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  1. #1
    New Member SubnormalCoyote's Avatar
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    Are Hammocks Safe in Lightning?

    Found this article in Backpacker Magazine:


    MEDICINE MAN - BUCK TILTON - ASK THE EXPERT
    Submit Your Question
    Are Hammocks Safe in Lightning?

    Q.} I have discovered hammock camping. I was wondering if it is safe to remain in the hammock during a thunderstorm? Should I leave the shelter of the rain fly between the trees, or set it up on the ground with trekking poles?
    Submitted by: Jeremy, Cincinnati, Ohio
    A.} When lightning is striking, the safety of your hammock depends on what you've tied it to—just as your safety in a tent depends on where you've pitched the tent. If you string it between two trees of an approximately uniform height with surrounding trees, lightning has nothing special to attract it. If, however, one of the trees is noticeably higher than its neighbors and/or the trees are out in the open, well, you could have a problem. But even if one of the trees to which you're is hit, the lightning will head for the ground and possibly not even travel along the rope tying your hammock to the tree. I'm not sure how attractive trekking poles will be. It will depend somewhat on what they're made of and how open the terrain around your hammock. My guess is that you might be a smidge safer if the poles are not stuck in the ground. In fact, the ground current that radiates out from a lightning strike is statistically a far greater risk than the chance of getting directly hit. Overall I think you might actually be safer in a hammock than on the ground if you've hung the hammock in a safe spot.
    —Buck

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    Now how do we sort out the bear problem?

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    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divine_Light View Post
    Now how do we sort out the bear problem?
    Avoid using bacon grease as a hair gel and hang your hammock as high as your bear bag!

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk-eye View Post
    Avoid using bacon grease as a hair gel and hang your hammock as high as your bear bag!
    But bears can climb! And that's not recommended. Luckily there are no bears in Europe, that I know of.

  5. #5
    Senior Member XexorZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divine_Light View Post
    Now how do we sort out the bear problem?
    Carry a large caliber handgun. Keep it nearby when sleeping. Know how to operate it. Make sure your 'friends' don't make a habit of trying to scare you when you sleep =)

    w/ Regards to lightning safety - stick w/ the lower trees like advised... Maybe keep those metal trekking poles away from your rig but I dunno if this is going to make a real difference.

    What usually kills lightning strike victims: Lung and/or heart paralysis. Know CPR. Know how to take someones pulse. Know rescue breathing. Many times the lungs will stop functioning for a while until the muscles "reset" but the heart keeps pumping - rescue breathing would save this persons life. Other times both lung and heart function stop - CPR. Do what you can to mitigate your risks but remember to live.
    Buy Tea at Jennifer's Tea Garden ( My Wife's Place )

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    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divine_Light View Post
    Now how do we sort out the bear problem?
    Always cook bacon near someone else. If that fails, hand the bear a lightning rod.

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    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Not a problem here either if you use a little common sense ... and of course you could sneak over to your buddy's hammock in the middle of the night and smear bacon grease on his hammock ... and use him as an "early warning bear alarm".

    Of course you might eventually run short of hiking partners ... I'm just saying ...

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.


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    New Member opossumlee's Avatar
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    Hammock safer then tint

    when its your time its your time until then use your commonsense.What is lightning shooting down for?GROUND!!!So, now that we have got that.What is conductive?Not rope.BTW a tree is just in the way lightning never intends on hitting it unless using the water from the rain(water is CONDUCTIVE)wood is not.So ill take the chance of a tree falling on me over getting electrocuted.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Lightning takes the path of least resistance. Air is actually a pretty good insulator...so the lightning looks for something to help it bridge the gap. Tall metal things (like lightning rods) are great...but trees get struck pretty often. I think it's b/c they have so much water inside, and water is a good conductor.

    In theory, the lightning will take the path directly to the ground and not go thru the hammock to the other tree and then to the ground. Theory is great...but have you ever seen a tree that's been struck by lightning? Many of them explode. So even if you don't get electrocuted...look out for a thousand flying toothpicks coming thru your hammock. Of course, you're no safer in a tent from exploding trees.

    So the same rules apply...just as Buck Tilton says. Stay away from high trees and do everything you would do in a lightning storm if you were camping on the ground.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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    New Member opossumlee's Avatar
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    indeed they do

    There was a huge pecan tree struck this year at lake granger TX and it was something else!Me and hogn8r didnt see it but you could imagine if you were there it would have scared the you know what outtaya.it truly did implode!

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