One of the biggest learning points for me on my trip to Finnmark last year was the influence of the wind on the decision to leave the tent or not in the morning. I guess I had naively assumed that as long as you could stand up and ski, then it was a green light to go. My previous experience wild camping had either been in the British mountains, mainly in good weather, or in the baking sun cycle touring the length of France.

I was quickly to find however that it was better for us to stop tracks and pitch the tent if the wind speed creeped up over 12 m/s (based on our guide’s experience). Better a short day than risking the tent blowing away, ripping, or an endless struggle in the cold to get the tent pitched. We were told that if you did carry on you could dig/carve a wall from blocks of snow, and combine this with stacked sleds to create a wind break – but clearly better to avoid this scenario. Indeed that we did, when forced into a hut, and upon receiving a weather report of 19 m/s, we stayed holed up all day.

This time around I’m by myself and with a more modern tent system, which I’m told (I’m renting it so only know it’s a Hilleberg, likely a Nammajt) is easier to handle in high winds. Despite this potential for easier pitching, I thought I wouldn’t take any chances so am planning to have daily weather updates from in the morning and evening via my parents (when I have cell coverage). In addition I spotted a fellow tweeter holding up an anemometer (wind speed gauge), and thought I should try and get my hands on one if they’re not too pricey.

It looks like the decent brands/models are £100 or over, so I opted for an el cheapo via eBay (£9.99). It gives you a readout of wind speed in various units, the Beaufort scale, and temperature. I’m not expecting it to be that accurate but the temperature at least seems to be within 0.5 deg of my thermometer (pictured) and thermostat. It’ll be nice to have the extra bit of information to see if the answer to my daily travel intentions, as Bob Dylan once screeched, “is in the wind”…



About the Author Ash Routen

I’m a postdoctoral exercise scientist by day, and cold expedition adventurer (for want of a better term) and outdoors and health writer by night. I’m based in Leicester in the UK, but I also spend considerable time in Cambridge where my partner lives. To find out more about me, visit my about page or take a look at my published writing.

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