Thursday, June 1, 2023


Is your motorhome ready for an emergency? Follow these steps to make sure

Most motorhome owners view their RV as a route to adventure—the open road—free to roam where and when they please. Some take a more practical view and see their RV as a full-time home, whether roaming or stationary. Likely few of us may have considered that our motorhomes are also an asset in the event of a major unforeseen event, such as a natural emergency or other unexpected forms of chaos and uncertainty. The pandemic changed a lot of thinking about preparation for the unexpected. Is your RV ready for an emergency?


It is a good idea to keep the dry goods part of your RV pantry well-stocked year-round. While it may not always be advisable or possible to operate the refrigerator continuously while the RV is parked or in storage, dry food can be stored onboard, with some caveats.

I do not recommend going overboard with food storage—you only have so much storage space in even the largest RV. Still, with a few containers of dry long-lasting foodstuffs, you can feel confident of having enough to last a month or two if necessary.

I do not recommend keeping large quantities of items such as flour in onboard storage. Even though you can safeguard the stash from rodents and some insects by adequately sealing the stored food, flour is different. It has a relatively short storage life of about one year. Use food-grade containers for all dry food storage and thoroughly seal the lids.


Having potable water stored in food-grade containers can be a huge help in an emergency.

It’s a good idea to keep at least a small supply of potable water onboard. Just remember that it weighs 8.3 lb. per gallon, plus the weight of the storage container. I keep ten gallons stored in BPA-free potable water containers and rotate the stored supply not less frequently than monthly. Even in a large Class A coach, there is not enough space to carry more than a minimal emergency supply that will sustain you until you can get to a fresh water source.


Keep house and chassis batteries charged. In most cases, if plugged into shore power this will occur automatically. But if stored, seasonally dormant, or boondocking, it is a good idea to plug into a power source or run your generator periodically to keep storage batteries topped. Solar power charging will also fill this need.

Also, for added help in an emergency and in the event that start batteries become discharged, I carry a compact emergency jump starter like this one sufficient to enable an engine start.


I recommend maintaining at least one or two days’ supply of firewood onboard to avoid having to scavenge for wood at a destination in an emergency.


Propane is vital to the RV that operates its cook range, oven, refrigerator, and furnace on LPG. So be sure to fill when the propane gauge drops below 1/2 – 3/4 full. Maintaining your supply at close to full capacity is not only a good idea for emergency considerations, but don’t forget—in 2021, we had a propane shortage scare that did not fully materialize but nevertheless gave cause for concern for ready supply on the road. I also keep a half-dozen bottles of camp cook stove propane on hand as well.


Keep an eye on tire condition and pressure, especially during the dormant off-season months, boondocking, or during any extended period of idleness. A significant emergency would not be a good time to need tire service, replacement, or roadside service. For camper vans Class B and C operators, it goes without saying that you will probably carry a spare tire. This issue is more complex for the Class A motorist who, like me, does not have the room to haul around a 200+ lb. spare tire, nor the ability to remove a flat tire, mount a spare while on the road on the rim, etc. My experience and observation are that most Class A coach owners do not carry a spare. But this can be a significant hindrance to travel in an emergency that may shutter tire shops and curtail roadside service organizations.

In the increasingly uncertain world in which we live, it is a good idea to remember the Boy Scout motto and keep your RV ready to aid in dealing with an emergency.


Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.


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Dennis G.
1 month ago

We definitely consider our RV as a bug-out vehicle. We keep the propane and water tanks full. Usually have at least a 1/2 tank of fuel. Dry food, clothes and bedding is always on board.

MT Hamlin
1 month ago

Great tips, thanks. We definitely consider our rig a significant part of our emergency plan. However since we live in tornado Alley our biggest concern is that it gets damaged in the event along with the house, not quite sure what to do about that one other than keeping them in different locations which is pretty inconvenient.

1 month ago
Reply to  MT Hamlin

We are in tornado alley also. Our small motor home is always loaded with a few supplies: paper plates, eating and cooking utensils, some bottled and/or canned foods, and a few days’ supply of bottled water. All the supplies are rotated periodically based upon their expiration dates.
A home may lose power and gas as the utility companies work to restore powers to nearby damaged areas even if your home is minimally damaged or completely undamaged. Then the RV may be usable while the home is not.

Armor Top
1 month ago

Be careful of the firewood you plan to store and carry with you as you move around. It’s illegal in most states to move firewood around due to the possible insect infestations. We also have an onboard water purifier.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Armor Top

Yes was going to make the same comment. Instead of firewood, carry charcoal (in a dust proof container). No you won’t enjoy the flame lighting of a nighttime campfire, but you don’t (or shouldn’t) cook over the flames anyhow but over the hot coals. Charcoal IS transportable and will do the job. FYI- there are multiple ways to ignite charcoal besides lighter fluid.

1 month ago

In the type of emergency you are stocking up for, you perhaps skipped personal security

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