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I have used the Mega Mid tent almost exclusively for hundreds of nights out over the last many years. It's versatile, well ventilated, light... but has this pole sticking straight up the middle.

Is this configuration more likely to attract lightning than, say, poles in a dome-type tent? How good are tent-poles in general for attract lightning?

I've had a few nights when I have jettisoned the pole -- tossing it far away (and huddled under the sopping fabric) in a attempt to try and distract the lightning gods -- is this futile?

Assuming I leave the tent pole in, is it better to insulate either end (say with a rubber sandal)?

Or am I over-thinking it all, and what will be will be, so sweet dreams.

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I think you're over-thinking it. If you're tent is the tallest thing around, then picking a better campsite is the bigger issue to ponder. The Mega Mid is nice piece of gear by the way. –  manoftheson Jan 19 '13 at 4:04
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1 Answer

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Any pole will have a fractionally greater chance of attracting lightning than a piece of flat ground or a dome tent - but this doesn't mean the increased chance is that high. If you are in the middle of an entirely flat field and your tent pole is the highest object for miles, then it will be a slight risk, but some points to consider:

  • If you are anywhere near trees, they are more likely to attract lightning. But don't get too close, in case a tree gets hit and falls on you, burns you etc.
  • If you do have an aluminium walking pole or similar you can stand it in the ground 30 feet away and it will be a much better route to earth for lightning.
  • Don't pitch your tent on top of a peak. This is generally good planning anyway, as you'd want to aim for a more sheltered spot if possible.
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The main danger of being near a tree when it's struck is that they explode showering the area in very hot, very hard shrapnel. –  RichardAtHome Sep 25 '12 at 15:22
+1 for the walking pole –  HorusKol Oct 4 '12 at 8:38
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