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Storm-proofing your tent

Image of the September 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
September 2018 Issue

Essential tips for keeping comfortable and dry on your next camping expedition.

The dark of night in a rain-sodden valley is not the time to discover that your tent isn’t up to the rigours of the weather. Here are a few handy tips to ensure your tent stays up – and you stay dry – the whole night through. 

Know your rating

Tent fabric comes with a hydrostatic head rating, which is a measure of how waterproof it is. A higher rating translates to a more waterproof tent. A tent with a 2000mm rating would be fine for camping in fair conditions, whereas fabric rated to 5000mm is more likely to keep you dry in a wild Fiordland storm.

Check before you leave

Get into the habit of inspecting your tent before each trip. Be sure to pack the guy ropes and a full set of pegs if the weather looks like it could turn on you. Check the seam sealing and replace it if it’s starting to flake off.

Got Velcro? Use it

Most modern tents come with Velcro tabs that help keep the inner and fly together. It’s easy to ignore them while pitching your tent in good conditions, but they’re a pain to find with a headlamp in a howling gale. They help stabilise the tent and reduce the risk of the inner and fly parting ways in the middle of the night.

Face away from the wind

Pitch your tent with the smallest end (or tail) facing into the wind. Pitching your tent side-on to strong winds can result in it distorting and the poles deforming. If the wind is swirling around the campsite or likely to change direction during the night, guy out all sides and try to position the tent door away from the prevailing wind direction.