Every RV owner understands the significance of being equipped with survival essentials such as extra batteries, non-perishable food, and an emergency water supply. However, the journey of RVing, while liberating, exposes you to potential emergencies that might not have been a concern at home. Being prepared for roadside, medical, or survival mishaps is crucial when traveling with an RV. At The Van Conversion Guide, we’ve compiled a list of essential items and tips to ensure you’re always ready for the unexpected.

Why Emergency Preparedness is Crucial

RVing offers a unique blend of adventure and freedom. However, the open road and nature’s unpredictability mean that emergencies can arise. From sudden weather changes to unexpected breakdowns, being prepared ensures the safety of you and your loved ones.

Basic Emergency Preparedness Items

Warning Triangles

Every RV owner will, at some point, find themselves pulling over on the side of the road. Whether due to a breakdown or a flat tire, it’s crucial to alert other drivers to your presence. Warning triangles serve as high visibility markers, preventing potential accidents while you attend to your vehicle. They are compact, easy to store, and essential for safety. Some states even mandate RV owners to have either warning triangles or flares. Check safety requirements by state.


Traditional flares can be hazardous and are banned in some states. A safer alternative is battery-powered LED sets. They are as bright as traditional flares at night and are also reflective during the day. They’re cost-effective and a must-have for every RV owner.

Tow Straps

Tow straps are essential for those unfortunate moments when your RV gets stuck in sand, mud, or other challenging terrains. It’s the RV owner’s responsibility to have the necessary equipment on hand. Tow straps like the ones from RHINO USA are highly rated and can withstand significant weight.

Essential Towing Items Description
Tow Straps Vital for pulling your RV out of difficult situations.
D-ring Shackles Needed for attaching the tow straps.
Shackle Hitch Receiver Essential for connecting the shackles.

Traction Mats

If you find yourself in a situation where there’s no one to tow your RV, traction mats come to the rescue. These mats, when placed under the stuck wheel, provide the necessary traction to drive out of sand, snow, mud, and more. They are affordable and a must-have for every RV enthusiast.

Tire Chains

For those who love winter adventures, tire chains are indispensable. They provide traction on icy roads and can prevent potential slides. In some regions, they’re mandatory during specific times of the year. Always be prepared for unexpected weather conditions and have a set of tire chains ready.

Portable Air Compressor

A portable air compressor is not just for inflating tires. If you find yourself stuck, letting some air out of your tires can provide the traction needed to get out. Once you’re free, the air compressor will help refill your tires to the correct pressure. An air compressor is also vital for situations where you have a flat tire due to a puncture.

Tire Pressure Gauge

Regularly checking your tire pressure ensures a safe and smooth ride. A tire pressure gauge is a small tool that can prevent potential tire-related mishaps. For those who want continuous monitoring, a tire pressure monitoring system is a worthy investment.

Tire Ramp or Jack

Changing a flat tire on an RV requires the right tools. Depending on your RV type, you might need a tire ramp or a jack. Ensure that the jack you choose can bear the weight of your RV. For those unfamiliar with tire ramps, they are a simple and effective way to change a tire without the need for heavy lifting.

Long-Term Food and Water Storage

When on the road, especially in remote areas, access to fresh food and water can be limited. Therefore, it’s essential to have a stockpile of non-perishable food items and a reliable water storage system.

Food Storage

  • Non-perishable items: These include canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and packaged meals.
  • Storage containers: Use airtight containers to keep food fresh and free from pests.
  • Rotation: Regularly check expiration dates and consume older items first.
Essential Food Items Shelf Life
Canned vegetables 1-2 years
Dried pasta 1-2 years
Rice 6 months
Canned meat 2-5 years

Water Storage

  • Water tanks: Invest in a good quality water tank that can store a significant amount of water.
  • Portable water containers: Useful for short trips and as backup.
  • Water purification: Consider having water purification tablets or a portable water filter.
Water Storage Tips Details
Check for leaks Regularly inspect your water tank and containers.
Clean tanks Clean and disinfect your water tank every few months.
Use safe hoses Ensure you’re using food-grade hoses to refill your tank.

Essential Gear and Equipment

Safety should always be a priority when on the road. Essential gear and equipment can make a significant difference during emergencies.

Carbon Monoxide Detector and Fire Alarm

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s odorless and colorless, making it hard to detect. A carbon monoxide detector is a must-have in every RV. Similarly, a fire alarm can alert you to potential fire hazards, giving you time to act.

Testing Alarms

Before every trip, ensure that all alarms are functional. Replace batteries if necessary and conduct regular tests.

Other Must-Have Items

  • First Aid Kit: Stocked with bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and other essential items.
  • Flashlight: Always have a flashlight and extra batteries on hand.
  • Multi-tool: A versatile tool that can come in handy for minor repairs.
Safety Equipment Purpose
Fire extinguisher To combat small fires.
Emergency blanket For warmth in cold conditions.
Whistle To signal for help.

Handling Breakdowns and Roadside Emergencies

No one wants to face a breakdown, but it’s always best to be prepared.

Preparing for Common Campervan Issues

  • Spare tire: Always have a spare tire and the necessary tools to change it.
  • Jump starter: In case your battery dies, a jump starter can be a lifesaver.
  • Emergency contact numbers: Have a list of emergency contact numbers, including roadside assistance.

Comfort Case

A comfort case is a small bag or container with essential items to keep you comfortable during a breakdown. It can include snacks, water, a blanket, and a change of clothes.

Freshwater Hose and Sewer Hose

For those extended trips, having a freshwater hose and a sewer hose is essential. Ensure they are in good condition and free from leaks.

Hose Maintenance Tips
Regular inspection Check for cracks or damage.
Clean after use Prevents buildup and contamination.
Store properly Avoid kinks and bends.

Harnessing Renewable Power Sources

In today’s age of sustainability, harnessing renewable power sources for your campervan not only reduces your carbon footprint but also ensures you’re never without power.

Solar-Powered Generators

Solar-powered generators are a fantastic addition to any campervan. They harness the sun’s energy, converting it into electricity for your RV’s needs. With advancements in solar technology, these generators are now more efficient and affordable.

Benefits of Solar Generators Details
Sustainable Energy Source Reduces carbon footprint and reliance on non-renewable energy.
Cost-Effective After the initial investment, the sun’s energy is free.
Low Maintenance Solar panels have a long lifespan with minimal maintenance required.

Wind Turbines

While less common than solar panels, portable wind turbines can be an excellent supplementary power source, especially in areas with consistent wind.


  • Flashlights and extra batteries: For visibility during power outages.
  • Hand-crank weather radio: To stay updated on weather conditions.
  • Portable water filter: Ensures access to clean drinking water.
  • Essential credit cards and cash: For unforeseen expenses.
  • Safe Parking: Ensure you’re parked in a location away from tall trees or other potential hazards.
  • Disconnect: Remove external electrical connections during storms.
  • Stay Inside: The campervan acts as a Faraday cage during lightning, offering protection.
  • Stay Calm: Panic can exacerbate the situation.
  • Contact Help: Have a charged phone and emergency numbers at hand.
  • Visibility: Use warning triangles to alert other motorists.
  • Stay Safe: If possible, stay inside the vehicle, especially during adverse weather conditions.

Absolutely! A basic RV emergency kit can be a lifesaver for newcomers. It typically includes:

  • First Aid Kit: For minor injuries.
  • Flashlight: With extra batteries.
  • Basic Tools: Including a multi-tool, screwdrivers, and pliers.
  • Emergency Food and Water: Non-perishable items for sustenance.
  • Vehicle Inspection: Ensure your campervan is in top condition.
  • Check Safety Equipment: Make sure all safety gear, like fire extinguishers and alarms, are functional.
  • Plan Your Route: Familiarize yourself with the route and potential hazards.
  • Weather Check: Stay updated on the weather conditions of your destination and along the route.