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10 Must-Have Survival Items for Your RV or Camper

Editor’s note: Please welcome Angelica Garcia to Planandprepared.com 

I know it’s still winter and we have a good 4 to 6 weeks of cold left, but my two-year-old camper is sitting in the driveway, beckoning. I can’t wait to hit the road with my family, get away from it all, and still feel like I’m at home. Aside from the comforts of home (yeah, I still bring my pillow with me), safety is also a concern.

There are lots of things that you should have in your safety kit. That’s all the more true if you your RV doubles as your bug out vehicle.

Here 10 essential items that you will need to survive an emergency. If you want to bulk-up even more, take a look at some of the other suggestions here There are loads of really cool high-tech gadgets out there!

Read about how to know when it’s time to bug out.

1)Hand crank flashlight with radio and USB port

Now here’s a great multi-use tool! It’s a bright LED flashlight that needs no batteries. You can also get NOAA weather forecasts, emergency information, and even charge your cell phone. I’ve heard people say that if you’re in a survival situation and you have a cell phone signal, you’re golden! You should also ideally have one LED flashlight (with 5 year batteries) per person.

2)First aid kit

A first aid kit is absolutely essential. All of my family members have one in their cars. Just as important as having a first aid kit is knowing how to use it. Keep a book on first aid with your kit. Or, even better, take a first aid certification course–such as the one offered by the American Red Cross

One important thing to note is that the COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) kits you have for home use might not cut it in a survival situation. If you have some know-how, consider custom-building your own first aid kit so you’re prepared for treating injuries in the wilderness.

3)Water purifier

Sawyer Mini water filter will filter up to 100,000 gallons of water! Click here

Although you should ideally carry a gallon of water per person per day, this isn’t always practical. There are a multitude of water purifiers on the market. These come in the form of bottles, tablets, straws (that let you safely drink water directly from puddles), and some high-tech engineering marvels. I pack sterilized plastic water pouches and purification tablets. They take up practically no room (and let’s face it, RV real estate is precious), and give me peace of mind.

Editor’s note: I recommend a Sawyer Mini. It filters 99.99% of all bacteria and protozoa on up to 100,000 gallons of water. It only weighs about 2 oz. 

4)Dehydrated food – MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)

MREs are really important for two reasons. The first is if the power goes out (check out these manual kitchen tools that will still work even without electricity). You’re stressed out enough, and you might not want to start a fire and deal with cooking. The second is a situation where the food has either spoiled or run out.

MREs have changed a lot since I was a kid. There are numerous gourmet brands out there, and the food is pretty good. Many of them can be made with cold or room-temperature water. Not ideal, but in an emergency you can’t afford to be picky! Moreover, some of the brands have a 25-year shelf life! MREs are also lightweight and store compactly—many companies package their MREs in hermetically sealed plastic tubs.Camping World

5)Moisture-proof matches / Lighter / Long burning emergency candles

Matches or a lighter will help you start a fire for heat and cooking should you run out of gas. Ditto for emergency candles (I buy the ones that come in a tin and burn for 12-36 hours, depending on how many of the 3 wicks you light). An emergency candle can even boil water for MREs or for first aid applications.

If you want to go high-tech, you can also buy a Magnesium-based fire steel which creates a 3000° F spark. However, if you’re in a pinch, just borrow one of your son or daughter’s crayons.

6)Maps / Compass

Navigational aids are ideal to have if you get lost or have no GPS signal. Just as important as having a map and a compass is the ability to use them. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to read a map, and one on how to use a compass.

7)Photos of everyone you’re travelling with / Laminated card with emergency numbers / Medical information / Extra medication

This is similar to your “call in case of emergency” list at work. Here’s why it’s important: if a member of your family gets lost in the wilderness, their photo will be a big help to the search and rescue team that is going to bring them back.

Emergency numbers and medical information are also crucial if someone has to be taken to a hospital for treatment. This information should include blood type, medications and allergies. While you’re at it, take extra over-the-counter medication (as part of your first-aid kit) and extra prescription medication. This is good for emergencies or if you decide to extend your vacation by a few days.

8)Space blanket / Warm clothing

Even if you’re travelling in the summer, it can get mighty cold at higher elevations. Space blankets are cheap and take up almost no room whatsoever. If space is at a premium, pack high-tech fabrics rather than bulkier clothing. Microfiber is thin, can be layered, and will keep you warm and prevent hypothermia if you get caught without shelter.

Editor’s note: For more information and tips on Mylar space blankets, please click the link here.

9)Loud whistle or air-horn

Either of these signaling devices can act as a beacon. Loud noises not found in nature can get you found, or help a family member who is lost figure out where you are. Plus, it will save you a lot of yelling!

10)Games

I know that this doesn’t really seem like an emergency item, but trust me, it is. Let’s say that you’re out in your RV. Maybe there is a real emergency and you’re waiting to be found, or maybe you’re just waiting out a storm. You’re tense, cramped up in the RV rather than hiking or kayaking, and the kids sense it. The DVD player isn’t working and everyone is in a foul mood. You need something to take the edge off. What better than a card or board game? It passes the time, and more importantly, it takes the kids’ minds off the situation so you can think in peace!

Editor’s note: Decks of playing cards are good because you can play a HUGE variety of games (click the link for the rules for almost 30 different card games) with them. So I have a few decks set back.

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Stay safe out there!

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2 Responses to 10 Must-Have Survival Items for Your RV or Camper

  • Absolutely, Ron! I agree 100%. Every vehicle kit should definitely include supplies geared toward your environment, or any environments along your escape route (in the event of a disaster). A shovel of some kind is essential equipment whether you’re in the snow, a desert, or something in-between.

  • Since we live in a northern climate, I wouldn’t drive without a snow shovel of some sorts. Even someone traveling at elevation might find a shovel helpful.

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