It's time to talk about dangerous weather while camping. You are going to be threatened by it. Because besides sunny weather and blue skies, unfortunately, storms, heavy winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, and hail are also a part of camping life.
So when bad weather hits, what should RVers do?
That's what we discuss in detail in Episode 404 of the RV Podcast, sharing our suggestions and those from the RV community at large.
Besides the recent RV news, tips, and questions and answers, we dig into the topic of bad weather and RVers.
You can watch the video of the podcast from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel below.
If you prefer the audio-only version of the podcast, you can listen on your favorite podcast app or click the player below to hear it on the device you are now reading this.
Tips for handling dangerous weather while camping
It seems like every week, we're reporting bad news stories about RVers and campers caught by bad weather.
So are others of you in our RV Lifestyle community.
So this week we want to talk about storms and camping, specifically, where do you go when you’re in your RV and heavy weather is on the way?
A new member of our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group named Lynda recently posted this question for the group:
“STORMS… brand new here. Currently riding out our first storm. Kids slept through it, but I’m wide awake terrified we are going to blow away or tip over! Anything I should be doing? Or just wait it out? So far I don’t like this camping business the wind is wild and I feel like I’m on a cruise ship in rough waters.”
Lynda’s question brought a huge response, over 100 comments in the first few hours. We want to share them but before we do, we also want to stress a couple of things things
- Bad storms and the wind they bring are particularly dangerous to RVers. Bad weather warnings are to be taken very seriously.
- And that means you need to be very weather aware. There are lots of weather apps (we’ll link to them on the RV Lifestyle blog) and when camping, you need to check the forecast for your area a couple of times a day.
There is a particularly good travel weather app we use that we really want to recommend. It’s called Drive Weather. It allows the comparison of different routes, creating stops, interactively changing departure time, and other features that help RVers plan trips around the weather.
Drive Weather is all about decision-making in regards to the weather. Like a pilot before taking off in an airplane and checking the expected weather en route, the app takes just a few seconds to get “briefed” on the safest route and safest time to leave. Again, we’ll put a link on RVLifestyle.com
There’s one more thing we urge about dangerous weather while camping: An emergency weather radio. There are lots available. Some are solar powered, some have a hand crank to charge the batteries. They are relatively inexpensive. The main function of an emergency radio is to stay informed. You want to be sure that yours comes with the ability to pick up AM/FM radio stations as well as the seven NOAA weather bands. Yes, we’ll post some recommendations for our favorites on the blog.
Dangerous Weather while Camping Bonus: Read Tornado Safety for RVers
But right now, we want to share the group advice from our RV Lifestyle Facebook members on what to do when you are in your RV and dangerous weather is coming.
A reader named Bob H said: “There are a few private campgrounds that are starting to put in storm shelters. The problem there is they can’t/don’t allow pets. Many people don’t want to leave their pets and I understand that but, I understand the rule. Can you imagine 50 people and fluffy the cat and Brutus the pit bull in the same room both scared half to death and no escape route? Fluffy is going to tear Brutus to pieces.
And Bob continues, “We have 3 big dogs. The trick for us is to hunker down in the family restroom or a bigger stall….self contained. I am not leaving my fur babies who are already scared of storms. When RVing full-time it becomes your home.”
Underscoring the seriousness of dangerous weather and camping, Jennifer L wrote: “Put your awnings away! We survived a class 3 tornado (not that I ever want to do that again) but I'm a crazy person now with the weather apps and local news when there's any kind of rain or winds now. If a storm is going to take you out it won't matter what you're in. I've seen what can happen to even the strongest building.”
Suggests Ken: “Make sure your phone is set to get notifications for storms and if it gets too bad or tornado warnings get out of camper and seek shelter. Most campgrounds bathhouses double as storm shelters.”
Said Tona: “We are from Missouri ( and now live in Alabama) so tornado alley in both states. We never go to a campground where we don’t first know if there are shelters there or where we can go. Always download the nearest news weather app for upcoming weather. We have stayed an extra day somewhere to avoid bad weather. All you can do is have a plan as best you can so you aren’t in a bad situation.”
Several readers shared rather harrowing stories, like this one from Chuck H: “I have been through several storms in campers we have owned. The pop-up was the worst! The wind picked up the slide-out bed and dumped us out on the ground. We were under trees and the guy camping behind us had a limb break off the tree and fall across his 5th wheel and nearly cut the camper in two. Big limb! His camper was new.
And Chuck continues, “I thought, if that limb would have fallen on our camper we wouldn’t have made it! After that I have had two campers totaled by hail. We have always survived. Hit a frontline wind while driving pulling a 30’ trailer. It took me across the oncoming traffic lane and off that side of the road next to a line of trees, we were very lucky. I managed to keep it upright! We have always had a guardian Angel riding with us so far.”
Dangerous Weather while Camping Bonus: Read 3 Critical Bad Weather Tips for RVers
Angie has three suggestions about dangerous weather while camping:
1.) “Straight-line winds 50 mph or greater have the ability to flip you over with more risk of you’re getting hit broadside— you may need to leave the trailer in these conditions.
2.) “If you get flipped onto your side, everything on the opposite of the trailer becomes a projectile to hit, hurt, or crush you (i.e. loaded refrigerator). And most photos of rolled trailers show a separation of walls and ceiling resulting in a pile of rubble you’d be in.“
3.) “Falling trees and tree limbs are also a huge danger. The tree is going to win in a camper vs tree incident every time. A 4-inch limb can penetrate the side or roof of your camper (we have a busted door right now due to this). A 4-inch tree that falls can crush the camper area hit to a good degree, such as bringing the roof down on the top bunk. A larger tree can cause life-ending damage as it will penetrate all areas hit and keep going until it hits something that stops it.”
Michael says, “Brace your tires and put your stabilizers/ leveling jacks down.”
Bob says, “If it’s very windy pull in your slides. Less surface area for the wind to catch. Line up with the wind if possible instead of broadside. Hook up to your tow vehicle and face into the wind. You have the additional weight of the truck to add stability.”
Nancy adds another precaution: “If you have a water tank, fill it. Heavy water doesn't move as easy.”
That’s just a sampling of the response we had to this question on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group. There were lots of really helpful suggestions.
Our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group has become a very valuable resource when you have RV concerns or questions, or even when you’re looking for recommendations on where to camp and what to see. Membership is free. Just go to RVLifestyle.com/Facebook to join.
What's Your Advice about dangerous weather while camping?
You heard from our Facebook community. But how about you?
Please share your suggestions in the comments below.
And stay safe out there! Be weather aware!
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