You have a bunker stocked with MREs, multiple hand-crank radios and enough seeds to start a small ecosystem. You’ve honed essential skills like how to work a wrench and purify water. Is investing in an RV the next logical step in your survivalist preparations? It might be.
Dedicated survivalists know they must prepare for every scenario, including bugging out. Doing so is much more comfortable when you have plenty of room for the essentials.
However, the ability to pick up and leave in a hurry only applies in specific circumstances. Should survivalists invest in RVs? Here are four considerations to help you decide.
Deciding if It’s Best to Stay or Go
Your first order of business in a survival situation is to locate your loved ones and get as many as possible in a safe place. Sometimes, officials will give you little choice but to evacuate — in such cases, an RV can be an invaluable bug-out resource. You should also acclimate any pets to travel trailer life, so loading them up quickly is a snap, preventing heartbreak.
However, what the worst of the disaster passes, leaving your home unscathed but cut off from communications and power? If there’s no help immediately forthcoming, you may have to decide whether it’s best to stay or go. What should you consider in such scenarios, and how can an RV help or hinder your efforts?
1. Reasons to Stay
If you’re safe, staying where you are in short-term survival scenarios is often better. Chances are, you have a fully stocked medicine cabinet at home and more food and water than you’re likely to find on the road if looters have hit stores. You can always tap your water heater and toilet tanks. Here are some more advantages of staying put:
- Physical condition: Are you and those you travel with fit for the road? Do family members rely on assistive devices or medical treatments you can only perform at home?
- Connection: You’ll be where you must be when rescue crews arrive. Furthermore, relatives away from home may head to your homestead to reconnect.
- Familiar territory: You know the resources around your home. Finding needed items on the road could be difficult. In worst-case scenarios, you can mount your best defense when familiar with the territory.
However, an RV allows you to keep supplies on board, like a well-outfitted first-aid kit and spare water jugs — plus your freshwater tank. However, be careful about storing food inside. Use hard, plastic containers and stick a few dryer sheets in cabinets to deter rodents.
You should also prepare your vehicle for bugging out by carrying the right tools and spare parts and acquiring the requisite know-how to fix what breaks. A rig can quickly become more of an impediment than a help if it breaks down and there’s no AAA to call.
Of course, an RV may not be ideal for every survival situation. Here are some additional considerations.
Factoring the Cost for Your Situation
Whether or not you invest in an RV as a survivalist may boil down to simple economics. Some models can cost as much as a small house. For example, a classic Airstream with a 33-foot body costs more than $200,000 — there are many other things you could buy with that much money.
A brand-new RV costs anywhere from $6,000 to $300,000, depending on the model and options selected. Buying new gets you the best quality with the least surprises. While you can find used models for $1,000 and up, you must be pretty handy with a hammer. You’ll probably have to replace the hoses, belts and water pump at a minimum, and you could face extensive repairs if delamination occurs.
The bottom line: An RV is a wise investment if you have money to spare. However, mere mortals with limited budgets must weigh the costs by considering the following three factors.
What About SHTF Scenarios?
Another situation when an RV can become a liability is in an SHTF scenario. You might think that a remote region like BLM land is the best place to be if a world war upends life as you know it for a month or more. However, your risks increase the longer the crisis continues.
People will become desperate in an SHTF scenario, searching high and low and taking whatever they can scavenge or steal. You need to protect your stash. It’s relatively easy to make your home appear unoccupied if you keep a low profile, avoid turning on the lights, and minimize cooking odors and noise. You don’t enjoy that anonymity in an RV — you might as well hang out a welcome sign.
You could become a sitting duck when roving hordes of the hungry and tired start looking for the resources they lack. As much as you might despise conflict, it’s a lot harder to defend an RV than four concrete walls.
The Overall Bug-Out Value of RVs
Those who live in areas with a high risk of natural disasters can benefit from an RV as a bug-out vehicle. You can’t count on getting a hotel room if a hurricane destroys your home, and rates can get pricey quickly. An RV is an excellent alternative shelter.
Plus, you can’t beat the fun component. Your next hunting trip will be far more comfortable when you can access heat and running water after trudging through knee-deep snow, dragging a field-dressed deer.
Should Survivalists Invest in RVs?
You might consider an RV when pondering how to invest your survivalist dollars. Is it a wise choice? The answer varies, depending on your financial situation, skill set and outside conditions. Considering the four factors above can help you decide.
Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the editor-in-chief at Modded. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work!