Recommended Chaser Equipment List

Nov 25, 2008
219
31
11
Dallas,TX
www.wxdallas.com
Your vehicles Haynes or Chilton (or manufacturers) Repair Manual and a OBDII reader / scan tool. I found my repair manuals at a used book seller for dirt cheap and Harbor Freight had the scan tool for cheap. It was even cheaper w/ a discount coupon. Together the cost doesn't equal the service charge or one hour labor charge of most mechanics. Along with the appropriate tools I am able to diagnose and repair pretty much any problem on board. Afterward I'm able to clear the trouble code and make a detailed record of the vehicle's status for future reference.
 
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ngjere

EF1
May 10, 2010
74
16
11
Saint Paul Minnesota
Lightsticks. When you can find them at your local dollar store for a buck, There's no excuse in the world why anyone shouldn't have 20 bucks worth stowed away either in your vehicle or "Go-Kit" These can be literal life-savers at power compromised incident scenes for signaling, marking wires down, Search and Rescue, Utility Shutoff, Traffic Control, etc.
 
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Reactions: James Conrad
Dec 8, 2003
1,282
244
11
Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
Forgive me if I'm repeating anything that anyone else already mentioned, but I went through this thread a little faster than I might have.

come-along or winch, flares (keep them in freezer-size Ziplocs), tire chains (for getting out of mud), axe (you never know when you might come across someone trapped in debris and in need of urgent medical help), pipe wrench (for turning off gas lines), wire cutters, 12v plug-in spotlight, flashlight, tp, water, non-perishable food, hygrometer, blankets and pillows, window cleaner and paper towels, a bag of quarters for toll booths, tire pressure gauge, spare fuses, hand cleaner, trash bags, insect repellant

You will find every one of those items, as well as pretty much everything else listed by everyone else, in my little sports coupe while I chase.

Don't forget to install new windshield wipers, and get new tires if you don't have some really good rubber already!
 
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i would like to add a seatbelt cutter. i carry several in my truck, just in case im unable to get the blets off in an accident. (side note) came in handy having to rescue a kid who got tangled in his seatbelt and we had to cut him out of it at a state park here in colorado while i was out with my girlfriend at the time, :)

i second the vest notion too. i have a local safety store that sells the newest safety standard for reflective vests at cheap prices.... gonna pick up a few for my group that i chase with.

and well i dont have $1,000 worth of amber lights on my truck but ive added a few amber lights to the rear of my truck along with the red and white reflective tape.
 
Apr 14, 2004
14
1
1
Tulsa, OK
I would like to make the comment in 2011 Oklahoma Highway Patrol has said that anyone not wearing a class II or III Safety vest that is outside of their car could be ticketed. This was brought up at a media briefing with OHP in regards to the Vortex cluster last spring. I can't remember what they were exactly ticketing for but obstructing the roadway was part of the comments.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,899
411
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
I think they are referring to the Federal law which states that you must have a vest if you're on a Federal road (i.e. Interstate or U.S. route) but I don't think that is enforceable on "regular" roads. Still a good idea.
 
Found the vest thread via Google -- http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?17529-HIGH-VISIBILITY-GARMENTS-FOR-SPOTTERS-CHASERS-MEDIA

The "Federal law" is actually an interpretation of OSHA requirements with respect to the MUTCD -- kind of a Uniform Building Code for traffic control.
Workers means people on foot whose duties place them within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, such as highway construction and maintenance forces, survey crews, utility crews, responders to incidents within the highway right-of-way, and law enforcement personnel when directing traffic, investigating crashes, and handling lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters within the right-of- way of a Federal-aid highway. Sec. 634.3 Rule. All workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel.
No rational interpretation of this rule applies to chasers, or to everyone on foot in a Federal highway right-of-way. As said, though, it's still a good idea, and I have one in the kit.
 

Guy.Cooper

These aren't exactly equipment, but some things I didn't see on any of these lists:
1) food & drinks. Anytime I hit the road for more than a few minutes I will take a cooler with water, soda, Gatorade, and something to eat (sandwich, potato salad, etc). If I find myself 50 miles from nothing and there's a break in the weather, I don't want to waste time and gas trying to find something. Plus I buy it on sale at the grocery store in advance and save money that way too. The only thing I usually have to buy on the road is ice for the cooler when I first start out. In addition, if it's already in the car, I can keep moving and just grab a drink when I want it and not spend the time or money stopping at a store. Beef jerky, hard candy, trail mix, chips, etc are also really good to keep on hand and don't require cooling.
2) Keep plastic grocery bags in your vehicle to store your trash, and at the end of you trip, or when it's full, drop it at your refueling stop. They are also handy to wrap clean dry clothing or blankets in case you need them.
3) If you don't mind being close to nature, you might even consider keeping toilet paper and waterless hand cleaner in your vehicle (bury the tp with your waste, or tie it in a plastic bag and drop it in the trash at your next opportunity).
 
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Has anyone mentioned a towel yet? Besides being a great reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there were several times this year where I ended up sopping wet and wishing for a towel. Now I keep one in my trunk. However, for accessibility, it might be better just to keep it in the back.

"Always know where one's towel is..."
 

STexan

EF4
Feb 11, 2012
316
38
11
Athens, TX
I read wx radio mentioned, preferably portable/handheld. And I think they should be standard equipment for all chasers but make sure you have one that auto-scans to keep tuning to the closest station every 30 seconds or so as you're roaming the region in and out of several different signals. Not all do.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3506942 put this in "Travel Mode" and forget about it. No need to bother with putting in SAME codes.

I also read "axe" ... For the truly ambitious and those with the storage means, a small/medium chainsaw might be prudent, as well as a tow strap or chain to pull downed trees out of the way if you have an appropriate vehicle.

A backup cell phone in the event yours somehow "becomes inoperable" (due to dropping in a puddle of water for instance). Get a trac-phone or similar from Walmart and pre-load it with 30 minutes or so. Make sure to put in all of your important numbers you don't know by heart, and always leave it in the glovebox along with it's charger if it's different than you already have.

If you wear rx glasses and need them to drive (or read), perhaps a cheap spare pair might be wise to keep in your chase vehicle, as well.
 
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Oct 27, 2011
52
0
5
Panama City, FL
I would caution a chainsaw for most chasers. You don't want to just start cutting unless you are sure that it's safe from all dangers, or it's an extreme emergency.
I read wx radio mentioned, preferably portable/handheld. And I think they should be standard equipment for all chasers but make sure you have one that auto-scans to keep tuning to the closest station every 30 seconds or so as you're roaming the region in and out of several different signals. Not all do.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3506942 put this in "Travel Mode" and forget about it. No need to bother with putting in SAME codes.

I also read "axe" ... For the truly ambitious and those with the storage means, a small/medium chainsaw might be prudent, as well as a tow strap or chain to pull downed trees out of the way if you have an appropriate vehicle.

A backup cell phone in the event yours somehow "becomes inoperable" (due to dropping in a puddle of water for instance). Get a trac-phone or similar from Walmart and pre-load it with 30 minutes or so. Make sure to put in all of your important numbers you don't know by heart, and always leave it in the glovebox along with it's charger if it's different than you already have.

If you wear rx glasses and need them to drive (or read), perhaps a cheap spare pair might be wise to keep in your chase vehicle, as well.
 
Feb 27, 2009
445
57
11
Texarkana, AR
I read wx radio mentioned, preferably portable/handheld. And I think they should be standard equipment for all chasers but make sure you have one that auto-scans to keep tuning to the closest station every 30 seconds or so as you're roaming the region in and out of several different signals. Not all do.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3506942 put this in "Travel Mode" and forget about it. No need to bother with putting in SAME codes.
Do you have one of these? That is a great tip and I'd buy one tomorrow if it really does auto scan on its own every so often. I have one that auto scans but you have to mash a button every time you want it to adjust to the strongest station. I noticed one of the reviews on this particular model was complaining of the same thing. so there is a bit of confusion there. Maybe some similar radios with different features or something.
 

hobobuster

A backup cell phone in the event yours somehow "becomes inoperable" (due to dropping in a puddle of water for instance). Get a trac-phone or similar from Walmart and pre-load it with 30 minutes or so.
Best option there is a Nokia. Drop an iPhone on the floor? Break the iPhone. Drop a Nokia on the floor? Break the floor. /true story
 
Jul 21, 2014
49
24
11
30
Killeen Texas
www.facebook.com
I Recommend The following, These Items I have in my chase rig.
1. First aid Kit.
2.Reflective Vest
3.Helmet and goggles
4.Tow Strap or Recovery Strap
5.CB Radio and Ham Radio
6.Change of Socks and shoes separate from your over night stuff. you never know if you get out of your ride if you step into a puddle it happened to me.
7. NOAA Radio
8.Chase Partner. I dont Believe in Chasing by yourself.
 
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
That's a good idea, and one I considered last time I bought tires a few months ago. I believe they didn't have them in my size or were just too expensive (something like that) for me at the time. However, obviously it is certainly great to have the ability to drive 70 miles to get out of the path of a storm or tornado at just the wrong time to be out changing a tire.
 
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
Robert, during the regular season I usually turn on XM's Mobile Threatnet and use the Master Mariner at half the cost of the Ground Responder. The only product of use that it seems to not have is areas of Shear. It probably also doesn't show the SPC products like Day 1 or MSD, but I do still get severe warnings, rotation markers and I believe watches. I also get winds at all levels. I've used it for 4 or 5 years that way and haven't missed the Ground Responder. I typically get my SPC products (when I choose to use them) off of GR3 or just going to the website. The main thing you have to remember about Threatnet is it is very low resolution radar and sometimes time delayed by 5 to up to 20 minutes. The look more like radar blobs. With an internet connection you can run GR3 or higher and have high quality detailed radar that will help you pick out areas of rotation through base reflectivity (echo signature & hook echoes), markers such as meso or TVS, along with Storm Relative Motion or Velocity (showing doppler rotation couplets). Nowadays there are also products on your smartphone such as RadarScope which are also high resolution data. I actually use my android smartphone's data plan along with FoxFi app to create a portable wifi that my notebook uses on the road. I am not charged extra for tethering using this solution. I use the smartphone in a wilson cradle mount signal booster with an external antenna. I've done this last 4 or 5 seasons and it works pretty well on Verizon a lot of places. If I need more consistent reliable data and might want to stream I would use a dedicated usb data wireless card and a dedicated wireless booster such as Maximum Signal, etc. Also keep in mind that Threatnet is very useful and important as a backup source of radar and satellite in many of those areas you don't have an internet connection both for safety, and productivity.

Gloves make sense, leather that you can work with a lens cap or a tripod socket. Protecting your hands when the windshield shatters. Chaser knowledge, as having to choose between storms north or south of Interstate 90 and choosing the right one when both look identical to the untrained eye when using satellite weather. I would like to know if it is cheaper to use XM's full coverage or use the Master Mariner at half the cost and an internet connection which I don't see reliable in some areas to get mesoscale discussions and the latest convective outlooks.
 
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
PS: Guess I left out a hail screen. This is a must if you chase in close in large hail all the time and don't want to have to constantly change out glass. I don't have one, but I would like to have a good one. Of course low end tornado penetration requires TIV type equipment as others mentioned. While the TIV concept is still a bit extreme as it is implied you plan to drive into a tornado it occurs to me in a sense it should be minimally required equipment. We all usually do fine without it, but tornadoes are extremely dangerous and any of us could have a breakdown, bad road option, or dynamic change in the storms which could catch us with a tornado heading into or over us. Always chasing in a protected TIV type vehicle whether you intend to penetrate or not would be a good safety option. That said, I have no plans to build my own TIV at this time. I would like one though. :)
 
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
Bob, good list. I carry most of those as well. Depending on where you chase as someone mentioned I also agree with a chain saw. Handy in areas like TN, KY, MS, MO, etc where tornado downs trees and prevents you from traveling down the road. Come along or wench particularly be helpful on mud roads, with trees to wench to. Insect repellant is important. I can remember times I got out to shoot some photos and just being covered up in mosquitos!!!

Forgive me if I'm repeating anything that anyone else already mentioned, but I went through this thread a little faster than I might have.

come-along or winch, flares (keep them in freezer-size Ziplocs), tire chains (for getting out of mud), axe (you never know when you might come across someone trapped in debris and in need of urgent medical help), pipe wrench (for turning off gas lines), wire cutters, 12v plug-in spotlight, flashlight, tp, water, non-perishable food, hygrometer, blankets and pillows, window cleaner and paper towels, a bag of quarters for toll booths, tire pressure gauge, spare fuses, hand cleaner, trash bags, insect repellant

You will find every one of those items, as well as pretty much everything else listed by everyone else, in my little sports coupe while I chase.

Don't forget to install new windshield wipers, and get new tires if you don't have some really good rubber already!
 
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
Has anyone mentioned a towel yet? Besides being a great reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there were several times this year where I ended up sopping wet and wishing for a towel. Now I keep one in my trunk. However, for accessibility, it might be better just to keep it in the back.

"Always know where one's towel is..."
I always keep at least 1 towel and rain gear as well. It is good to have jackets and coats as well. There have been times during Spring in Nebraska I start out with a warm day wearing shorts but later when the storm and cold front hits it may drop into the 30's or 40's - particularly early season.
 
Good list guys. I would also recommend carrying extra fluids (oil, transmission fluid, coolant, etc.). This is a good thing to do just for general day to day stuff too. Know how to check all your fluids and how to add more if needed.

Along with the flares, star clusters (I think they're called parachute rocket flares or something in the civilian world) are good if you get lost and are stranded. At the very least it will draw attention that can get you the help you need. They can be seen from the air or ground for miles. If you have a truck and have somewhere to mount it, a hard mount winch is also a good thing to have. Not only for pulling debris from the road, but for pulling other chasers out of the ditch if they get stuck.
 
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Jun 2, 2010
69
4
11
Napoleon Ohio
Something else I do not recall seeing mentioned, spare electrical fuses for your cars electrical system and for any electronics (2-way radio, inverter etc.) mounted in your chase vehicle.

Also might not hurt to carry spare lamps/bulbs for brake/turn signals etc. also a roll of electrical tape, roll of thick poly sheeting and duct tape (can be used to cover up blown out window if you run through large hail core)