This post was written by Janine Pettit, Editor-in-Chief of Girl Camper Magazine.
The great thing about owning an RV is that it is already packed and ready for adventure. The necessities for a road trip are already stashed in your ride, and all you have to do is throw a few things in the refrigerator, grab some clothes, and hit the road.
It can take a while to streamline what goes with you and what doesn’t make the cut. I have paired down the contents of my camper, ‘Innisfree’, to what I really use in it. There are some safety things that I might only need in an emergency though, and I never leave home without.
Here’s my survival kit of ICE items — in case of emergencies.
Tow vehicle survival kit
Keep these items in your tow vehicle (or your motorhome).
I carry an emergency kit that has:
- jumper cables
- reflective triangle warning signs
- a tow rope
- luminous vest
- rubber gripping glove
- small tools
I bought a kit with a high rating on Amazon and have had to pull it out a few times over the years. I added a battery-powered jump starter to this kit.
Tire inflator and gauge
Also in my tow vehicle is the Ryobi cordless high-pressure tire inflator and digital gauge. This works on an 18V lithium battery and stays charged for a long time. Check your tires when they are cold and fill them on the spot if they need. It’s also great for blowing up air mattresses and things that float on rivers and lakes. No one wants to blow up the raft by their own power.
More than once over the years I have been broken down on the side of the road waiting for assistance. I have learned that it is a good idea to carry an emergency comfort kit in my truck.
I have a zippered canvas bag with:
- wool army blanket
- small travel pillow
- nonperishable food
- solar-powered battery charger — I keep sitting in the sun on my dashboard
- Cauldryn — a battery-powered device that will boil water in under two minutes
- lots of hand warmers
Extra set of keys
I always carry extra keys for my RV and truck with me. My truck has a keypad to open it, so I keep both sets of keys in the truck.
Lastly, I carry at least two gallons of water on the floor of my back seat. I use them to refill my metal water flask, so I am not buying plastic over and over. I refill them at campgrounds as needed. I have never needed them to top off my radiator, but they would be there if I did.
Personal safety survival kit
When you’re adventuring, accidents may happen.
Keep two first aid kits on deck in case of emergencies:
- in your RV
- on your person
I carry a basic first aid kit with things like:
- antiseptic creams
- pain relievers
- elastic bandages
- new skin
But, I also carry things specific to my own medical history. I make sure I have an up-to-date EpiPen for my food allergies, lots of Benadryl because bugs love me, and neck coolies because the Irish in me doesn’t do well in extreme heat.
Be sure to tailor your first aid kit to your personal health concerns and have and wear a medical alert bracelet so, in the event of an emergency, you get the proper help.
Portable first aid kit
On day hikes or river floats, I always carry a smaller version of my first aid kit, lots of sunblock, bug repellent, hydration tablets to add electrolytes to my water, and a whistle. I also have a headlamp in case I don’t get back before dark. In my day trip backpack, I always have a mylar emergency blanket, extra food, and a water filter. When camping in grizzly country, I always carry bear spray. Be sure to read all the directions and know how to use it before you need it.
Other RV necessities
Don’t be left cold and hungry. Some simple things to keep in your survival kit are:
- fire starters
I always carry an extra propane tank with me. When camping at higher elevations, the propane burns at a faster rate, and you can find yourself without heat and twenty-five miles down a switchback road to the nearest supplier.
In my pantry I always have bouillon cubes (Knorr because they contain fat and melt faster), orzo pasta, because it is small and cooks quickly and a can of corn.
These three things in a big mug around a campfire warm the body and spirit after a long day. When you just don’t feel like cooking, this can be whipped up quickly and leaves a tired hiker feeling so satisfied.
I carry lots of fire-starting things in my RV. Sometimes I just don’t want to mess around looking for dry tinder and kindling so I bring it along. Cardboard scraps, pine fatwood sticks, and homemade wax starters can get even damp wood going on a dreary day. I stash them in an old metal lunchbox.
Ready to ride?
Pack your bags, grab your kits, and head off! And if you’re renting an RV, make sure to ask the owner what survival kit items they already have on their rig. They may already have a lot of ICE items on deck.
What are you waiting for? Get packing — the open road awaits!