Chase Essentials

Seems like time for our annual discussion about all the stuff we take along with us, for the newbies, if nothing else!

Here's my checklist:

Spare batteries and vid tapes/film for everything
DeLorme maps + GPS
Cellphone w/NWSFO (and nowcaster) #'s on speed-dial
Maps (I created) pointing the way to almost every library in The Alley
BRAND NEW tires and windshield wipers on the vehicle every March
Bright yellow jacket for standing roadside in adverse conditions (I certainly want to be seen by passing traffic!)
Spare batteries, come-along (winch-type thingy) and tow ropes, tire chains, flares kept in Ziploc bags, first-aid kit, plastic sheeting and duct tape (in case of window loss), plug-in spotlight, flashlight, tp, water, non-perishable food, gloves, "fix-a-flat", binoculars (though I've yet to actually use them), hygrometer, wx radio, walkie-talkies, blankets and pillows, tripod (the heavier the better...they will be in strong inflow), ruler (measure hail), window-cleaner, paper towels, installation discs for such laptop software as GPS, (re-chargeable) battery charger, quarters for toll booths, tire pressure gauge, fuses, hand cleaner, jumper cables, lighter, trash bags
Tim Vasquez's Storm Chasing Handbook (If nothing else, for the restaurant listings!)

Here's to everyone having a productive, safe, and fun season!

Here's mine:

Cellphone with NWSFO on speed dial
Camera/Camcorder w/accessories
Scanners for monitor NOAA Weather Radio and storm spotters
Laptop w/GPS
Also Tim's Storm Chasing Handbook
When I remember :blink: :

Camera Bag:
- 35mm with at least four rolls of film
- Video camera w/ two batteries and a few tapes
- All the accesories for each

Dual-band ham radio (also doubles as scanner and weather radio in most cases)

Cell phone and charger

Snacks and drinks (I eat ALL the time)

Decent pair of shoes and a first aid kit in case I have to get involved after the storm goes through

That's about it. I'm still somewhat of a minimalist, but only because I spend all my "toy" money on kayaking equipment :p
- Laptop with WxWorx, WIFI and StreetAtlas
- Cameras and related accessories, chargers
- Cell phone
- Hardwired 750W inverter for power
- Scanner (primarily for NWR)
- Cooler
- Calling cards
- Tow strap and AAA membership
My list:
-Laptop equipped with SwiftWX and StormLab Professional
-Cell Phone
-USB Data Cable
-Car Chargers for the phone and laptop in case the batteries hit the skids
-4 scanners for monitoring SKYWARN, Emergency Management, and other public safety
-Camera Equipment (spare batteries, tripod, spare XD memory cards, etc)
-extra motor oil, tranny fluid, radiator fluid, etc
-screwdrivers, wrenches, extra belts and hoses.
-cooler stocked with bottled water and Mountain Dew
-backup map books in case the Internet decides it doesn't want to connect
My list has developed over the years. All of this equipment is expensive. :blink:

I Need:
Canon D20
Flash media
17x40 lense
Yaesu HAM radio
Panasonic DVC 30 ( dash and quick acquisition cam ) and
Dash mount
HD Cam ( by next season )
Large DC rechargable power supply

Now looking at my needs list it can be seen that im woefully unprepared.. lol, No really I feel that way. And I suppose in some way I am. :unsure:
Mine-- for chasing hurricanes:

* Video camera w/ lots of tapes
* Digital camera (for still pictures) w/ a couple of 1 GB memory cards
* Weather radio
* T-Mobile MDA (integrated mobile phone + full Internet browser, so I can get online to check radar, update my blog, etc., wherever there's a phone signal)
* GPS device (about to pucrhase this; considering the TomTom GO 300)
* Laptop
* Spare batteries for everything
* Power inverter that allows me to charge all electronic devices using the car's cigarette-lighter socket
* Paper tracking maps (I still like to have these, despite all the other equipment)
* Highway maps
* Notebook & pens

The big addition this year will be meteorological equipment. I am currently searching for a barometer/anemometer combo-- perhaps a Davis Weather Monitor II with relevant components. Portability is important, because I need to take the stuff on a plane.
Wow, have you guys and gals got lots of neat stuff.
For me, its a weather radio and a laptop. Had just the radio until I few years ago, when I acquired the laptop. Oh yeah, and a brand-new camcorder to replace my trusty old Minolta.
Reading thru this Forum and the now discontinued one about "Stormwatch," I am struck by the comment in the latter by Jennifer Combs. She says lack of equipment and experience keep her from chasing. Jennifer, I started with the radio and that's all I had until Chase Hotline came along.
What do you feel you need? A big ol’ SUV, with screens and computers and readouts and Doppler and antennae sprouting in all directions, plus a direct line to the Storm Prediction Center (or Tim Vasquez)?
My son and I have nailed our share of tornadoes with our basic equipment, and we’ve had lots of years (like 2005) without seeing one, but never has our 2-week chase window gone by without at least encountering beautiful storms.
To me, it’s the storm that counts — that awesome, deadly, black wall cloud lowering itself toward the ground like some huge alien spaceship; lightning walking across the horizon (or all around you); that pink-tinged anvil cloud in the distance, beckoning you to come for a visit.
Stuff like map portfolios and motel listings are travel essentials, not storm-chasing, but if budding chasers can acquire enough info each day on WHERE to go (even if its only the Weather Channel’s red blob), then use instinct, some expert advice if its available, and a weather radio to find out about local conditions, you’ll get your tornado eventually. And you’ll surely get a great storm.
There are a lot of pros in the storm-chasing community, and they need their hi-tech equipment to do the best job they can (including those great shots we see on TV and the Internet), but for amateurs on budgets and limited chase time, all we need is perseverance and an appreciation of that wonderful, infinite atmosphere that surrounds us. Enjoy!
Things I need for a chase:

Car (and gas)
1 video camera with plenty of tapes

Things I want on a chase:

$.88 fuel prices.

Laptop with GPS and WxWorks

Three video cams (1 dash cam, 1 tripoded structure cam, and one for what the hell ever else.)

I currently have:

Sony DCR-HC20 (miniDV) video camera (and all the acess.)
Canon Digital Rebel
Laptop with GPS/SA and built in WI-FI card
NOAA Weather Radio
FIRST AND FOREMOST: Well maintained vehicle
Laptop with Delorme 2006 Street atlas + GPS, GrLevel3 and wireless internet
Inverter for power to laptop and to recharge equipment
cellphone and bag phone
Uniden Bearcat BCT8 scanner
Paper maps of TX, CO, NM, KS, and OK in case GPS on laptop fails
Extensive map of libraries and WIFI hotspots in tornado alley
Video camera and tripod/extra tapes and extra batteries
Digital camera/extra memory cards and extra batteries
Window pod for camcorder and still camera
XM Satellite radio for those long drives to and from the target area
Glass wipes and rain-x wipes
Penny, nickel, quarter, golfball and baseball for hail size comparison
Maglite flashlight with extra batteries
Like Bob, a bright jacket to be seen and for those cool outflow winds
Will be getting duct tape and clear pastic in case of window loss. (thanks for the tip Bob.)
Small first aid kit
Various tools in case the vehicle decides to konk out on me
4 cans of fix-a-flat
Cooler for food and snacks (saves time and money)
Kestrel 3000 for current wx data
1. Vehicle
2. Laptop w/ GPS & GR3
3. Cell Phone
4. Cable to connect laptop to cell phone (which i forgot last chase) DOH!
5. camcorder
6. digital camera (& batteries)
7. Scanner
8. Weather radio
9. make sure spare tire is OK
10. paper maps
11. jump bag (hope I never need to use it on a chase, but just in case)
Lisa, I just got the information off the internet. I really don't use maps for the info, I just create lists. I looked for towns in the "alley" with information on libraries and WIFI hotspots. I then copied and pasted the information in Microsoft word and printed the info out for TX, CO, NM, OK, NE and KS.

something like this in alphabetical order:

Schlotzsky's Deli - 1619 Kentucky, Ste 1350
Schlotzsky's Deli - 3440 Bell St., Ste 322
Hooters - I-40 near Westgate Mall
Big Texan Steak Ranch - 7701 East I-40 - 800.657.7177

Kettle Restaurant - 1902 Ave F NW - 940-937-8496

and so on and so on...
Things I need for a chase:

Permission from the Mrs B)

Things I want on a chase:

Permission to return home :lol:

sorry couldn't resist
After reading through several equipment and gear posts, I have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of storm chasing gear that may come in handy on storm chase days. I used many of the suggestions already posted and added a few of my own. According to my very, very rough estimate, this list would run about $8,000. I did not factor in or add software for the laptop.

I am a minimalist chaser, and don't have even 1/8th of this equipment. However, if I win the lottery (hard to do since I don't play :) ) or happen across eight Gs I am going out immediately and getting all this stuff. I figure I could get a nice police package Crown Vic for around $6,000, so the total cost for my preferred chase vehicle would be about $14,000 to $15,000.

Did I leave anything out? Feedback welcome.

1. Portable battery jumper pack _____
2. First aid bag _____
3. Handheld rechargeable spotlight _____
4. Corded spotlight _____
5. Handheld rechargeable flashlight _____
6. Binoculars _____
7. Extra set of clothing _____
8. Extra shoes _____
9. Jacket _____
10. Raingear _____
11. Reflective vest _____
12. Gloves _____
13. Spare cash _____
14. County maps _____
15. Scanner frequency book _____
16. NWS reporting numbers _____
17. Spotter frequencies list _____
18. Regional and state maps _____
19. Spare batteries _____
20. Power inverter _____
21. Video camera _____
22. Digital still camera and USB card reader _____
23. Spare recording media for cameras _____
24. Cellular telephone _____
25. Laptop _____
26. Scanners _____
27. Vehicle alarm system _____
28. Cooler _____
29. Rope _____
30. Duct and electrical tape _____
31. Fire extinguishers _____
32. Hand tools kit _____
33. Blankets and pillow _____
34. Fuses _____
35. Spare wire _____
36. Spare bulbs _____
37. Prepaid calling cards _____
38. Essential OTC medicines (motion sickness, pain medication, etc.) _____
39. Tow strap and come-alongs _____
40. Insect repellant _____
41. Spare door and ignition keys for pocket _____
42. Door key hidden on vehicle _____
43. Floor jack _____
44. Jack stands _____
45. Four-way and impact wrench _____
46. CB radio _____
47. Power strip and extension cord _____
48. Extra Velcro strips and cable ties _____
49. Extra essential vehicle fluids (brake fluid, oil, gas, etc.) _____
50. Spare wiper blades _____
51. CD changer, aftermarket speaker system, and XM radio _____
52. Second vehicle battery and aftermarket alternator _____
53. Gas can _____
54. Compass _____
55. Anemometer _____
56. Exterior and interior temperature sensors _____
57. Air horn/PA and external speaker _____
58. Portable TV _____
59. Watertight containers to store items _____
60. Portable carpet vacuum _____
61. Walkie-talkies _____
62. Antennas for cell phone, scanners, etc. _____
63. Hidden strobes for front and back of vehicle _____
64. Wig-wags _____
65. Back-up flasher _____
66. Directional arrow – rear deck _____
67. Amber front-facing interior LED lightbar _____
68. Pushbumper _____
69. Fog/driving lights _____
70. Two full-size spare tires _____
71. Paper towels and toilet paper _____
72. Prepackaged food/snacks _____
73. Bottled water _____
74. Air compressor _____
75. Tire chains _____
76. Flares _____
77. Clear plastic sheeting _____
78. Fix-a-flat _____
79. Video camera tripod _____
80. Coin holder with spare change _____
81. Ruler _____
82. Window cleaner _____
83. Jumper cables _____
84. Tire pressure gauge _____
85. Trash bags _____
86. AAA membership _____
87. Spare essential vehicle belts and hoses _____
88. Notebook and pens _____

EDIT: Could you actually fit all this crap in one vehicle?
You would be surprised at all the odds and ends you can cram into a car. I've got to the point where I keep stuff like tools and medicine in the car rather than in my house. Even I'm surprised sometimes when there is some obscure thing we need on a chase and somehow I have it!

Last week in Kentucky, we needed something to break up the bagged ice we bought. Sure enough, I had a hammer.
Typing that last post reminded me of something I didn't see on anyone's list that is absolutely essential - a good selection of OTC medicines (and a first aid kit) for any type of ailment that might suddenly hit you or anyone in your car. These can be chase-savers. Most important are pain relievers and remedies for all manner of digestive distress. In fact, on big chase days I'll take a small dose as preemptive insurance against possible problems that would make the day very complicated to say the least. It's also nice to have things for cuts and scrapes, mouth sores, cold and flu medication, allergy medicine, cortizone/calamine (for mosquitos and poison ivy), cough drops, and the list can go on and on.
Bryce, I actually have most of that stuff in my little sports car ready to go attm! A few of the larger things I don't, such as Portable TV, floor jack, and second vehicle battery, but like Dan says, you'd be amazed what you can get into even a small car.

I still have room for a co-pilot, and I can see out the back window, too, LOL!

I always have an assortment of medicine, too.... I never list that stuff because it sort of just goes without saying, I guess. Like toothbrush. But it is worth mentioning for the newbies. No doubt.