Reasons to enjoy the outdoors this Autumn
There are so many reasons to enjoy the outdoors this Autumn, from the golden glow of your surroundings to the starry nights and frosty mornings. Here’s just some of our favourite reasons:
The days get shorter a lot more quickly during the Autumn and the sun starts to hover a lot more lower in the sky. It’s during this season that evenings become a lot more crisp which helps to create some spectacular sunsets. A roadtrip in a campervan is made all the more exciting when travelling to the sight of a glowing sunset.
Autumn is a hive of wildlife activity, from squirrels running freely to birds migrating in impressive numbers. If you’re a keen lover of wildlife activity then you really can’t beat camping during the Autumn. If you really want to get in amongst the wildlife then it might be worth preparing your wellie boots, your binoculars and setting a route that’s off the beaten track.
… But fewer insect bites!
Eurgh, we all hate that moment when we know we’ve been bitten by an insect. Fortunately, as the weather gets colder, you can expect to see less of the annoying flying insects.
Obviously, as a result of the COVID pandemic, we’re living in times where it’s best to avoid crowds of people you haven’t met before. So camping during the Autumn is an ideal time to avoid those bustling summer crowds and instead enjoy the tranquillity of a quieter campsite. It’s during the Autumn months that you’ll be more likely to hear the birds chirping, the leaves rustling or maybe just beautiful sound of silence.
Enjoy the midday warmth in beautiful surroundings
During Autumn, you can still enjoy those warmer days but without the unbearably hot and uncomfortable nights that you sometimes get during Summer. While the Autumn nights can become chilly, it does give you the perfect excuse to get the campfire going and to search the cupboards for those marshmallows you’ve been saving.
Opportunity to use pretty lighting on your set up
The darker evenings means more opportunity to get settled in for the evening with a lovely lighting set up. For many, this is also an opportunity to get out the Christmas fairy lights and check that they’re all still working before they go on the Christmas tree later in the year… exciting times!
Your guide to camping throughout the year
Weather Conditions – Preparation really is key to overcoming any of the challenges posed by the trickier weather conditions. A tent and awning that is pitched properly should be able to stand up to most weather conditions, although this does not mean that they will withstand a storm, so make sure you keep an eye on weather forecasts when necessary.
What gear to take – Big woolly clothing and hot water bottles will definitely help to keep you safe from the chilly weather. A tent carpet will also help to protect you from the harsh cold ground. Taking waterproof clothing and footwear will save you from the trouble of having to sit in cold, wet clothing throughout the day.
Take plenty of lighting with you – Taking a strong torch and lantern with you will help to keep everything visible during the longer nights of winter. Some campsites will also provide you with an electrical power supply, so it’s worth considering your options before your travels. Don’t forget to take plenty of spare batteries with you just in case.
Pitch smartly – Make sure to pitch in the shelter of a building if possible, as this will help to protect you from the chilly winds. A well-placed windbreak will also help you to combat the wind and leave less of it crashing against the canvas of your tent bedroom. You should avoid pitching next to any open water as this may lead to condensation problems and avoid pitching at the bottom of any slopes to avoid the possibility of small flooding.
Factor in the nearby entertainment – The nights get darker a lot earlier during those Winter months, so it’s worth investigating whether your campsite has any nearby entertainment that you can rely upon during the long evenings. A nearby restaurant or pub can really help to warm you up for example, and gives you a perfect excuse to let someone else cook for you for a change. The nearer by these points of interest are, the better.
Take the right bedding with you - Make sure you purchase and pack your four-season sleeping bags and take any duvets and blankets from home. A sleeping bag with liner will help to improve the bag’s warmth significantly. Sleeping on a thick self-inflating mat will also help, as the air inside of an airbed is more likely to get cold more quickly. Also, don’t be tempted to have a hot drink before going to sleep, as you might have to wake up during the cold dead of night to go to the loo!
Build yourself a campfire – You can’t beat the feeling of sitting around a campfire with friends and family during a dark night, but of course this is only possible if it’s allowed within the rules of your campsite, so make sure you check first! The best way to build a strong campfire is to build it up gradually, adding larger logs in stages - but be careful not to build it too high, and be careful of wind direction as you may get smoke in your tent which will cause damage.
How to pitch your tent in high winds
As the saying goes, ‘failure to plan is planning to fail’. So, adhere to the old adage and make sure you’re paying attention to weather forecasts. High winds will often herald some incoming big and ugly meteorological event.
It seems almost ridiculously obvious, but pitching near trees is remarkably dangerous in high winds – largely for reasons that don’t need to be explained.
However, even experienced outdoors folk will make poor decisions in times of stress – such as trying to make camp in bad weather.
The trap many fall into is the shelter provided by trees from the wind. You can still use that shelter by following a basic rule – judge the height of the nearest trees, add 20ft and pitch at least that distance away.
The danger isn’t always falling branches, it can also be toppling trees. Certain species – pine for example – tend to grow in soft ground that becomes unstable in very wet conditions.
Low bushes and hedgerows are always a safer option.
Avoid the ridge
You’ll see plenty of adverts in glossy outdoors magazines featuring tents pitched on mountain ridges. And, while this may provide some pleasant views during a period of calm, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Wind currents behave in curious ways and, often, the geographical layout of mountains and valleys will cause gusts to whip over ridges with alarming and random velocity.
Much like a treeline, you can use a ridge to your advantage by locating a near-by dip in the lay of the land downwind.
While being out in the wilderness alone is a pleasure many adventurers actively seek, going ‘lone wolf’ in bad weather isn’t always the best idea. Two heads and four hands are better when it comes to pitching in the wind.
Weigh it up
Make use of what weight you can find to help pin down the interior corners of your tent. Your backpack is one, but use what’s available to you – rocks etc. Make use of sturdy rocks for your guy ropes too. Pegs alone may not be sufficient at keeping the rainfly, tarp or basha from being ripped off in a gust.
Adverse conditions aren’t the time for an eight-man family tent with headroom and a kitchen, so make sure that whatever you’re camping in is as low and shallow pitched as possible.
You want to create something for the wind to pass over – not catch.
Ensure your tent door or any opening in whatever you’re sheltering in is as 180 degrees to the wind direction as you can possibly make it. Even when you’re trying to pitch quickly in poor conditions, take a moment to plan properly – a mistake could prove more costly than a few saved minutes of being cold and wet.
If it looks like the wind is going to keep you camped in the one spot for a lengthy period, be prepared to zip-up and be confined. Not just with food and water supplies, but also the things to keep your mind busy and stave off boredom – even it’s just a good book.
Boredom itself is enough to drain your morale, so make sure you’ve got plenty of ways of keeping your adventurous mind entertained, and your spirits up.
While the confined space of a tent or basha is hardly akin to a dance studio, there are plenty of ways of making sure you’re moving your body and keeping things flowing. Press-ups, sit-ups, yoga-style crouches and horizontal stretches etc will not only help pass the time, they’ll keep you active enough to prevent you succumbing to lethargy and boredom.
Check and check again
High winds are rarely sustained at one constant speed – it’s the gusts that do the damage. Whenever there’s a lull in storm activity, crawl out and check your outer structure – guy ropes, material integrity etc – then check again.
Written by Darren Parkin at the Wild Parkin website.
How to avoid condensation in your tent or awning
Anyone can suffer from condensation in tents and it's not uncommon.
On many occasions, people have woken up to see a pool of water in their tent thinking it’s a leak, but in fact it’s a pesky case of condensation. As OLPRO tents are made from high specification waterproof materials (the fabric is 5,000 H/H), condensation will often be the biggest battle in keeping your tent dry. So here’s a bit more information about why condensation happens, and how you can stop it from happening.
What causes condensation when camping?
Firstly it's key to remember that Condensation is increased by the presence of people - so the more people the more likely you are to encounter condensation. In fact, just one person will product up to one pint of condensation per night.
When the warm air inside of a tent hits the colder tent fabric, condensation is likely to occur. Warm air temperature inside of a tent can be caused by people, heaters and a lack of ventilation. Bigger tents with more people and additional heaters inside are likely to create a lot more condensation unless the tent is ventilated properly.
If you have a Breeze tent or awning, air circulates in the beams. If the outside air is much colder than inside your tent or awning then the cooling of the air in the beams is fast. The warm, humid, air inside your tent or awning will condensate onto the area of the beam. This moisture will appear as water droplets on the beams and can create pools of a water around the base of then. So, you have the warm air in the tent and cool air in the beams - creating condensation on the outside of the plastic beam that sits inside the sleeve. This will drip out of the bottom around the base of the beam.
If this happens make sure you don't have things around the bases of the beams. We have tested hundreds of tents and awnings where the customer believed it was leaking, and it was in fact down to condensation, so please look through the ways to avoid condensation below and you'll have a much drier camping trip.
On days where there is a substantial temperature drop, it can be challenging to prevent tent condensation forming. Rainy conditions can also increase the chances of condensation occurring, often leading to the appearance of a leaking tent. Rain water on the outside of the tent, or rain water evaporating off the out surface of the tent causes the temperature of the fabric to decrease, leading to more rapid condensation as the air inside the tent comes into contact with it.
So how can I ventilate my tent properly and avoid condensation?
- As a starting point, make sure that you’ve found all of the ventilation points on your tent in order to guarantee a good air circulation. If the weather is good enough, leave your doors and windows open whenever possible and make sure they aren’t being obstructed by sleeping bags, chairs or other furniture.
- When it starts raining be aware that by closing everything you are likely to cause condensation.
- Store your wet items outside when possible. Wet coats, towels, boots, swimming costumers will only add water to the air inside of your tent, so make sure wet items are given a proper chance to breathe... plus it'll help them to dry quicker.
- Heating the air inside of your tent will only increase the humidity. So ideally, you should help to keep yourself warm by wearing the right clothing and packing high-quality sleeping bags. Cooking inside of tents will also add moisture into the air, so make sure that cooking is kept to a minimum inside of a well-ventilated tent.
- Make sure you pitch in the right place. You’ll save yourself a lot of problems by simply pitching in an area which receives a natural breeze. Make sure you pitch at a distance from any water as well, as rivers and lakes will also increase the humidity of the air within your tent.
Oh no, my tent is wet from condensation, what should I do?
The best thing you can do is to wipe the walls down with a towel or cloth to remove the condensation from the tent fabric. Make sure to remove all wet items from the tent so that they can be dried properly and so that moisture isn’t circulated back into the air. And again, make sure you ventilate your tent, it’s all about letting the good air in!
Still having issues?
All OLPRO Tents and Awnings are 5,000 H/H so the fabric will never leak and every seam is heat sealed to stop water ingress through the points at which the tent is stitched. If you are certain the water is not from condensation then please contact us and we can advise further. Please note that all of our awnings and tents are now also supplied with a seam sealant kit which can you use if ever needed in the future.