Camper or RV Preparedness | How to set it up or What to bring

Preparedness supplies for camper or RV
Preparedness supplies for camper or RV

This should be be fun… I’m sure that some of you have a RV or camper trailer of one variety or another. But how do you set it up for the sake of preparedness, or what extra would you take with you as such?

Since most of the MSB audience is prepper oriented, I’m sure the question has crossed your mind. Further, you may have already dealt with this before and we would love to hear your opinion.

Lets say you’re going on a vacation or a trip somewhere with your camper or RV. Regardless of how big or small it is, there’s never enough room to take everything that you would like to take, right?

Or maybe you’re thinking about setting it up for “bug out”, just in case. In that case there are lots of decisions to make for camper or RV preparedness! How long might you be out, what might the conditions be, etc..

I’m going to get the conversation started by reflecting on some of my own trips, and what I decided to bring along for preparedness.

It all started “way back when”, while tent camping. Remember your first tent or camping trip?

I recall as a young boy going on tent camping trips with the family, and trips with my dad hiking in the White Mountains of NH – staying overnight in one of their ‘hut’ cabins. Carrying everything that you might possibly need in your backpack. Lots of memories. I’m sure you have many too.

As one progresses in life and years, tent camping may lead to picking up a camper trailer or RV. You’ve “been there – done that” with tenting and now it’s time to “rough it” a little less.

So lets jump into the topic:

Camper or RV Preparedness

For preparedness (or not), or as a prepper (or not) — everyone does bring along the basics for living in a trailer or RV. A basic supply of clothes, some food, pots and pans for cooking, cleaning supplies, all that normal stuff…

But what about more things, more supplies for the sake of preparedness? It feels a little uncomfortable leaving the security of your home base and living in another environment for awhile – especially if it’s for a longer while. What if the world goes sideways while you’re out, our if you’re getting away from a world gone sideways (bug out)?

Food | Water | Security

My first thoughts are to shore up the categories of food, water, and security for camper or RV preparedness. Why? You’ve already got ‘shelter’ (your camper or RV). But you need to think about longer term survival basics. That’s water, food, and of course, security.

Storage Food for your RV or Trailer

When we have traveled with our 5th-wheel trailer, to begin with, we always bring more ‘regular’ food. Many people will pack minimal food and then make a big grocery store run at their destination location. Instead, we tend to bring more from home to begin with. A wide variety too. More non-perishable food supplies. It feels good to be stocked up.

I also bring along one (or several) of those professionally packaged container buckets of ready made dehydrated or freeze-dried meals packed and sealed for the long term. Their meals are ready to eat (with water added) and fit tightly and densely in their sealed bucket/container. Meals and calories, easy to handle and pack in the camper or RV.

I know that all of our food won’t last for a real long time between the two of us, but having the purpose-made long term food storage buckets, and the other foods that we pack, I suppose we would be good for a month or so… with some rationing going on.

But if I really wanted to, I could fit a LOT more of my long term food in there. The trick is calories versus available space. And one’s risk tolerance threshold. Obviously if you purpose your rig for the long term, then you’ll pack more.

Water – and a way to Filter it!

There are two things to bear in mind. One is a source of water and the other is a filter for that water.

We start a trip with a case of ordinary bottled water.

For normal hookups at a site or park, there’s either water available at the site’s spigot (to connect directly to your camper), or a shared community water spigot not too far away (to haul your own water).

For dry camping, we keep two heavy duty water jugs for hauling water. I have a folding portable 2-wheeler hand cart to assist bringing it back to the camper. The built-in water storage tank holds 50 gallons – though it requires a 12-volt pump (and a source of 12 volts!) to pump it out. This could be a battery (batteries) and solar panel / charger combination for example.

I keep a Berkey counter-top water filter inside the camper for all of our drinking water. I also have a inline filter for when hooking up to water directly at the site. A good water filter is extremely important. I also keep at least one portable (smaller) drinking water filter.

The important thing for SHTF camper or RV preparedness is having a water source nearby. So that depends on your location. The desert, well, not so good in that department. Without water, you’re done. Game over.

The Smallest Berkey Countertop Water Filter
Water Sources and Treatment

Security for your Camper or RV Preparedness

I’m going to leave the legal stuff for you to figure out on your own. With that said, you really should pick up this Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States. It’s updated each year. I’m glad I bought it several years ago. It initially helped my comfort factor while planning a cross country road trip – knowing the legal issues.

Related article: Transporting Firearms Across State Lines

In many states, reciprocity laws will enable you to legally posses or carry a firearm in another state if that state recognizes your state’s concealed carry permit. And of course there are some states that are actually ‘Constitutional Carry’ states, such as my own (NH).

I do bring firearm(s) and ammo with me on these types of trips. Along with a method or two of carry if need be. That said, know the laws of your destination state. The burden is upon you to understand this.

Of course we hope that we’ll never ever need to consider the necessity of such security. However the fact is we do live in a dangerous world glossed over with a thin veneer of civility.

Sanitation Needs

Many campers have a flush toilet and built-in ‘black water’ tank (along with one or two ‘grey’ tanks for sink and shower water. No problem when you’re hooked up to their sewer and water facilities. But if you’re dry camping, you’re only good up until your tanks fill up.

I’m not concerned about the ‘grey’ water. You could just drain that on the ground if you had to. But the ‘black’? That’s another issue!

We have dry camped a number of times with our camper. A typical ‘dry-camp’ park will have water spigots in places and ‘out houses’ to take care of your business. We do utilize these facilities. Though we’ll reserve using the camper toilet at night – which will last a good while before our ‘black’ tank is full (40 gallons).

Of course the #1 business could be taken care of without too much issue outdoors, in the woods, etc.. easier for the guys ;) But the #2 business? Yes, this business too could also be done in the woods if one had to. A camp shovel helps.

Composting Toilets

Then there’s the extra toilet paper. I can visualize our friend, ‘NRP’, here on the blog – cases of TP bulging from all storage compartments in his trailer. Is there ever enough? We start our trips with one case. There’s always ‘leaves’, right? Just stay away from ‘leaves of three’ !

Pack a Pack

I mean pack a backpack or two. I always have one in the truck (my 72 hour kit) but I also pack an extra backpack in the camper. There are lots of good reasons.

If you have to ‘hoof it’, you will be glad you did. Plus they’re great for an ordinary hike to pack your gear. You do have survival gear with you, right?

Extra Clothes for Seasonal Conditions

I always pack more clothes than I actually use or need. But it makes me feel better. Warm weather clothes, cool weather clothes, rain gear, various shoes and boots, jackets, work gloves, hats, you name it…

Clothes is directly part of the ‘Shelter’ category within the 5 C’s of Survival. Maintaining a safe body core temperature is essential at all times.

Survival Gear and Tools

I’m not going to list it all. There are numerous articles here on the blog about this (use our Search function). But I am always sure to bring any and all pertinent survival gear for in the camper.

Firemaking, knives, cutting tools/saw, navigation & maps, shelter/tarps/tent, cordage/rope/paracord, cooking/camp-stove/fuel, a complete though mostly basic tool kit, various hardware to fix things, bug repellents!, 2-way radios, and more.

First Aid Supplies are Important!

I cannot over emphasize the importance of putting together an effective first aid kit for your camper or RV. It’s an overlooked category, but it shouldn’t be.

Basically, a good ‘basic’ first aid kit AND a set of trauma items which at least include the Israeli Bandage and Hemostatic Dressing. Here are a few related articles:

Continue reading: Best First Aid Kit for General Purpose

Trauma Kit List | 5 Lifesaving Essentials
How to Use the Israeli Bandage
How to Stop the Bleeding with QuikClot

It’s Like Packing a Mini BOL

Basically, camper or RV preparedness is like packing or stocking a mini bugout location. The challenge is the limiting factor of available space.

It can be ridiculous to go overboard with this. But there are some common sense things to bring along.

I don’t go too crazy with this stuff, but I do enjoy the process of thinking it through and packing extra for just in case. It’s peace of mind.

If the notion is to trick out an RV for bug out or extreme preparedness, or even ‘Mad Max’, well, that could get interesting.

Your turn… your thoughts?