Recommended Chaser Equipment List

Jun 2, 2010
69
4
11
Napoleon Ohio
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.
Something we carry in our EMA truck are electrical LED emergency road markers

http://www.edisastersystems.com/store/3A-Orange-LED-Roard-Flare-Kit.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0s0HqDMSVT-hKaE5GhBhtqTf9h9C4P1h48D6h0gZm-hoCfvXw_wcB
 
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Reactions: Matt Salo
Feb 22, 2015
34
17
11
Milton, Ontario, Canada
It seems that some of the more experienced chasers have their ham radio certification & radio in their vehicle. I know there are chasers, such as Daniel Shaw, who are great about regularly calling in spotter reports to NWS via ham radio, but how helpful/necessary is having a ham radio for communication between chasers?

p.s. Would it be a good idea to bring along an extra-powerful flashlight for assisting with search & rescue, repairs, etc.?
 
Feb 22, 2015
34
17
11
Milton, Ontario, Canada
Tons of great suggestions folks...almost literally! I'm going to have to switch to chasing in a moving van to carry all this stuff! LOL! :D Well, at least I'd have room in the back for a portable generator to power everything! ;)
 
Derek,

As far as car to car comms are concerned, it's convenient if everyone in a convoy has a ham, but for that purpose, a set of 2 way radios will suffice. It might actually be easier to use store bought 2 ways unless everyone has dual band radios. I could see that get annoying very quickly trying to switch freqs between what the convoy is on and whatever freq the local SKYWARN happens to be on. That's just speculation on my part though, as the only time I've ever convoyed with anyone, it was just me and one other and we had each other's cellular number. Aside from that, I've never had to deal with communicating with other chasers while on a chase.

As far as the flashlight goes, I would consider that to be a necessary part of any survival kit that you would keep in a car anyway. There are certain items that I would always keep in my car even if I weren't a chaser, and flashlight most certainly falls into that category.

Hope that helps!
 
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Reactions: Ken Perrin
Mar 30, 2008
1,188
897
21
Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
I love having my ham radio in my car for either communication with other chasers or just the built in weather radio alert feature of the Kenwood D710A I have. It's also helpful to have in case of failed comms, although these days that is becoming quite rare. I can only think of 1 or 2 times recently where I had no data and had to actually call, and can't think of any time since 2013 where we've had to call something in by the radio.
 
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Reactions: Joe Cameron

chad albee

Enthusiast
May 29, 2016
7
2
1
midwest city, ok
I have a few spare parts (belt, fuses, other electrical repair stuff), tow straps, tools, mini air compressor, tire plugs, spare bulbs, hand held police radio, davis vantage pro 2, davis weather wizard 3 (my back up system), camera and mount, first aid kit, chainsaw, delorome maps, mobile wifi hot spot, lap top, led flashers, lightbar, duct tape, safety wire, shovel, cb radio, color tv, pa/siren, wx worx (just got it but not online yet), 2005 chevy Tahoe, 400 watt inverter with surge protector strip. Luckily the largest hail I've been in so far with this truck is a little larger than golf ball. My second to last truck wasn't so lucky.
 
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Reactions: Matt Salo
Apr 16, 2004
1,613
12
11
Austin, Tx
www.TornadoXtreme.com
I definitely agree with adding fuses to the list. Guess I left that off. I've had a time or two when the fuse that powers the inverter which powers everything else goes out, and suddenly no radar, map, gps, dashcam power, etc! Might want to carry an extra inverter also. I've had those go out on chases as well.
 

Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
123
46
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada

Emergency lights / Lightbars
- I don't really believe in it, but some chasers / spotters fully
believe in the need for all the lights so others can avoid them when driving in low visibility
conditions. Also fog lights, etc. This is a debate in the chaser community.
Isn't it illegal in some areas to use these unless you're part of an Emergency Services team? I know in Ontario, Canada you are prohibited from using emergency light bars and lights unless you're part of a government department or emergency management/response organization (police and fire departments, Highway Maintenance, Ministry of Transportation, St. John Ambulance, etc.) and are responding to an incident or are on the scene of an incident. Same as radar detectors - they are banned in most of Canada, and you can't have one in your possession or else you could be punished either financially (with a fine) or criminally (with jail time or a prison sentence).
 
Mar 9, 2016
77
18
11
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Isn't it illegal in some areas to use these unless you're part of an Emergency Services team? I know in Ontario, Canada you are prohibited from using emergency light bars and lights unless you're part of a government department or emergency management/response organization (police and fire departments, Highway Maintenance, Ministry of Transportation, St. John Ambulance, etc.) and are responding to an incident or are on the scene of an incident. Same as radar detectors - they are banned in most of Canada, and you can't have one in your possession or else you could be punished either financially (with a fine) or criminally (with jail time or a prison sentence).
Depends on the state I'm pretty sure. Some allow them while others don't, however I believe most allow amber lights.
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
490
482
21
54
Menominee, MI
I use shooting glasses for eye protection. The thing I like the most about them is they really reduce glare and give me more clarity when looking at cloud formations. Once I’m actively chasing, I take off the sunglasses and slip on the shooting glasses. They don’t offer as much protection as goggles, but they let you see better and they don’t fog up.
 
Apr 25, 2009
65
26
11
Scottsdale, AZ
Has anyone seen an alternative to Delorme Street Maps? Garmin bought Delorme and the product is now dead as far as I know, with the latest update the 2014 version.

I used it for decades, because it is excellent for displaying maps. I use Google Maps around home for navigation, but frankly, it's road display is horrible - very low contrast for all but major streets. And, if you don't have good cell coverage, you had better have downloaded the maps for offline usage, through their tedious (really bad design) user interface.

ALSO... Signal boosters/amplifiers for cell phones. Yes - these are a good idea. I have used the Wilson series for years - these day, the Wilson Sleek. It not only increases the power of your signal, but also moves things to an antenna on the roof, which is an optimum point for best reception.
 
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Reactions: Ken Perrin
Mar 8, 2016
177
258
11
Bloomington, IL
I do want to add that Google Maps' offline maps function is fantastic. Saved me from a headache on 12/1/18 in Western IL when I had no service(that area is a Verizon black hole).
 
In reference to the winches, off-road/4×4 publications [back when I read them], would recommend carrying danforth style anchors to use if you were bogged down in sand or mud, and couldn't find a suitable anchor point. Also, when I was on the VFD, we carried snatch blocks [useful for changing the direction of the pull], rated above the winch's capacity, on the trucks equipped with them.
 
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Reactions: Todd Lemery

John Wetter

SN President
Staff member
Dec 11, 2005
855
46
11
Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
I'm likely getting a new vehicle this fall and am wondering if I am going to install my ham radio in the new car. I can't think of a time I've used it for anything besides listening to NOAA Weather Radio in the past 2-3 years. There are fewer and fewer chasers out there who seem to use it so the utility is falling from my perspective. So, I'm very close to dropping ham radio from the "chaser equipment list" personally.
 

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
1,270
190
11
52
Richmond Virginia
www.harkphoto.com
I still use amateur radio to communicate with chaser friends either in a caravan or nearby. It's very useful. Even when not in a group, it's useful for communicating with other chasers and finding out about hazards or what the storm is doing from a different viewpoint. The radios are inexpensive and licensing is very easy.
 
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Reactions: Jason Boggs
Oct 31, 2013
408
316
21
Eastern TX Panhandle
John, I look at at this way. You already have a ham radio, so why not add an extra piece of communication equipment to your chase ride for a "just in case" purpose? What if your cell phone stopped working for whatever reason? To me, it's a very important piece of equipment , but that's just my opinion.
 
Feb 19, 2018
11
3
1
Dunlap Illinois
Bailing wire, WD40, and Vice grips are some of the most important tools you can have when storm chasing (Especially when you beat the hell out of your vehicles).
Anyone ever hit a flash flood at 60mph? It is like the braking system on a rocket sled.

I was driving home after chasing a tornado warned super-cell and just didn't see it coming. I went under this underpass on this country highway was in a world of shit. The force smashed my body into the steering column and knocked the wind out of me, (I only got lap belts) it tore off my entire exhaust system, blew water all over and in the distributor, and filled the cab up with water. Due to the fact that I am still running a points distributor, the engine stayed running and I was able to pull it out.

I was able to rehang the exhaust with more bailing wire, (why improve upon perfection?) use some WD40 to clean the water out of the distributor and stop it from missing, (The W-D stands for Water Displacement) and use the vice grips to put the the 2-3 shift linkage together.

Needless to say, I had to change almost every fluid in the whole truck and re-grease all the suspension components.
 
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