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  1. #1
    New Member gila_dog's Avatar
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    Hanging in the lightning

    Is a hammock a good, or a bad, place to be when there is lightning nearby? It's attached to trees, maybe even big ones. My next camping spot is the bottom of a deep canyon, but there are big pine trees all around, and I will be tied between a couple of them. It's monsoon season here and it rains frequently, sometimes with lightning and thunder.

    IMG_9568.JPG

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    IMG_9507.JPG

  2. #2
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Some years ago, fellow HF member BC9696 got pretty obsessed with this topic, so much so that he started one thread a month after he started the first:

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ight=lightning

    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ight=lightning
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3
    psyculman's Avatar
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    That's a good question. During thunder storms at night, I just hope for the best, there's nothing I can do.
    Since I retired, some times I stay awake all day, some times all night.

  4. #4
    I think it depends on the environment:

    Backcountry_Lightning-Graphic.png
    https://archzine.net/

  5. #5
    New Member gila_dog's Avatar
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    Ok, so nobody really knows much about it. Maybe not touching the ground with your feet or body, like being in a hammock, would make one less likely to be a path for current between earth and sky. Or maybe not. That's what I was wondering about. But I'm probably more likely to be hit by a drunk driver on my way to the camping trip than to be hit by lightning anyway.
    It was mentioned above that one probably shouldn't be in their hammock anyway when the rain and lightning begin. Where should you be instead? I've spent many monsoon afternoons crashed in my hammock when it's raining. I like to be in my hammock then. It's the only way to stay dry. Why be out there in the monsoon weather in the first place, you may ask? That's one of the most beautiful times of the year here. And it's when the elk bow seasons are going on here in NM.

  6. #6
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I lived in Arizona for several years, and you can see the monsoons coming up the valley from Mexico for hours. When the monsoon arrives, it typically rains for less than an hour.

    So where should you be during that hour or less? Well, according to the "backcountry lightning risk management" experts cited, you should be indoors (i.e., inside a building). That's not really possible if you're out in the backcountry, miles from the nearest building. Besides, if you read the supposed experts on "backcountry lightning risk management," they'll tell you that their advice merely reduces the chance of getting hit by lightning from 1 in 500,000, down to 1 in 250,000. That's some pretty useless advice, if you ask me.

    Phoenix averages 9 inches of rain per year, and New Mexico only get about 14 inches of rain annually, so it's not like monsoon season in India. When I was in Arizona, I never really worried about monsoons much - you'd be lucky to get 30 minutes of light rain, but usually you watched the monsoon pass you by entirely.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7

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    I personally doubt hammock vs. ground is much difference. Lightening has enough voltage to ‘spark’ from a cloud to the ground. Enclosed spaces like cars work because it travels on the surface of the vehicle not because the tires insulate you. If it can jump 2000’, 2’ is in the noise of whatever it decides.

    Though sheltering under a big tree (lightening rod) is generally considered bad. I would stick to relatively small trees and off any high spots. Same is true for where you want your tent.

  8. #8
    psyculman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psyculman View Post
    That's a good question. During thunder storms at night, I just hope for the best, there's nothing I can do.
    Getting hit by falling debris caused by a lightening strike might be an even greater danger.
    Since I retired, some times I stay awake all day, some times all night.

  9. #9

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    In case anyone needs proof that lightning strikes can kill you in a hammock, check out this article and scroll down to the segment about the daring balloonist...

    https://www.nj.com/weather/2021/06/l...torms-hit.html
    Iceman857

    "An optimist is a man who plants two acorns and buys a hammock" - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (French Army General in WWII)

  10. #10
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    I should have chosen camouflage instead of coyote brown, hammock and tarp, so lightning canít see me!
    Just injecting a bit of fun in an interesting and serious topic.
    It all becomes real when lightning strikes kill or maim one or more people, with one strike!

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