Prepping Your RV for a Pandemic or Other Disaster

RV prepping and Boondocking

As an RV owner, you’re a step ahead of the pack when it comes to an emergency situation; that is, if you choose to prepare. Prepping is not a desperate, last-minute trip to the store, but a lifestyle.

The RV lifestyle is characterized as carefree and fun, and you may think that taking disasters into consideration will take the fun out of the RV lifestyle. But, on the contrary, it will give you peace of mind when you really need it.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to prep while on the road.

Water is Important for Survival

Many RVers refuse to drink water from their freshwater tank, and instead, buy bottled water. Moreover, some RVers will empty their freshwater tank while traveling, to save weight.

However, your freshwater tank is one of the most valuable survival features on an RV. Keeping your freshwater tank as full as possible will help ensure your survival during a disaster.

Most people choose to drink bottled water because they feel it’s purer, or tastes better, than tap water. While that may be true, the expense can also add up, as well as the empty bottles. A better choice is to have a very good, countertop water filter in your RV.

Choose a water filter that will filter out bacteria, chemicals, fluoride, and heavy metals.

If you want to take it a step further, you can also filter the rainwater that drips off of your RV roof. You can learn more about just one method of collecting and filtering rainwater here. You can also watch this video.

You’ll need to get a few ceramic water filters to filter rainwater using this method.

Food for Your Survival

The next thing you’ll need to keep stocked up is food. While many preppers collect cans, dried food is a much better choice for an RV. It’s lighter in weight, and takes up less room.

You can find freeze-dried survival food at camping stores, such as REI or even in the camping section at Walmart. You can often find survival food in a small town grocery store; people who live up in the mountains need to keep it on hand, in case they are snowed in.

You can also find things that will store well at an ordinary grocery store; things like dried fruit, rice, lentils, nuts, cereal, and protein bars are also good to stock your shelves with. (Lentils cook faster than beans, and take less water.)

Some RVers want to somehow grow food onboard their RV; while lugging around gallon pots of tomatoes is not really practical, you can grow sprouts. Sprouting seeds don’t take up much room, and fresh sprouts are both easy to grow, healthy and delicous.

If you want to take dried food a step further, you can easily make your own. A collapsible net food dryer doesn’t take up much room, and can be placed in that hot windshield or your tow car.

Remember, you need warm, dry conditions to dry food.

Spinach will dry in 2 days, and can be used in pasta sauce, omelets, or many other dishes. You can also slice fruit very thin, and dry it within 2-3 days under hot, dry conditions. Drying fruits and veggies are also a good way to keep those foods from going to waste; how many times have you bought a big clamshell of baby spinach, only to have it spoil before you could eat it all?


In a grid-down situation, you won’t be able to use your cards or Apple Pay. Also, many small town RV parks and small, local businesses simply won’t process cards; they want cash. It’s always a good idea to keep cash onboard, just in case you get into a situation where you can’t use a debit card or cell phone to pay.

For Couples

Many RV couples divide the labor, which is OK. However, both parties need to know how to drive the rig. Yes, driving a motorhome or a truck towing a trailer or 5th wheel can be a little scary, but you need to know how to do it. Moreover, you need to practice on a regular basis. What if your partner has an accident or a heart attack while you’re boondocking? You need to drive the rig, even if you are short, and not very strong.

Likewise, both parties ought to know how to cook a basic meal, dump and fill the tanks, run the generator and everything else. While dividing the labor is OK, it shouldn’t be an excuse to not know how to do whatever needs to be done while on the road. One day, you could really regret it.

Medications and First Aid

If you need medications to survive, keep enough onboard to get you through at least 2 weeks. You’ll also want to map out pharmacies along your routes where you can get your prescriptions refilled.

Accidents do happen, and you want to be prepared, so you’ll also want to keep a comprehensive first aid kit onboard.

Paper Goods and Other Stuff

Be sure to keep at least a 2-week supply of toilet paper and paper towels on board. You may also want to keep a supply of paper plates and cups.

Also make sure you have hand sanitizer, baby wipes, soap, dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and anything else you need to maintain good hygiene. Baby wipes are to boondockers preferred alternative to a shower! You can stock up on these things at the dollar store.

And don’t forget the batteries! Keep a good stock of AAs and whatever size your stuff needs.

Carry a Tool Kit

Make room for a tool box, with both house and vehicle tools. You might need to fix something on the road.

Solar Power and/or a Generator

If you have a motorhome, you may have a built-in generator already. If you don’t already have a generator or solar panels, you should definitely consider setting up your RV for off-grid power.

A solar system can be sized to most rigs and most budgets. You can spend thousands of dollars for panels on the roof, or just a few hundred for a portable panel. Likewise, a good gas or diesel generator will also cost you quite a bit. But having off-grid power is invaluable.

One beautiful thing about solar, is it is completely silent. Besides the panels, you’ll also need a charge controller and a power inverter. To learn more about solar for your RV, click here.

Know Where You Are Going

If you need to leave because of a hurricane or a tornado, leave as soon as possible to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

Also, wherever you are, have in mind someplace you can go in case of an emergency. Steer clear of the big cities, and also steer clear on the big interstates. Wherever you are, take a look at Google maps or your paper maps for side roads that will also take you where you need to go.

You can head for a small town that you know of, or a campground. Where you go will depend on where you are as well as the situation. However, a place with water is perfect.

It’s a good idea to keep a map atlas onboard; do not depend on your cellphone apps in an emergency situation. You can also make notes on a paper map, detailing places you’ve been. If you don’t know how to read a map, learn how.

Alternative Communication

We’ve all become quite dependent on our cell phones, however, you may want to consider getting a CB or a Ham radio. If there are two or more in your party, you may also want to get a set of two-way radios.

Learn Everything You Can on the Subject of Prepping

These are just a few of the basic things you can do to get your RV prepared and ready to roll during an emergency. There is always more to learn. Take your own RV and lifestyle into account, and begin planning now.

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