The possibility of a lightning strike is always rare. But when it does strike people the victims (over thousands per year) are found to be mostly (96 percent) in open-air grounds. Unfortunately for campers, most camping fields are also preferred along open-air grounds, while the lighting storms starting from late spring are unpredictable to say the least. So what is the solution for such a predicament? Well according to Industrial Design student Kama Jania (from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, Poland), the solution should lie with your camping tent itself. As a result, she has devised the Bolt Tent, a collection of three tent variants that are specifically designed to not only mitigate direct lightning strikes, but also prevent step voltage when the charge proceeds through the ground to the feet of the user.
The core working scope of the Bolt Tents are defined by the incorporation of aluminum poles and an aluminum connector – a combination that can withstand 200 kiloamperes. These lighting mitigating components are complemented by a water-proof fabric for the tent floor, and Mylar insulation and copper wiring being connected to the ground-based stakes. All of these systems were originally integrated into a prototype that was then tested rigorously. These ‘high-voltage’ testing phases entailed discharges from an impulse voltage generator. And the good news was, the prototype did pass with flying colors in most scenarios.
The perceived practicality of the design inspired Jania to contrive three variants of the Bolt Tent, all boasting weatherproof materials along with safe aluminum components. Among them, the Bolt Half is described as –
A lightweight (1,2 kg) tent with full lightning protection [both direct and ground strike] for day-long trips, indispensable in difficult situations brought by a sudden change of weather conditions (a thunderstorm, downpour, wind). Due to its size, the tent can be put up in seemingly unsuitable places, like a ledge, ridge etc.
The second variant – Bolt One, is described as –
A lightweight, compact, one-person tent with full lightning protection [both direct and ground strike] for longer trips of a few days.
And finally, the third variant – Bolt Air, is described as –
An ultra-lightweight, pneumatic tent with a groundsheet protecting from injuries due to step voltages (the most common way people are struck by lightning). Just like Bolt-Half, thanks to its size, it can be quickly and easily put up in places unsuitable for standard tents. It is designed for day-long trips where additional weight would be burdensome.
Now lastly, coming to the commercial side of affairs, the designer has no ‘current’ plans of mass producing the tested design. However on the brighter side, she is looking forth to commercial partners who could further develop the Bolt Tent project, thus making it practical feasible for mass production in the future.