Camping SOS-Bad Weather Part One
Kalgoorlie goldfields (Photography by Walter Ford Freeball)
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror,
The wide brown land for me
-Dorothea Mackellar (My Country)
Complete Campsite Camper Trailers are designed to withstand all kinds of inclement weather. We live in Australia after all-a land known for being completely unforgiving to the unprepared. We know about heavy rain, dust storms, intense heat, wind, and cold. But what should we do if the worst happens?
The advantages of being in a camper trailer during a significant weather event are great-you generally have enough shelter, food, water, and power to get you through several days of isolation if need be. Moreover, it is also quick to pack up and move on if worse comes to worst and you need to evacuate.
The sudden nature of extreme weather is what constitutes its greatest threat. If you’re lucky, an incident can turn into a funny story to tell your mates later (like when we came back from a music festival in Byron to discover our tent was 3 foot under water), or it can turn into an incredibly dangerous event-if you don’t know what to do. Here are some tips to help keep you safe during the unexpected.
Ian Beattie Photography
- General Tips
- Pack a survival kit containing water, non perishable food, protective clothing, woolen blankets, torches, batteries, and a first aid kit. And know how to use it.
- Ensure that someone knows of your whereabouts at all times. When we have a long trip ahead of us, we work out our itinerary as best we can and give it to our parents, and call them if things change. It gives all of us great peace of mind-for us, we know someone is looking out for us, and for them, they know where to find us if they need to!
- Wherever possible, set up camp with your draw bar facing the road-that way you can pack up and get out of there quickly if you need to.
- Keep a battery operated radio so that you can keep informed of local weather events. If you’re not camping remotely, then check out the Bureau of Meteorology website-it’s updated every 10 minutes with weather radars, warnings and forecasts.
- Always familiarise yourself with the evacuation route of your camp ground.
- Know where the nearest hospital, fire and ambulance station is.
- Always make sure you have a decent supply of drinking water and fuel, especially when camping remotely.
The Queensland floods of 2011 were a devastating reminder of how vulnerable we are to the forces of Mother Nature. In the case of a flash flood, flowing water can rise several feet within just a few minutes. Small streams can rapidly evolve into raging rivers, and that can spell trouble if you’re camping by the riverbank. Flash floods occur within a few hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, and can be deadly.
Destroyed road at Wilsons Promontory
- The advantage of camping in a trailer during significant weather events is that you can generally evacuate quickly and safely before the weather hits. Just ensure you keep abreast of the BoM updates and check the weather forecast regularly.
- Get a feel for your surroundings wherever you go. Try to choose a camping spot above water level-and definitely not on the banks of a dry river bed.
- Do not ever attempt to cross flood waters by foot or by car. Fast flowing water can wash you away. Still water can hide a deep hole that can flood or sink your vehicle. It can contain downed power lines and be electrically charged.
- Seek higher ground and stay there until the threat has passed.
There’s no doubt about it, climate change is upon us. The frequency of days when extreme fire danger threatens will increase by up to 25% by 2020, and up to 70% by 2050. But don’t let the threat of bushfires put you off going away-with the right planning and preparation, we can continue to enjoy the outdoors as we always have.
– Stay informed. Find out what the current fire danger is before you leave