Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Solo camping: Tips for staying safe while RVing alone

A while ago, we ran a survey asking readers: “Couples: Would you likely keep traveling with an RV if your partner died?” The majority, 74 percent, answered, “Yes, I believe I would.” Many men seemed not worried in the least.

That got me to thinking. What would it take for me to feel comfortable (read: “safe”) when solo camping as a woman? After a bit of research to see what other women do (or have done), this is what I found:


Many people advised exercising your 2nd Amendment rights. Get a gun. Get training. Keep practicing to stay sharp. (Caution: Check state and local gun laws for the places where you plan to camp.)

Self-defense skills help some campers feel secure. Many places offer classes that will refresh your knowledge and keep your abilities sharply honed.

Visual ruses when solo camping

Purchase large-sized men’s boots. Place them outside your rig in plain sight. Passersby will assume that you are traveling with a man.

Always set out three or more camp chairs near your RV. This tells others that at least three people occupy your campsite.

Purchase a dog toy for a large dog. Put the toy, along with a large dog water bowl outside your rig. Also, find an app of a dog barking and use it a few times throughout your stay. Or just get a dog! Many singles enjoy the company, and a thief or attacker will think twice before targeting someone with a canine companion.

When drying clothing outside, hang a few men’s shirts on your clothesline along with your own clothes.

Safety precautions for solo camping

Always keep doors and windows securely locked.

Pull down black-out shades well before dusk and leave them down overnight. Also, keep shades down whenever you leave the campsite.

Upon arrival, get the local emergency numbers for the police. Key the numbers into your phone for quick access. Keep your phone near your bed each night in case you need to get to it quickly.

Place your tow vehicle’s or toad’s key fob on your nightstand. The fob’s emergency warning signal is loud and can easily awaken those around you if you need help.

Personal carry items

When hiking alone or simply walking around the campsite, many folks recommend carrying pepper spray. Other folks say that a longer-distance spray will provide better protection. They suggest bear spray, wasp repellent, or mace. (Again, check local regulations.)

A stun gun is the “go-to” for many solo campers. Learn how to carry, access quickly, and use it properly before depending upon it for security.

Personal alarms have grown in popularity in recent years (we recommend this one). The loud sounds will potentially frighten off an attacker, but also alert others to the danger you face.

Many folks carry a whistle on a chain or fastened to a jacket zipper, well within reach. Blasting the noise may distract a would-be attacker and get the attention of other campers.

Flare safety bracelets like this one can, when activated, simultaneously connect with your phone, and call the local police. It will also immediately provide your GPS location. Some personal bracelets will also signal a loud warning sound to alert those near you.

A word of caution

Repellent spray, stun guns, and firearms may be turned against you. Be aware of that fact and choose your protection wisely.

Do you travel alone? What kind of (if any) protections do you rely upon? Please tell us in the comments below.


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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3 months ago

I love traveling alone, I get to make all the decisions about where to go and how long to stay. I’m not afraid to travel solo. I sum up the area before I park, I never box myself in and pay attention to my surroundings and the people. There have been a few instances where I’ve encountered odd people and it’s in my best interest to find another campsite. Once a jeep was tearing around at 3 am in the campground at a frozen lake in Wyoming; they stopped a few times and would shine a floodlight around the area but never put it on my RV. I just decided my week was up at this very pleasant place and left when it got light. I was the only camper there. Maybe I should have left as soon as his racing engine woke me up but I declined to leave in the dark. When I’m inside I keep my keys in the ignition so I can leave in an instant.

Jeffery H.
3 months ago

Fact: Gun laws are complicated. This is good so as to protect we non-gun owners from those who own guns.

Fact: Because of the complexity of gun laws, if you use one, be prepared to find yourself standing in front of a judge (and be sure to have a financial reserve sufficient to pay your legal fees).

3 months ago

My feeling is, if someone is paying attention, they know you are alone, and big boots and numerous chairs aren’t going to help. I have my dog, but have carried a gun for over 60 years. Spray may be good, but I wouldn’t want the wind blowing it back in my face or my dog’s. I have never had a problem, however.

Judith Roales
3 months ago

I’m comfortable RVing alone, but I do believe you are your own best protection. Don’t do stupid things like answering the question “Are you alone?”. It’s usually asked in admiration; nevertheless, announcing the answer is unwise. I always say something like “Oh no, Lic is napping in the RV” or “Fern is back in camp.”. Both true. Lic is the cat and Fern is the RV.

3 months ago

It seems like you’re living your life camping in fear. Doesn’t sound fun to me. We’ve been full timing for 5 years in all 49 states and through Canada and Alaska and never had any problems with anyone. If I were that scared I’d stop camping altogether.

3 months ago

Just a note about leaving men’s boots sit out. Maybe get a well worn pair from some place like the salvation army.

3 months ago

I opt for bear spray. Unlike a gun, you do not have to be super-accurate. Plus, you can deter someone without having to possibly take their life.

Bill Byerly
3 months ago

Thank you for the article Gail. It also helps to be friendly with any neighbors so we can all look out for each other.

Neal Davis
3 months ago

Thanks, Gail! Currently DW and I travel together. She will not drive the DP, so she’ll have to sell it and buy a B or a C should I kick the bucket ahead of her being willing to stop camping/traveling. I’ll share your article with her to aid her decision-making post-me. Thanks again!

Greg Bryant
3 months ago

I like the tip about making your site look like they’re more people staying in it. A few extra camping chairs out is a great idea. Don’t know about sitting a pair of men’s shoes outside but they don’t take up too much space stowed away. I would think anything that would lend a passer by to think that you don’t occupy the site alone would be a reasonable deterrent.

3 months ago

Personally, I think most of this is nonsense. I am a single full-timer for over six yeats. I have never felt frightened or had to do any of these things. I just travel as a normal RVer (through 47 states so far). Perhaps the writer should have consulted solo female travelers instead of internet articles.

Diane McGovern
3 months ago
Reply to  Pat

Hi, Pat. And perhaps these tips are offered for anyone who wants to use them if they think they might help, say, for those who are more nervous than you are about traveling solo. Suggestions: Take ’em or leave ’em. But you don’t need to put down the author for trying to help those who would appreciate the tips. Oh, wait a minute. That was just a “suggestion” from you. Thanks. Take care, and stay safe. 😀 –Diane at

Jill Johnson
3 months ago

I am not sure where other solo women campers are parking. But I have never felt unsafe. If I did feel threatened, I would relocate.

Janet blaes
3 months ago

Good day, My first solo trip was from Az to Canada. That trip was a great learning experience and also taught me if something does not feel right, move on.

Its now been 6 years since I retired and love my adventures so very much. I have taken a firearms course and carry a gun.

3 months ago

Weather alerts are announced by county, so know what county you’re in. It’s also helpful to know the campground’s name and your site number in case you ever have to call for help.

Bob P
3 months ago

I haven’t been in a campground that allowed hanging laundry out to dry. Most will allow bath towels from using the pool, but frown on hangin shirts or any other type of clothing.

3 months ago

All good ideas, even for us old Farts!. Just curious if you’re out of cell contact, if the Personal Flare will still work! Something the SPOT, or iPhone 14 will do (S.O.S.)…….

Eunice selewski
3 months ago

I do not understand pretending like a man is with you by putting out boots and other male items. Everyone sees you coming and going by yourself. Decoys make you look afraid. I think you need to act confidently and keep alert but not act scared. I would feel sad if I saw a solo putting out decoys.

As a solo female, I have never had a problem in a campground. I don’t think I would boondock alone though. And hiking alone is mostly not something I do, because if I get injured, I wouldn’t have a backup to drive.

Jim Johnson
3 months ago

Being safe isn’t just for women. Very best advice- if a situation doesn’t feel right, you are in the wrong spot. Trust your instincts.

Diane Tricomi
3 months ago

looking for a womens rving group to join can be very helpful (RVing Women), Talking with fellow single women campers you can learn alot to help when you camp alone.

3 months ago

Many of these tips are also useful when not traveling alone.

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