When families think of getting away to the great outdoors, they can often envision themselves enjoying activities from swimming to bike riding on warm sunny days. But the truth of the matter is, not all days spent camping come with an inexhaustible supply of sunshine, especially in the fall.
So when drizzle turns to rain and breezes grow into gusts, you’ll want to have options that allow you to make the most of the situation. By keeping the enjoyment and safety in camping, you and your family will not only have a better vacation, but you’ll also preserve everyone’s excitement for future camping adventures.
If you’ll be camping with children and normally spend a great deal of time indoors, then consider the weeks leading up to your camping trip an opportunity to gradually acclimate your family to inclement weather. And after a couple of wet walks, everyone will appreciate the need to always have a couple of “plan B” indoor activities up your collective sleeves.
Schedule daily walks through your neighborhood to break in new hiking gear, especially boots. Get the kids used to carrying their own water bottles and rain gear in knapsacks. Then, when clouds and precipitation eventually arrive, you can put on a raincoat and keep on going.
- Tip: Make everything from choosing a campsite to mapping your driving route a family event. Do some research together about interesting sites and attractions en route and near to where you’ll camp. Have each family member come up with a couple of rainy day activities.
The best way to avoid much of the disappointment associated with unpleasant weather during family vacations is to keep all hands contributing to the camping experience. From the moment you arrive at camp, have a job assigned to each member of your family.
For example, have one person handle all ropes and tent stakes. Have another in charge of tents and tarpaulins. In this manner, if the weather turns bad while you’re camping, the entire family can quickly contribute to making your campsite more weatherproof. While one person checks tent stakes and sets out more guy-ropes if necessary, another can set up a windward tarp to protect tents from driving rain.
- Tip: There’s nothing nicer than having someone ready with a dry towel and warm drink when you’re done working outside in inclement weather. Remember to have the future host or hostess in your family be in charge of breaks and refreshments at the campsite.
As the old adage goes: it’s good to know when it’s time to come in from the rain. Of course, all prepared campers have rain gear, waterproof tents and water-repellant sleeping bags. But just as important as any gear you can pack, keeping everyone safe on vacation is also about recognizing the signs of dangerous weather and getting up-to-date weather reports.
Make a weather awareness plan and allow each step to be an opportunity for family learning. So when you’re out hiking miles from camp and clouds appear, everyone knows their cirrus from their cumulonimbus! For those in need of a quick meteorological refresher, be sure to check out some helpful tips from the National Weather Service.
- Tip: In the event of a sudden drop in temperature, have a buddy system in which pairs of campers routinely check each other and assist in adding warm layers of clothing to trap warm air close to the body.
- Tip: Bring a battery-operated radio or cellphone charger so you can use your phone to get weather updates.
Keep these tips in mind so you’re next camping trip is a warm success even when the weather report isn’t.
This guest post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.