At last, you’ve made the trek to one of your favorite RV parks. You’re all hooked up to the services and ready to enjoy the freedom of camping and the outdoors. During your stay, you hope to take in some of the attractions in the area as well as trying some of the delicious offerings at some of the local eateries. Safeguarding your RV is next on the agenda.
During your absence from camp, your RV will be fine. After all, it is all hooked up to the utilities, and everything is doing what it’s supposed to do. Just lock the door or secure it as needed. Right?
Hold on! There are things that really should be done to safeguard your rig and its belongings while you are gone. Failure to do some of these things can result in a catastrophic event for your vehicle under some unexpected circumstances. So let’s look at some of the items that require checking. These will vary depending on the specific RV type and trim level.
Retract All Awnings
While awnings provide shade, not only for people beneath them, but also help to block direct sun on the vehicle walls, they are greatly affected by wind and wind gusts. A rouge squall on an otherwise fine day can roll through without warning. Severe damage to the awning and RV body can result.
Don’t Rely on the Auto-Retract Awning Feature
Even if you have a power awning equipped with a wind sensor-controlled retraction, it is highly recommended to fold them up, regardless. I have witnessed several awnings that were destroyed by small bursts of wind. I’ve once witness wind damage incurred on a top-of-the-line awning on a Prevost conversion unit. Additionally, if a squall also knocks out the power to the coach, many of the high-end awnings will need the electric inverter turned on all the time as they require 120 volt AC. Best advice: retract them while you’re gone from the site.
Turn Off The Fresh Water Source
Close the water spigot at the service pedestal. Water service in some campgrounds can experience substantial fluctuations in pressure. These can occur in the form of pressure spikes. Isolating your RV’s water system from the main source eliminates the possibility of suffering a non-stop flood in your absence. Additionally, turning off the internal water pump is also a prudent measure. Keep in mind that doing this will also stop ice production. So don’t complain at cocktail hour.
Check Electrical Loads
Reduce electrical loads, especially in warm weather with air conditioners operating. High power draws, such as those made by electrical water heaters, should be turned off. Maintaining a lower power need reduces the possibility of tripping the service breaker.
Emergency Accessing Plan
Having an electronic keypad door lock or hiding an entrance key is a great idea. This can allow you to remotely instruct the park manager or host to enter your RV in an emergency such as a fire, a pet in distress, or a similar event. Exchanging contact information with the park personnel is a requirement for this strategy. Two years ago, I witnessed a perfect need for this scenario. A couple had left their dog in their coach while they went to an attraction some distance away. They were involved in an automobile accident, resulting in both being hospitalized. Fortunately, they were able to phone the camp host, explain their predicament, and give them a code to allow them to tend to the pet’s needs. They were able to return the following day and Fido was healthy and happy.
If you have a pet that will be staying in the RV while you are gone, be sure it has everything it needs. A fresh water supply, food and a controlled temperature environment. If your RV is equipped with an automatic generator starting system, be sure it is enabled. This will ensure a cool climate for Fido, even in the event of a power disruption.
Well, these are some tasks that may need attention when leaving your RV in camp. There may be others depending on your rig and preferences.
So let’s get out and enjoy the RV lifestyle.
Peter Mercer — Safeguarding You and Your RV