Think about it… most crime happens in the cities, not out in the wilderness. The chances of criminals, sexual predators and drug addicts driving all the way out to the middle of nowhere, looking for boondockers to rob, rape and murder are minuscule. The stuff criminals want (money, drugs, guns, easy prey, and turf) are not out in a national forest or BLM land. The things criminals want are back in the big city, where there are stores and homes to rob, rival gangs to shoot, and easy access to drugs. Don’t allow the fear of the unknown keep you from enjoying the freedom that the RV lifestyle can afford you!
There are boondocking safety precautions you can take, in the event anything happens:
- You have wheels. Keep your nose pointed to the road, for an easy escape. Keep your car or trailer hitched, unless you absolutely need to unhitch. If you have a bad feeling about a place, you are free to leave.
- Carry a solid, heavy flashlight at night. You can use it to blind anything headed your way, or use it as a club in self-defense.
Bear spray is like a long-range pepper spray, and useful for any animal encounters, as well as humans.
- Keep your boondocking locations within cell phone range, so you can call out for help if you need to.
- Take a self-defense class to build self-confidence, knowing you can handle yourself in an unexpected situation.
What about carrying a gun?
You have the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. However, different states and jurisdictions have different gun laws, including laws regarding carrying firearms in vehicles.
For instance, under California law, a concealed handgun can legally be transported within a motor vehicle without a permit only if it is unloaded, locked in the vehicle’s trunk or in a separate locked container other than the utility or glove compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, it must be carried in a “locked container” separate from the utility or glove compartment. That basically legally renders your firearm within a useless.
Also under California law, a citizen or legal resident over the age of 18 (this does not say non-California residents) may possess a handgun anywhere within his or her place of residence, business or other private property. However, outside of these places, it is against the law to openly carry rifles, shotguns, or handguns in California (loaded or unloaded, except under certain circumstances). You may, however, carry a concealed weapon if you first obtain a concealed carry license; this is very hard to get in California, and impossible for non-California residents to obtain. And to my knowledge, California does not honor CCW permits from any other state.
If you own guns, it is important to know the gun laws in the different states in which you travel. For more information on state gun laws, you can refer to this right to carry a gun law map.
In conclusion, boondocking safety on public lands is likely to be much safer than living in a city. With a few common-sense safety precautions, you can spend all the time you want, living free in the great outdoors.