We’ve just come back from a camping trip in North Devon and it wasn’t the best weather. The forecast had been pretty shocking, and well we did have to two decent days, the rest were interspersed with rain and two of the nights were horrendous. We cut short the trip because thunderstorms were forecast as well as up to 50 mph wind overnight and on the day that we were due to be packing up and leaving. We’re happy to think of ourselves as fair weather campers.
As part of an online camping group, I shared a picture of the the wet view and expressed my disappointment that we weren’t going to have a trip like we usually have, that it would impact our trip, and that we were struggling with the wet weather. The response was surprising – evidently I was wrong to suggest that camping in the rain was terrible, and they all judged as though I was totally unprepared for a British Summer.
With the forecast the same across much of the south of England, and festivals in the area being cancelled, many people were packing up. Or putting off their trip for a couple of days until the worst had passed. In the same camping group, some were advising others to be careful if they were camping through the storms, and recommending they think again about going camping at all given the risks over damage to tents and potentially having scared children. These quite sensible people were being rubbished by others (presumably very experienced campers) who suggested everyone would be fine if they stuck it out.
It seems that the camping community isn’t always welcoming to people who are fair weather campers.
Judgements on fair weather campers
Why should we be judged and patronized for not being happy to camp in the rain?
I got so many responses ( about 70) with only a couple agreeing that they would also be disappointed in having wet weather. The rest were either patronising and suggesting that maybe we should go and buy waterproofs and wellies as though we haven’t been prepared for the weather. Or treating us as though so we were naive and stupid in expecting 100% sunny weather just because we were in the Southwest.
Now I’m quite a hardy soul and I don’t get upset by this stuff. However I was quite angry at the thought that there might be other people in the group who are never going to be able to express themselves for fear of being jumped on like this.
I’ve camped through a flooded tent, camped in Snowdonia in February (never again), been ill at 2 Girl Guide camps, and as a parent, camped 5 times. I’m not new to camping. But maybe new campers are worried and have never experienced the rain, and are looking for advice. Whatever the situation, no-one should be treated like they haven’t planned or have no idea about situations they can’t change.
We knew the weather was going to be bad. I’d been checking it a few times a day for the weeks before we went. Using various websites and apps, we knew it was going to be windy and rainy, and and that it would be like that for the whole week with possible 1 nice day. We all took wellies, we all took waterproofs, we took crafts and activities for the children to do. We had games. But however prepared we are, it doesn’t mean that we all want to sit inside a tent for 5 days in the rain and love it.
I wrote a post previously about tips on how to cope with camping in the rain. But typing is very different to enjoying it. Just because you prefer to be a fair weather camper, doesn’t mean that you’re not a legitimate camper.
Rain while you’re camping isn’t fun. Yes, you can still go out and do activities and go on the beach in the rain. One day, we just arrived at the beach to meet rain that we weren’t expecting, which came in later than planned, and just sat it out until it passed. But we’ve been camping for the last 4 years and have generally only had one bad wet day each time.
If you’re a family who is happy to sit indoors, hunkering down, and play cards or read books all day that’s great. I could happily read all day, but N doesn’t, and 30 minutes on one activity is enough for him.
For us the rain is an inconvenience.
We camp in a big group and the whole point of going away is that we have the opportunity to be able to sit together outside, and have dinner and chat while the children can play together. Without having an absolutely huge gazebo or two, there’s no way we can all eat together outside without getting wet, and we did enough of that last year to not want to do it again. So it means that we all have to split off into different groups to go into different tents. It’s just not as sociable and we can’t always manage the weather, so that we can experience camping the way we want it in spite of the weather. We can just try and work round it.
I think it’s quite legitimate to have a moan and a gripe, because of course we are British, and that’s what we like to do. We all get wet enough out on the farm and at home, but that’s very different to going out and getting wet while you’re camping. It’s so much harder to dry off, get warm and get all your clothes dry when you’re at a campsite.
So if you’re someone who much prefers fair weather camping, let’s stand up for our wishes and hopes for our camping trips. Because who wouldn’t wish and hope for great weather. Hope to make the most of the outdoors and really enjoy a camping holiday without all of the stresses and extra worries that wet weather brings.
If you get through it, be proud you made it unscathed through the other side and stuck it out. If the worst comes to the worst, and you’re really feeling bad and down about the wet, then there’s no shame in packing up early and going home.
Then it’s just fingers crossed that it’ll be drier and sunnier for the next trip.
Are you fair weather campers, or do you enjoy camping whatever the weather?