What To Do When Camping In A Tent During A Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms are terrifying as is, but even more so when you’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a tent keeping you from getting soaked. 

Camping during a thunderstorm or other severe weather is what every serious outdoor enthusiast should plan for. 

Don’t allow the threat of bad weather to derail your vacation or prevent you from venturing into the countryside. If you find yourself camping in a thunderstorm, you should take some basic precautions. 

By preparing ahead of time, you’ll be ready when the weather turns bad, and you’ll know what steps to take to keep yourself and others safe.

What To Do Amid A Thunderstorm

lightning and a thunder storm off in the distance over some trees and nature

Exposure Is The Most Dangerous Threat To Your Safety.

It’s vital not to fear if you’re out enjoying this country’s natural places and a rainstorm is approaching. Lightning is scary, but it is not the most important aspect to be concerned about. 

Exposure to cold from the rain, wind, and the elements is the most dangerous threat to people or groups camping in a rainstorm.

Many tents now employ plastic or carbon fiber poles, which will not “attract” lightning as much as the tent itself.

Lightning will seek the fastest path to the ground. As a result, your tent mustn’t be the highest item in the area.

You also don’t want your tent to be directly beneath a tall item. If the tree is struck, you are at risk of being injured by a side flash. Alternatively, you may be in danger if the hit tree catches fire.

Pick The Right Campsite

When planning for severe weather on a camping trip, one of the most important things you can take to secure your safety is to ensure you have other shelter options wherever you go.

If you’re vehicle camping, this problem is already handled for you. Is there an established ranger station or visitor’s center if the weather turns poor?

Is there a cabin accessible nearby if you’re camping in a state or national park as an alternative to tent camping if the necessity arises? 

You’ll have the knowledge you need to stay safe and happy if you take the time to conduct some research about where you’re going.

When lightning and thunder are quite near to one other, it indicates that a storm is approaching. You should go to a safe refuge if you have the option.

Remember to go to your heaven before the storm arrives. You don’t want to get into contact with any metal things, such as doorknobs, when lightning is cascading down from above!

Stay in your secure refuge for 30 minutes or until you can no longer hear thunder. One-third of lightning fatalities occur due to individuals leaving their shelters too soon.

Utilize All of Your Guy Lines

For all of you more seasoned campers out there, this is something you’ve let slip now and then. Use every guy line that comes with your tent to be safe when camping in a rainstorm. 

When you’re laying up your guy lines, make sure your rain fly is tight and not in contact with the inside wall of your tent.

With tight guy lines and a taut rain tarp, you can assist reduce the temperature differential between the inside and outside of your tent. This avoids condensation and aids in the ventilation of your tent.

Assume you successfully put up all of your guidelines. In such a situation, you may assure a breathable tent that will stay dry even in the worst inclement weather by directing water away from your tent rather than allowing it to soak through the tent wall or, worse, pool around or below it.

Make Use Of Tarps

You can use a plastic tarp for almost anything. When it comes to camping in the rain, you’ll be surprised at how quickly water can get in.

If you’re worried about moisture getting in through the bottom of your tent, putting a tarp between the ground and your tent is a surefire way to keep it dry.

 If you do use a tarp under your tent, make sure it matches the dimensions of your tent; otherwise, water will end up gathering up under your tent.

Add More Layers

Direct lightning strikes are uncommon; fatalities or injuries from ground impacts are considerably more common, which scatter their force across the ground, producing burns, shocks, and other damage. 

If you’ve already put a tarp under your tent, try laying another one on the floor. You can protect yourself from lightning by putting a few extra clothes between you and the earth. 

It doesn’t even have to be a tarp; a tiny folding camp stool or a sleeping mat can suffice.

If you’re stranded in your tent during a rainstorm and have no other alternatives, make yourself as tiny as possible and place as many layers as possible between your body and the ground.

Spread Out If You’re Camping With A Large Group.

If your tents are all gathered together, they will draw a lot of lightning. However, if a storm is approaching and you are in a hazardous location, you should leave your tents.

The underlying reason for spreading apart is that everyone will be less likely to be struck by lightning. If only one person is hit, the others can offer first aid and seek assistance.

Furthermore, if you are spaced apart, the lightning is less likely to move from one person to the next.

Invest In A Weather Radio

If you’re going to be in a genuinely remote region and want to be prepared for severe weather, a weather radio is the best investment you can make. 

A weather radio is battery-powered and will inform you if there is a severe weather warning in your region. This is especially beneficial if the weather turns severe while you’re asleep.

Weather radios are popular in certain regions of the nation that still lack telephone lines or internet connection, and they’re a wonderful alternative for keeping you informed and safe while you’re on the trail.

lightning strike with residual thunder captured over a nature landscape

The Best Tents For Thunderstorms

When a storm is approaching, the wind will gather around you. The wind picks up and blows fiercely at the tent. 

It gets beneath the tent rain fly and causes it to flip rapidly back and forth. The wind picks up as the thunderstorm approaches. 

You’ll know the storm is directly overhead when the lightning and thunder bursts come closer together.

Here are some tents that won’t let you down when you find yourself camping in the middle of a violent thunderstorm. 

  1. Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Deluxe
Kodiak 6014 Cotton Duck Canvas 10 X 14 Ft. 8-Person Flex-Bow Deluxe Tent
21 Reviews
Kodiak 6014 Cotton Duck Canvas 10 X 14 Ft. 8-Person Flex-Bow Deluxe Tent
  • Hydra-Shield, 100% Cotton Duck Canvas. Durable, watertight and breathable.
  • Flex-Bow Frame: Exceptionally sturdy. Keeps tent taut. Quick and easy, one-person, set-up.
  • Spacious 6'6" ceiling height provides walk-around comfort.
  • Two large D-shaped doors (front and back) with #10 YKK zippers.

This is the best family tent for tough weather. The Kodiak-Flex Bow-Deluxe can be your final tent purchase. 

Its durable structure can easily handle harsh weather, its four-season capacity means you can use this tent all year, and its large size and room ensure you and your family are comfortable when sheltering from the wind and rain.

The sturdy canvas ensures that the tent barely moves in high winds and rain, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep or a safe place to sit and relax during a thunderstorm.

The waterproof HydraShield coating is applied to the 100% cotton duck canvas. Because it is made of natural materials, it is also breathable. Therefore ventilation is not an issue. 

Regardless of the weather outside, your tent will be comfortable on the inside. If you go camping regularly and don’t want to worry about your tent collapsing in storms, this is the tent for you.

  1. Core 9 Person Extended Dome Tent
Currently On Sale
CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Tent - 16' x 9'
3,920 Reviews
CORE 9 Person Extended Dome Tent - 16' x 9'
  • Sleeps 9 people; Fits three queen air mattresses; Center Height: 72 inches
  • CORE H20 Block Technology and adjustable ground vent.Pole Type: Traditional Fiber Glass Poles
  • Features gear loft with lantern hook and pockets to keep items organized and off the tent floor
  • Electrical cord access port (port is fully closable when not in use)

The Core 9-Person Extended Dome is a relatively lightweight tent at 18.25 pounds, compared to the 30.5-pound 9-person Cabin variant. 

The Extended Dome also has a slightly bigger footprint, giving it more space. However, if you want comfort and room to store your things inside the tent, you can only accommodate up to six campers.

Many campers who have used this tent urge that the stakes be replaced with higher-quality stakes.

  1. The North Face Stormbreak 2
The North Face Stormbreak 2, Golden Oak/Pavement, OS
191 Reviews
The North Face Stormbreak 2, Golden Oak/Pavement, OS
  • EASY PITCH. Our easy-to-pitch, two-person camping tent is refreshed for spring with a new vestibule design that makes camping in adverse weather more enjoyable....
  • COMFORTABLE DESIGN. Easy to get in and out, this tent features two doors and two twin-zip, multi-configuration vestibules. Keep comfortable with high-low...
  • EASY ACCESS. Doors stuff into the adjacent mesh pockets so you don't have to roll them up and they stay out of the way while your tent is set up.
  • QUALITY CONSTRUCTION. A Fully seam-taped canopy and floor help enhance durability and waterproofing. Canopy: 75D Polyester. TaffetaMesh: 40D Polyester Mesh.

For a good reason, The North Face is one of the most recognized outdoor gear manufacturers, and the Stormbreak has become a big favorite with campers searching for a low-cost tent that can withstand wind and rain. 

Despite being designed primarily as a summer tent, the Stormbreak’s ergonomic shape is ideal for heavy wind and rain.

The Stormbreak is a double-walled tent with a complete rainfly. It includes factory-sealed seams and a bathtub-style floor with an additional polyurethane coating to keep water out.

The included rainfly includes a storm flap that keeps rain and water out of the vestibule. This is the solution if you don’t have much room in your sleeping area and want to keep your possessions in the foyer.

  1. Moon Lence Camping Tent
Currently On Sale
MOON LENCE Camping Tent 2/4/6 Person Family Tent Double Layer Outdoor Tent Waterproof Windproof Anti-UV … (Green, 4-Person)
4,249 Reviews
MOON LENCE Camping Tent 2/4/6 Person Family Tent Double Layer Outdoor Tent Waterproof Windproof Anti-UV … (Green, 4-Person)
  • All-round protection: 190T PU material provides 1000mm water resistance and excellent UV resistance. Equipped with Rainfly, Our double layer tent provides...
  • Breathable & Stable: Large section of mesh and 1 D-shaped doors with dual zippers. A ground vent and two windows provide much better ventilation, increase air...
  • Easy to Setup:2 Shock Cord Connecting Poles with clips on tent make it easy to set the tent up. Even one people can set up the tent less in 15min.
  • Brand Quality & Money Back Guarantee: We offer an unconditional 30-day money back guarantee and lifetime warranty to make it an absolutely risk-free purchase....

The Moon-Lence tent is a 2-person tent that is a double-layered tent constructed entirely of materials like polyester. It is simple to assemble and disassemble, and it comes with a compact, convenient bag for storage.

This low-cost tent has two windows and a ground vent for better air circulation.

It contains four-person ropes and nine lightweight iron pegs for stability in windy circumstances. It also contains two shock-cords connecting poles for quick setup, which takes around 15 minutes.

The lightweight iron pegs and guy lines give stability against windy conditions and prevent rainfall from gathering on the canvas.

Ventilation is not an issue with the big mesh portion, ground vents, and a removable rainfly that manages the moisture by enhancing the airflow.

The tent has internal mesh pockets, which will provide excellent storage space for all of your things. The tent has a ceiling hook which you can use to hang your light and get the finest environment at night.

  1. The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent, 1 Person (Orange)
246 Reviews
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent, 1 Person (Orange)
  • FULLY REDESIGNED - One of our best-selling, full-featured, ultralight backpacking tents, the Copper Spur HV UL series just got better with new features inside...
  • AWARD-WINNING COMFORT - New awning-style vestibule expands covered living space; great for both drizzle and sun protection. The double zippers provide multiple...
  • STORAGE AND MORE - New 3-D bin ‘mezzanine’ in the foot provides massive, off the floor storage; Oversized ceiling pocket in the head provides great...
  • A BETTER SHELTER - New proprietary tent corner construction with unique TipLok Tent Buckle streamlines tent set up by combining three functions: secure pole-tip...

The Big Agnes Copper Spur is one of the most popular winds and snow tents. The HV UL allows you to sit up more comfortably while offering 25% more strength. All of this without gaining any weight.

Despite its low weight and thinness, it is quite resilient. It can endure winds of up to 60 mph, snow, and severe downpours. Many other tents cannot make the same claim.

The Copper Spur HV UL is equipped with a double-walled system and a full rain fly. It is the lightest tent in this category with two walls. 

Double-walled tents are ideal for windy and rainy conditions because the rain fly is completely separate and covers your inner tent.

  1. Kelty Salida
Currently On Sale
Kelty Late Start 4 Person - 3 Season Backpacking Tent (2020 Updated Version of Kelty Salida Tent), Blue
625 Reviews
Kelty Late Start 4 Person - 3 Season Backpacking Tent (2020 Updated Version of Kelty Salida Tent), Blue
  • Updated Version of Kelty Salida Tent
  • The tent measures 99” x 81”, giving you an interior area of 55. 7 square feet. The peak height is 56 inches. There is a single vestibule protecting 9. 14...
  • The two aluminum poles are pre-bent to create extra room inside the tent. Pockets at each corner of the tent keep one end of the pole secure as you move around...
  • The tent has a single door. The walls are No-see-um mesh and the floor is tough 68 denier fabric, water resistant to 1800 mm. Internal storage includes a...

The Kelty Salida is another excellent budget tent from a well-known manufacturer. While it is not the lightest tent available, it is one of the lightest tents available at such a cheap price.

The Kelty Salida outperforms most other budget tents in harsh rain and wind situations. The rainfly is extremely waterproof and, when staked and guyed out correctly, sits well away from the inside tent, preventing water from entering your living space.

When traveling to locations with harsh weather, the tent is a go-to cheap tent. The Salida can endure winds of up to 30 miles per hour without the poles cracking, the tent slumping in, or you feeling like you’re ready to take off. 

Even in the face of severe rain, it will continue to perform. You won’t get wet. The internal mesh pockets of the Salida 2 are ideal for keeping your accessories and necessities. 

The ceiling also has loops for hanging lights. The vestibule is a good place to store boots, shoes, and other items that don’t go inside your tent.

  1. MSR Hubba Hubba NX
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent, with Xtreme Waterproof Coating
399 Reviews
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent, with Xtreme Waterproof Coating
  • 3-season, 2-person backpacking tent that offers the most livable accommodations in a lightweight freestanding design. Floor Fabric - 30D ripstop nylon 3000mm...
  • Pole geometry maximizes space with 29 sq. feet of floor area, interior peak height of 39 inches, plus 17.5 sq. feet of vestibule area
  • Complete setup weighs 3.5 lbs. and packs down to 18x6 inches; minimalist setup option uses footprint, poles, and rainfly and weighs 3 lbs.
  • Xtreme Shield Waterproof Coating lasts up to 3 times longer than standard waterproof coatings; Easton Syclone Poles resist breaking in fierce winds

MSR’s best-selling and award-winning backpacking tent is the Hubba Hubba NX. 

It’s essentially identical to the renowned Elixir in practically every detail, including its durability, spaciousness, and ability to withstand wind and rain like a beast. 

You can tell the tent was designed for windy situations when you start putting it up. Unlike other tents, you stake it down first and only begin to raise it after the stakes are firm. 

This keeps your tent from blowing everywhere/away while you’re trying to pitch it in less-than-ideal conditions.

It isn’t the lightest choice, but it’s light enough to take on most camping, backpacking, or hiking adventures.

With only two bags at either end of the tent, the Hubba’s internal storage choices are weak. While it isn’t a deal-breaker, it is a simple modification that can go a long way toward making tent living a bit more pleasant.

The Bottom Line

It’s important that you always set up camp as if the worst were to happen. There’s no need to panic; be cautious. 

If it does rain while you’re camping, you’ll be at ease knowing that you did all that you could to stay safe and have a good story to tell.

Looking for a tent within a specific price range?

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