Thunderstorm Strategy

Posted by: SJS

Thunderstorm Strategy - 07/22/20 05:13 PM

Today I did a 5 mile day hike, but with a fully loaded backpack for a better work out. Since starting my training hikes in preparation of making a return to backpacking, this was my first thunderstorm.

This is in a swamp in coastal SC where the forest is more like an Asian triple canopy jungle than a North American forest. I was hit by a strong thunderstorm that was not forecast. It doesn't matter, they are forecast most summer days and come and go as they please without regard to the weather channel.

Two questions have come to mind as my equipment sits outside drying.

1. Do you favor a pack cover, separate bags for various items, a big trash bag inside as a liner with everything in it, or something else? I tried doing nothing today and it did not work well for me.

2. Thunder and lightning was very frequent and close. I was on a broad trail with almost as much tree cover as off the trail, it was standing water everywhere and I pondered whether I should (1) get low next to a group of smaller trees off the trail; or 2) keep walking since the trees around me were about as low as the trees off the trail. Nowhere in that section can you find a spot without any tall trees at all. What would you have done?
Posted by: BZH

Re: Thunderstorm Strategy - 07/23/20 10:35 AM

I put stuff I don't want wet (clothes/sleeping bag) in a trash compactor bag. If rain is a reasonable expectation, I bring a poncho to cover me and my pack and it offers plenty of breath-ability.

Its hard for me to judge what is the correct thing to do about lightning. This link: recommends finding trees of uniform height.
Posted by: SJS

Re: Thunderstorm Strategy - 07/23/20 05:18 PM

Thanks BZH, that lightning site is very good.