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  1. #41
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    I agree with thomas533. As long as you’re downhill a bit -- with synthetic straps, you’re basically in a dielectric pod similar to being in an automobile on rubber tires. It's certainly one of the safety issues to be mindfull of. Good topic!

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rambler View Post
    Lightning is nothing like house wiring. It follows the principles of an electrostatic discharge. During a lightning strike or other electrostatic discharge the current will follow a fault line to ground and the primary conduction will follow this 'path of least resistance'. This is unlike a typical electrical circuit where some current will still flow through all paths, however minute it may be.

    Electrical shocks rarely last longer than half a second (500 milliseconds) because a circuit breaker opens or the person is thrown far from the live conductor. Lightning strikes have an even shorter duration, only lasting up to a few milliseconds. Most of the current from a lightning strike passes over the surface of the body in a process called external flashover. Very similar to if you were to discharge static electricity build up on a door knob.

    Lightning can however arc to you from a tree that has been struck due to the magnitude of it. This would not be a factor if in a hammock as there is not a "good "path to ground through you in a hammock. However, if you were standing on the ground near said tree than it could easily arc to you. Also, you can be "struck" by the radial disipation at the base of a tree or other object that has been struck. This is why they say not to take shelter at the base of a tree or other object.
    Darn it! you beat me to it. I was going to say something very similar, but your wording is much better than mine would have been. Thank you for posting this.

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  3. #43
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    This basic question about whether being in a hammock is safe in a lightning storm has been asked many times over the years on various hammock forums. The first time I got involved with it was when someone stated that you are perfectly safe because the current will take the path of least resistance and harmlessly follow the tree you are tied to to ground, if lightning hits that tree. That is ******** logic and is the kind of advice that could lead to someone's demise. Because of the potential for serious consequences, I protested vigorously then and I continue to do so today.

    For some reason talking about lightning seems to be a topic which causes people to argue endlessly-- often arguing about side issues and such that confuse people on whether being in a hammock makes one immune to the inherent dangers of lightning. Here is a previous link that mentions someone's unfortunate demise that is lightning related while they were in a hammock. There have been other articles with similar reports over the years but I have not saved those:

    http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...?t=6915&page=2
    Youngblood AT2000

  4. #44
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    It's easy to forget that we're talking about something that averages 5 miles long and has been recorded at 118 miles long! If a lightning bolt can travel that kind of distance, why would anything stop it from jumping the two feet from a hammock to the ground? Not to mention the heat, which can be around 50,000 degrees! I've seen lightning burn the bark off a tree. If that was the tree you were hanging from, you'd probably feel it, or at least end up on the ground when your suspension is burned up. Between the trees being damaged and falling limbs, direct hits, indirect hits, and fire, campers are likely at the same risk level despite what methods they are using. Point is, lightning is going to do what it wants, when it wants. Including, send you back in time with it's 1.21 gigawatts. So stay away from tall isolated trees, high elavations, and DeLoreans.

  5. #45
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    We are never truly safe out there .......... life is a risk, but a fun one!
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  6. #46

    Hot Cloud

    Whenever you have a chance to observe clouds moving in, pay special attention to the cloud that has a small ellipitcal snow cap. This is often a hot cloud that will prouduce many ground strikes. Strikes vary so that some seem to stand there and just pound the ground often causing multiple forest fires. Sleeper fires caused by lightning can last for weeks before they get up and move or go out on their own.

  7. #47
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    Also, if you want Mythbusters to test it out as best they can, then here's a forum thread mentioning this specifically: Lightning and it's effect on a hammock. If we make enough noise, we might could get them to do it.

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  8. #48
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    I'm really not afraid of being struck by lightening, more afraid of it ruining all my cool hammock gear...
    We would be one step closer to world peace, if everyone slept in a hammock..

  9. #49
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    Mythbusters did debunk the myth about the dangers of talking on a land-line phone or taking a shower during a lightning storm. Pretty funny stuff. Oh, then there was the "will having body piercings increase your chances of getting struck by lightning" episode.

    Heh heh.

    Yep. I can totally envision a "struck by lightning in a hammock" episode.

  10. #50
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    Like jjthedog said!!! How about the tent poles as conductors, (aluminum or carbon fiber yet!). Then in a tent you are a solid ground contact, while in a hammock your "lowest" spot would still be above ground contact. At least some gap. then again think about the spark between your butt and the ground if hit.

    Hang often, do not pick the biggest trees in the area, avoid the highest ground, yeh yeh yeh!!! In reality, setting up in the dark of a t-storm and remembering everything is problematic. Sure gives you something to think about all storm long.

    Life is an adventure!!! Defecation occurs in a nonrandom distribution pattern so embrace each experience.

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