How an RV Can Save Your Family in an Emergency

The Ultimate Bug Out/In Vehicle: How an RV Can Save Your Family in an Emergency


My wife and I have lived full time in RV’s for five years and have owned every kind of RV on the market. When an emergency strikes having an RV fully loaded and ready to go (or stay whatever the case may be) can be a lifesaver; literally! Think about it, you have a fresh water tank, full propane tanks, a toilet, shower, refrigerator, lights, heater and if you have a built in generator you also have air conditioning and the use of a microwave oven (not to mention full use of just about any other electrical appliance or tool you could think of).


Most RV’s have pantry storage where you can store at least a months worth of food for your family. Since your refrigerator runs on propane, 12 volts or regular shore power you can enjoy cold or frozen food while everyone else is eating out of a can. There is usually ample storage for pots and pans and kitchen ware. Normally there is space for hanging clothes, dresser drawers and space for blankets or sleeping bags and other camping gear.


Almost anyone can afford an RV of some kind. I don’t recommend purchasing anything new because like cars, RV’s take a big value loss once you take it off the dealer’s lot. Instead shop around for a nice used unit that will meet your needs. There is something for every family in any price range. You can pick up a well loved trailer or class C motor home for cheap in this economy. Look on Craig’s List or in the local paper or just keep your eyes open and you’ll notice them for sale all over the place.

5th Wheel RV

Not only will you have an instant mobile sanctuary, but you will also have something you can enjoy on vacations at the lake, forest or in your in-laws driveway during holiday visits. It’s nice to be able to get away in your own RV home away from home. You will need to use it in order to learn all the systems and become familiar with boon docking. Boon docking is when you live in your RV without any external hook-ups. You need to learn battery conservation, water conservation and propane conservation. Add solar panels, a charger, inverter and more batteries and you’ve got a stand alone mobile “off grid” power system.


Solar RV

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, an RV is the ultimate survival vehicle because you can get out of town and not have to worry about trying to find a vacancy in a motel 300 miles from home because you are carrying your beds with you. It’s always better to sleep in your own bed anyway. You can park for free in big box store parking lots, many Wal-Marts, fairgrounds, friends driveways, strip malls, parks and a host of other places. We’ve saved thousands of dollars boon docking on BLM land, military campgrounds, state parks, city parks and many other places. The more creative you are the more money you save.


RV parked at a Wal-Mart

If you are waiting for TEOTWAWKI having your RV on your property is added comfort. If you decide to “bug out” you are mobile. If you decide to stay put, you have extra supplies, cooking facilities and a working refrigerator. You can even use it for putting up extra people if that’s in your plan. If you do go mobile, you can go in comfort and go quickly. Your food and shelter is with you as well as other essential survival and security gear.


RV’s usually have extra space for important things like books and games. Be sure you don’t forget to include these creature comforts as they will help your family pass the time and temporarily take their minds off whatever the crisis brings.  Most of our fondest memories revolve around family RV excursions. Our kids grew up traveling in RV’s and frequently talk about all the great times we had on the road and in the campground.

RV at the coast


We currently have a motor home that I consider the “mother ship” because it tows our 4 wheel drive vehicle. It has huge tank capacities for fresh water and waste water. The diesel tank holds 100 gallons and I can easily drive from Central California to Arizona or Oregon on one tank. Once we are where we want to be, we unhook the car and have a second vehicle at our disposal. Though this type of RV is not for everyone, there is a nice inexpensive RV for sale somewhere in your neighborhood and I’d rather have a fully stocked used RV than a bar of gold when the big event arrives. Just saying….  

Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

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7 thoughts on “How an RV Can Save Your Family in an Emergency”

  1. One thing you might want to consider is to store your rv/camper someplace other than at home. We had a tornado hit back in March and the first thing we noticed is that not only did they loose their homes, their campers were destroyed also.

  2. I really like the RV article, most of the mobile retreat articles are negative and favor a retreat homestead. I have been an RV’er since 2007 and really enjoy the flexibility we have. Though we rarely stay in a park we have rest areas, truck stops, Flying J’s and Dump stations all mapped out up and down the east coast.
    What with all the doomsday scenarios floating around, how do we know what will happen or what area of the country might be safe.

    I didn’t buy my diesel pusher for doomsday though; I bought it because the wife and I like having our own space whether we are visiting the kids or going to a New Years party in Boca. We also have dogs which prior to the RV we spent a small fortune boarding them.

    To be quite honest we are happiest when under way in our 410 square foot RV. I never though my wife would take to RVing because she got motion sickness on the first test drive. Now its lonely up front since they figured out they could lay in bed and watch TV the entire trip. Even running 1200 miles in a weekend is doable. We leave from the office on a Friday night and drive till midnight then bed down where ever we happen to be. We are up early, Shit, shower and shave and arrive at the kids by 10am. We do the reverse on Sunday night and arrive back at the office to open on Monday morning.

    Our RV is the primary Bug Out vehicle with a Jeep in tow. What you have to realize though is the limitations and you are a big fat target. If civil unrest breaks out you already need to be gone and in my opinion you will have to be in a safe location within 48 hours of the outbreak.

    If we have a financial collapse; I’ll be squatting somewhere in America. What will you be doing???

  3. RVs are great, but there are a few things to watch out for.

    In some states, if you buy an RV over a certain weight (GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) you have to get a CDL (Commercial Driving License).

    When loading an RV, just because you have space available doesn’t mean you can fill it up. Again that GVWR is important. That’s the maximum amount of weight that the unit can carry including its own weight, all cargo, all people. Don’t forget that fuel & water in your tanks needs to be included as well. Also check the axle weight rating.

    If you are touring something behind your RV, be mindful of the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is the total amount your vehicle can weight INCLUDING whatever is being towed. If you’re looking at a trailer, subtract GVWR from GCWR and that is the maximum you can tow. Don’t forget all your cargo & fluids are part of that weight.

    When loading an RV, make sure to balance the weight right to left and front to back. If you use a trailer, you want to have about 20% of the weight on the hitch to provide stability.

    To check the weight and distribution of weight, take your unit to a commercial scale or some RV dealers have wheel scales. Weight the front wheels, whole unit, rear wheels, right wheels, and left wheels.

    It’s also important to have your tires properly inflated. After determining your wheel weights, check the inflation tables from the manufacturer of your tires and inflate to the recommended amount. Check your tire pressure every day before starting.

    If you decide to get into RVing, consider joining the Good Sams Club. Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines are good resources as well.

  4. Great article! I couldn’t afford the [as my 8 year old nephew called it] “drive by itself” model, but I got a great used pickup and a travel trailer. My wife has become a camping fan since we got this and she doesn’t have to sleep in a tent 🙂 I have a full set of camping gear stowed it in, so we can pack up the food buckets and go if we need to. Again, thanks for the great article!

  5. It really a good thing at the time of emergency as it is having a lot of space and you can put your necessary things on it and use it according to your need.I prefer it also.You can use it for different purposes.


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