Living in an RV offers a unique way of life and every day is an adventure but does this freedom come at the cost of safety?
How safe is it to live in an RV? – Living in an RV is perfectly safe, provided that you stay in RV campsites, and national and state parks. Avoid staying in notoriously bad areas by reading reviews from other RVers, the best thing about living in an RV is that if you don’t feel safe you can just pack up and move to another area.
There are also health and environmental issues to protect yourself from like extreme weather, pests, and fire hazards. In this article I will outline the obvious threats to safety when living in an RV and how to best combat them, so you can be as safe as possible.
Keep Safe at Campgrounds
In general, most campgrounds are safe and are probably the safest place to stay in your RV. The biggest danger at campgrounds is probably from the wildlife more than other people.
People staying at campgrounds are likely all there for the same reason and so it’s a great way to find like minded people, rather than predators. It also helps that campgrounds usually have security in place, whether that’s CCTV, fencing, or security guards.
It goes without saying but make sure that you lock your rig up whenever you leave it unattended and when you go to bed. It’s better safe than sorry, and if anything does happen your insurance might not cover your RV if you leave it unlocked. Make sure that storage compartments and windows are locked as well.
Pull the shades down and shut the curtains when you go out to stop nosy neighbors from looking in and seeing what you have in your rig. Don’t leave things outside if you can take them with you or put them into storage when you’re not about.
Get to know your campsite neighbors and ask them to watch over your RV whilst you’re out, you can return the favor and maybe get a campsite neighborhood watch going.
Check the reviews of the campsite before you book, so you are only staying at reputable safe campsites. If you don’t feel comfortable at a campsite move on and stay at another. If security is important then give the campsite a ring before booking and ask them what their security measures are.
Keep Safe Boondocking
Unlike staying in campsites, boondocking is camping in remote locations and is off grid, meaning you won’t have any hookups or security. Obviously, this presents more risks than campsites, mainly due to the remoteness.
You’ll have to have your wits about you when camping in a remote area, mainly because the emergency services are so far away. You don’t want to injure yourself when it can take hours for the paramedics to get to you.
Therefore if you are already of poor health then don’t go boondocking or head to remote camping locations.
Always get permission from the land owner to stay on their land and try to not stray too far from people. Like at the campsite do the usual like locking up your rig and pulling the blinds etc.
It’s also a good idea to take extra supplies like food, water, and batteries. This also goes for emergency supplies like first aid kits and fire extinguishers.
Keep Safe Travelling
Every city has its nice parts and not so nice parts, so when traveling around make sure that you always stop in the nicer parts. In most cases, you can easily tell them apart, but read reviews to make sure. If you stop somewhere that doesn’t feel right move on and trust your gut.
Try not to look too much like a tourist when traveling, and don’t show off your cash and valuables. Try to use credit cards or travelers checks when traveling to avoid showing off how much cash you have (I’m assuming it’s a lot).
Make sure that you have great roadside assistance and breakdown cover, because (and I’m convinced of this) you are more likely to break down if you don’t. Make sure that you have a good phone with a long battery and good signal so you can call emergency services if needed.
12 Tips To Make Your RV Safer To Live In
1. RV Pest Control
Bugs and Insects Can Be Dangerous and different parts of the US have different bugs living there. Some are dangerous but most are harmless, nevertheless, you don’t want them in your RV.
Before you head to a new state do a little bit of research on the insects there and identify if there are any dangerous ones to keep away from.
Unfortunately, you will never have an RV that’s free from bugs but you can prevent them from coming in. this is especially important if your RV has slide outs because there can be small gaps there where the little pests can get in.
To keep bugs and insects out of your RV as much as possible:
- Don’t leave food out – the main reason bugs get in is for food. Wash the dishes, sweep up and keep the trash covered and empty the trash as often as possible.
- Use an RV awning room – keep the bugs out of your outdoor living area by using an awning room (screen room) this will stop them getting into your RV as well.
- Seal up any gaps – bugs will find their way through the smallest of gaps, use RV caulk to seal up any gaps, holes or cracks around windows, doors and slideouts.
- Remove any standing water – insects are attracted to water, so make sure that you don’t have any standing water in your RV. Repair your pipes so water drains as quickly as possible.
- Use bug spray – you can’t live in an RV and not have bug spray, it’s essential whether it’s natural or Deet-based you will need it.
- Use bug traps – get some sticky strips or bug zappers to have outside and in your RV.
- Flea your pets – treat your pets for fleas, ticks and heartworm so they are not bringing any nasties in with them.
2. Clean Water when Travelling
It’s a good idea to have a water filtration system in your RV, because you will be moving around cities and using different hookups and water sources. You don’t know how clean your water is.
A good water filter will filter out most of the harmful elements in water so you can safely drink anywhere in the US.
3. Fire Hazards in an RV
Fires can spread quickly in RVs so make sure that you have a fire extinguisher in your rig and an exit plan in case a fire starts. Make sure that you know how to use any emergency exits like windows or hatches before you use your RV.
Also have a fire detector in your RV, a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm are essential for RVs (and houses), because when a fire breaks out, you don’t have much time to exit your RV.
Make sure that you dispose of any old batteries correctly, as vibrations can cause them to explode and catch fire.
You’ll also need a carbon monoxide detector, carbon monoxide has no taste or smell so you won’t know that it’s there unless you have a detector.
4. Theft & Break-Ins in a RV
To avoid theft and break-ins follow the guides set out above, if you want to be extra secure you can install security cameras, GPS locators, and alarms to prevent any predators.
Make sure that you lock up all windows and doors and close the curtains before leaving your rig unattended to dissuade any criminals. Use a deadbolt if possible.
Use a coupler lock on towable trailers whenever they are not in transit, and make sure that you stop in secure busy, and bright sites.
5. Prepare for the Weather in Your RV
You are more exposed to the elements when living in an RV, it can get very hot or very cold inside an RV. More extreme weather can pose a more serious threat.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and prepare for it, if you know that there will be heavy snow make sure that you have supplies and are able to drive in it.
Remember that the weather is extremely different across the US, the extreme weather in California is a world away from the extreme weather in Chicago. Be prepared for extremes and if needed drive to a more stable climate.
6. Beware of the Wildlife
Like the bugs and weather, different areas in the US have different wildlife and some can be dangerous. Research the wildlife in an area before you go so you know what to look out for and what to do if you encounter it.
As RV campsites are closer to nature than the cities you are more likely to encounter bears or other large predators. Always observe them from a distance and remove temptations like food from your site so they don’t come too close. Bears have been known to break into RVs, so don’t let them get close enough.
7. RV Air Flow
RVs need good air flow because they can easily get condensation and as I’ve said before humidity is the enemy of RVs. Open the windows as much as possible especially when you are showering or cooking to help ventilation.
Use an RV dehumidifier or a vent fan, especially when you are sleeping as you breathe out a lot of water which is why the windows in your bedroom will probably have condensation.
If you are really concerned about the quality of air in your RV you can invest in an air purifier that will help to filter out the nasties in the air.
8. RV Humidity
I had RV humidity, it’s really hard to keep the inside of your RV dry when you are living in it. But, humidity can lead to mold, foul odors, and damage to your RV so you really want to avoid it at all costs.
Try and get as much air flow in your RV like mentioned above, dehumidifiers are a must to reduce humidity. But keep windows open as much as possible to help air flow and remove the moisture from your RV.
A handheld moisture meter will help you identify leaks and a hygrometer in your RV will tell you the humidity levels so you can keep an eye on it.
9. Remember that Access to Healthcare Won’t be as Easy
The further you get from civilization the further you get from accessing healthcare. Make sure to note the nearest hospital to each campsite in case of emergency, but especially if you have any underlying health problems.
Make sure you always have a stocked first aid kit as emergency services may take longer to get to you, it could save a life.
10. Park in a Safe Spot
Nature can be dangerous too, so make sure that you park in a safe spot. Don’t park near trees that look damaged or dead, as they can easily fall.
If the weather forecast shows high winds or storms don’t park close to any trees as branches and debris from them can damage your RV.
Don’t park too close to a river, especially if rain is forecast as you’ll be unfamiliar with the flood plains and don’t want to get swept away. Don’t drive through puddles if you don’t know how deep they are.
11. Be Safe Driving
The roads can be one of the most dangerous places when RVing, so you want to be well prepared and know where you are going.
Avoid busy rush hour so you don’t get stuck in traffic and avoid all the vehicles. Also avoid being on the road at 2am on weekends as that’s when bars close so there may be more drunk drivers at that hour.
Check the weather forecast and try not to be on the road during extreme weather conditions like high wind and snow.
12. Remember to Secure Items Down When Driving
When you’re driving an RV everything in it can become a projectile if you get in an accident or have to emergency brake.
Make sure everything is secured down, especially your kitchen utensils and pans etc as these are often the most dangerous items to be flying around.
Even if you have a travel trailer you should secure your items in place as they can cause serious damage to your interior or fly out of a window.
How Safe is it to Live in an RV? – Final Thoughts
Living in an RV is safe, as long as you are sensible and prepared. Make sure that you research areas before you go and get to the site early so you can go somewhere else if you don’t feel safe.