I have always advocated that RVers keep their RV minimally stocked and ready for occupancy at a moment’s notice. Minimally stocked means being able to survive for a few days which should include items like bedding, towels, canned goods, some potable water in the tank (unless winterized), basic toiletries, propane in the tanks, camping clothes, etc. The reasons I typically cite are:
- Natural disasters that might leave your home uninhabitable like an earthquake or tornado.
- Predicted natural disasters that your home is in the path of, and you are forced to evacuate like a flood or hurricane.
- Manmade disasters like a fire or natural gas explosion that might render your home uninhabitable before you have an opportunity to extract any supplies.
Having your RV minimally stocked as listed above allows you to quickly vacate into your RV and/or away from an approaching storm when needed providing you with a couple of days to figure out a more long-range plan if needed.
However, I never considered an epidemic or sudden outbreak of a communicable illness like the COVID 19 pandemic that the world is currently experiencing that might require an RVer to flee their home or city.
While I don’t advocate anyone abandoning their home and/or city and start living in their RV, there are those that are more at risk where this might be a prudent and appropriate action. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- If your RV is stocked and has been sitting idle, you know the surfaces and items within the RV are free of any viruses, as viruses don’t survive long outside of a carrier. The inside of your RV has now become a safe refuge in which to self isolate yourself.
- Your RV, being mobile (and virus-free), allows you to distance yourself from the outbreak.
- If a friend or family member was exposed to the virus, the RV could serve as a place for them (or non-exposed members of the family) to retreat to.
- If nothing else, you will have a ready source of reserve supplies in the event the public panics and overbuys basic supplies like toilet paper!
If you choose to get away in your RV, the question now becomes where to go as some government agencies are closing campgrounds during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Why, I don’t understand, as this seems to be one of the best ways to socially distance yourself from others. Even here in Washington State (the epicenter of the current COVID-19 outbreak in the United States), the Governor has specifically listed camping as an approved activity.
Where would I go in my RV if I were forced to leave my home or state (which I am not)? I would head to the boondocks, of course. The boondocks are always open, there are rarely hard surfaces to harbor viruses left by others, and you can distance yourself a long way from others. This is yet another valid reason to become a better dry camper.
Take care during this unprecedented time and may all your adventures in RVing be safe!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.