Camping And Fishing In Extreme Weather
If you camp or fish, you know you are often at the mercy of weather conditions. In an ideal world, the weather would be pleasant and welcoming, but as we know so well, this is rarely the case.
Therefore, if you enjoy the outdoor life and engage in these activities, you have to adapt to your circumstances. With the right mindset and equipment, you can continue to camp and fish, even when the weather is far from welcoming.
When it comes to camping and fishing in extreme weather, there are steps you can take to mitigate the impact, and we are here to assist you as best we can.
Types of extreme weather conditions
An overview of extreme weather conditions are as follows:
- Tornado – Clouds, Strong Wind, Rain and Hail
- Hurricane or Cyclone – Strong Wind, Heavy Rain
- Blizzard – Heavy Snow, Ice, Cold Temperatures
- Dust Storm – Strong Winds, Arid Conditions
- Flood – Heavy Rainstorm
- Hail Storm – Warm or Cold Temperatures (usually cold), Rain, Ice
- Ice Storm – Freezing
While all of these conditions can impact camping or fishing trips, the most common examples which affect campers and anglers would be considerable rainfall, heavy winds and cold temperatures.
While it is helpful to differentiate between a cold day or a wet day with a day featuring extreme temperature falls or rainfall, the principles are the same.
The majority of campers or anglers will not experience extreme weather conditions, but they will come across challenging and unpleasant conditions.
Preparing yourself for dealing with these extreme weather conditions, and knowing how to react quickly might just save your life.
How to camp in cold conditions
Some people deal with cold conditions better than others, and you will have a good idea of what your tolerance for low temperatures are. As with any weather condition, being fully prepared will help you minimise your risk, and there are steps you can take to make camping in cold conditions more palatable.
While there is a lot to be said for layering, most people will instinctively add layers to the top, and above themselves. However, if you are camping and lying on the ground, you run the risk of losing a lot of heat through the ground. This is because the cold earth absorbs heat, and during the night, this can turn your camping experience into a cold one.
Therefore, placing a blanket or roll mat between the ground and yourself is a smart move, even if it is one you wouldn’t instinctively choose to make.
Shaking your sleeping bag makes sense, as this increases the amount of air inside it. The science behind most sleeping bags comes trapping air pockets and then insulating them. Therefore, by filling your sleeping bag, you enhance your chances of staying warm and comfortable when you sleep.
Try to avoid sticking your head inside your sleeping bag. When it is cold, it is a natural reaction to cover your head inside your sleeping bag, but the moisture from your breath is likely to add condensation to your sleeping bag.
This hampers the insulating effect, and will make it damp. Ideally, you want to keep your mouth and nose outside your sleeping bag. Therefore, wearing a hat is the most sensible approach to keeping your head warm, and retaining heat.
By the same token, consider your feet, and make sure you wear a warm pair of socks or two. Covering the extremities of your body helps you feel comfortable and minimise the negative impact of being exposed to the cold.
The right size of sleeping bag is crucial when you are looking to stay warm. A big sleeping bag is appealing, but when it comes to insulation, never mind carrying, you will find an appropriately sized sleeping bag will help you stay insulated.
There is a wide range of cheap products that make a difference in keeping you warm, and hand warmers are a fantastic example. If you have a hot water bottle, by all means use that, but the modern range of hand warmers are practical, effective and take up little space.
This means if you need a quick boost, one or two of these warmers will help you stave off the cold for longer.
While there is some logic in wearing all your clothes to stay warm throughout the night, this will hamper you during the day. If you wear everything you have when sleeping, you have nothing extra to help you warm up as the day begins. However, if you are able to add another layer or two when you get your day underway, you boost your level of warm, and give yourself a psychological boost.
How to camp in windy conditions
Camping in windy conditions isn’t always pleasurable, but there are times when it is unavoidable. As always, review the forecasted temperature before you set off, as this will help you pack more productively for the expected weather conditions.
It might not be possible, but you will find it easier to manage windy conditions when camping if you are camping with other people. Something as simple as having another pair of hands to hold down lines and set up the tent will pay off.
When camping in windy conditions, it is best to stay in the open. This means avoiding camping near trees or anything which looks as though it might come apart in a strong wind.
Equally, you should ensure you protect your eyes in these conditions. If there is a lot of dirt or grit swirling around, you are at greater risk of injury, so try to keep your eyes covered in times of high winds.
Don’t skip steps in setting up. Even if you are in a race against time with the wind, don’t skip steps in setting up your tent. It is best to do a good job, ensuring your tent is secured as firmly as possible. Having the skills to tie firm knots and making sure pegs and guy lines are firmly in place will minimise your risks of being exposed in high winds.
Ideally, you should develop your tent repair skills before you go. If high winds cause rips and tears to your tent, it could make for an uncomfortable stay. However, if you carry out running repairs on your tent and equipment, you should manage the challenging conditions more readily.
Wild weather will exploit any weakness you give it, so be sure to stake everything properly, secure it well, and don't cut any corners. Rushing a step or two while you make camp may help you get out of the wind sooner, but can lead to bigger headaches later as repeated friction finally works a flap loose or tugs a shallow stake free.
While you might feel the cold, it is best to avoid lighting a fire in windy conditions. You run the risk of setting off an uncontrollable fire, especially in a forest setting, and this could lead to more significant issues when camping.
If you are caught camping in wintry conditions, and you have done everything you can to minimise your risk, you should try to make the most of it. If it is possible to stay and let the stormy conditions pass, do so, and you will likely have some great stories to share.
However, if you can leave safely, it might be in your best interests to do so. Withstanding challenging weather conditions can make you feel proud, but there is no need to place yourself or loved ones at risk. There are times when it is better to admit defeat now and look forward to camping in better conditions at another time.
How to camp in wet conditions
Dealing with wet weather conditions when camping starts before you leave your home. It is important to check the weather forecast before you set off.
While the weather condition isn’t always right, it gives you a better chance of predicting what conditions you will deal with when you arrive at your campsite.
By knowing what the likely weather conditions, you can pack more relevant equipment.
Camping in the rain checklist
If you want to best prepare yourself for camping in wet conditions, consider packing the following items:
- Dry Bags
- Emergency Rain Ponchos
- Ropes and Cords
- Spare Tent Pegs
- Waterproof Clothing and Footwear
Make sure your tent is up to standard
Not all tents are built the same, and a good quality and durable tent helps you cope with rain more easily than other tents.
Before you leave home, test your tent, and make sure it is waterproof and that there are no holes or gaps which allow water to seep in.
If you want to feel confident about your tent in wet conditions, it is best to opt for a double-wall tenant. You’ll also find tents with a double layer on the floor or have sewn-in groundsheets are more effective than tents without.
Also, if you want to minimise the amount of water which gets into your tenant, a tent with a vestibule or porch-type area will make a massive difference when it comes to feeling warm, comfortable and dry when inside your tent.
Where to pitch your tenant?
The location of your tent will impact on how well you cope with wet weather.
Ideally, you should look to place your tent above ground level. You should also look to steer clear from streams, lakes or river. If you are located close to a body of water that is likely to flood, you place yourself at risk.
Ideally, you shouldn’t place your camp on flat ground or on a steep slope. You should look to set up your tenant on a slight slope, with the front entrance of your tent facing downwards.
How to fish in windy conditions
Fishing in windy conditions is a challenge that some anglers love, but it is one you need to be prepared for.
Make sure you feel steady on your feet, and if you can, find a place of some shelter and protection from the wind. Also take the time to ensure the area is safe and that you are not placing yourself at greater risk of moving debris.
There is a lot of debate as to whether it can become too windy to fish. The only fixed answer is if fishing becomes a dangerous activity because of the wind, then you should curtail your activities. If you can continue to fish safely, even if it is a challenging process, you are free to continue fishing.
Where you are fishing is likely to impact your thoughts on how safe it is to fish in the wind. If you are out in a boat, exposed on the water, fishing in the wind will feel like a precarious activity. If you are on dry land, and have a secure setting, you will likely feel more confident about fishing.
One thing that many anglers have found is that when there are windy conditions, the water column is activated. In simpler terms, the fish feed closer to the surface, and you should adjust your position accordingly.
If you normally fish at a level of 15 to 20 feet of water, in windy conditions, you should look to fish at a level of 5 to 10 feet of water.
It is also advisable to switch to a heavier level of bait when windy conditions are present.
You should also remember that heavy wind can negatively impact how warm you feel, making it feel much colder than it is. Therefore, if windy conditions are forecast, you are advised to wrap up warm in lines of how you would prepare for a predicted fall in temperature.
If you are comfortable casting, and you feel as though you can fish safely and effectively, high winds are no barrier. However, as with every challenge, remember there is no sense in putting yourself at danger if you don’t have. If the weather conditions make fishing a miserable experience, it is best to call it a day, and come back another time.
How to fish in wet conditions
If you are fishing, you are close to water, but this doesn’t mean that everyone is capable of fishing in wet conditions. It is possible to fish when there is heavy rain, but you need to be proactive in how you behave.
If you know a storm is coming, it is useful to plan your fishing activities for just before the storm. This makes common sense with respect to safety, but it also enhances your chances of catching fish.
This is because of the low barometric pressure.
Yes, when the barometer pressure falls, fish find themselves in a feeding frenzy, which means they are more likely to be swimming around. Therefore, if you are fishing at this time, you will hopefully find it easier to catch a fish.
It should probably go without saying, but if you are fishing in wet weather, you should wear waterproof clothing. Many people believe there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices, and keen anglers will agree with this.
When you are wrapped up warm and relatively protected from the elements, you will be happy to fish for longer. You will have a good idea of how to protect yourself from the rain, so find clothing that is comfortable, but which also protects you.
If you plan on fishing in the rain, you should be noisy, and you should utilise colour as much as possible. This is because rainfall makes the water muddier. In turn, thanks to the decreased level of visibility, fish cannot see your bait.
Therefore, using bright bait and fishing tackle which makes noise, you make it easier for fish to find your bait, and you’ll catch more fish.
You should be aware that heavy rain impacts the movement of fish in the water. When there is a storm, it follows that tides rise and that a greater level of rainwater builds up by the side of the shore.
Any fish who are close to inlets, drains and spillways will find themselves here, looking to feed, and you can take advantage of this.
Once the storm subsides, you should focus on the shoreline that has been affected by the storm. This is because these areas will see bait and shellfish available, attracting fish, and you can capitalise on their presence near the feeding ground.
How to fish in cold conditions
Bad weather is no excuse for calling it a day on a fishing, but you need to be aware of how fish react in cold weather.
When the temperature falls, fish will likely huddle together and stay close to each other. This means some parts of the lake or river will feature hardly any fish.
Of course, if this is the case, it means other parts of the water will have a considerable number of fish. Finding the right spot is vital, so if you fish for a while and have no luck, try a few other spots before calling it a day.
When the weather is cold, the time of day when you fish matters.
You are more likely to get a catch when the temperature rises so if you are an early morning angler, you might find you are more likely to catch frostbite than a great fish.
However, if you can cast off when the final hour of daylight is present, you will enhance your chances of snatching a fish. The temperature will start to drop at this point, but it is also the most likely time for fish to be out looking for their own dinner!
The type of bait you use should vary depending on the temperature
You might think bait is great all year round, but there are some baits that work better in summer, and others are more effective in winter. When the temperature is cold, you need winter bait, and natural baits are a smart choice.
You should consider bait such as:
- Maggots Bread
Ensure your bait is visible.
When the temperature falls or the weather is at the extreme end, visibility often falls too. You should be looking to entice fish with something visible, with brad or sweetcorn catching the eye.
The same approach should also be taken for casters, with white or light orange casters being particularly effective in winter and in challenging conditions.
Extreme weather conditions can make fishing or camping hazardous, and you should take a safety-first approach at all times. However, there is no reason why you cannot continue to enjoy camping and fishing, even when the weather takes a nasty turn.
If you are planning a camping or fishing trip in extreme weather conditions, we hope these tips serve you well. Please let us know what your plans are. Alternatively, if you have previously camped or fished in extreme weather conditions, please let us know how you got on. If you have any tips you would like to share, get in touch, and we will be happy to pass these on.