Dealing With Intense Weather Conditions in Your RV: How to Stay Prepared

Guaranty is proud to post this guest post from Darla Preston.

Being able to get outside into the beautiful outdoors is the reason why many RVers are so enthusiastic about the pastime. Taking yourself out of the comfort of your home and into the natural elements can surely be a liberating experience. That being said, there is an element of uncertainty and unpredictability when you step away from the security of your home. Intense weather conditions can be one of the biggest hurdles to get through when you’re out on the road.

It’s a common misconception that summer is safer because it’s warmer, and while you don’t have to worry about blizzards and icy roads, there are still many precautions you should take. Your best bet when it comes to staying safe is to be well-prepared for a variety of different temperatures/conditions, and to help you be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Download weather apps. Modern technology has allowed us to know what to expect weatherwise, and having a reliable app can help you stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s upcoming rain, thunder, tornadoes, etc., keeping an eye on what the climate has in store can help you avoid any dangerous surprises.
Invest in a solar-powered cell-phone charger. If you won’t have access to electrical hookups, it is a good idea to have a way to reach out, and a solar-powered phone charger can help keep your phone on in case you need to use it on your adventures.
Look into weather alert radios. Weather alert radios are designed to keep you updated on the latest weather forecast even if you aren’t in an area with solid phone reception. Some even charge up by a hand crank, meaning you can access an emergency weather broadcast at all times.
Cater to your own level of experience. Don’t rush into a secluded boondocking RV trip if you don’t have the experience or knowledge (of if you’re not traveling with someone who does) to know how to handle inclement conditions. If you’re new to RVing and/or don’t have a vast knowledge of nature-related survival skills, stay safe and head to a trusted RV park that offers some sort of sturdy, preferably cement structure, whether it be a clubhouse or a bathroom facility. Also, it’s a good idea to stay in an area that has reliable cell phone reception in case you needed to phone-in an emergency matter. Also, try to RV during seasons and in areas where you are familiar with the weather patterns.
Keep a first-aid kit with you at all times. First aid kits are something to always carry with you, as even if you are likely to never have to use them, you’ll always be grateful to have one if you do. Here’s a list of what to include in your own.
Create an emergency plan. When you arrive to your destination in your RV, scout the area and come up with an emergency evacuation plan for you and your fellow passengers.

Now let’s talk about some of the specific summer conditions you should be wary of, as well as a few tips on how to handle them if you do get stuck:

Sweltering Heat
Being stuck out in burning temperatures can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Here are a few ways to stay safe during moments of intense heat:

Park your RV so that the windows are facing the shade. Doing this can minimize the amount of sun that enters the RV, reducing the temperature inside. 

Create your own shade with a tarp or RV awning. If you’re not in an area that offers ample shade, tarps and an RV awning can be used to create shelter from the sun. 

Stay hydrated. Always bring more than enough water with you. If you’re boondocking in your RV, try to camp at an area with a moving water source, and bring a quality water filter with you to rid the water source of harmful bacteria. Dehydration can be extremely dangerous, especially in hot weather. 

Sunscreen it up. Reapply sunscreen every couple of hours if you’re subjected to the hot sun. 

Take a battery-powered fan with you to create ventilation in your RV if you’re not using a generator. If you’re trying to minimize your generator use, fans can help circulate the air. 

Pay attention to fire bans. Dry, hot weather can be the recipe for forest fires, so always be up-to-date on and adhere to any fire bans in the areas you plan to RV.

Heavy Rain/Thunderstorms/Lightning/Flash Floods
Heavy rainstorms may be beautiful to behold when you’re in the safety of your sturdy home, but they can be quite dangerous if you’re exposed. Your RV doesn’t offer the best protection from lightning, and heavy rain can quickly turn into a flash flood. This is why an emergency evacuation plan is so critical.

When you start to hear thunder, it’s important to seek shelter immediately. This is why RVing at a campground with a solid structure is a good idea.

If you have time, put away your RV awning and any other items that are lingering around your RV to avoid damage. However, safety should be your priority, and it’s not worth saving a few objects if you’re putting yourself into danger.

If you go boondocking and won’t have access to a safe building during your trek, inform yourself on the proper safety measures. Here’s some detailed information to help you avoid danger from cold rain, lightning and flash floods.

Tornado/Hurricane Watches
It’s important to understand the difference between a tornado/hurricane warning and a watch. A watch means that it’s likely for a tornado/hurricane to hit, whereas a warning means one is about to happen and that you should take shelter immediately, preferably away from any windows.

If you’re in areas where watches/warnings are common, you should research which RV parks are most conducive to offering you the safety/shelter that you need, and you should also find out if tornado sirens have been installed to alert nearby folks that they should move to safety. This is also why weather apps and alert radios should be absolutely essential to your RV experience, as having a bit of time to prepare can make the difference between whether or not you end up in danger.

If worst case scenario does come up, meaning that you are on the road when you see a hurricane/tornado, follow the tips highlighted in this article.

At the end of the day, summer traveling is typically safe as long as you take the time to research the areas you’ll be traveling through, be prepared with the proper knowledge and safety tools, and don’t push past what your experience can handle. The best way to escape a risky situation is to plan for it ahead of time and stay aware of your surroundings. That being said, stay safe and enjoy your travels!

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