Travel in a Teardrop

Retro Camping Across America

Watching the Weather in a Teardrop Trailer

Weather is always a factor in camping, even in a teardrop trailer

One of the big benefits of a teardrop trailer, or a camping trailer of any size, is the ability to have an enclosed space relatively unaffected by the weather. Rain is irrelevant with “four walls and a roof” that are completely impermeable to moisture, snow won’t collapse your shelter, wind won’t knock it down, in short, true four-season camping is possible in cosy comfort compared to a tent.

Detroit Lake, OR Summer, 2017

The thing is, you’re still going camping.

That’s the whole point, right? To get out, away from the cities and see the landscape. In a teardrop trailer you’re going minimally compared to many of the trailer options out there. Having inadequate shelter over your dining/galley area if unable to cook or eat inside your trailer can be miserable in a torrential downpour if you’re unprepared (we live in the Pacific Northwest, a rainforest, it’s wet here, a lot). Not packing gear with thoughts of muddy boots, or wet jackets that need to dry out can make sleeping in your trailer unpleasant. A surprising snow or windstorm can make a hike away from your trailer turn into an episode of Man vs. Wild. 

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Knowing the weather conditions before you go is crucial for a successful and fun outing in your teardrop. 

Sure, you can (and should) watch the three day forecast on the local news, but if you want a decent 7 day forecast or 8-14 day trend before deciding to book a campsite or load-out your trailer for a trip, you’ll need to go beyond the app on your phone or the local news. 

Here are some great ways to get the weather info you need and be prepared:

1. Accuweather generally isn’t.

2. National Weather Service – NOAA is the government authority on weather.

Their website is a go-to if you’re travelling out of state or in an unfamiliar area as they not only provide the official forecasts for a region, but also issue any warnings/watches/advisories you’ll want to be abreast of. It’s always a good idea to bookmark, and you can also bookmark it to your cell phone as well

3. Think beyond the 3 day forecast.

Camping in spring by a rushing river or brook? Might be flood season, so siting could be important. Travelling mountain passes October-March, can you pull in snow? Most U.S. states offer a tripcheck with cameras for road/pass conditions where you’re travelling. The NWS offers a longer range forecast, forecast trending, even seasonal climate forecasts based on oceanic data. While an extremely accurate forecast beyond 7 days is impossible, you CAN get a forecast showing the trending weather (drier/wetter, hotter/colder) to help you plan an outing. 

4. Join a weather group on Facebook.

I am part of PDX WX Analysis for my area. It not only gives me access to working meteorologists and experts in the field, but very knowledgeable hobbyists, scholars, and such. I don’t know how to read or interpret the GFS, or ECMWF ensembles, but they do. There’s similar clubs and online groups all over the globe, and accessing the knowledge of this community will help you better prepare and plan for your camping adventures. The NOAA NWS Weather Prediction Center Facebook page is here. Note: Weather is often abbreviated as WX if your searching for a group for your area. 

5. Get a weather app for your phone.  


 What The Forecast?!!- screenshot thumbnail

If you want to laugh at the weather (and our complete lack of ability to control it), we like the app What the Forecast. It is free with ads, or you can pay a little to be ad free. Note: if you turn profanity to “on”, this app is completely Not Safe for Work. 

There’s many others, all about as accurate (meaning completely inaccurate as “Accuweather”) as any other, take them with a grain of salt.

What they are good for is giving you current conditions, or 24-48 hour forecasts, and are handy on the road to give you a “heads up” about where you’re travelling to. 

6. Get a weather station for your teardrop trailer.

We purchased a simple temperature gauge and wireless display for our trailer. It was really inexpensive (about $10), and displays interior and exterior temps. We put the exterior sensor on the roof. This is really handy not only to know what you’re about to face when you step outside the door in the morning, but also how well/poorly the heating/cooling unit is doing, as well as help anticipate condensation issues when there’s a large differential between the indoor and outdoor temp. 

If you want to go really nerdy you can get something that measures dewpoint, and barometric pressure to start figuring out if the weather is going to improve or deteriorate in the near future. 

7. Link to local meteorologists on social media.

Many TV forecasters, and even some who work for government or industry, maintain social media accounts to dialogue with the public. Some have weather blogs. Connecting with them is a great way to have a resource to ask weather-related questions of. They’re not going to be your on-call personal weather forecaster, but can help you figure out general weather patterns, give you greater detail on their own forecasts, or help you expand your weather knowledge. Weather is both their profession and passion and I’ve found them to be more than happy to share that with others. 

How do you get your weather information for your camping adventures? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below. 

1 Comment

  1. Meg

    Sometimes knowing the wild weather ahead of you isn’t enough! I learned that when I was in the path of a tornado in my T@B!


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