Camping in a thunderstorm is scary. During summer, it’s very common to face uncertain weather conditions. It’s quite a common scenario during this time of the year. The sky will suddenly get dark, and you will see clouds growing bigger and bigger.
Before you know it, a thunderstorm is ready to explode. What would you do if you were in this situation? Imagine you are camping outside on a bright sunny day, and suddenly you are in this situation.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you should keep calm. There is a high chance of you winning a lottery than getting struck by lightning. That being said, you should follow these safety tips to keep yourself safe during such weather conditions.
In this article, I will be sharing some common safety practices that can keep you safe in your tent during a thunderstorm. Before I get into that, here are some things to keep in mind.
Table Of Content
- 0.1 Some Random Talks About Camping In Thunderstorm
- 0.2 What Are The Chances Of Being Hit By Lightning?
- 1 Tips To Protect Yourself When You Are Camping In A Thunderstorm
- 2 Final Words
Some Random Talks About Camping In Thunderstorm
During summer, thunderstorms can quickly come out of nowhere. The intense heat accompanied by swift storms and sometimes hail a common scenario. In the mountains, these thunderstorms look really scary because of the wind gusts and heavy rainfall.
If you expect a thunderstorm in that area, the first thing you should look for is a safe spot that will offer enough protection. If you plan on sleeping in a tent in such a situation, or you’re forced to do so, make sure to set up your tent in the place where you will be protected from lightning strikes, wind, and rainfall.
What Are The Chances Of Being Hit By Lightning?
The chances of being hit by lighting are less than your chances of becoming a millionaire suddenly or finding gold in the ground where you are camping—just kidding. Nevertheless, you should never underestimate the chances of being struck by lightning.
Also, this isn’t the only hazard that you should keep in mind. In addition to thunderstorm, heavy rainfalls, and wind that also destroy your tent.
You should also think about landslides, flooding, torrents. If your eyes catch signs of a thunderstorm, you should thoroughly consider all of these things.
Tips To Protect Yourself When You Are Camping In A Thunderstorm
Prevention! Before you set out to go camping, look up the weather forecast. The most important thing here is to observe the weather constantly. Keep checking the weather from time to time to see if there are any changes in the weather condition.
If you see a thunderstorm coming in your way, cancel your trip and go another day. If you are already there and haven’t set up camp yet, turn around and find a good shelter before things get worse. Also, don’t leave home without warm and rainproof clothing.
Warm clothing in the summer, seriously? Yes. In the mountains, thunderstorms will cause heavy drops of temperature. In the mountains, camping during a thunderstorm can be very dangerous.
There are a few important aspects that you need to consider for your encampment if you want to lessen the possibility of getting struck by lightning.
A Tent In The Thunderstorm Isn’t Safe
That’s right. You are not safe in your tent during a thunderstorm. If you have the option, try to find a safe shelter like a solid building or a campsite house. When you see a thunderstorm approaching, go inside a hut or an alpine.
If nothing else, go inside your vehicle. It can also be used as a safe place. On the other hand, a tent won’t provide any protection from lighting, so you better not stay inside of your tent.
However, a car will act as a faradic cage meaning all the electricity from the lightning will disperse into the ground surrounding. So, car camping is a safe option. When a tent gets hit by a lighting, the electricity will be discharged through the metal poles unevenly and into the soil.
For this reason, it’s dangerous to be in a tent because the ground beneath you will be surrounded by electricity. Also, people that are nearby the tent are also at risk because of the danger of unloading sparks. I know it’s too much science, but the TLDR of this is that it’s life-threatening.
Find The Least Perilous Spot During Thunderstorm
First of all, you need to know about the equipment that can attract lightning. For example, cookware like mugs, pots, or cookers as well as carabiners, climbing irons, piolets, and even hiking poles.
You should also maintain a safe distance from ropes and iron ladders. As for your other metal items, make sure to keep them in a safe spot a few meters apart.
If a thunderstorm is already too close, and you don’t have much time left to find a proper site for your camp, don’t bother pitching your tent. Instead, find a cave, a ledge, or an alpine hut to endure the storm.
Avoid open grounds and other exposed places like the plague. Don’t stand around in places like river banks, mountain crests, or hills. Never open your tent under free-standing trees or at the edge of a forest during a thunderstorm under any circumstances.
Debunking The Oak Tree Myth
Never seek cover under an oak tree in the case of a thunderstorm. This is utter nonsense, and I don’t know people still believe this theory. Trees, in general, attract lightning, and it doesn’t matter what kind of tree it is.
As for beeches, it’s also the same. However, if a beech tree gets hit by lightning, the electricity will get carried by the water inside the trunks and into the ground. It’s kind of safer, but if you are close to it, you will also get electrocuted. Similar to trees, you should also avoid high-voltage lines and power poles.
Things To Do Inside A Tent During Thunderstorm
What if you are in a tent and all of a sudden you hear thunder and lightning. It’s too late to leave the tent now but don’t panic. Here are the things you should keep in mind if you are stuck in a tent during a thunderstorm.
- First, check if there is any wiring leading into your tent. If so, get rid of them.
- Keep your hiking boots on.
- Try to make yourself less grounded by enhancing insulation. For example, your backpack might help, or you can try folding your camping mat several times. You can sit on top of a dry air mattress.
- Whatever you do, don’t sit on the bare ground.
- If you want to prevent yourself from getting electrocuted, sit in a squatted position. This way, you are only touching the ground in one spot by staying squatted and as compact as possible.
- Stay in the very middle of your tent and don’t touch the cover or the frame of your tent.
Lightning isn’t the only hazard your tent needs protection from. You should also consider the potential dangers of heavy rainfall and squalls. Don’t camp under a tree and try to place your tent in a place where you won’t have to worry about floods.
And that’s all there is to it. Hopefully, now you know about the things you will need to keep in mind when camping in a thunderstorm.