Chase Essentials

Dec 8, 2003
Southeast CO
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