"Here are some Great Boondocking Safety Tips for Dry Camping in Rest Stops & Parking Lots"
Staying safe and secure while dry camping (boondocking) is easy if you maintain situational awareness. Situational awareness is simply being conscious of who and what is around you and remaining alert in order to make quick and correct decisions.
An easy way to keep your RV secure is to always park where there is plenty of light. This will deter anyone who may be searching for an easy target. A perpetrator is more apt to be seen if you are in a well-lit area and you are more likely to notice someone’s shadow as they approach your rig.
You should always keep your doors locked when parked and make sure to look before you exit. Check outside your windows on all sides and always exit with another person, if possible. It’s also a good idea to keep a light on inside while sleeping or if you have to leave your RV for an extended period of time. If someone comes upon your rig, having a light on will make it more difficult for them to determine if there is someone inside.
If you need to go inside a store or truck stop at night, we recommend as little socializing as possible. Some people may be genuinely friendly but those intent on causing harm have ways to get information out of you by initiating random conversation. If you do speak to strangers, be cautious of what you say and don’t disclose personal details about yourself or your destination. For example, you shouldn't tell a stranger that you are traveling alone or broadcast what you have in your RV. Additionally, don’t flash a lot of cash around. Select a secure spot for cash and important papers and leave them there. Carry only what you need and always get a receipt for purchases. Provide as little temptation as possible.
Concerning firearms, you should research the laws for each state that you will be traveling in to determine if they recognize your firearms permit. Every state has its own laws and permitting process. There may be federal transport laws that would allow you to transport the firearm but it would likely need to be locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. There are serious consequences for violating interstate firearms laws so take the time to research!
Another option to consider is a pellet or BB gun. Most states require that an individual is 18 or older to purchase a pellet or BB gun and anyone younger would need to be under adult supervision. The more well-made models are indistinguishable from a real firearm and could act as a distraction long enough for you to get to safety. Again, check the laws for each state that you will be traveling in.
Other weapons that you can carry on your person or in your rig include pocket knives, mace (check the laws for each state), a stun gun (check the laws for each state), or a good old fashioned club. Many truck stops sell “tire thumpers” that are designed to check tire pressure on big rigs but double as a solid self-defense club.
Although it’s impossible to foresee everything that may occur while you’re on the road, following these tips can help you avoid many unpleasant experiences. Preparedness is the key to travel safety!
Be safe and have fun!
We are Jason Stroffoleno & Jasmine Diamantopoulos, otherwise known as J&J. Part time RVers and full time dreamers, we purchased our first RV, a 1994 Fleetwood Tioga named Lady T, in 2013. We love camping, traveling and sharing our adventures on our blog, Along the Way with J&J.