Tips from a single grandmother for RV Camping Solo
Are you worried about RV Camping solo? I was a little nervous when I purchased my first travel trailer in the summer of 2018. It can be a little daunting to travel alone, whether towing a travel trailer or driving a motorhome. Being a woman over 50 (I was 61 years old) can be a little scary and challenging.
Other than camping with my cousin a few times, I had never camped in my whole life. What was I thinking when I bought my first recreational vehicle? I was about to be blessed with my first grandchild, 175 miles away. Initially, I thought I might rent a studio apartment nearby. But then, I heard these words while having a heart-to-heart conversation with a very dear friend. "Can I be honest? I would rather see you buy a camper". WHAT? Could I pull that off?
I have done craft fairs for years and was terrified of buying a utility trailer because I wouldn't be able to tow it or back it up. Now, the thoughts were presented to me that I should buy something HUGE and tow it behind my pickup truck.
Because my cousin Terry had done it already, I thought to myself. "if she can do it, I can do it." But still, the thought of camping solo in a travel trailer was nerve-wracking, but IF I could get past towing and setup of this monster, surely RV camping solo would be a piece of cake, right?
Buying Your First Camper
SEVEN days later, my 2019 19ERD Vintage Cruiser was in my driveway. Terry went with me to buy it. I had already looked online and fell in love with the layout of the VC. The rear door in the kitchen with the large windows was love at first sight. The dealer had three models on the lot; I loved the Teal one, and Terry thought the Red one was the best. The third one was a Woody, similar to the old wood panel station wagons of years ago.
I signed the papers and picked up Linna Pearl seven days later. Terry went with me, and she made me drive it 45 miles home. She rode with me and coached me. I was so, so nervous, but I did it!
When I look back at where I went on my first few trips, I'm amazed that I had the confidence actually to do this. The first trip was local, and the friend (Regina) that talked me into this endeavor went with me. It was fun; I was hooked! So, I'm not always solo on my camping trips, especially when they are local and close to home. Friends can join me for the day or even an overnight stay.
Hitting The Road
But, my second trip was 175 miles away to Nashville, TN. Towing a travel trailer down the interstate may make you uneasy, but if you take your time, and keep your head in the game, you can do this!
I did okay pulling in. If you're nervous about backing up, you can get a pull-through campsite. However, I messed up while trying to drop the trailer off my truck. As in many scenarios, doing this has an order of tasks, and I got those tasks out of order. Have you seen my article Travel Trailer Arrival Checklist?
Shortly after that, I visited Nashville again and pulled my camper into my daughter's driveway! That's something I do often now, and each time, I think to myself, I can't believe I did this all those years ago when I was such a novice.
Over that first year, I learned a lot of tips and tricks for feeling safe while camping alone. I'm here to share those tips with you so that you will be confident and at ease when you pull into that campground alone.
5 Safety Tips for RV Camping Solo
Here are a few tips I've learned to make me feel safer when I camp alone at a campground.
- Take along a second pair of ears and eyes (a dog). My Lulu Mae will always alert me when she sees something in another direction, and when she hears something, she barks.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When sitting outdoors at night, stay off of your device. First, it messes with your vision when you look off in the distance in the dark. Second, if you have your air pods in your ears, you may not hear if someone approaches.
- Sleep with your car keys. I hang my truck keys on a hook right beside my bed. If anything goes BUMP in the night I can set off my truck alarm. I'm guessing this would also work for lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!
- Don't use a single chair at your campsite. I learned this very early on. I had two chairs, but I only had one sitting out. At campgrounds, a lot of people "scout" for a better spot the next time they may be at a particular campground. Also, some people who aren't actually staying at the campground may drive through to scout a spot As I was sitting outside with Lulu Mae, there was a lot of traffic coming down my dead-end road. Suddenly I realized it was so obvious that I was alone.
- Pepper Spray. This is something that you may already do when you're traveling or walking alone at night.
Make Your Campsite Look Busy
Do you see it? That lone chair and table sitting there screaming that I was camping alone.
Don't you think this is better? This is how I set up outdoors now. Of course, my closest neighbors know I'm camping alone, but anyone else would think that an entire family resides here. Note: the DIY stenciled rug is still around. The first image is from 2018, and this image is from 2022.
Those of you who are seasoned campers may not think these RV camping solo tips are necessary. However, when you're 66 years old and camping solo, you want to be prepared. Generally, I will get a feel for people after a day or so and I feel much more comfortable. All in all, campgrounds are very safe and rarely have shady people. That being said, there have been some scoundrels that give me that funny feeling in my gut.
Camping Tips for Everyone
In addition, this camping series will help even if you are traveling with a significant other or your family. I am sharing all kinds of ideas and must-haves for making your trip memorable. It's not unusual for a newbie camper to buy too much stuff, or the wrong items for their camper. I know, I was THAT person.
So, if you're considering doing some RV camping solo, I'm here to tell you that you can do it! Don't be afraid of camping alone, seriously, if I can do it, so can you! I'm so excited about sharing my camping tips with my friends. Leave a comment below with your best tip for camping.
More Reasons Why It's Fun to Camp Alone in an RV
Camping in an RV alone can be a very rewarding experience, as it allows for total freedom and flexibility when it comes to exploring the outdoors. One of the biggest benefits of camping alone in an RV is the ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want, without having to coordinate with anyone else. This means you can take your time and really explore the area you're in, without feeling rushed or having to stick to a set schedule.
Another benefit of camping alone in an RV is the sense of isolation and tranquility that it can provide. Being out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, can be incredibly therapeutic and rejuvenating. It's also a great opportunity to disconnect from technology and social media, (I challenge you!) and instead focus on being present in the moment. Additionally, RV solo camping can be a great way to meet new people and make friends, as you'll be more likely to interact with other campers and RVers in the area. You really can make lasting friendships!
However, it is also important to keep in mind the safety aspect of being alone in the wilderness. It is always recommended to let someone know your travel plans, and emergency contact numbers in case of emergency. Also, be aware of the weather and road conditions as it could change unexpectedly. I recommend printing out your directions just in case you reach a dead zone without cell reception while you're traveling.
Overall, camping alone in an RV can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, but it's important to be prepared, stay safe, and be aware of your surroundings.
Now, get out there and "choose your own adventure".
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.