Being inside your tent provides no additional protection from thunderstorms even if you’re protected from the rain. There are some options that can help you stay safe if you are caught in a thunderstorm.
These include avoiding open spaces, tallest trees, and lone tall objects. If possible, retreat to your car or a plumbed area where you can stay safe.
Taking risks is not always a good idea, especially if you are camping and there is a thunderstorm. There are some things you may do to be safe from the dangers of a thunderstorm.
However, in other cases, you can only reduce the risks and you can’t completely get rid of it.
What are the Safe Places During a Thunderstorm
Since the weather is unpredictable, there is no way for you to control it. But, it doesn’t mean that you can’t avoid it.
If you want to ensure that you are safe and protected during a thunderstorm, make sure to consider these places and stay there until it’s over:
1. Within a Deep Ravine
This is something that you should be careful of. Running from lighting in a ravine could be moving you from a frying pan to the fire. If it’s a fairly big ravine, you’re fine.
But if it’s small, you might like to avoid taking shelter due to flash flood potential.
You must use your judgment. If the rain isn’t strong, you don’t have to worry about it. A slot canyon is definitely not a good idea during a thunderstorm.
2. Far Within the Forest in a Valley
It isn’t a perfect place for protection against a thunderstorm. But, if you do not have better options, it is better to be among lots of shorter trees than being next to a copse or out in the open.
3. Within a Vehicle
The metal frame of your car takes the electric shock, which serves as a Faraday cage. Just avoid the doors and steering wheel of your car because these are connected to the metal car frame and you may still be shocked.
Places to Avoid During Thunderstorms
It is important to know a bit about how lightning works. Basically, a lightning ground strike is due to an unequal buildup of electric energy between the ground and the sky.
For instance, if you rub your socks on your carpet and you touch your brother’s nose, you have a huge amount of electricity built up and the nose of your brother doesn’t, so electricity will equalize between you and your brother, which may leave a bit shock.
This is the same as lightning. The electric field is looking for an easy route to connect 2 unequal locations.
The goal is staying away from the places where it is easier for the sky and ground to connect.
Knowing how lightning works will help you understand why you should avoid such places during a thunderstorm:
- Bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and so on.
- Ledges, cliff faces, peaks, and ridges
- Anywhere above the timberline. Once you see a storm is coming and you’ve above the timberline, you should do everything to get down below the timberline safely.
- Vehicles without hardtop like convertibles. Vehicles without a hard top won’t give you any protection.
- Shallow caves. If you are in a shallow cave, it won’t protect you. If you cannot see the entrance, you are in good shape.
- Open buildings, particularly the ones without any wiring or plumbing. For instance, barns, picnic pavilions, sheds, so on are putting you at risk.
- Near a copse or a lone tree within an open space. Since trees are tall objects, they’re likely the best candidates for lighting strikes. If you are near a tall object in an open space, you’re in a risky position.
- Open spaces. Since you’re at the highest point, you’re asking to be an upward leader for direct lightning strikes.
Perfect Way to Stay Safe During Thunderstorms
There are times that winning is not flirting with danger. It is actually avoiding the confrontation altogether. A good way to stay safe during thunderstorms is avoiding them and not being where it is.
Oftentimes, thunderstorms come in during the afternoon. Once you see cumulonimbus clouds, these are one of the signs of an impending thunderstorm. Before lighting and rain come, go to the safest place while you have time.
When camping, it is important to know the latest weather forecast. Even if the weather is unpredictable, a weather forecast typically spots warm or cold fronts and big transitions that bring about storms. Try to avoid places that are vulnerable during a thunderstorm.
Is It Safe to Stay in Your Tent During a Thunderstorm?
As mentioned above, tents don’t provide additional protection from lightning. If you are car camping, the best thing you should do is to get out of your tent and look for a better shelter.
If there are no fully-enclosed or develop buildings nearby, you may just stay inside your car and wait until the thunderstorm is over.
If you are in the wilderness and you have chosen a campsite away from the loner trees, but in a big ravine or in a forest, staying inside your tent is okay since that is where you can take your shelter anyway.
Are Tents Safe During Thunderstorms?
Well, unfortunately, no. Any type of tent is not lightning proof. It will not protect you from a thunderstorm. No matter how expensive your tent is and whatever features it has, thunderstorms pose threats and risks that you must avoid at all costs.
If you think sleeping inside your tent is safe during a thunderstorm, better think twice. You should look for other ways to avoid the dangers of a thunderstorm, whether you are in the wilderness or you’re car camping.
Make sure to keep those things mentioned above to ensure your safety during a thunderstorm. Be a wise camper and remember to prioritize your safety always.