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Around the Campfire: RVers question if it’s safe to RV

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I just love how I feel when we’re RVing: relaxed and free from worry. At least that’s how I felt until last night’s campfire conversation. Several folks voiced the same concern: Is it safe to RV?

Zealots?

Frank began, “We left our last RV camp two days early. Neighbors on both sides of us constantly argued about politics, social issues, and personal rights. We were afraid things might escalate and we didn’t want to wait and see what might happen.” Yikes!

My family has a rule: When we camp, sensitive topics are off-limits. Not all RVers share this conversation guideline, and how you handle the situation can be a bit tricky at times.

If an “off limits” topic is introduced, you can reply with a general statement like, “There are many opinions about that. I’m glad we can take a break from it when we camp.” Then redirect the conversation to a more neutral ground with, “We’ve been RVing for several years. How long have you had your RV? What’s your favorite trip so far?” Getting folks to talk about themselves and their RVing experiences will usually turn a potentially virulent topic into one that keeps everyone’s blood pressure in check.

If, like Frank, you feel threatened or unsafe, you may need to avoid conversations like these or move on down the road.

Party-hearty folks

“Weekends are the worst for us,” Kari offered. “Especially holiday weekends. It seems like some folks know no limits when it comes to partying. It can go on all night, and we can’t sleep because of all the racket! I’m afraid someone might stumble into our campsite by mistake.”

“Are you sure you weren’t camping in a ‘Loud Campground’?” my husband wanted to know. Yes, there are campgrounds specifically designated as “Loud Campgrounds.” We should know. We accidentally stayed in one! A few years ago, the adults in our family camped along the Huzzah River in Missouri. We arrived late on Friday and planned to float the river on Saturday. The guys were also hoping to fish for smallmouth bass.

At the time, we didn’t realize that one side of the campground was officially designated as a “Loud Campground.” The other side of the campground was “Family Friendly.” Soon after we went to bed, the partying escalated to epic noise levels. A few loud, alcohol-induced arguments developed, but fortunately fizzled out. By the time we finally got to sleep, the sun was peeking over the horizon.

Our sleepless night taught us a good lesson: Always ask about quiet time rules. And don’t be afraid to call and voice your concerns if the rules are abused. If the campground management refuses to help, and you feel threatened or in danger, call the police.

RVers with firearms

Our state, Missouri, has open carry laws regarding firearms. Seeing a fellow camper openly “carrying” seemed odd to some folks around the campfire. Mike thought it was strange, too. “Why bring your firearm to a campground?” he wondered. “It makes me nervous. I plan to steer clear of him.”

All of the gun owners I personally know are highly trained and very responsible. They are also very, very careful when it comes to their firearms. That said, if you feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way, you may ask to be moved to a different campsite or find another campground altogether.

And anyone traveling with a firearm should have this book.

Drones?

A few campers complained about drones. “They buzz around our RV and sometimes hover overhead, too. It frightens the kids, and I wonder, could they be taking videos or pictures of us?”

Relatively new to the camping scene, drones are showing up on more and more campgrounds. One guy said he liked to bring his drone when he RVed because the wide-open spaces allowed him to perfect his flying skills.

I wouldn’t be surprised if campgrounds soon disallowed drones because of complaints. Or perhaps some parks will provide designated areas specifically for drone use.

The campers around the fire universally said they just want to hear nature’s sounds.

Dangers getting there?

One gal said her biggest fear when RVing is her drive to the campground. “So many folks are new to RVing. It’s obvious that the vast majority do not take the time to practice driving their new, big rig before taking it out on the highway. It’s scary to follow, pass, or meet them on the road. I shudder to think about it!”

Perhaps dealers should more forcefully suggest that new RV owners practice maneuvering their rigs before hitting the highways. Better yet, dealers could offer a complete safety course for new RVers—one that included driving tips.

RV park or mobile home park?

A few people mentioned feeling uncomfortable in campgrounds that were also mobile home parks. “I don’t like it,” Steve complained. “If you want to be a campground, be a true campground. Mobile home parks traditionally house lower-income folks, people down on their luck, and even squatters. I just don’t feel comfortable in those places.”

All people need a place to live,” Kay protested.

In our experience, the mobile homes were in a separate section of the RV park. That way, permanent residents who left for work early didn’t wake RVers. In the same way, RVers didn’t interfere with the mobile home folks. We’ve never felt uncomfortable. But if you do, ask when making reservations or choose to reserve a spot elsewhere.

Do you ever feel afraid when RVing? Let us know in the comments or over on my forum.

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Bob M
2 months ago

I carry a small 9mm handgun in my pants pocket. It’s small enough that no one knows I have it. I hope I never have to use it, but if needed it’s there. I attended a gun safety workshop put on by the district attorney and police officer. It wasn’t recommended to carry in full view. Not because they didn’t like it, but if someone calls the police and says there’s a person with a gun in the campground. They don’t know if it’s someone just walking down the street with their firearm open carry or a person shooting at people. Then there would be dozens of police officers running to the scene which could possibly be for nothing. Drones are too noisy when flying. I agree with Ace.

SLR
2 months ago

The most afraid I’ve ever been when camping was during a group outing. One guy insisted on making everyone aware he was armed. Then he got out-of-his-mind drunk that evening and started freaking out over people he thought were coming through the woods to get him. He cocked his handgun and started waving it around and threatening to shoot these “people in the woods.” Campers grabbed their kids and ran, but this was a tiny campground and there was nowhere to run where you would be safe if he started shooting. I got in my car and drove off, and called one of this guy’s pals who were out hiking. So these guys high-tail it back to camp, confront and disarm the guy, cuss out the wife who knew he had the gun there and didn’t tell anyone, and told both of them that this was “the last time,” and they were no longer welcome on these outings. The jerk woke up the next morning, didn’t apologize to anyone, got really angry that the other guys refused to give his ammo back, and they left.

Bob H.
2 months ago

I Carry a gun to shoot the drones down. Honestly I do have a gun. I don’t open carry although there are many states that allow you to. I don’t make a big show of it. In national parks and most federal lands the rules are whatever the state the park is located in allows. The exception to have is visitor centers and such. They are federal buildings and no weapons are allowed in federal buildings. On the drones. I have yet to find a national park that allows them. Once while working for the NPS I saw a ranger tell a visitor he could not fly his drone the man said I know my rights blah, blah. The ranger walked into the office and came back with a shotgun. The guy brought the drone down in a hurry. If I see one over my camp site it’s coming down.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob H.

Hi, Bob. What I like is when birds grab drones (as long as the birds don’t get hurt). Ha! Serves ’em right for flying in their territory! 😆 Have a good evening/night. 😀 -Diane

chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob H.

I don’t understand all this hostility toward drones. I’ve been camping for years and maybe seen one.

Ellen
2 months ago

Drones are often restricted/banned in residential areas; and RV parks/campgrounds can restrict or ban their use if they so desire. We have a drone but only use it in areas where it’s permissable and are always careful to respect others’ privacy. That said, the videos we’ve gotten have sometimes been requested by the RV parks for their use for future planning, advertising, etc.

MattD
2 months ago

All Army Corps of Engineer parks are ‘no firearms permitted’ parks. And some of them are ‘no alcohol permitted’ also. What I’ve observed in the ‘no alcohol’ parks, people are respectful of the rules and observe 10 p.m. quiet time. Not a bunch of inconsiderate j.e.rk.s starting their binge drinking at 11 a.m., ignoring their kids running amok and arguing for the sake of arguing with their spouses, or whoever…Otherwise, I agree with Kari in the article, weekends are the worst. But I’ve never moved because of bad neighbors.

Dana D.
2 months ago

I have a Concealed Carry Permit. There are nut cases everywhere these days. I don’t go to States where I can’t carry my firearm concealed. AZ and UT allow anyone to carry openly or concealed without a permit provided you are authorized to own a firearm. A few years ago, I was headed to Death Valley to camp. I stopped at a gas station in Nevada on the California border, miles from any town. I was aggressively approached by someone who appeared to be on drugs, asking me for money. When I did not give him any money, he got aggressive. Since I was going to California, I wasn’t armed. I stood up to him and told him to get lost. He did, however the situation could have gotten physical. I’m 74 years old. He was in his 30’s. Like this article said, I am a trained and responsible gun owner. I understand the laws of every State in which I carry my firearm. I do think people should not open carry. It does make people nervous. Some campgrounds don’t allow firearms. They don’t get my business.

Bob p
2 months ago

The park we live in had a murder two yrs ago over a political argument, the offender was drunk, got his gun and killed the victim. When the police investigated the offender was sitting under his awning with the smoking gun beside him. Just this week he was sentenced to 25 to life with him having to serve 20 years before he could appeal for a parole. Both men were in their mid 60’s. Judge gave the defendant 637 days served in county jail credit.

Richard Brandt
2 months ago

A former radio host once said `If it bleeds it leads’ and that is true for radio and TV and, apparently, RV articles. An article about camping where nothing goes wrong with with the equipment or the neighbors would not be as much interest as the camper that got shot walking the dog, etc.
We have been RVing for more than 20 years and have never had a problem like those in the article. Are we the exception or is the article experience?

Rosalie Magistro
2 months ago

Why bring your guns to a campground, why NOT is the better question.
Open carry is not a good thing, especially for women,yes unfortunately we are known as the weaker {bleeped},and can have it taken away easier,unless you’re trained in weapon retention and disarm.
Also off body carry,like a purse is not recommended.
IMHO

Ed D.
2 months ago

Part of the fun and excitement of RVing is meeting new and interesting people. All I can tell people is if you expect everyone to be like you and have the same persona you do, than maybe RVing isn’t for you. Because the fact is, there will always be people that have a different perspective of what camping is to them. So either you accept that, or camp in Boondocking areas where there are no neighbors at all!

chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

I find it difficult to accept the perspective of staying up until 3am drinking and laughing, yelling, slamming doors and having a stinky fire. It’s those people who should be boondocking.

Last edited 2 months ago by chris
Ed D.
2 months ago
Reply to  chris

Chris, while I may agree with you from a moralistic stand point, this is still a free country and there will always be those that do not respect the peace and quiet of others. All I can say is to make sure you stay in a Campground that has strict noise rules! Pretty much all Campgrounds have their rules listed on their website. READ THEM before making a reservation!

chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

They ALL have strict noise rules, that’s not the problem. The problem is the idiots who don’t obey them and know darn well nobody’s going to go wake up the camp host to enforce them at 2am.

Ed D.
2 months ago
Reply to  chris

Well, I can only tell you that I would have awakened the Camp Host in a heart beat! You are paying to be there and there are Rules to follow. When they aren’t, call whoever is in charge! If you choose not to call, that’s on you.

chris
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Yeah, I’m the bad guy.

Last edited 2 months ago by chris
Ed D.
2 months ago
Reply to  chris

No, not at all and my comment was never intended to mean that. There is an old saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”! Sometimes you just have to be the “squeaky wheel”! It’s either that, or “grin and bear it”!

Gary
2 months ago
Reply to  chris

Nope, just an enabler.

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

As for the party animals in the next site, we sure made a lot of noise at sunrise when we got up and going.

Gary
2 months ago

I’m sure the quiet folks near you appreciated you waking them up with your obnoxious noise. Smh.

Rusty Clapp
2 months ago

How to flame an argument, feed it. Suspect most of us travelers be it weekenders, full timers and even camp host have all heard the arguments, the door slams, the shouting matches. I am able, like most I suspect to mind my own business. Think I will take the dog for a walk.

Ace
2 months ago

Good article. In reference to the firearm open carry: I live in a firearm open carry state also and carry “concealed” daily. I do not get concerned with open carry too much but I personally believe it is not in good taste. We come in contact with lots of people in a day. Some are nervous at the sight of someone open carrying so out of respect for them, I believe it is prudent to have your firearm completely concealed so as not to cause undue alarm.

Suppose an armed person gets into a dis-agreement with a stranger and they decide to “get even” with you by calling the police and saying a weapon was pulled on them; this can have serious consequences for the person brandishing his weapon.

I do not want anyone to know that I am armed so I have barely touched on the reasons that I do not recommend open carry. I am all for concealed carry and even the right to open carry; I just believe there are too many negative reasons to open carry.

Gary G
2 months ago
Reply to  Ace

Totally agree with these thoughts. I use a holster call “Sneaky Pete” not necessarily a quick draw, but keeps weapon out of sight and accessible. The folks at Sneaky Pete are very helpful and accommodating.

Dana D.
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary G

I also have a Sneaky Pete holster. I was standing in line waiting to get into a restaurant. A lady in line told me what a nice cell phone carrier I had. I smiled and thanked her!

Wayne C
2 months ago
Reply to  Ace

Seeing a fellow camper openly “carrying” seemed odd to some folks around the campfire. Mike thought it was strange, too. “Why bring your firearm to a campground?” he wondered. “It makes me nervous. I plan to steer clear of him.”
That was likely the intent of the open carry camper, to be steered clear. Thieves and troublemakers will take notice of the firearm and take their business elsewhere

LAMB
2 months ago
Reply to  Ace

I also use a “Sneaky Pete” which is a great way to carry concealed with quick access. Also easy to store in rv and pick up/go when headed out and want to carry. I use it in my purse when not wearing clothing conducive to clipping on. Highly recommend for anyone wanting to carry concealed.

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