View Full Version : Storms

03-05-2015, 23:03
What do you usually do in a storm? What is the safest bet? I usually rough it out in my tent, but I am always fearful of a branch falling on me!

03-05-2015, 23:15
During the day Id probably be walking.
At night, if its gonna storm Id try to not setup under trees
Then Id put earplugs in and not worry, and go to sleep.

I dont worry about dieing in car wreck on the way to work every day, and thats more probable.
Im not going to worry about being killed by a treelimb, lightning, bear, or deranged hillbilly.

I do worry about lyme disease, because that is probable.

03-05-2015, 23:32
I feel that same way about lyme, I was just curious how others dealt with t-storms.

03-06-2015, 00:25
Keep an eye out for widow makers before you set up your tent. Lots of big dead trees leaning up precariously against smaller ones, sometimes it drives you batty trying to figure if you could be in their path or not. The closest I came to sudden death on the trail was when we had some massive squall blowing trees down all over the place (while we were hiking). Found out later that there was an actual tornado alert at that time (Carlisle PA)...pretty freaky having a large tree come down in front of you.

03-06-2015, 08:13
Head to the nearest AT shelter for the night. If I'm hiking, carry on. Just avoid exposed ridgelines or open balds. :)

03-06-2015, 12:19
Went through a very severe thunderstorm last year. I just kept on hiking. I actually stopped into Double Springs Shelter, but the weather seemed to be passing. And just sitting there was getting cold, so decided to move on to Abingdon Gap Shelter. About a mile down the path all hell broke loose. But not much you can do but just hunker down your hood and keep on moving. I actually held my trekking poles horizontal to the ground soas not to invite a lightening strike. I don't know if an aluminum pole is a lightening rod, but I didn't want to find out. Funny thing is, days later in Damascus I was talking to other hikers about this and we all chuckled, because they also held their poles horizontal! Great hiking minds think alike, I guess.

03-06-2015, 17:00
It depends on the exposure to lightning. In a large forested area with trees much the same height, you're pretty safe from lightning and I usually just keep on hiking. Some days on the AT, the cold rain felt pretty good. Sometimes I'll pitch my tarp for a mid-day break--a meal and a nap--during a severe storm. Yes, always inspect carefully for widowmakers.

Exposed on a high ridge, if I'm hiking right into serious lightning and I can't get to safe place soon enough, I will almost always pitch camp and sit on my dry insulating pad until the lightning passes.

Technically, metal hiking poles don't matter much. They aren't the highest thing around and they're not well-grounded. Think of that massive charge of geographical size a mile above ground sending out stepped leaders of thousands of volts. Your puny little hiking pole, and anything else you can do, won't really affect its direction. But why take a chance? Throw them away!

03-06-2015, 21:11
I actually held my trekking poles horizontal to the ground soas not to invite a lightening strike. I don't know if an aluminum pole is a lightening rod, but I didn't want to find out.
That's one of the reasons while I decided to get carbon-fiber poles when I had to replace my old ones that were made of aluminium. I am not sure how much that would help me since I have this bulky camera made of lots more metal sitting right on my backpack strap...

Sandy of PA
03-06-2015, 22:01
Carbon-fiber will still conduct electricity. They offer a bit more resistance than aluminum, but not enough to matter in a lighting storm. Best to set them aside if hunkering down.