Windbreaks for camping

Written by betty jean steinshouer
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Windbreaks for camping
Winter windbreaks are essential for survival camping. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

In some campgrounds, trees or shrubs are planted as windbreaks, especially in locations where the terrain is mountainous or susceptible to high winds. Commercial windbreaks are important in places where they cannot be part of the natural environment, such as on or near a beach. Campers must fashion them out of whatever material is available, or bring their own. Many windbreaks roll up in their own carrying case or fold up small enough to be easily packed.

Protection from the Elements

The nature of windbreaks is to stand up under extreme weather or environmental conditions, thus there is a need for a sturdy anchoring system that cannot be upended or blown down. Commercially-made windbreaks have three to six poles which are driven into the ground to hold the shelter upright. Sometimes a windbreak may be fastened to a table, in an effort to provide protection for food preparation and consumption. Where possible, windbreaks should be anchored to the ground, even if they are suspended above ground level in actual use.


Another benefit of using windbreaks on a camping trip is to gain extra privacy around your tent. A standard 4-pole, 3-section windscreen provides safety from being observed by others as you camp. Windbreaks made especially for campsites often have a built-in sunshade to protect from sun and wind at the same time. This shade can also make your campsite more secure from prying eyes.

Emergency Windbreaks

Even if you have not thought to bring a windbreak on your camping trip, you can put up a makeshift shield in an emergency with a tarp and poles from a volleyball or badminton net. In the case of a sudden windstorm, just leave the net intact and reinforce it with a tarp or a tablecloth. In rustic camping situations, a windbreak resembling a coyote fence can be assembled by collecting brush and fallen tree limbs and using them for temporary protection. Even the most rudimentary windbreak can keep your tent from being blown over or down in a storm.

Best Materials

Most commercially-made windbreaks are made of polyester so that they are rain-resistant as well as wind-resistant. The polyester is the same grade of material used in tent-making. Some of it is waterproof but the seams still need to be reinforced with silicon to assure that they could stand up to a long, soaking rain. Windbreak poles are made of either wood or steel, with a metal spike on the end that goes into the ground, for extra stability. A windbreak requires several poles, depending on how many sections it has.

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