Tuesday, December 5, 2023


RVer Safety: Let’s review safety and security ideas

By Mike Sherman

We have discussed several ideas for RVers’ safety and security over the past few months, so let’s recap a few of the ideas for those who may have missed some. And it would be great if our readers would add their suggestions so we can all learn something new.

1. Set out an extra chair or two around the campfire if you are camping solo.
2. Set a pair of size 14+ logging boots outside the door if you are camping solo.
3. Keep your car keys next to your bed so you can activate the alarm with your key fob if needed.
4. Keep a powerful flashlight near the front door so you can easily illuminate the outside through your RV windows.
5. A fire extinguisher is a good defensive tool, along with oven cleaners, bear spray, wasp spray and mace.
6. A firearm – pistol, rifle or shotgun – can be an excellent last resort in an emergency.
7. Got dual entry doors to your RV? Extend the entry steps for both (especially important in case someone exits the RV in the dark).
8. Protect your TV antenna. Hang your ignition keys on the antenna crank … ya gotta crank before leaving.
9. If you camp and hike often in the boonies, consider taking a personal safety alert device.
10. Let family/friends know where you are headed and for how long, especially if you will be without cell service.

I have also learned the hard way to follow a written list of procedures for breaking down camp. While I learned a lot as a Boy Scout, I have also learned that managing an RV has many added responsibilities. Making mistakes can factor into safety and security issues.

If you have suggestions, please help us promote safety for everyone, and thank you for your time in doing so.

Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.

Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary.

Read more RVer Safety articles here.




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Stuart Cook (@guest_58449)
3 years ago

Jolly good article. Not new to RVing but never too old to pick up pointers.
I seem to remember folks being friendlier back in the day but for the most part our experiences have been positive.
If you are sitting around a fire drinking wine and or a decent single malt friends will mysteriously appear!

Janet Shingleton (@guest_57480)
4 years ago

If you are on social media, post the location *after* you have left the area, not while you are there. (Especially if traveling alone.)

Cliff Thomson (@guest_57268)
4 years ago

We keep the flashlight next to the bed, because our first course of action is to look out the bedroom windows. If it is determined that communicating with the person outside is necessary we can open the window a bit, rather than open the door. Another point is do not rack a shell into a gun. It can be heard from outside. Either wait or have one in the pipe.

Diana (@guest_56254)
4 years ago

Something not mentioned but it is common sense; never open your door to anyone you do not know. Speak to them out of a window. If you’re a single woman travelling alone, trust your instincts. Don’t give out any information when asked questions, such as, “Where’s your husband”? Best reply is “Why do you ask”? If you feel uncomfortable in an area, just leave.

Bill (@guest_55740)
4 years ago

Air horns. Cheap and very loud. Really disconcerting even when you’re expecting the noise. Good way to throw an intruder off their game.

Ace (@guest_55643)
4 years ago

Some states have very restrictive firearm laws and/or some individuals may not want a firearm which is their choice. As an alternative I found that a handheld strobe light is very effective. They are completely legal and can be carried just about anywhere you want. Basically it is a high-tech flashlight with different modes. I prefer one that has two buttons on the back to operate with your thumb. One is a steady flashlight beam but the other button is “strobe” mode.

If you get a good light the intensity is powerful enough to cause the attacker to look away and give you an advantage. At night, the fast strobe can even make them drop to their knees, vomit or cause a seizure. There are some with an aggressive front bezel that can be used for self defense.

There is a large variety of strobe lights available; pocket carry to full size. I always have one by my nightstand or when we are out at night.

I personally carry a firearm and also have a strobe next to the nightstand. I will use the strobe light as the first option.

Betty Danet (@guest_54780)
4 years ago

For those who are not comfortable with firearms, a Vipertek zapper is quick and easy to use. Good for walks and for scaring away or protecting yourself from dogs and other critters. Has a flashlight feature also.

Jayne Bierman (@guest_52571)
4 years ago

Heads-up on the #3 Key Fob suggestion. Excellent idea to have the key fob near for the alarm, yes! Be aware, though, if you have a keyless entry system, that the proximity of your key fob may permit someone to open and drive away your vehicle! Excellent discussion and preventative options on the Truck Camper Magazine site: (TruckCamperMagazine (dot) com, search for ‘key fob’). https://www.truckcampermagazine.com/camper-tech/keyless-tech-warning-update-and-feedback/?singlepage=1

KT Gillespie (@guest_52461)
4 years ago

What source would you recommend as the ONE to use for traveling with a weapon in the trailer, but staying within local/state laws…

warmonk (@guest_52505)
4 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Just get the app “Legal Heat”. It’s ALWAYS up to date.

Mike Sherman (@guest_52627)
4 years ago
Reply to  KT Gillespie

KT ~ Diane @ RVTravel has an excellent suggestion. Every state has different rules. Basically, your RV can be….maybe….depending on the location….your legal domicile….your “home” if you full time and most laws allow a “homeowner” to have a weapon. Bottom line….better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. As long as you are actually defending yourself, it’s hard to imagine a jury convicting you for a wrongful death claim. Unless you shoot the burglar in the back as they are fleeing. Every single shooting is judged on the specifics of the circumstances. Order the book if you seek exacting laws on each state.

Ace (@guest_55644)
4 years ago
Reply to  KT Gillespie

I always use “Handgunlaw.us” website. It is free, constantly updated and has a list of all the states and a full brief of their gun laws. I check it every trip.

Darrel (@guest_56659)
4 years ago
Reply to  KT Gillespie

LegalHeat app on a android phone is good.

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