Storm Troupers

If you want to chase tornadoes and the thunderheads that spawn them, you need adventure-tested tech and gear that can weather any tempest

May 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Storm Gear

SHATTERPROOF: Durable and reliable gadgets make tracking down violent weather a breeze.

TORNADO SEASON IS IN FULL SWING this month, and if you're the type who gets giddy watching Storm Stories on the Weather Channel, you should consider an adventure vacation centered around seeing a twister touch down. The place to be is Tornado Alley, a roughly 300,000-square-mile swath of storm-lashed plains, stretching from South Dakota to central Texas, where, according to the National Weather Service, nearly 700 tornadoes were spotted last year.

If you go for it, we recommend that you hook up with an experienced guide (see "Foul-Weather Safaris") and take along the right gear. To help assemble our manifest, we consulted Martin Lisius, 45, of Tempest Tours, in Arlington, Texas. Last season, Lisius intercepted 23 tornadoes, relying on 18 years' experience and a Ford Explorer rigged with digital cameras, a rooftop weather-satellite receiver, and multiple communications devices. Listen closely to his guidance: This gear makes it a breeze to track and document nature's wildest shows, whether you're standing in the backyard or someplace much more out of the way. Not interested in the funnel clouds? That's all right. Our all-weather kit is built to tackle and survive almost any rough-and-tumble experience you dive into.

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