How Much Wind Can A Tent Withstand? (With Examples)

How Much Wind Can A Tent Withstand

Have you ever wondered how much wind a tent can withstand? Look no more. We´ve got you covered.

Tents provide adequate protection from most bugs, rain, and wind when camping outside. Unfortunately, they are not as protective as many would like because of their flimsy and lightweight materials.

Depending on the wind speed, your tent may not hold up to the elements.

So, how much wind a tent can withstand? The majority of tents are designed to withstand wind speeds of 20 mph or below without any stakes. Whenever stakes are used to keep the tent down, tents can often handle 40 mph or less.

After all, certain tents are designed to withstand a lot of elemental factors, whereas others are designed to only handle a bit of wind or rain at a time.

Let’s get started.

How Much Wind Can A Tent Withstand? Short Answer.

Exactly how much wind a tent can withstand depends on a number of factors. Despite this fact, the majority of tents are designed to take wind speeds of 20 mph or below without any stakes.

Whenever stakes are used to keep the tent down, tents can often handle 40 mph or less. Generally, winds of 50 mph or higher will be too much for most tents.

Of course, you can do things to make your tent a bit more durable against the wind. For example, adding more stakes and tarps can make a big difference in the tent’s durability and comfortability.

Also, being diligent in placement makes a difference.

How Much Wind Can a Pop up Canopy Take

The majority of pop up canopy can take speeds of 30 mph or below without any stakes.

Best pop up Canopy for Wind and Rain

Below you can find the best pop up canopy for wind and rain which include:

#1: Coleman Instant Beach Canopy (Best Overall)

#2: Eurmax Premium 10*15 Pop Up Canopy (Best Value)

#3: ABCCanopy Pop Up Canopy Tent 10×10 Ft (Best Outdoor)

#4: Vingli Mesh Sidewalls tent 10×10

#5: E-Z Up Dome Instant Shelter Canopy 10 by 10

Tent Camping And Wind Chart & Rating

There are different factors and examples that prove against the norm. Notably, tent type, campsite type, and setup can all make tents handle more or less wind than described above.

The table below shows tent wind chart and tent rating:

Wind SpeedWind Speed CategoryTree FailureSuitable TentSuitable RainfliesSuitable Campsites
0-7.4 mphLightNot very likelyAny family camping tent Boxy tents Bargain tentsHalf rainfly ¾ rainfly Full rainflyForested or exposed sites
7.5-14.9 mphLight to moderatePossible though unlikely2 season tents 2 pole dome tents Some family tents Bargain tents WITH an aerodynamic designHalf rainfly ¾ rainfly Full rainflyForested or exposed sites
15-29.9 mphModerate to highSome, especially in rotted or small limbs2 to 3 season tents 3+ pole family dome tents Steel-fiberglass pole cabin tents Outfitter tent¾ rainfly Full rainflyForested or exposed sites, but forested sites are ideal
30+ mphHigh NWS wind advisory thresholdHighly possible3 season tents only Additional poles and stakesFull rainfly Additional tarpsExposed sites only

In case you don’t know how to use this chart, it roughly tells you which tents can take certain wind speeds.

It also offers tips for rainflies and campsite locations. In this chart, the highest windspeed is 30+ mph because the most durable of tents can only withstand about 38 mph of wind.

Based on this chart, you should primarily only tent camp with a family tent if the wind speeds are light to moderate. Family tents are those designed for multiple people.

These tents tend to be big, bulky, and less durable. They are perfectly fine for light wind, but they cannot withstand moderate to high winds.


Rain vs. Wind Testing – Tent wind rating >> Check out the video below:

Family tents can be set up in exposed or forested campsites if the wind is light. Once the wind starts to speed up, it is a good idea to place the family tent in forested or sheltered areas to help break the wind before it is able to hit the tent.

Just for perspective, a light breeze is typically between 10 to 14 mph. This means that even a moderately windy day may feel like an enjoyable breeze to us.

This just puts in perspective how diligent you need to be in checking your tent’s wind capacity before going camping.

If you expect to be camping in moderate to high winds, you need to get a tent that is specifically made for wind conditions. 2 to 3 season and 3 season tents will be the best.

These tents will be designed for wind through thicker materials, more poles, and smaller frames.

Camping in moderate to high winds requires placing the tent in a forested or sheltered place. Even if you have a wind-specific tent, do not just place it out in the open, or else you could be putting your tent and self in harm’s way.

In most cases, a family tent will suffice. That is because most people do not like camping in moderate to high winds anyways. The only people who tend to camp during stronger winds are more serious campers and hikers.

Pop up Camper Roof Sway

How much sway is normal for a pop-up camper. How much should the roof sway side to side/front to back freely? The roof and lifting towers are dynamic, meaning the roof can sway a little in a breeze or wind, and this also allows some movement of the roof to the side and forward and backward.

The distance between the sides is greater than the distance to the front and back. This is normal.

A “little” in this case means you have to put up with an inch or two of sway in the roof during a thunderstorm.

If you can move your roof plus or minus 3 inches to the side, that’s fine. Every camper is different because the lift tower design and roof attachment point are different from different manufacturers.

The mounting bolts that bolt the top of the lift towers to the roof need to be tightened, but not so tight that they catch your eye.

If your toe board lumber is good and has no rot and the lift tower mounting bolts are tight, you are ready to go

Read also: How Much Wind Can a Pop Up Camper Take? Is It Dangerous?

Calculating How Much Wind Your Tent Can Stand

If you are camping on a windy day, you need to know exactly how much wind your tent can handle. Luckily, it is relatively easy to know whether or not you can go tent camping on a windy day.

In fact, you will likely not need to do any calculations yourself. Here is how you know if your tent can handle that day’s wind:

Check The Owner’s Manual Or Ask The Manufacturer

Tents are tested for wind resistance and durability before they are sold. As a result, you should be able to find out exactly how much wind your individual tent can withstand.

If you have the original bag, it will likely be listed on the outside or in the owner’s manual.

If you have had your tent for some time and lost the original bag and owner’s manual, you can look online instead. Most manufacturers will have it listed on their site. If you still cannot find the answer, call your manufacturer up. They will know.

This allows you to know how much wind your tent can withstand without doing any calculations. Perfect!

Wind Speed

Once you know how much wind your tent can handle, you should look up the wind speed for your campsite and camping days. Doing this will ensure that the day’s wind speed isn’t too much for your tent.

It will also let you know if you should set your tent up in a forested or exposed area, as well as if you need more setup pieces.

Just as a reminder, a gentle breeze travels at about 12 mph. As a result, you will not be able to detect wind speeds simply by feeling it.

This proves just how necessary it is to check the wind speed before going out and pitching a tent. It may be helpful to see the Beaufort scale to understand wind speed ranges.


If the wind speed is slightly over your tent’s wind speed capacity, you do not have to cancel your camping trip right away. Instead, there are things you can do during the setup process to add wind resistance to your tent.

For example, adding a tarp or strategically placing the tent can increase the wind capacity. If you do these things, which we will look at in more detail later, you can add a few mph to the tent’s wind capacity.

How Windy Is Too Windy For Camping

So, how much wind is too windy for camping? According to experts, wind speeds above 40 mph are considered too windy for campers, so you should avoid camping in such dangerous weather conditions.

How to secure a tent in high winds

How to CAMP IN STRONG WINDS and SURVIVE or how to secure a tent in high winds! >> Check out the video below:

Can Wind Damage A Tent?

If you are new to tent camping, you may be curious as to why wind speed matters at all. Can wind damage a tent? Can it be dangerous?

The easy answer to these questions is yes. Wind can damage a tent and it can make tent camping really dangerous if you are not careful.

Wind Damage

The most immediate thing you should worry about when tent camping in windy conditions is wind damage to your tent. If the wind is strong enough, it can rip the tent, dislodge it from the position, or cause tree limbs to fall on it.

Any of these situations can cause wind damage to your tent. Some damage may be minor and capable of being repaired, but more serious wind damage may be irreparable and force you to buy an entirely new tent for next time.

The reason that wind can cause so much damage is because of the materials tents are made from. Even the most durable tents are fabric, meaning that they are flimsy and easily torn.

Though these materials are convenient when it comes to transportation and rain, they can be less than ideal in extreme conditions.

Potential Danger

Even more worrisome about tent camping in windy conditions is the potential dangers to you and your family. As we mentioned above, wind can make tree limbs fall.

If you are placed directly under the falling limb, you can find yourself trapped, knocked out, or worse.

Because tent camping in windy conditions can be so dangerous, you need to be careful. If the winds are above 30 mph, you may want to cancel your trip, even if you have a 3 season tent designed for high wind.

After all, the tarp material will not do much against falling limbs.

Can You Repair A Tent With Wind Damage?

If wind damaged your tent, you do not have to throw it away immediately. For more minor damage, you may be able to repair it next time.

To begin, try to find the damaged location and leakage location. Once you find the leakage, mark it with a marker so that you can easily find it later.

Now that you know where the rip is, you can patch up the rip. You can go to a camping store and purchase a patch specific for tent and tent materials. Read through the instructions for the patch and follow them accordingly.

If you are nervous about sewing on the patch or do not know how to, you can call your tent’s manufacturer. They may have a program – free or paid – to help you repair your tent with ease.

How to Fix a Ripped Tent >> Check out the video below:

Ways To Protect Your Tent From Wind Damage

Instead of waiting for the wind to damage your tent, you can do things to help protect your tent from wind damage in the first place. These tips will help keep you and your tent safe, even when the weather is windy and rainy outside.

Do Not Camp When It Is Too Windy

The most obvious tip to protect your tent from wind damage is to not go tent camping if the weather is too harsh. Like we mentioned above, check the wind speed before going out. This will let you know if the conditions are too treacherous for your tent.

Even though it may be annoying to cancel your trip, it’s better to be patient and wait than go out and damage your tent.

Once again, a light wind isn’t anything to worry about. Almost any tent should be able to withstand speeds up to 14 mph.

Special tents can handle between 15 mph and 30 mph, but it is generally advised to not go camping if the wind is over 30 mph.

Camping in a storm >> Check out the video below:

Tent Positioning

If the wind isn’t too harsh but is still there, one thing you can do to protect your tent is to position it strategically. When you set up your tent, opt for a location that is sheltered by trees, hedges, or some other item.

These items will break the wind, helping to protect your tent in the process.

As you are positioning your tent, make sure not to place it underneath any damaged or rotting branches. If the wind gets up high enough, these branches can break off and fall on you.

This will not be an issue if the winds are only light, but it is still something to think about no matter what.

Additionally, you might want to position your tent so that it is air ergonomically placed. Place it in such a way so that the wind rolls off the tent, as opposed to hitting it directly.

Sailor Knots

Something else you can do is use sailor knots. Sailor knots are much more durable than your traditional knots, meaning they will keep the tent and any tarps in place much easier.

This will allow the tent and your items to stay put, even if the winds kick up.

If you are unsure how to tie sailor knots, you can look online. There are a lot of free resources that teach you how to tie much more effective and tight knots for camping purposes.

Add A Tarp  

When it is windy, consider adding additional tarps on or around the tent. Tarps are typically made from thicker material, meaning that they withstand wind better than tents.

This will allow the tarp to take most of the beating, protecting your tent better.

If you do add a tarp, remember you will likely need additional poles. Opt for poles that are heavy-duty and durable, such as those that are made from a material like fiberglass.

This will allow the tarp to remain standing even against the treacherous winds.

More so, make sure to add the tarp using good knots, like sailor knots. The sailor knot tip applies to more than just the tent itself. If the tarp is not tied down well, it can easily get blown down, leaving your tent exposed to the wind once again.

Maintain Your Tent

Finally, the last tip for protecting your tent from wind damage is to maintain it well. A damaged tent is one that will more than likely break or rip to the wind. Make sure that your tent does not have any mildew or mold on it.

These items will eat away at the tent, allowing wind to tear it apart rather easily.

Make sure to repair any wind damage as soon as you find it. As we learned above, certain wind damage is repairable. If you leave it broken, your tent will more than likely decay in other places.

Repair any broken parts so that it can withstand wind better in the future.

Final Thoughts

Even the most durable of tents cannot take heavy winds. If you are camping in a bulky or family tent, you should really only set up the tent if the winds are below 14 mph.

You can still camp if the winds are between 14 and 30 mph, but you will need tents that are specifically designed to withstand the wind. Anything over 30 mph will likely be too windy for just about any tent.

Additionally, you need to remember that high winds can pose more threats than just your tent. If the winds get high enough, it can easily blow down tree limbs that fall on you and your family members.

 With this in mind, canceling a camping trip on a windy day can save more than just your tent.

Still, you are allowed to camp even if it is a bit windy. Contact your tent’s manufacturer to find out its wind capacity.

In the case, that wind damages your tent, make sure to repair it immediately so that your tent can be back in working condition.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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