RV Emergency Kit Guide

RVing is an incredible experience, filled with opportunities to travel to new places, all from the comfort of your own vacation-home-on-wheels. Unfortunately, accidents can happen while traveling, on the road, or even at a campsite. This makes owning an emergency kit quite crucial, especially for those who like to boondock. Emergencies often strike when we least expect them, which is where an emergency kit or emergency supplies come in handy. All RVers, even weekend warriors, should carry the basics on them whenever they are traveling. 

Most RVers carry have some of the basics listed below, but it’s important to consider expanding to create a full emergency kit. This kit should be housed in a waterproof container and placed in an easily-accessible location, should something happen to your RV or tow vehicle. The two most popular storage locations seem to be either in an outside storage bay that can be locked or an indoor cabinet close to the door. 

Basic emergency items include food, water, medical supplies, roadside items, weather gear, hygiene supplies, and much more. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, never fear. Harvest Hosts has a helpful guide put together to outline basic emergency supplies and essentials. RVers don’t necessarily need to feel pressured to acquire every item on the list. Anything considered superfluous has an asterisk next to it, as these items are nice to have but are not entirely essential. We’ve also created this list in a printable document that can be edited to create your personalized list, complete with checkboxes. The document can be downloaded right here: Emergency Kit List.

Food and Water

When we talk about essentials, none are more vital other than food and water. It is best to keep a minimum of three days worth of both on hand for each person in your group or family. When choosing food options, foods must be non-perishable or have a very long shelf life. In addition, be sure to check your supplies frequently for their quality and expiration dates. It’s important to keep the ambient temperature of the products in mind if you plan to camp in an extreme conditions (over 90 degrees F or under 32 degrees F). This list includes:

  • Canned food or military meals
  • Meal bars with high caloric counts
  • Pouches, boxes, or bottles of water
  • Water purification tablets, systems, or Life Straws

Medical Supplies

You may already have a first aid kit in your hiking pack or in your RV. Keeping additional, untouched supplies are a must for an emergency kit. There are comprehensive first aid kits available for purchase, or you can gather supplies yourself. This list includes:

  • Bandages
  • Velcro elastic bandage
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Burn cream
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Medical tape
  • Splint
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Nitrile or vinyl loves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face mask
  • Thermometer
  • CPR shield
  • First aid pocket guide
  • Sunscreen
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, benadryl, etc.
  • A few days worth of prescription medications, if applicable

Roadside Equipment

If your RV experiences mechanical issues, then it’s imperative to have the appropriate safety gear to keep you and passersby safe. Alternatively, many of these items can also help you to get back on the road quicker and avoid expensive tow or roadside assistance fees. To see what’s included, be sure to check out your RV or tow vehicle’s roadside assistance plan. This list includes:

  • Hazard triangles
  • Neon vest
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares (also available in LED)
  • Tow straps 
  • Traction mats
  • Tire chains
  • Tire plug kit
  • Jump starter*
  • Air compressor*
  • A spare tire*

Weather Gear

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. If you ever experience an emergency situation in less-than-ideal weather, it’s important to be prepared. These items can make your emergency situation more comfortable, and they could even become life-saving in some dire situations. This list includes:

  • Hand Warmers/body warmers
  • Poncho
  • Thermal survival blanket
  • Fire starter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Small tent*

Hygiene Items

Emergency hygiene items work best in small, travel-sized quantities, where they consume less precious space. Carrying a small supply of extra hygiene products can make an emergency situation more comfortable, which is especially true if you become unable to access the items in your RV. This list includes:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Facial Tissues
  • Moist towelettes
  • Sanitary products
  • Contact solution and case

Miscellaneous

Most experienced hikers, scouts, or backpackers probably own most of the items below, but these items could become necessary to store in your emergency box as well, especially for those who are boondocking. To avoid doubling up on already-owned products, hikers could also consider storing their hiking pack beside their emergency kit, in case they end up needing any of the below-listed supplies. This list includes:

  • Extra clothing
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Heavy-duty, waterproof flashlight with additional batteries or LED flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Multi-tool
  • Heavy-duty pocket knife
  • Compass
  • Window breaker/seatbelt cutter tool (this should be kept outside of the kit near where you’re driving)
  • Survival pocket guide
  • Solar radio
  • Variety battery pack with waterproof battery organizer*
  • Spare phone chargers and power bank
  • List of emergency contacts with phone numbers and addresses, and medical information
  • Copies of important documents (passports, insurance, etc.) 
  • Extra pet food, a few days of pet medications, copies of vet records, etc.

With a list like this, even a novice RVer can feel as prepared as a seasoned traveler, which can create more overall ease on the road. In order to be ready, it’s best to collect all of the essentials before an emergency strikes. Being prepared can keep an emergency from turning into a total disaster, so consider creating your RV emergency kit sooner rather than later.

Do you carry an RV emergency kit, and, if so, what do you keep in yours? If you don’t yet have an emergency supply kit, are you planning to create one, and, if so, what do you plan to include? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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  1. Jim
    3rd February, 2021

    We have just recently joined Harvest Hosts and looking forward to our first host. We belong to SMART a veterans RV travel group and have been traveling together for the past 5 years. I just went through the safety list provided and it is very helpful I only missed one thing on the list which is the safety vest . We carry a bug out backpack and a container of survival food in out coach basement we purchased them from Wise who make all types of survival items including a backpack with a solar charger built in for phone ,flashlight, etc that plugs into USB port. Thanks for the helpful info.

    1. Sam Leash
      16th February, 2021

      Hey Jim, a safety vest is a great idea! I also have a bugout bag and extra freeze-dried food, just in case. 🙂