View Full Version : Dealing with lightning?

2003-07-09, 09:20
What is the best way to do deal with lightning? You are on a peak and a lightning storm starts. What do you do? What do you do if you get hit?

2003-07-09, 13:32
First of all, use your best judgement and abort your trip if a storm like that is brewing. The recs I have seen generally state the same thing, get away from taller structures/trees/etc, get as low to the ground as possible and use your pad as an insulator. stay away from caves as these can gap like a sparkplug and subsequently fry the occupants. This is from memory, I don't have any ready reference in front of me. Corrections or comments welcome.


2003-07-10, 00:30
good advice, but i think the conventional wisdom these days is to get into the woods asap if any are around. now, that doesn't mean get under the only tree on an otherwise bald peak. that just makes you a target. no woods around, then make yourself short.

2003-07-12, 23:00
I've heard (via the Weather Channel) that you do not want to lay flat on the ground. The position you would want to take is a crouching postition leaning slightly forward with your hands on your knees. I can't remember if you should do this the whole time during a storm or just if you feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I think it's the latter. I don't think you'd really have the time to do it by then though. I have never had the oportunity to try it out.

This past week I was camping during numerous thunder storms. All I did was stay in the HH during the lightning storms. I think there is a bit on the HH site about lightening and Hammocks. I guess it's only good if you have one though.

2003-07-13, 23:01
Sometime in the last year or two Backpacker Mag had an article on what to do in case of lightening. Couldn't find the article and a search on their website did not give any results. Here is what I remember.

1. Plan ahead and don't get caught in the lightening.
2. If number one doesn't work, don't hide out under a tree, they act like lightening rods.
3. Get out into the open and put something that does not conduct electricity between you and the ground. Also, make yourself as small as possible. They suggested getting on your sleeping mat or on your backpack and crouching down with your hands wrapped around your knees. You may want to pray at this time as well. <g>


Zero Day
2003-07-13, 23:48
My understanding of lightning is that it is a discharge of electrical energy from the cloud to the ground or vice versa depending on how which way the electrons move or something like that. I think you donít want to be in or near the shortest path from the ground to the cloud. The electrical potential is a bizillion volts so that little ľ inch foam pad isnít going to do a lot to insulate you. I think you are better off moving to lower ground. If your hair starts to stand up that is a real bad sign cause it means that a charge is building up on you. I had that happen once before a bolt struck very near (an experience I donít want to repeat). I thing the only good advice is not to be the highest point.