The RV lifestyle gets us closer to nature. But sometimes, it gets us a little too close, like when we’re RVing in high winds. If you’re not sure what to do when it happens in a campground, here are three lessons I’ve learned during thirteen years of full-time RVing.
Three Lessons Learned About RVing in High Winds
Out of all the weather that we’ve experienced on the road, RVing in high winds is the most annoying. If you’re new to the lifestyle, it can also be terrifying. I used to think that high winds flip RVs all the time, but based on my experiences, that rarely happens.
It seems like even the biggest, heaviest RVs might blow over during a bad wind storm. Our own Arctic Fox fifth wheel trailer is heavier than most, but in the early days living in ours, I wasn’t sure if we would survive the rocking, rolling and relentless wind pummeling in places like New Mexico and the Southern California desert. Clearly, we did, because I’m here to tell you about it. And this is what I do when we get caught RVing in high winds.
Know the weather forecast.
Keep an eye on weather conditions so you know what to expect in the coming hours. If the forecast calls for winds over 20 miles-per- hour, it’s best to take the following precautions:
Acknowledge that you can’t change the weather.
There’s no doubt about it, bad weather sucks. As my husband says, “wind steals your chi,” and leaves you feeling tired and oftentimes, cold. But complaining about the wind, or any weather, doesn’t change the fact that Mother Nature is having a bad day and you’re part of it. Overcome the mental beating that high winds deliver, then focus on what you can change about your situation.
Park facing into the wind.
If you are able to move before the wind picks up, point the front of the RV into the oncoming wind. This will help avoid getting broadsided by wind, which causes your RV to rock side to side as if you’re on a ship at sea.
Stay hitched up if you’re towing a trailer.
Many times we arrived at a campground knowing that high winds were forecasted. In those cases, it always pays to stay hitched up to to our Dodge RAM 2500. Keeping the fifth wheel in contact with our truck helps the RV feel more stable. Since our Dodge has air bags, releasing a bit of air helps create more stability too.
Retract the awning and put your patio junk away.
This should go without saying, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen flying lawn chairs and broken awnings in high winds.
Keep your stabilizer jacks down.
Stabilizer jacks are a godsend when RVing in high winds. Keep them down to give your RV more contact with the ground.
Retract the slides if the wind is really bad.
If wind is broadsiding your RV and creating lots of bounce, chances are that your slide-outs are making wind effects worse. Retract slides if you can still live inside the rig, then see what happens. As a general rule, I only bring in our slides when wind is hitting us sideways or they’re projected to be over 40 miles per hour for extended periods of time. Our fifth wheel feels much more stable when we do.
These are simple precautions you can take when RVing in high winds. RVing during a tornado warning is an entirely different situation so you need to know what to do there as well if you’re going to survive one.
Windy camping days are never a good time, but thankfully they don’t last forever. For example, on one occasion we endured three days of a bad desert wind storm and thought it would never end. It did, and skies were clear and beautiful when it was over. Like everything in life, there’s a silver lining for even the most annoying or terrifying situations. You’ll likely survive all of them!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.