We know that it’s important to be on the alert for petty crimes and should lock our doors and windows. But have you considered the more subtle but real dangers of camping in an RV park or campground?
I’m talking about fire-starting, stomach-upsetting, water-logged dangers that too many campers often overlook.
In this post I’ll discuss five real dangers to be aware of. Then, you’ll know what to look for and what questions to ask when booking your next camping site.
PLUS, at the end, I’ll link to other articles on staying safe while enjoying the RV lifestyle.
Of course, some of these dangers are more prevalent in different parts of the country. You’re not likely to encounter tropical storms or hurricanes in South Dakota, for instance. However, I’m sure you can apply the wisdom of each danger to whatever location you’re traveling to.
The point of this article is not to scare you but to PREPARE you for less-obvious dangers you may not have considered. I LOVE camping and think everyone can and should enjoy it too.
So, whether you’re a solo traveler, a senior, a young newbie, or a family with a gaggle of kids, don’t let these dangers deter you from camping. Just consider them and how best to prepare for them as necessary.
1. Bad electrical
Unfortunately, it’s far too common for electrical hookups not to be properly maintained. RV parks that are under poor management or laissez-fair attitude often delay electrical maintenance and repair.
That leaves RVers at risk of using a faulty outlet and two big dangers. The first big (and costly) danger is a power surge that fries your electrical system.
The second big danger of bad electrical is FIRE! It’s no surprise that sparks or surges of electricity can catch your RV on fire. It’s important to know your RV fire safety.
That’s why I recommend you always inspect your electrical connection before you plug in. Does it look badly unmaintained? Do you see any exposed wires? If it’s scary-looking, you probably should be concerned.
I also recommend you always use an Electric Management System like the units available from Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard.
2. Unclean water
Living in the U. S. and Canada, we often take safe drinking water for granted. In many of our homes, we can drink straight from the tap. But that doesn’t mean we can do the same while camping.
Flint, Michigan has certainly served as a warning to all Americans that we should think twice before blindly trusting any water spout.
Unclean water is one of the top unseen dangers of camping and should be taken seriously. Do you really want to chance ruining your trip with a sick stomach at the very least (or possibly far worse)?
I suggest always using a water filter for your RV.
3. Bad site location for flooding
This camping danger applies to campground locations as well as individual campsites. You can unwittingly park in a flood zone and not be properly prepared if a storm hits.
Granted, this isn’t usually a year-round risk. However, at the very least, you want to be aware of the possible necessity to pack up and move if a big storm is headed your way.
It’s important to learn flood basics and note where your campsite is in relation to:
- Rivers and streams
- Mountains and steep hills
- Rocky and shallow clay soils
Note that notably dry locations like Arizona are not immune to flooding! In fact, they can be more at risk of flash floods. So, take heavy rains seriously wherever you’re camping.
Be sure to check that out Flash Floods: Safety Tips for RVers.
4. Unsafe neighborhoods
RV park websites can paint a picturesque setting that may be located in an unsafe neighborhood. Theft and violent crimes may prevail in the area and you’d have no idea until you drive through and get that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
While RV parks and campgrounds are generally very safe, you should always be aware of your surroundings. And you do need to take extra precautions whenever parking overnight at truck stops, Walmarts, or other lot-docking locations.
You can easily research local crime in the area online. SpotCrime.com is one such helpful resource you can use to search by address or state. For more peace of mind wherever you travel, you can install an RV security system.
But please be assured that theft isn’t as common at RV parks as one might think and violent crimes are even rarer. So, be aware, but don’t be scared!
5. Unstaffed RV park office
You might think of an unstaffed RV park office as an inconvenience but it also poses a safety risk. An unstaffed RV park or campground is also more at risk of crime since it’s not being monitored 24/7.
Having someone familiar with the campground and nearby area can be vitally helpful in an emergency. This is especially true if you’re a solo RVer.
Regardless of whether RV park or campground staff is available at all times, I do have a life-saving recommendation for you!
Always keep the campground address and your campsite number within reach, like on a post-it on your fridge. Plus, the name and address of the nearest hospital! Having this info at your fingertips can save precious time when trying to get emergency services to your location.
Additional safety concerns while RVing
The above are common dangers of camping wherever you travel but there is one more safety issue I want to leave you with.
Fire represents a risk that RVers need to keep top of mind. An RV fire can spread in a fast and furious manner leading to devastating damage, injury, and even loss of life.
RVs have numerous potential sources of fires—RV refrigerators, propane appliances, space heaters, washers and driers, gasoline or diesel engines, and electrical wiring that take a beating when traveling on less-than-ideal highways. So, every RV owner needs to develop a safety plan that covers how to deal with a fire.
I have a few helpful articles on developing a plan to deal with RV fires:
And finally the Safety List For when your RV is Parked.
Take care of yourself. You’ll find it hard to get a replacement.