thread about a guy in a tarp on a ridge and he asked, "What went wrong?" Better site selection may be important if you're carrying an inadequate or substandard shelter but loses much of its punch when using a decent four season tent.

My Hilleberg tents can go from a calm sunset on a mountain bald to a windstorm blizzard by 4am. The right tool for the job then becomes a multitool for a multitude of jobs. A piece of gear (your shelter)---or lack of it---should not dictate where you want to camp.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Tucking into a secure location to avoid wind vs a scenic camping spot. on 12/27/2012 22:19:32 MST Print View

Well ... thing is, while I do plan on sleeping happily for 8 - 10 hours, I won't be looking at the view for any of that time. I'll be asleep. After all, I spent a good bit of the day looking at the view. What I don't want is to be chasing my tent at 3 am.

Of course, my other strategy is to carry a tent which can likely take the weather anyhow. So I don't have to worry at 3 am. I just sleep.


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Tucking into a secure location to avoid wind vs a scenic spot on 12/27/2012 23:17:09 MST Print View

Very secure and out of the wind..Always sleep in the trees becuase they are much warmer. Round Top Lake, Ebbetts Pass. TT Contrail

Edited by Creachen on 12/27/2012 23:19:02 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Tucking into a secure location to avoid wind vs a scenic camping spot. on 12/28/2012 07:49:36 MST Print View

Like Roger, I am confident that my shelter will be ok even if they weather turns against me, so generally weather isn't a criteria in most cases. The trip that was suppose to be mild but where the temp dropped 30F and it looked like it was going to snow was an exception to this rule... confident but not crazy :). This confidence came from intentionally selecting exposed sites in bad weather (typically on trips with quick exits or backup gear) specifically to build confidence / experience.

I love stopping someplace scenic and a clear view of the sky. It's nice to be able to sky glaze before bed and wake up to a beautiful sunrise, but there are a host of other selection criteria.

I generally wouldn't move sites in the middle of the night provided provided I thought I would survive (even if I won't sleep well) because I know my judgement isn't the best in the middle of the night and because I a concerned I would get in more trouble moving than riding out the storm where I was.


Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
views on 01/06/2013 16:39:23 MST Print View

This question is exactly why I am changing up my shelter this year. In the past, I would come across awesome places to camp, but was fearful of what would happen if some weather kicked in. Therefore, I am going with a more robust shelter system this year and see if the weight penalty is worth it. I think that the ability to camp almost anywhere will be well worth the weight.