Camping In Thunderstorms

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

How to predict the weather without a forecast before going camping?

Weather forecasting is a difficult subject to master. It is critical to understand the weather you will encounter on a camping trip since you will need to be smart and make preparations if a thunderstorm is approaching. It is even more challenging without expensive tools and equipment. You must first understand what “typical” climate is for your location before you can accurately read the weather anywhere.

Here are a few tips to interpret the forecast in the house and on the road without needing tools and simulators.

Color of the Sky

A crimson sky near the shore, especially at sundown and morning, is among the most beautiful vistas we all appreciate. The red sky in the morning indicates favorable weather to the east and bad weather to the west as the weather moves from west to east.

Wind Strength

If you get up to find the wind coming in the reverse way as it did a day before, you must be concerned about the weather. Throw dirt or young leaves in the sky and see which side things land or use the classic wet-the-finger technique if the breeze is difficult to detect. The part of a damp forefinger that grows cooler when held in the breeze is the part from where the wind is blowing.


You can tell if air pressure is rising or falling by watching how the smoke travels around a bonfire. If the air pressure increases, the smoke from a fire will climb gradually, indicating great and sunny weather. If the smoke begins to twirl and drop, the air pressure is falling, and poor weather is probable.

Cloud Formation

The clouds can foreshadow the arrival of thunderstorms later in the day, depending on their color. If you would rather be able to predict the weather accurately, you should be capable of reading the altitude and form of a cloud. A bright and sunny day is predicted with towering and white clouds; a thunderstorm is indicated by dark and lowering clouds, and a gray curtain produced by clouds indicates that you must take shade.


Insects are small and fast. However, in bad conditions, such as a thunderstorm or freezing temperatures, the same attributes do not even yield the same benefits. Most of them cannot withstand cold weather, that is why they look for shelter to shield themselves from bad weather. If you don’t see insects flying around, it most likely predicts bad weather conditions like rain.

Things You Should Do When Camping In Thunderstorms

In the summertime, storms can strike the hills in a flash. Rain, strong winds, and hailstorms are common during these thunderstorms. If you prefer to sleep overnight in this circumstance, it is critical to find a suitable location that provides adequate protection. 

Step out of your tent

If thunder appears, go indoors. If you happen to be inside a tent when the thunderstorm starts, do not rush to find a shelter or to go inside your vehicle. Before going outside, stay at least 30 minutes upon hearing the last thunderclap.

Don’t touch the tent’s frame

Stay as close to the center as possible. Get down to the ground, especially if you’re above the ridgeline or on a hill. Poles can act as a lightning rod and can quickly harm you.

Don’t touch the bare ground

Even if lightning strikes on the surface of the ground, the electric current it generates can be lethal. A low humidity cushion, numerous folded camping mats, or your bag may help to improve insulation, allowing you to feel less grounded while you wear your hiking boots.

Safety your tent

Tents are easily blown away by strong winds. If possible, secure your tent with a tarpaulin as protection.

Don’t place your tent under big trees

If the tree is struck, you may be harmed by side flash. Alternatively, if the struck tree catches fire, you may be in danger.

Avoid rivers

You should stay away from rivers and dried-up creek bottoms. Torrential rain can turn a brook into a raging river, ripping your tent apart in the worst-case scenario.

Avoid trees

Lightning is attracted to all types of trees. It will strive to get to the earth as quickly as possible. your tent must not be the tallest thing in the area.

Avoid mountains or any exposed places

Tall things are the first to be struck by lightning. They make every effort to arrive on Earth as soon as possible. To avoid being hit, place your tent in a low-lying place.

Find a safe shelter

If you find yourself in an exposed location, take refuge as soon as possible. The most essential thing to do is to get out of harm’s way. Perhaps you’ll be able to find a cabin or a cave to shelter from the rain.

Relocate the tent

If you think you are in the wrong place, move as soon as possible. Constantly prepare for the worst-case scenario when setting up camp. If it does rain while you’re camping, you’ll know you did what you could to keep everyone safe.

Where To Stay When There Is A Thunderstorm?

Seeking shelter, especially in the middle of a thunderstorm, is a difficult thing to do. You are maximizing your time by not panicking and thinking of a way to get to safety.

In a thunderstorm, there is no safe location to be out there, which is why seeking shelter must be your primary concern. To keep you safe, a secure facility such as a building with plumbing and electrical or a car would suffice. 

When lightning and thunder strike within a few seconds of one another, the thunderstorm is approaching dangerously. Camping facilities may be nearby if the location is well-known for camping. Just remember to stay at least 30 minutes upon hearing the last thunderclap before going outside to secure your safety.

Lightning is more likely to move around the outer surface of a metal-framed car. The purpose of this is to protect the passengers inside the car from electrocution. When faced with inclement weather, sleeping in a vehicle rather than a tent is preferable and certainly warmer.

Is There A Lightning-proof Tent?

If you have prepared your tent for rain, the chances of something terrible happening when camping in a rainstorm are quite slim. However, this does not negate the importance of taking safeguards.

Tents are not designed to protect you from thunder. But some manufacturers make a tent that is made to protect your direct or ground thunder strikes.

There is no such thing as a lightning-proof tent. It won’t keep you safe from a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms bring vulnerabilities and attacks that you must always prevent, regardless of how pricey your tent is or what qualities it has.