Does anybody here like to chase naked?

No, not physically naked -- and if you do chase physically naked, I don't want to know! :lol: I'm talking about gear. During this year's Nebraska Severe Weather Symposium, a UNL grad student was relating a rather harrowing and exciting tale of getting too close to the Hallam tornado, and as she did so she mentioned that all she had in her car to help her chase was a weather radio and a cellphone for a nowcast. (She was not a yahoo by any means; she's a meteorology grad student who works for the Air Force doing meteorology, and she chases quite a bit). Apparently that's all she ever takes along.

Does anyone here chase "naked" -- no gadgets or gizmos, no laptops, no GPS, no mobile satellite data, no cellular modem, no Wifi -- no nuthin'? (Cameras and video cameras are okay -- I'm only talking about things that help you navigate or data that helps you find storms). How well does that work out for you? The reason that I ask is that many chasers I've seen try to cram as many gizmos and gadgets and widgetmabobs into their vehicle as possible. Is it possible to chase naked and still get results?
I think it's absolutely possible... would I want to? Probably not.

Of course, I'd like to hear about any nekkid chasers, but how about the next best thing? (Please include your thoughts about naked chasing... I don't want to hijack the thread)

If you could take along ONE piece of equipment, what would it be?

Several things would have to be disabled.
1. Your car radio (no broadcast reception allowed)
2. Any outdoor temperature sensors.

Mine would definitely be my ham radio. Of course, without any frequency guide I'd just have to scan. That wouldn't be a big deal.
Would I drive clear up to Nebraska chasing naked? I possibly could, but don't think I'd want to.

The minimal I'll take with me is two scanners; one for monitoring law enforcement and skywarn networks and another for NOAA Weather Radio, a bundle of maps, a cell phone, my camera and printed data...

I'll chase in a good portion of the area with just that, I would like to at least have a good GPS system if nothing else.

I could chase just with a GPS because I can always stop for data at libraries and then go visual when storms form.. but my biggest fear (I'm not joking) is getting lost in an unfamilar place.
...but my biggest fear (I'm not joking) is getting lost in an unfamilar place.

Don't worry, that's one of my fears as well.... I would never venture too far without GPS and backup maps :oops:

When I spot locally, I usually go "naked", no NWS scanners, just the AM radio stations to relay warnings and town locations. I will usually pull off, then look at the map, and drive to that location and 'intercept' the storm, then report to the NWS what I have seen, if it's important.
I think Dave Hoadley has chased with a minimum of equipment. He only started using a cell phone a few years ago. I think he has used a CB radio and weather radio but that's it. Dave has an amazing ability to read the sky. Being less confident, I want all the equipment I can afford and carry.

Bill Hark
I'm a minimalist chaser (I won't say I'm a naked chaser, since they may conjur up some disturbing images for some folks <g>.) I pretty much carry only a camera, NWR and cell phone (which I use only for emergencies and to call and let my wife know when to expect me back home.)

To me, a bunch of gadgets would probably be more of a distraction that I could live without.

I've always felt that the journey itself constitutes a major part of why I chase, and I'd rather keep it that way. :)


When I started out, it was just whatever I had in the truck AM/FM Radio and a camera. I did all my planning at home on the computer. Now I have GPS, 2M HAM, Scanner, and some weather monitoring equipment and a cell phone. I'm not too much above the "Naked" stage, but it certainly helps to have at least pants and shoes.

I had a dog named "Naked" once. Chased her all around the yard. Does that count? :D
I chased that way last season with decent results. Just a weather radio and a cell phone in case of trouble.

I have a dog named Ford....he has three legs and one eye.
The barest I'd chase is with just camera and camcorder. Don't need the cellphone or ham unless I broke down, nor my anemometer for wind measuring. Just long as I get it documented, that's all that matters.

On a sidenote, the ham or cellphone would be needed in the event of having to call a tornado in to help warn people. But, I wouldn't chase that bare anyway, so the first statement is mainly hypothetical.
[Broken External Image]:

Like that (and yes, that is actually on my car)? :lol: :lol:

Actually, I starting chasing storms "naked". Back in those days, all I had was a WX radio on a CB. Obviously my 0 for forever record indicates how well I did then! Actually, I blame that to being new and relying solely on SPC's analysis. Obviously I've grown a bit, so I pray those days are over.

I guess I do miss having little in the way of equipment, but at the same time, I'm such a techie nerd that toys are a part of chasing for me. I guess if I had to go between "naked" and "clothed", I'd want some clothes. I like my toys, what can I say! :D

But if I were to choose one single piece of equipment to have, it'd be the HAM radio. i find chasing much more enjoyable with friends on air you can shoot the breeze with!
I don't consider video equipment part of "being naked". Obviously we chase to document, and since you can't get data from a video camera (yet), I'm not counting that as I obviously would have at least 1.
I think there's a lot to be said for the minimalist approach, especially for new chasers. The temptation is there to load up a vehicle with as much equipment as possible, and yet without the fundamental understanding of weather you might might as well stay in your driveway and play solitaire on your laptop and ponder the layout of your neighborhood with your GPS and mapping program.

Having said that, technological leaps in the past few years have meant that there are some great tools to aid the seasoned chaser in their quest. I have to admit I'm a gadget junkie myself and love being surrounded by technology.. however there's got to be a limit before I'm going to be distracted from what's happening OUTSIDE. Somebody a while ago summarized an approach that I like very much; use the bulk of your technology BEFORE the chase begins, the let the sky be your guide. Of course a radio or two and a good map (or mapping program!) can help nicely too.... 8)
I prefer to reference it as the 'old school approach'

Last year we got the attica storm with only a NOAA radio, a cell phone, paper maps, a stop at a library or two and the cameras.

It really nice not to be distracted by all those gadgets. it lets you enjoy the storm itself more. We went this way because of a last minutes effort to string together a 3 day chase vacation. We both had recent problems with our laptoips so they jsut stayed at home. Sure its nice to have all that stuff but once the chase is on and you have a good visual of the storm then close the laptop and turn off everything else but car to car comm stuff and turn the noaa on alert.

Now for chasing in the SE where there are trees, radar data is a must, whether its from an excellent nowcaster or if you have live data in your car.
GPS is a great tool, but paper maps are sufficient provided you have a chase partner available to fumble with them the whole time. Chasing alone with paper maps is another matter, however - I don't know about you, but I've never had much luck examining the Roads of Texas while zooming down the highway at 70 mph, a hail core nipping at my heels.

As for sources of weather info, XM and high-speed internet are extremely useful (especially XM), but I think you could do just about as well with a cell phone and a dedicated nowcaster.

Of course, experience accounts for a lot. Once you're engaged with a storm, chase strategy gets a lot simpler (unless you're dealing with funky terrain or a bad road network). Basically, all you need to do is keep up with the storm. If you can keep yourself in good position relative to the storm, you might be better off sans laptop, radio, XM, etc. Just enjoy the show.

Honestly, I've found the technology comes in most handy before the action starts. Bust days don't look all that different from outbreak days early on (in the field, that is), and it's nice to have as much information as possible so you can refine your forecast and target throughout the day. Nothing's worse than driving to your target, stopping to check data, and realizing you should have adjusted 100 miles to the south.
For a couple years I chased with nothing, not even a weather radio. :shock: That did not work very well. Then I bought a weather radio. I chased with only a weather radio for about 3 years. (My track record was not very good during those 3 years :lol:) Last year was the first year that I used libraries to get data and it greatly helped my success rate. However, I still only have a weather radio in my car to get data. I would like to get some better technology in the future but money is always a problem. I think technology really helps but with or without it chasing is still really fun! :D
Last year, when going to the front desk of a motel where I had stayed (SPS) to check out, there stood David Hoadley.

I re-introduced myself (we had sat next to each other in Denver in 2003), and David inquired whether I had seen any data. David hadn't! LOL! I offered to (delay checkout and) let him take a look back in the room, but he declined. He asked me what I thought of the setup, and I stated I was torn between heading a bit SW or NW. I said I guess I was heading NW. He said he was heading SW.

Guess who was on the better storm that day?

Humbling, to say the least.

I still agree with Chris, though. You can never have too much data, with one caveat: Don't get distracted. Time is often of the essence, and you want to manage your time. Know when it's time to gather data, and when it's time to chase.

I started out chasing "naked" just a handheld wx radio (that worked only half the time), a disposable camera and the $10.00 street atlas book. I bagged my first tornado, the April '02 Throckmorton tornado, this way. However, since then I have gradually added to my equipment list and now carry anything I can afford.
Aside from the occasional use of the wx radio and paper maps I have nothing else. I usually have good faith in my forecast ability to get me to an appropriate target. Even when in the solid target area I have missed a couple of excellent storms for various reasons. Yes, it can be done without all the gizmos. I do plan on adding some tech in the near future as I want to maximize my chances of bagging the storm in the right spot. The gadgets help with situational awareness and should help with the safely aspect (but may also beg you to get closer to the danger zone).
All of my chases leading up to last season were "naked" for all intents and purposes. I used to only take my cell phone and a scanner. Of course my results were less than desirable, but I still had fun.

Now I chase with a GPS enabled laptop with WiFi, and I find that it works much better (what a surprise!), and has opened up chasing in more rural areas for me.
I too started out naked. I did have my parents video camera, but I don't count that. My first investment was on a weather radio my second season. It was one of the deskop ones(not made for chasers) and I can remember putting up the little 2ft. antenna in the car and thinking, now I am in business. I had my two years of chasing naked and I don't care to go back.
Now I will use any equipment I can get my hands on if it will help put me on storms. I think setting up the equipment and using it is half the fun.
We chase with a scanner/weather radio, paper road atlas, and a cell phone. The cell phone really isnt used for nowcasting but more for data which we just got about 1 month ago. But before this it was all scanner/weather radio and a cb radio and also a paper atlas. Soo nothing special. And i think we did pretty good using what we had 5 tornadoes is good if you ask me lol. For most people they will see that in one chase season or maybe one event!
I use a scanner,cell phone, and delorme state atlas and this year i bought a nwr so i dont need to switch between weather channel and ham/emergency fire police channels on the scanner. Im still trying to fond a good nowcaster but my family helps as they can. I have had varying sucess over the years. I just dont have thefunds to purchase what i want. If i had my choice i would have a laptop and xm weather w/ gps but i would still bring what i currently have too for a backup. Most of the chasers i have talked too love the xm package and im hoping to be able to get it by next season but if i dont, i will still do what i do now.
I'm certainly in the minimalist category. It's an extremely humbling experience to be out there with very little data -- it's a genuine sink-or-swim situation. Rather than being a bad thing though I think it really plugs you in to what's going on... you get a lot of mileage out of those shreds of data when they come in. You also get ample opportunity to get on the surprise storms while everyone else is drawn to the storm du jour.

I've been tied up with the Chase Hotline on most chase days since 2000, but when I've gone out it's been with merely a camera, camcorder, GPS/maps, and scanner (only for occasional NWR, not for 2-meter). I'll probably be bringing a cell phone this year.

And for what it's worth, I can't stand the buzz/chatter of 2-meter and NWR while watching a storm. It may be some people's cup of tea, but not mine. That probably clinches it for me as a minimalist.