There’s nothing quite like a weekend out in the wilderness. Nothing separates you from Mother Nature, which–for most of us–is a nice change of pace from our normal day-to-day activities. However, Mother Nature isn’t always the kindest, and it’s always a good idea to be prepared for anything. In this case, we’re referring to thunderstorms. Thunderstorms can be an awesome display of nature, but they can also be dangerous when you’re out camping.
Here are a few simple DO’s and DON’T’s to keep you safe. When thunder is rumbling and lightning is crashing in the distance, your main goal is to get to a safe shelter as quickly as possible. Not all shelters are created equal, and as you’ll see below, some places that may sound safe aren’t, and can attract lighting strikes.
DON’T: Stay in your tent when there’s lighting nearby. They offer no protection in the event lightning were to strike.
DO: Take shelter in your vehicle if it’s nearby. The metal around the car can shield you if lighting strikes (as it has a metal top & sides).
DO: Avoid high ridges, peaks, and higher ground if you aren’t near your vehicle when a storm strikes.
DO: Seek lower ground. If there isn’t lower ground nearby, get down low & crouch.
DON’T: Take shelter under trees. The tallest objects tend to attract lightning.
DO: Again, seek lower ground or get down low, away from tall objects.
DON’T: Get in or close to water such as rivers & lakes until the storm passes.
DON’T: Take shelter in a cave. If lightning strikes it can travel along the surface of the cave and potentially pass through you.
DO: Spread out if you’re with a group of people (and are unable to take shelter in a car). If someone is struck, this reduces the chances of others being injured & the others can render aid and get help.
DO: Wait at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder rumble before coming out of wherever you’ve taken shelter.
Follow these simple tips to stay safe if you ever find yourself camping when a thunderstorm strikes.