I have to admit that tent camping in high winds is part of the adventure and fun for me. But it can be a nuisance when it’s time to pitch my tent. When camping, you should always have the proper gear for bad weather, including sturdy tent pegs, a tent for high winds, and tent pitching skills.
I have gained some knowledge over the years on tent camping in high winds between 35-50 mph, which I will share today.
The best way to ensure your tent endures strong winds is to reinforce the tent with quality tent pegs. You need to anchor your tent using the quality pegs at an angle of 45 degrees away from the tent into the ground, in an open area with draining soil and make sure that they are steady against strong winds.
The construction of the tent you used should also be for strong winds. This article will guide you on securing your tent in high winds and our recommendations on tent stakes and tents.
Tips on choosing the right tent pegs
There are various types of pegs in the market, and although all anchor tents to the ground, not all can give support during high winds. When choosing tent pegs for strong winds, you need to consider the shape, material weight, and tent peg size. Here are the things to look for when choosing the right tent pegs.
Tent pegs come in these four materials, which also determine how and when you can use them.
Plastic tent stakes are the cheapest and often come with the tents you buy. They are usually made of polypropylene or polycarbonate, making them lightweight, durable as they do not rust, and easy to maintain. When used the right way, plastic pegs can be pretty secure.
They are most suitable for sandy grounds. The downside is that they may break easily and are too short, making them unsuitable for use in extreme winds.
To ensure your tent is secure when using them, you may have to use other reinforcements to anchor your tent. You can improvise with objects such as rocks and bags of sand or have additional metallic pegs. We, however, do not recommend using plastic pegs in very windy areas.
Aluminum makes more robust pegs than plastic but is still softer than other metals like steel and titanium.
This material makes light tent pegs suitable for backpacking; they go in smoothly on hard and rocky grounds; however, they are likely to bend in powerful winds that can compromise your tent’s structure.
This material makes some of the most sturdy tent stakes on the market; they also come in galvanized and raw steel. Galvanized steel is more durable in wet weather since it does not rust easily.
They are suitable for all grounds, and they glide through rocky soils. Though quite heavy, this feature gives them a firm hold against strong winds.
Titanium is the best material for tent pegs in high winds, explaining their high cost. They are suitable for all grounds and have the strongest hold; they do not break or bend and are lighter than steel tent pegs.
Here are the shapes that tent pegs come in and the shapes we recommend that withstand high winds.
Straight or nail
This is the standard shape for most pegs that look like a big long nail with a pointed end and a flat head. Most nail pegs that come in steel, aluminum, and titanium can withstand strong winds if they are supporting a one- or two-person tent.
Some have a plastic head which makes them a T-stake, giving them more grip.
They have a spiral shape similar to a screw, which you can screw into the ground using a cordless drill is the best tent peg for sandy grounds.
The spiral design gives the pegs more surface area for grip, which prevents the peg from pulling quickly from the ground upwards and in the guy line’s direction. The long titanium corkscrew pegs are best for high winds.
This peg has one big V-shaped corkscrew shaft, which performs better in high winds than the corkscrew and the V-shaped peg.
This design does not lift too much ground, suitable for snowy and sandy grounds, making it a little harder to install and remove.
This shape is my favorite for its versatility on various grounds and reliability in securing a tent in high winds. The middle cut of the shaft cuts into a V-shape, making it easier to break through hard surfaces while allowing the soil to hold it in place.
You can get those with holes in the shaft for extreme winds, which you can thread your guy line through for more security.
This shape is ideal for all-terrain. It has a large surface area for more holding power. The Y shape wings are tough to bend, making them durable on rocky and hard grounds.
They are a bit heavier, which makes them sturdy in strong winds. These come in different lengths, and the longer, the better.
Usually, tent pegs are about 5-7.5 inches. For high winds, longer tent pegs offer more holding power than shorter ones. It would help to pitch your tent peg deeper in the ground for more security.
You require stakes that are longer than 6 inches to about 15 inches. You also must remember that longer tent pegs are more laborious to drive in the ground.
The peg’s weight does not contribute much to its grip power in high winds, but it does affect backpacking. Steel pegs are the heaviest, and though they offer great anchorage, they can weigh you down when backpacking.
Also, with heavier pegs, you require thicker guy lines. Aluminum is lightweight but bends easily; while titanium is costly, it is ultralight and resistant to breaking and bending. When it comes to weight, the design of the peg takes more importance.
How to choose the spot to pitch a tent
Location is high on the priority list when pitching your tent. The location of your campsite even dictates what kind of tent pegs you will use for anchorage.
Seek high ground
Pitching a tent on high ground when the weather is rainy or snowy is best as there is minor flooding. Precipitation tends to settle on lower grounds with the potential flooding in case of a rainstorm. Observe water flow on the ground, choose places with proper drainage and avoid depressions and valleys.
Set up near windbreakers
The security of your tent will be affected by mild or severe. Try to set your camp in an area surrounded by natural windbreakers. Trees and tall shrubs can dampen the severity of high winds. However, if you choose between high ground and a sheltered place, go for higher ground as rain can worsen your tent more than wind. You should also set your tent’s door facing the wind direction.
Choose an open flat area away from hills when rooting your tent. Setting up a campsite at the bottom of a hill may be tempting as it protects you from harsh winds and hot sun, but it is potentially dangerous to do so. You may get caught up in a flood or a mudslide if it rains. If there is no level ground, it is best to camp on the hill’s slope side. If you do so, lie with your head on the uphill slope and your feet pointed downwards.
Go for a shaded area.
Try to look for a shaded area to pitch your tent. Your tent will be uncomfortably hot if you set it up under direct sun exposure. The sun may also damage the tent and shorten its longevity.
Consider the location’s soil type.
The type of ground you pitch your tent to is crucial as it may also affect the type of tent pegs you use. Not all tent pegs are suitable for all grounds. Areas with clay deposits, ice and rocky soils require sturdier pegs made of steel or titanium. Y-shaped and T-shaped pegs best fit places with grass and loose forest soil.
How to pitch a tent
Tents come in different designs, which also makes the set slightly different. Make sure the tent is in good condition before packing for camping. Read here for the general guidelines on how to set up your tent successfully.
Things You’ll Need
- Tent with pegs
- Additional pegs
- Mallet or hammer (optional)
- Find a flat, level ground, sweep away twigs, rocks, debris, and branches where you will set up the tent floor. Make sure no low-lying branches above you can call on you.
- Spread the footprint or ground flat on the ground with the shiny side up. The ground footprint protects the bottom of the tent.
- Lay the tent poles and assemble them according to the tent design. Do not allow the poles to snap by themselves, and do not snap them with too much force.
- Place the tent’s body over the assembled poles, and match each corner with eat corner of the footprint. You have to thread some poles through the corresponding sleeves on the tent. Make sure the door of the tent is facing against the wind direction.
- Connect the poles to the grommets on the tent corners and footprint.
- Raise the tent off the ground and attach it to the poles using the clips
- With the fly zippers closed, attach the fly to the pole on top of the tent. Ensure the door on the rain fly corresponds with the tent door while attaching each rain fly to each corner of the tent.
- Insert the stake into the tie-down of one corner. Then drive the pegs into the ground at a 45-degree angle with the peg’s top facing away from the tent. Gently hammer the peg into the ground with a rock or mallet to secure and prevent bending. Push a peg on each corner of the tent, doors, and guy lines.
- Tighten the adjustable straps of the rain fly until it covers all sides and corners of the tent’s base while ensuring the tension is equal in each corner so that all the seams line up over the poles.
What wind speed can a tent withstand?
A decent 2 to 3-season family tent model can withstand a wind speed of 17 mph. Thanks to their aerodynamic designs, a quality 3-season tent can withstand a wind speed of up to 38 mph of wind and gusts. However, it is important to note that very high winds can be extremely dangerous. The wind speed of 50 mph is too high for most camping tents to resist, and there is an increased possibility of the tent becoming damaged or undone.
You should avoid wind speeds above 15 mph and plan to go camping for another day. Before camping, you should always check the weather forecast and look for severe weather. You should never go camping in bad weather.
How to stop tent flapping in the wind
Sometimes, the wind is intense enough to cause the tent’s bottom edge to flap noisily, irritating sleeping. Here are some tips on how to keep a tent from blowing away.
- Get a wind vane for camping to help with telling wind direction. Then use it to set up the tent with the door facing the direction the wind blows.
- It is best to pitch near a windbreaker. However, a tent sitting under tree branches will likely be damaged by a falling branch. A fitting windbreaker is a patch of tall grass. It should be tall enough to absorb wind but not too big that it can destroy the tent.
- Loosen and tighten the tent’s edges with a secure knot like a sailor knot or repitch on level ground. Loose knots are more likely to flap in the wind.
- Ensure all the guy lines are tied down about 1.5m from the tent’s base.
- Place a tarp on the entire tent to weigh it down and make it windproof.
- Attach the rain fly to the top of the poles using the Velcro or ties that come with the tents, and make sure they are securely attached.
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