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Are Airstreams Safe in a Thunderstorm?

By Out-of-Doors Mart on August 26th, 2021 in Airstream Blog

Travel Trailers

Even if you have never been in an Airstream trailer, you probably know them for one distinctive feature – their aluminum skin. Using this material is a big part of what makes an Airstream such a great product, as the aluminum alloy is durable, it looks great, and it makes for an aerodynamic body. But what about thunderstorms? Wouldn’t this pose a safety hazard? This article will put any fears you might have to rest on that point.


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The Metal is On the Outside

During a thunderstorm, the best thing you can do is wait inside for the storm to pass. That’s true whether you are in an RV or in your home. In an Airstream, it’s true that the outside of the trailer is made from aluminum – but the inside is not. And that’s where you should be. Stay inside your trailer to keep yourself safe and hopefully the storm will pass soon enough.


In the unlikely event that your trailer is struck by lightning, the current will pass around the trailer and not into it. It is the same principle of being inside a car during a thunderstorm. There is enough metal on the car body to conduct the electricity around the inside of the car.  So an Airstream is likely more safe than a non-metallic RV.  So be patient and wait until you are sure the storm is safely out of the area before you venture outside to check on any damage that may have occurred.


Other Considerations

You don’t need to worry about lightning in an Airstream any more than you need to worry about it when traveling in your car. However, there are some other points that you should keep in mind when thunderstorms are in the forecast for your location.


  • Strategic parking. Thunderstorms often bring with them powerful winds, so think carefully about where you want to park your RV before the storm arrives. Placing it under a large tree could be risky, since branches from that tree – or the entire tree – could come down in the storm. In most cases, an open area will be better for waiting things out.
  • Unplug electronics. The things inside your trailer that are plugged in could be fried if a power surge comes through the lines during the storm. Consider unplugging whatever you can, especially electronics that would be sensitive to a power surge like a laptop computer or cell phone.
  • Don’t push your travel. If you can avoid it, try not to find yourself traveling right through the middle of a powerful thunderstorm. Check the weather forecast in advance of your trip and see if you need to make any adjustments so you can travel in safer conditions. Driving an RV in strong winds can be scary, and the heavy rain that may accompany a thunderstorm would pose a threat, as well.


Thunderstorm safety while on an RV vacation comes down to common sense and some appropriate planning. Don’t ignore the threat of an upcoming storm. Instead, take note of the forecast and determine what actions you can take to stay safe and ride out the wild weather.

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