6 Things You Need To Know About Camping In A Storm
The weather is going to start getting warmer soon, and that means it’s time to start thinking about pulling the RV out so you can do some early spring camping. Unfortunately, storm season is also just around the corner, and spring storms can make RV camping a scary experience rather than the fun and pleasant one it should be.
What’s an avid camper to do? Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you and your family stay safe while also fully enjoying every minute of the camping season. Here are our top tips for camping during storm season.
1. Create a storm-smart route
Our first tip? Avoid camping in a storm altogether. Your tiny home has wheels, after all. Why not use them?
By avoiding areas such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas during tornado season, and places where hurricanes tend to crop up during hurricane season, you are reducing your risk by quite a lot. Instead, choose to travel to those areas during other parts of the year and focus on different destinations during times when storms are likely to come around. Plan your travels with RV Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App to find more campgrounds and points of interest in the areas you’re visiting.
2. Pay attention to weather reports
No matter where you decide to travel, you will want to pay attention to the weather forecast. Knowing if and when a storm might crop up is important because it gives a chance to watch for it and get out of harm’s way if need be. We recommend keeping a weather radio on hand for this purpose.
3. Stock up on the right tools
Besides your weather apps and a hand-crank weather radio, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep on hand just in case you end up camping in a storm.
- Flashlight and batteries — This will help you see should the power go out.
- First aid kit — You never know what kinds of wounds you might need to tend to.
- Portable power bank— The ability to contact help is crucial. Always have a way to charge your phone battery.
- Water bottles — Being thirsty in a storm shelter is no fun. Avoid it by packing water bottles.
- Snacks — In case you get hungry while waiting out the storm, you’ll be glad to have a few non-perishable snacks on hand.
We recommend putting all these things into a bug out bag, which should be kept in an easily accessible location near the door. This will ensure you’re well prepared and can get to safety quickly, no matter what kind of weather comes your way.
In addition to the items above, make sure your family is fully dressed with closed-toed shoes on. Grab your phone and any important documents in the rig and then get to shelter. If you can, grab helmets and/or pillows to cover your head and protect yourself from flying objects.
4. Know where to go
Of course, if you’re going to bug out when the weather gets bad, you won’t want to be wandering around trying to figure out where to go. For this reason, it’s important that you always establish where you will go in case of a storm when you arrive at a new campground.
A lot of RV parks in tornado alley have storm shelters. However, those that don’t usually recommend heading to a bathhouse or another sturdy structure with as few windows as possible.
When you get to the place where you will wait out the storm, find a place to sit that is far from windows and potential projectiles. Wear your helmets, keep your important items under you, use the weather radio to track the storm, and have your pillows close at hand in case you need them.
5. Check your site
If you have enough notice of an impending storm, there are also several things you can do to protect your RV and yourself if you must stay in your rig while camping in a storm. These are all fairly simple steps that can make a big difference, so we definitely recommend taking the time to take them.
- Putting pets inside — Dogs and cats deserve a safe, dry place to weather the storm as much as you do. Take them to the shelter with you.
- Removing projectiles — If you have chairs or other potential projectiles on your site, put them away. You don’t want one to go through a window.
- Closing storage doors — Make sure your storage bay doors are closed to keep water out.
- Pulling the awning in — RV awnings can’t stand up to much wind and rain. Keep yours intact by pulling it in before any kind of storm.
- Latching the windows — Obviously, you’ll also want to make sure all windows are closed.
- Parking away from trees — If possible, move your RV out from under trees that could break and fall on your roof, causing expensive damage.
- Pulling in the slides — Slides can catch the wind, causing a whole trailer or motorhome to flip. Pull them in.
- Filling the water tanks and hitching up — If it’s going to be very windy or if a tornado is headed your way, consider filling your tanks to add more weight to your rig. If you have a trailer, hitching it to the truck can also help keep it upright.
6. Use common storm sense
Of course, you’ll also want to use your common sense when it comes to storms. Don’t hang out outdoors in a lightning storm, and avoid pools or other bodies of water while there is lightning in the area. If there is hail, get away from skylights and windshields if possible.
Finally, you will want to watch for flooding and evacuate quickly and head for higher ground if it looks like water is headed your way.
Stay safe while you’re out camping this season. You won’t want to get stuck out in a storm like this one captured by The Deprey’s, where strong winds flipped campers in Myrtle Beach:
See also: Our Close Encounter With A Tornado Storm