Getting battered by a storm in a touring caravan.
When the rain batters down hard and the wind starts blowing under your awning, a storm in a touring caravan is not ideal.
There’s a balance between pattering rain that makes you feel cosy and your beloved caravan is keeping you safe and feeling like you don’t know where you’re going to wake up the next day. When a storm hits and you’re in your caravan you sometimes give up hope on protecting your belongings.
From surviving and not surviving a few storms we have learnt a lot so we are here to share our personal storm-survival tips.
Preparing for a storm in a caravan … well, actually if you’re unorganised like us and never check the weather, the preparation usually happens for us at 3am during the storm. One day we’ll learn to check the weather.
Tips to prepare for a storm in a caravan.
So tip No.1 Check the weather.
As said previously, if you know bad weather is coming then you won’t have to get up at 3am to tighten the storm strap and check the awning isn’t catching water. Prepare to be prepared.
It’s easy to check the weather from your phone, most have an inbuilt widget so the weather sits on your home screen. Or use BBC weather, Metcheck or Wind Guru. Whatever you use to check the weather, just use it!
No.2 - Use an awning tensioner.
An awning tensioner is a really handy tool to get your awning poles super strong without having to rely on your arm strength. They’re between £10 - £12 and you can get one online. We have this one.
During a 3am storm prep session we could see our poles were not tight enough. The awning material was loose and we were worried water would collect on the roof so we spend the early hours of the morning pushing the roof up to drain the rain.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to deal with it. It can lead to collapse of the awning or the material leaking. A leaking awning could mean water getting into your electrics or ruining your belongings. So the awning tensioner was our 3am purchase, we couldn’t avoid buying one any longer. For £10 it is a necessity.
No.3 - Use a storm strap.
Use a storm strap on your awning and buy the right one. If your awning has little clips at the front and the back door you need a storm strap like this. If you do not have the clips on your awning you need a full length one like this.
A storm strap has these funky strong springs that hook over a ginormous dagger peg that you angle at 45 degrees away from your awning. the storm strap holds down the awning taking a lot of the power in the springs.
It’s essential if you want to keep your awning!
No.4 - Put weights on the inside of your awning
When the wind catches underneath the awning it can be destructive pulling up pegs and blowing over all your belongings inside.
The bottom of the awning, if you’ve put your awning up correctly, should fold under slightly. We actually put pegs through ours to pin it into the ground but this does damage the awning so if a storm is coming get heavy items to put on the folded under piece of the awning. We use our 8kg kettle bell, gas bottles and books to stop the wind catching under the the awning.
No.6 - Move things to the middle of the awning
Bikes, tables, chairs, kettles, cups, anything breakable. Heave the whole lot into the centre of the awning. With lots of wind the awning doors will flap and knock over anything. Again, this was learnt at 3am being woken up by a huge clatter of my bike falling into the middle of the awning and completely sending me into a panic zone wondering what the hell just broke!
No.7 - Batten the hatches!
Make sure your windows are closed, your sun roof is locked and your awning entrance is pegged down. Firstly, you don’t want a draft making you cold but also whistling winds can wake you up. If a sunny warm day turns quickly and you’ve left your windows open secured by the simple twist locks, strong winds and rain could potentially damage your windows.
No.8 - Use your cars as shields.
A great tip we learnt was to park our cars as shields from the wind. We have a blue van and a large 4x4 that we will park around the awning to protect it as much as possible.
Staying in a lovely campsite where our lower level of pitches were open to the winds howling up the hills and straight into our awning, we were confused when a neighbour parked their cars infront of our awning. Not until the morning did they explain the reason as we didn’t have a storm strap at the time. #Caravancommunity. Love it!! And now we do the same if we have a neighbour who needs some extra wind protection. Ole Ted, the big blue van, is a great wind shield!
No.9 - Raise your flooring / prepare for a wet floor.
If you make a floor, raise it up to allow water to drain underneath. If you are relying on tarpaulin and awning flooring then be prepared for a soggy floor the next day. If it’s your first bad weather while being in the caravan you can never be sure you’ve completely waterproofed your floor.
Get your flip flops, crocs, slippers and leave next to your caravan door so you don’t have to traipse across a wet floor to reach your shoes.
Pick up an electrics off the floor as you don’t want these to get wet and blow or even worse, start a fire.
Ensure any soft furnishings are off the ground. We made the error of having fluffy rugs once. What a massive error! They were so heavy and became incredibly muddy it was a messy job throwing them away.
No. 10 - Wear ear muffs.
Once you’ve completed steps 1 - 9 you should be able to go to bed safe knowing you’re pretty set for the storm. So don’t let it wake you. Rain can be incredibly loud on a caravan or van so get some good ear muffs or ear plugs.
Then wake up feeling refreshed with a great frame of mind to help out all your neighbours who haven’t read this great article on storm prep! Then point them in the direction to this article so they’ll be all clued up next time!
Please do share this article using the buttons below and comment. It’s great to spread the word about prepping for a storm because we’ve all been through the rough. Caravanning is a great community and we all have our first outing, our first storm and our first disaster.