Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenario, especially when you’re getting ready for a fun and exciting trip.
But being ready in case of an emergency is critical to ensuring the safety and security of all passengers on board your RV. Just a little bit of research and preparation can help you put your mind at ease, and will also make any emergencies that do crop up much less dangerous and stressful.
But as always, the challenge with stocking your RV with emergency gear is one of storage. You only have so much room, so you need to make sure that all the space you devote to a “just in case” scenario is absolutely necessary. You likely won’t be able to simply bring your whole at-home emergency kit along for the ride, especially if it includes bulky goods like large amounts of nonperishables.
Plus, RVing has some specific needs and concerns that might not apply when you’re thinking about how to prepare for a disaster at home. After all, your RV is a recreational vehicle, and vehicles require a whole different perspective when considering possible emergencies. You’re not going to have to change your house’s flat tire!
So with all that in mind, here’s the bare minimum survival gear no RVer should leave home without.
1. Extra potable water
You won’t last long without water, so make sure you have a lot of it. It’s a good idea to keep some extra drinking water on hand so you don’t only have your holding tank to rely on.
2. Water purification tablets
If you find yourself stuck in the wilderness and your water supply is dwindling, you’ll be relieved to have a way to purify water you find from natural sources.
3. Extra non-perishable food
Since you’re RV camping, you likely already have some canned goods and other food items with you, but keep a small stash on hand that’s specifically for emergencies. And don’t forget your can opener!
You can also buy emergency food bars that offer up to 3600 calories — they’re scored into individual portions, and no one will be tempted to eat them if it’s not a dire situation.
4. First aid kit
You can either assemble your own collection of bandages and ointments, or go with one of the many affordable and complete first aid kits available on the market.
5. Backup supplies of all prescription medications or medical devices
If anyone onboard relies on a prescription medication, make sure you bring enough along to last a few days should you get stranded. And if anyone suffers from deadly allergies, be sure to keep an EpiPen handy, as well as a supply of antihistamines — over the counter Benadryl is better than nothing in a pinch!
6. Emergency heat blanket
If you get stuck somewhere cold and your RV’s furnace isn’t working, you’ll be glad to have a way to keep warm.
7. Waterproof flash drive with all important documentation
It’s 2017, so you no longer have to worry about carting around a stack of physical documents — but you still need to have access to your will, vehicle title, and other important paperwork in an emergency. Make digital backups and store them on a waterproof, shatterproof flash drive for the safest bet.
8. Tool kit
Which tools specifically to keep on board will depend on your individual rig and setup, but ensure that you have all the things you need to perform minor repairs and mechanical functions.
9. Warning triangles
If you’re pulled over on the side of the road, you definitely want to be visible to all those vehicles wooshing by at high speed. Putting out warning triangles will help you achieve that.
10. High visibility vest or reflective tape
Similar to the warning triangles, a neon vest or other reflective, wearable item will make sure passers-by see you, as well as your rig, if you’re out on the road trying to fix a problem.
11. Tire chains or traction aid
Whether you’ll be driving northward or not, having some tire traction aid could help you out of a sticky situation, be it mud or ice.
12. Tow strap
No, you don’t want to have your RV towed for any reason… but if you have to, it’s good to be ready.
13. Spare tire and jacks
Yes, you can change your RV’s tire — but only if you have the right equipment with you.
14. Ice scraper
Ever ruined a credit card trying to scrape unexpected ice off your windshield?
15. Seatbelt cutter and window breaker tool
If you should accidentally drive into a body of water, this tool could save your life.
16. Extra light sources
Glow sticks, candles, waterproof matches, spare lighters, headlamps, LED lanterns — you don’t have to have all of them, but you need at least some spare illumination in case of an emergency. Headlamps are especially helpful since they free up your hands to perform repairs.
17. Spare batteries
Everyone knows what it feels like to need batteries you simply don’t have on hand. Make sure you keep a back-up supply of whatever types you regularly use, especially in any emergency devices like handheld radios.
18. Analog compass
Yes, we all have GPS available at all times in our pockets nowadays… but if you’re stuck without power and your phone dies, you’ll be happy to have access to some sense of direction.
Whether it’s a simple pocket knife or a capable Swiss Army tool, a cutting blade can come in handy in a surprising variety of ways.
20. Jumper cables
No matter what vehicle you’re traveling in, you should always have jumper cables available.
21. GPS satellite tracker
If you’re an avid boondocker or headed far out into the wilderness away from cell phone signal, one of these GPS satellite trackers, designed for backcountry campers, could be instrumental in summoning help in an emergency.
22. Hand-crank radio/flashlight
These capable gadgets get you access to light and news, even if there’s no viable power supply around.
23. Solar powered cell phone charger
Let’s face it: for all their problems, our cell phones are one of the best ways to divert an emergency situation, so long as you’re in signal range (which you almost always are, these days). But your phone can’t get you anything if it’s dead — so bring along one of these solar powered charger banks to ensure you always have a backup supply of connectivity.
What’s in your RV emergency kit? Did we miss anything? Let us know!