I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

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Flamingo
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I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by Flamingo » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:27 pm

Hi All,

I'm headed to Death Valley over Thanksgiving week, and I'm looking for tips on making camp life more comfortable in the windy conditions that can be persistent this time of year. I previously visited DV in January, and I loved it; however, I was solo at the time, so I slept inside my car. This time I'm bringing my partner, and they've never camped in such windy conditions. Although we can both sleep in my car in an emergency, I'd prefer to make a cozy camp outside. We'll have my SUV (Subaru Forester), plus a freestanding tent with extra stakes. We're planning to disperse-camp around the park.

I am especially curious about CAMPFIRES... In my experience, windy conditions make a fire difficult to enjoy, and possibly even dangerous! Do you have tips for managing a campfire in strong winds? What about portable fire pits, fire screens, or cages? If you have specific product recommendations, or photos of DIY setups, I'd appreciate it.

Any other tips for making camp life comfortable and cozy this time of year?








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rlown
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Re: I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by rlown » Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:50 pm

guessing one of these is out of the question.
Rockwood_20201011_132907.jpg
Best advice is to play it by ear. Not sure about fires. Not sure you actually need one. Wind and fire aren't a good mix.
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Re: I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by SSSdave » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:27 pm

Although total wood fire restrictions were lifted, they are only allowed now in campground metal fire rings thus not in disperse camping areas. Off SR190, Hole-in-the-Wall 4WD road has somewhat wind protected areas to disperse camp at as is down in a wash. Easily drove in my Forester. In windy conditions one can use a vehicle as a wind break by parking perpendicular to the wind direction and then securing the top of a plastic blue tarp in the cranked up windows while the bottom is held by rocks. Then set up tent there beside the car. Dust can be a real nuisance especially for ILC DSLR photography getting inside on a sensor filter.

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Re: I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by TurboHike » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:13 pm

A portable heater might be nice, like one of these, it attaches to a standard Coleman propane cylinder, gives about 2.5 hours of heat per cylinder in my experience. Nice for car camping in colder weather.

https://www.mrheater.com/15-000-btu-sin ... -1311.html

Home Depot sells them.

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Re: I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:42 pm

I have only winter camped in Death Valley at the regular campgrounds near Furnace Creek, and in a trailer. The weather was perfect. Just keep and eye on the weather reports.

Winds may kick up dust and sand storms. If using a tent, have one with fabric inner sides, not netting. Another idea is to rent a small tear-drop trailer. If two can sleep in your car with all gear removed, then maybe rent a small U-haul trailer for the gear.

Not "gear" but I would research a "Plan B" in case the wind gets unbearable. It may only need to be a move to a more protected campsite. Perhaps an entirely different area that is on your route to Death Valley.

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Re: I need gear tips on car-camping in the wind at Death Valley

Post by bobby49 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:22 am

I was on a photography workshop in Death Valley when the wind came up. The workshop leader was trying to stand and use his view camera on a heavy tripod, and it was still rocking too much from the wind, and it ruined everything that he shot. I crouched down low to the ground and shot from a low tripod. I wouldn't have wanted to be sleeping out that night.

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