I started my RV adventure off at established campgrounds. From federal land to private campgrounds and state parks, I stayed in areas with amenities and communities. People in these areas were able to answer difficult questions and help me brainstorm through problems. Having all the necessary amenities also gave me time to better understand my RV and how it functions. Now that I’m fully acquainted with my RV and have everything I need to go off-grid, I no longer stick to established campgrounds or RV parks.
Last Wordless Wednesday, I shared a photo of where I was parked for the week — completely isolated on a mountain in Southwestern Wyoming.
So, how do I stay safe in locations like these when travelling solo as a woman?
1. Prioritize Service
When searching for campgrounds, I always check to see what the service is like in the area. To increase my chances of having service everywhere I go, I have both Verizon and T-Mobile. I also have *a signal booster, which helps me stay connected in areas with spotty service.
Phone coverage maps are often unreliable and overly optimistic. So, to check for service, I use feedback from reviewers on free campground apps and websites. Knowing I can call for help if I need to is comforting. Phone or hotspot data is also essential for some of the trackers hidden in the truck, RV, and among my belongings.
2. Get Security
Before I left Atlanta with my RV, I spent a lot of time researching RV security options. However, it wasn’t until the Confederacy tried to run me out of Arizona during the elections that I finally installed SimpliSafe. I have the smallest SimpliSafe system, but I did recently buy a second sensor for my picture window.
I have nothing but good things to say about the company and feel 100% safe knowing SimpliSafe has my back. My favourite feature about this security company is that I can update my address every time I move the RV. The base station also draws about 9 watts, so it is very easy to run even off the tiny solar generator I used to have.
3. Install Cameras
When I lived in Atlanta, I used Wyze cameras for security and to keep an eye on Shadow. I took them with me when I left. While these cameras are not rated for outdoor use, you can get around this by placing them in the windows or by facing a window. I have only ever used these when dealing with the Confederacy in Arizona, but they are great for people who leave their rigs for extended periods in unfamiliar locations.
4. Tell Someone
Before going to a campground, I let someone know where I’m headed. Upon arrival, I share my exact coordinates. My mom always knows where I am. If she doesn’t, she knows how to find me because of those aforementioned trackers hidden in and around my RV and truck. I would estimate that there are about a dozen altogether. Someone would have a hard time getting rid of all of them before me, the truck, the RV or all of the above were found.
Though the area I was in was remote, it was right outside the meth capital and heroin capital of Wyoming, so I also checked in with my friend in Casper. I told her I would check in daily and that if she didn’t hear from me, call the popo. Ultimately, there was no reason for either of us to worry.
5. Pay Attention
When I was parked on top of my mountain, quite a few vehicles came up or passed by to continue down the dirt road. I made a note of my temporary neighbours and texted license plates to myself when people acted suspiciously.
For example, there was a black Ford pickup truck that came up to my spot twice, drove all the way up to my RV in the wide-open lot and then turned and went back down the hill. Nothing on the vehicle implied it was a ranger or service vehicle, so, to me, that was suspicious. If something had happened, I would have some descriptions to pass on to local law enforcement.
6. Add Decoys
While parked, I had decoys set up outside that probably made people think twice about messing with my things. For starters, I have a rugged, masculine setup, so few people automatically assume a woman is inside. I won’t say what my decoys are, but I will say that if you’re a woman travelling alone, there is one important rule to remember:
Men will respect a man they do not know more than the woman right in front of them.
What does this mean for you? Leave subtle clues around your campsite that a man might be present or could be on his way back. Do not go blabbing to all your neighbours that you’re travelling solo. It could be repeated in the wrong person’s hearing.
7. Be Self-Reliant
If you are the type of woman who is always the damsel in distress, you could potentially set yourself up for trouble. I ensure I have everything I need, so I don’t have to go knocking on neighbour’s doors. I probably would not hesitate to knock on a neighbour’s door in California — and I have. In Wyoming? No, thank you.
While parked on the mountain, my RV batteries started to fail because they hadn’t received shore-power charging in a while. I got creative and found independent solutions to keep my batteries alive until I was ready to leave on Thursday morning. I also remained attached, just in case I needed to move the RV to a park. I used Samson and my new Goal Zero 1000X solar generator to supplement my needs, even though I hadn’t gotten my new solar panels yet.
8. Plan Your Escape Route
Before RVing, I saw a lot of people sharing concerns about the higher safety risk of towing a trailer, instead of getting a motorhome. Their main concern? Not being able to hop in the front and drive away. Here’s the reality: unless you have a little custom van, your motorhome will still need to be levelled and you may have stabilizer jacks down. Consequently, you can not just start the engine and peel off.
If you tow, consider detaching your tow vehicle or your toad (the towed vehicle). Then, you can hop in and drive away. You should also always park facing the exit, especially if you have a large rig. Because I have a cat, my escape route includes Shadow. His carrier is a backpack that I can throw on, just in case we ever need to make a run for it. Like all my prized “possessions”, Shadow also has a tracker on him.
If you feel unsafe in a particular location, the best safety plan is not to park there. However, even when you do feel safe, there’s no telling what can happen. Plan for the worst, expect the best and keep a few weapons handy. Doing so gives me the extra peace of mind to sleep like a baby in the barren desert and wooded wilderness.
What safety measures do you take when RVing, overlanding and camping, in the middle of nowhere — especially by yourself?
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