All articles written by: Carolyn Higgins

Safety Tips for RV Living and Extreme Weather

Weather Safety Tips for RV Life

Living and traveling full-time in my Class C RV since 2016, I have experienced more extreme weather this year than any other time. I have encountered tornado watches in Wyoming, windstorms that knocked down trees, and blocked forest roads causing difficulty to get out. I have been in heavy winds in the desert, to the derecho (which is a long stream of wind and thunderstorms), that I had to escape in Wisconsin. With these real-life lessons, I’ve learned it is imperative to know safety tips for RV living and extreme weather.

Just recently, I was under another tornado watch in Arkansas. I found out the next day after waking up I was only a hundred miles from the tornadoes that wreaked devastation across four states. My heart and thoughts are with everyone affected by that horrible devastation caused by those tornadoes. Sadly, I think severe weather occurrences are only going to get worse. So it’s critical to know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, especially if you live in a vehicle.

Be Prepared Living on the Road or in Sticks & Bricks

Living as a Nomad, either in an RV, bus, or car, we are at higher risk than any other group. What puts us at higher risk? We’re often in unfamiliar places. Living in California most of my adult life, I know what to do and where to go for help if there was an Earthquake. I was familiar with the community and the resources offered. Nomads do not have that familiarity. We are at a disadvantage, especially if we are moving a lot. We probably won’t know the surrounding area, where the safe places are, where to get help, and in some cases, we don’t even know what to expect from the weather.

Weather Safety Tips for Nomad Living

As I was lying in bed the other night, I started getting alert after alert on my phone for a tornado watch. My first thought was that I don’t know what to do if a tornado hits! I don’t even know if there are warning signs before a tornado hits. This situation got me thinking about other nomads and newbie RVers. So, I decided to put together the single most comprehensive bad weather/extreme weather safety guide out there. I will share how to stay safe in tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, high wind events, earthquakes, flash floods, and extreme hot/cold temperatures. Everything you need to stay safe while living in your vehicles and traveling is right here in one place.

Here is a baseline guide of seven things you need to have in an emergency. These are general tips for just about anything, whether living a nomadic lifestyle or even a static lifestyle, that will help you be prepared in an emergency.

7 Safety Tips:

1) Keep a cell phone charged and a charged backup battery.

2) Have clean water and food ready.

3) Fill your gas tank.

3) Have a bug-out bag packed with a flashlight, cell phone charger and backup battery, a transistor radio and batteries, a flashlight, water purification system, and your important papers (ID, Passport, medical records, prescriptions, bank info, etc.) and don’t forget your Vet records for your pet.

4) Have a plan for your pet.

5) Know your area- what weather is it prone to?

6) Be familiar with the nearest shelter/grocery store/gas station/hospital/vet/ have emergency phone numbers on hand for the area.

7) Have a reliable weather alert system in place.

These are general safety tips to help you be more prepared in case of a major emergency. Now let’s talk about specific weather types you may encounter while traveling the country and how to stay safe.

Specific Weather Conditions

The first one is not weather-related, but still an environmental threat: Earthquakes. In California, it is common for people to jokingly say, “It feels like earthquake weather today.” Really, there is no scientific evidence that weather changes cause earthquakes, and there are no warning signs. Here are important things to know and do in the event of an earthquake.

Earthquake safety for full-time RVers

Earthquake Safety Tips

  • Drop, cover, and hold on to something sturdy and stable.
  • Protect your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • Get out of your RV if parked under power lines.
  • Follow the 7 Safety Tips I listed above.
High wind and living in an RV

Heavy Wind Safety Tips

Wind as low as 10 miles per hour can cause problems when driving an RV. Always be aware of this. I have encountered some pretty heavy wind while driving, and it is not a fun experience. The wind can flip your RV around like a soccer ball. Most RVs can withstand winds up to 75 miles per hour when parked. So remember, it’s usually safer to be parked during a wind storm.

  • When parked, point the nose of RV into the wind and hold on. It takes a lot to flip an RV, especially a Class A or C.
  • Avoid parking under trees, find a clearing to prevent injury or damage from falling trees or limbs.
  • If boondocking, think about if you can get out if trees fall and block the roadway. How remote are you? Either stay closer to town or carry a chainsaw or an ax to remove fallen tree branches.
  • Secure everything down, on, and around your RV. You do not want to have to go out in the storm and risk injury during a storm to save your favorite camp chair!
Thunderstorm safety tips for RV dwellers

Thunderstorms Weather Safety Tips

Midwest weather in the summer and fall usually consists of rain and thunderstorms. How do we stay safe in our RVs during severe thunderstorms?

  • You are safe from lightning inside your RV as long as it has an aluminum/steel frame, which most have.
  • If plugged into shore power, unplug and turn off all electronic systems in case of a lightning strike to prevent damage. 
  • During heavy thunderstorms, watch out for flash flooding. Know if you are near a stream, river, or creek that could overflow and drag you down. Washes in the desert that may look like they have been dry for years can rage in a matter of seconds. When you see them filling with water, get on high ground!
  • Hail can damage your RV solar panels, vent covers, and roof. It’s best to find shelter for your RV, if possible.
Tornado preparedness for nomads

Sleeping in a Tornado’s Backyard

I was a hundred miles from the crazy tornadoes that ripped through four states on December 11, 2021. I was under a tornado watch for 12 hours. For those not living in tornado alley, in case you did not know, the weather service issues a tornado watch and then a tornado warning. A tornado watch is not as serious as a warning. With a tornado warning, you need to be hyper-vigilant and pay attention to what is going on around you. The tornado watch was supposed to end at Midnight.

As I tried to go to sleep, I kept getting alert after alert on my phone, updating the situation to let me know what was happening in my area. I could see lightning all around me. I started thinking, “Will I know if a tornado is coming? What will I do? Should I stay in my RV?” I want you to remember that just because you are only under a watch, this does not mean you are not in danger! Tornadoes can change directions in an instant. Below are ways I found you can stay safe during a tornado while staying in your RV or vehicle.

Tornado Safety Tips

  • Watch for a rotating and/or funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris, and listen for roar like a freight train.
  • If you are driving – PULL OVER! 
  •  Do not stay in your RV! Get out and seek shelter.
  • If under a tornado warning, find the nearest shelter. Visit the Red Cross website here and zoom in on the map. Do not assume a shelter is open!
  • Seek shelter on the ground floor of a concrete building or basement stay away from outside walls, windows, and doors.
  • DO NOT go under an overpass or bridge.
  • If no shelter is available, lay flat on the ground in the lowest level you can find, like a ditch. Always beware of flash flooding zones.
  • Use your arms to protect the head and neck.

Tornadoes also come with the danger of unpredictability because we often do not always know the direction they will continue to travel in. I would rather stay where I am than be on the road in severe weather. Just because we live on wheels, it does not mean that it is always an option to drive away. Hurricanes also come with this same danger.

Hurricane safety for RVers

Hurricane Season is Real

Did you know there is an actual hurricane season? Right now, this schedule is fluid because of the changing environment. The current seasons to be aware of for hurricanes are:

Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season: May 15 – November 30.

Atlantic Hurricane Season: June 1 – November 30.

Central Pacific Hurricane Season: June 1 – November 30.

Emergency sirens sound to alert residents of a hurricane (or tornado) approaching. Most communities in hurricane/tornado regions use sirens, so find out if the area you are staying in uses emergency sirens. Remember, you do not want to prevent yourself from hearing the sirens at night, so do not sleep with headphones or ambient noise playing too loud. Follow the below guidelines to stay safe during a hurricane in your RV.

Hurricane Safety Tips

  • Pay attention to Hurricane Evacuation Zones on your weather alert channel or App. If you are in one – LEAVE! 
  • DO NOT STAY INSIDE YOUR RV! Get out of your RV and find shelter, like listed with tornado safety.
  • Be aware of the high risk of FLOODING. Be mindful of where you take shelter! 
  • DO NOT walk, swim or drive through floodwaters. Just 6 inches of water can knock you down and drag you away. One foot of water can pull a vehicle away.
  • If you are stuck, find a sturdy building or hill and park your RV on the opposite side from the wind.
  • Check to ensure all doors and windows are closed and locked to prevent water damage.
  • Park on a level spot.
  • If you are parked and on leveling blocks, roll-off of them for better stabilization and less chance of wind coming under and flipping your RV over.
  • There are some techniques for anchoring your RV with wheel chocks, stabilizing jacks, etc. Visit VEHQ.com for a complete How-To Guide on anchoring.

Extreme Heat and Cold Safety Tips

We’re going to be seeing more extreme heat and cold in the years to come. It’s difficult to escape the heat and cold when living in an RV. So what do you do? You can change your elevation.

  • For heat – go HIGH! Higher elevation is always cooler. Learn how to prepare for warmer weather and stay cool with this video. Click here to view.
  • For Cold – go LOW.
  • Plugin to shore power or use your generator so you can keep things warm/cool.
  • Winterize/summarize your RV. Watch the video below for Winter RV Living MUST Haves!
  • Stay in a hotel if you can when temperatures are extreme.
  • Protect your Pet! Extreme heat and cold can be dangerous to your pets too!

You can visit my Shop Page here to view items I use to heat my RV. Visit my Amazon Store here for more ideas for your RV.

Resources/Tools to Use

NOAA

Now let’s talk about some of the best resources that you can use to stay safe on the road when encountering extreme weather. The first tool I want to tell you about is the NOAA all-hazards radiofrequency. Did you know 98% of the population is under their radio frequency? Visit www.weather.gov/nwr for a list of radio stations where you can get up-to-date weather information.

CLIME APP

The second one is the App called CLIME. This App is the NOAA Weather Radar Live app that is an all-in-one weather tracker and uses your GPS signal to alert you on conditions where you are in real-time. This App, by the way, told me I was under a tornado watch. It sent alerts to me on the tornado status and thunderstorm status. I had my alerts turned on for both. I received a notification every time lightning struck within five miles. The app uses real-time radar and enables you to see which direction the storm is going. Monitoring the storm around me and saw I was just on the edge of it. Using the App, I escaped the derecho up in the Midwest. I just barely missed it! I drove out of the path of the storm using this app as a guide.  

“Ryan Hall Y’all”

The final resource I want to tell you about is a guy on YouTube. This guy is amazing! His information is better than most weather stations or weather channels. He’s called Ryan Hall Y’all. You can follow him on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. He seems to be an amateur meteorologist and avid weather enthusiast that borders on expert predictions. I’ve been keeping an eye on him for awhile, and he is good at predicting the direction storms are traveling and new storm development. Ryan is very thorough and very meticulous about his data.  I think he is an excellent resource. I have subscribed to his channel and am now going to be using his information for planning purposes. Check out his YouTube channel here

Stay Safe, Stay Happy, Stay Free

I hope you found this helpful and a resource that you will refer to time again, in your RV life and maybe even in your regular sticks and bricks life. Check out the video I posted with all this information as well! 

Here are some quick resources I used to put this guide together.

Ready.gov  for all emergencies 

State Farm Hurricane Tips 

Hurricane Survival Guide

Another video you might like from my channel about high winds: Surviving Crazy Winds in an RV: https://youtu.be/B3wUldsSCuk

And as always…

BE HAPPY, BE FREE, BE KIND. ♥ Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more RV Life How Tos and Not Tos.

Carolyn's RV Life on YouTube

CaroynsRVLife.tv

DISCLAIMER: Carolyn’s RV Life and Carolyn Higgins share her experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas in this blog post and on this website for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, instruction or guidance. Viewers/Readers should consult with professionals before pursing any actions or behaviors exhibited in this video. Carolyn’s RV Life or Carolyn Higgins cannot be held liable in the event of any accident or injury that may occur as a result of application of procedures and information provided in this video.

A Nomad Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving really about?

Well, it is another Nomad Thanksgiving day for me. And while my American brothers and sisters are busy being grateful for Butterballs, the NFL, and $100 Sony TVs on Black Friday, I sit here, alone in the forest, and contemplate gratitude. Do I have a right to feel grateful for having this gorgeous forest camp all to myself? For the sky and the trees and the crunchy autumn leaves?

My mind returns to the remembrance of a tweet from a man of the Cherokee Nation after “Nomadland” came out. “Nomadland is literally a film that wistfully celebrates how white people have ability to become ‘free’ in land evacuated of Indigenous peoples.” he wrote.

My immediate gut reaction was to deny his interpretation. Yet, months after reading this tweet, it has stuck with me. Is it true?

Yeah, it kind of is…

Today, I will give in to that truth.

Today, I acknowledge how privileged I am to live life the way I do; to walk once-sacred grounds, to be one with the trees, the birds, the sky, to feel as though I have a right to this public land, and this life that was stripped away from others.

Original Nomad Life

Nomading is not new. First Nation people have been nomads for tens of thousands of years. The Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, and other Plains tribes followed the Buffalo and lived in Tipis. We tend to forget this fact and instead, self-righteously believe we are the pioneers of modern-day America. Boldly shunning a world we do not fit in, do not want, and did not ask for. Sure, in that way we have much in common with the Indigenous Peoples.

But in reality, we could not be more different. Colonialism, war, assimilation, broken treaties, and time have made me the de-facto beneficiary of something lost–no, that’s too easy–something stolen.

So what is Thanksgiving supposed to mean for non-native Americans then? I really don’t know. But I can not just celebrate the day without recognizing this truth.

Let today be a day of honor.

Today, I will make new traditions that will honor and embrace the people, the culture, and the way of life that was vanquished; all but erased from our culture.

Today, I will walk in the woods and let my feet carry my mind to a world that could have been. An old world that is pure, meaningful, and buried too deep beneath the mores of productivity, progress, and profit of today’s world.

Today, I will meditate (oh who am I kidding, I’ll sit in the pine needles and try to pretend I don’t hear the freeway a couple miles away). I’ll watch the trees sway in the wind, shedding their fall sweaters. I’ll watch Sadie sniff out every log and branch and trapper’s hole in the ground. I’ll listen to the birds and breathe in the cool crisp morning air.

Let today be humbling.

Today, I will give thanks to the people, the culture, the way of life that was lost so that I could have the life I do.  

Today I will be thankful to our mother Earth, the provider of all life.   

Today, I will prepare my camp for rain and wonder what it would have been like living in a tipi during the rain. 

I will make a meal and imagine the same ingredients: sweet potato, corn, and onions picked from a garden or field from the tribal camp.

I will contemplate my fortune and my privilege, paying homage to the brave warriors(Dahnawa Danatlihi in Cherokee), mothers(Okasu in Algonquian), and children(wah-ky-yeh-ja in Lakota- literally meaning “sacred gift”) who should be here, celebrating this glorious day alongside me. 

Live Full-Time in an RV- Simple Budget

How much does it cost to live and travel full-time in a Class C RV

How Much Does It REALLY Cost to Live and Travel in a Class C RV Full-time? | RV Living Blog

Are you thinking about taking the leap and becoming a full-time RVer? If you are thinking about hitting the road in a Class C RV, Class A Motorhome, Skoolie or Van, you are probably asking yourself, How much does it really cost to live and travel in an RV full-time?

Whether you are planning or curious about RV life and affordability, this will help establish a budget for expenses.

Reminder, my experiences are a guide – or a template – to help build your budget for RV living and travel. My expenses reflect services or conveniences I am willing to pay to have. You might find your budgeted expenses to be less or more, based on your preferences. The goal is to give you a starting point to begin planning your budget for nomad life. Ready to dive into some real-life necessities and expenses to live full-time in a Class C RV? Here we go… 12 items for Nomad budgeting (and a bonus tip at the end!)

Nomad life budget to travel and live in a Class C RV Full-Time

Expenses you NEED to Plan For When You Live and Travel Full-Time in a Class C RV

Emergency Planning: If you do not have an emergency fund for major repairs and unplanned events, you are not ready to start your full-time nomad life just yet!  This is step #1…period!

Monthly Savings for Emergency Fund: ($300 – $500 per month): Take it from me with five years’ experience on the road and purchasing two used RVs-you NEED to have at least $3000 to $5000 saved for emergencies at all times! You need to save $300- $500 a month to have this on hand or to replenish if you use it. I cannot stress enough how important this is! I spent more than $10,00 on repairs my first year on the road!

Fixed Expenses – Must Haves

Remember, I’m listing necessities to live in your Class C RV while traveling full-time. Some expenses listed don’t apply and have a lesser dollar amount with stationary RV living. This example is for NOMAD life…so travel away!

Medical Costs and Personal Care ($350 per month): You need medical insurance.  As a full-time RVer, Prices vary for each person/family, based on your income. Study the plans and be realistic about what type of care you need and how often you use medical services. This includes prescriptions, haircuts and other personal care items.

Routine Maintenance: ($235 per month): This is the second most important expense you need to plan for.  Maintenance is something you will need to structure into your budget. Monthly maintenance for me includes oil changes, black tank treatment solutions, water filters, and minor repairs costing about $135 per month. My maintenance expense may seem high at $235. Here is why: I set aside $100 into a  Maintenance savings account separate from my emergency savings, which will take care of the oil changes, brakes, and new tires when the need arises, so it doesn’t bankrupt me for the month when I have to dish out a large amount all at once.

Insurance and Road Side Assistance: ($175 per month): You can get a policy for your RV that is like having a homeowner’s policy to help protect you in the event of an accident, injury, or theft. Be sure to ask for “Full-Timers Insurance.” Not all auto insurance companies carry it so you may have to shop around. I also pay for roadside assistance, which is handy when stuck in sand or having a flat tire.

Laundry ($15 a month): As a solo female RVer and traveling most of the time, I do not need to do laundry often. I typically do laundry once a month at a local laundromat. For myself, I’m able to do one or two giant loads. I don’t even bother with sorting colors anymore, lol, no need! 

budget to live full-time in an RV while traveling

Variable Expenses – Must Haves

Gasoline and Propane Tanks: ($400 per month): Next you will obviously need to plan for gas money and powering your RV. I love to travel and move around! Freedom to travel is the best part of RV life, right?! I usually track about 1000 miles per month in driving. It costs about $375 for the month to fill up my gas tank. I use propane for my cooking, fridge and heat, which costs a bit more in the winter. This also includes the extra gas to run my portable generator (click here to see why I carry an outboard generator) when I do not have enough solar power stored, costing about $15 to $25.

Groceries/Necessities/Pet Supplies ($580): Everyone has different dietary needs and preferences, so this expense is specific to my lifestyle. I prefer a vegan and gluten-free diet due to health reasons. I am careful about what I eat and eat all organic fruits and vegetables. Eating a vegan diet, I also take supplements to ensure I get the nutrients and vitamins I need. I typically spend about $430 a month on food and supplements. There are also pet needs like food and possibly medicine and vaccines. Pet needs cost about $100 a month.

Water and Tank Dumping: ($30 a month): In my travels, I find most cities and full-time living RV parks offer dump stations. Fees can range from $5 to $25 to dump. About every two weeks I dump my tanks. Usually, I can fill up my water tank at the dump stations as well. I can get 10 to 14 days out of a full tank of water. Occasionally, I have to supplement my water with jugs at a pay water station, grocery store or rest area.

Personal Preferences: Additional Expenses to Live and Travel Full-Time in an RV

The expenses that I’m going to share next are things most people would want. The dollar amount reflects personal preferences for how often used or services you would rather have. This budget is an example based on how I like to travel and live. The goal is to get you thinking about what you can and not live without.

Fixed Expenses- Personal Preferences

Cell Phone and Internet: ($225 a month): I have a Verizon cell phone and an ATT Cell phone that, combined, provide me 130 gigs of Mobile Data. I use Mobile Data to connect my computer to the internet no matter where I am. If you do not need the internet for work or entertainment, your expense will be lower. Mine is higher based on the data usage I need for working and uploading large videos to YouTube. Check out this video for more details about the internet on the road. >>> 

Mail Box and Mail Forwarding: ($35 a month): While living and traveling in an RV full-time, you don’t have a permanent address for mail to be delivered directly to you. I rent a mailbox from the UPS store. I can call to have my mail forwarded to me, where ever I am. Why the UPS store and not a PO Box with the post office?  Great question! Check out this video for more details on the why and how to have mail service when you are a full-time RV and traveler! Watch Now>>> 

Variable Expenses – Personal Preferences

Entertainment/Eating Out/Clothes/Miscellaneous ($80 per month): I love being out in nature, the truth is I still have movies and shows I like to watch, especially in the winter months when it’s cold out and get’s dark early. I have streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (including 2-day shipping). Streaming is about $40 a month. Eating out, grabbing a coffee, and clothes I budget around$40.


RV Parks: ($30 per month): If you get tired of boondocking, you might find a state park or decide you want to have hook-ups to electricity and internet, so you stay at an RV Park or Campground for the night. I typically do not spend more than about $30 a month on RV Parks. I love boondocking, but occasionally I need to reset and have some amenities available.

earn income when you live and travel full-time in an RV

Bonus Tip: Earn Income While You Travel and Live in Your RV Seeing the World!

Web Hosting for Website: ($15 a month): A website might seem like a business expense instead of a personal expense, but it is both. Many have asked how to earn income or side income while on the road and living in an RV full-time. You can earn extra income by blogging and using sponsored affiliate link, like Amazon. To do this, you’ll need a website. There are free web host options available, but they don’t usually allow affiliate links.  (Not sure how to go about this? Contact me for a business consultation! I offer services for Full-Time RVers, those wanting to start a YouTube channel, or in need of marketing advice. View my services here. You can also check out the videos I’ve made about How to Earn money while RV Living: and some Weird and Wacky Out of the Box ways you can earn too!

RVing Advice, YouTube Creator Consulting

Can YOUR BUDGET Work for RV Life?

So, there you go! I live comfortably in my RV as a full-time nomad for about $2500 a month, including saving $300mo for an emergency fund.  Can you make this work for your dream of RV Living? I hope this guide helped you to begin planning live comfortably in a Class C RV full-time. Remember, the numbers provided reflect my personal preferences and lifestyle. This is just a springboard to help get you started. You can watch this video on my YouTube channel.

And as always…

BE HAPPY, BE FREE, BE KIND. ♥
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more RV Life How Tos and Not Tos.

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CaroynsRVLife.tv

DISCLAIMER: Carolyn’s RV Life and Carolyn Higgins share her experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas in this blog post and on this website for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, instruction or guidance. Viewers/Readers should consult with professionals before pursing any actions or behaviors exhibited in this video. Carolyn’s RV Life or Carolyn Higgins cannot be held liable in the event of any accident or injury that may occur as a result of application of procedures and information provided in this video.

Freezing Weather RV Living

Freezing Weather and RV Living

Simple and Affordable Ways to Winterize Your RV for Full-Time RV Living | Camping in Freezing Weather Tips | RV Life Blog

RV in Freezing Weather?

If you are a full-time RVer like me, or perhaps a Van Dweller, you know the beauty of this life is spontaneity in your travels. But what do you do when your plan does not include an overnight in freezing weather? Would you be able to survive the night with just the items inside your rig and stay warm? In this blog, I share simple and affordable tips on how you can winterize your RV for winter nights and stay warm while it is freezing outside.

During one of my travels, I stopped over just outside of Winnemucca, which is in Nevada. During my two-night stay, it snowed. It was gorgeous and cold! If you thought it never snows in the desert, you have never visited the desert in November! The nighttime temperature dropped (and quick!) down to about 20 degrees. While full-time RVing, I usually do not have a rigid plan of where my travels will lead me. However, I prepare for environmental unknowns, and you should prepare as well!

(*Note: I have Amazon affiliate links on my website and in this blog. DISCLAIMER: Carolyn’s RV Life and Carolyn Higgins share her experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas in this blog post and on this website for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, instruction or guidance. Viewers/Readers should consult with professionals before pursing any actions or behaviors exhibited in this video. Carolyn’s RV Life or Carolyn Higgins cannot be held liable in the event of any accident or injury that may occur as a result of application of procedures and information provided in this blog and video.)

Winterizing the RV inside to keep from freezing

Preparing the House of Your RV for Freezing Weather and Cold Nights

Here are some simple tricks and tips to help keep the inside of your RV warm and cozy on freezing nights and cold days too.

  1. Start with the Cab of Your RV.  The first thing I do is cover up my windshield with a reflective sun visor or Reflectix. The visor will insulate the cab windshield.  Heat will remain in this area for a while as the engine begins to cool down.  Remember this first step when just pulling into your campsite. You can trap the heat inside longer by placing the reflective visor/reflectix in the window. 
  2. Insulate the House Opening from the Cab of your Class C RV. Next, once the truck cab has cooled to a colder temperature than the house part of the RV, hang blankets. Most Class C RVs have a storage space right above the cab area. I double insulate this area using a heavy blanket and thermal blackout curtains. You do not need to spend a fortune on specialty items. You can easily find these at discount box stores, thrift stores, or Amazon. First, place the blanket on top of the shelf and weigh it down. Next, make sure the blanket covers the entire entry to the cab. It should be as wide as the opening and length should touch the floor. Lastly, using the installed RV curtain clips, hang full-length thermal blackout curtains. When you close the curtains, they should reach from wall to wall in width and touch the floor in length to provide more insulation.

Don’t like to read?  Watch the video instead on YouTube and follow my channel for more tips.

3. Cover the House Windows.  You probably have curtains that cover your side windows. In addition to closing your curtains, you can put up a lightweight fleece blanket that can cover the entire width and length of each window. I hang the blanket by folding it over my curtain rod. A tip for more insulation is to leave some extra blanket at the top when you fold it over the curtain rod. Doing this creates more of a cushion and filler to seal the top of the window and prevent outside air from drafting in. Remember to cover the small window in the kitchen area as well.

Affordable ways to insulate your RV

Doors can be cold air culprits in FREEZING WEATHER!

4. Cover the Door. The door can be a huge culprit for bringing in cold air. If your weather stripping is old or failing, you need an extra layer of protection against the cold air seeping in. I installed a little curtain rod over my door to hang a thermal blackout curtain panel to cover the doorway. Make sure your curtain is wide enough to cover the whole door and can touch the floor as well.

5. House Battery Compartment.   Next, fill in the area where house battery access is. Mine is right in front of the door. If you travel with a dog as I do, you can place your pet’s bed there to create a barrier on the floor. If not, lay a big blanket or pillows from your sofa in the area.

6. Keep the Bathroom Door Closed.  Yes, this should be obvious. Keeping this door closed will trap the cold air in the bathroom instead of seeping out into your sleeping quarters.

Stay warm sleeping in freezing weather

Preparing Your Sleeping Quarters for Freezing Weather

  1. Don’t Forget About the Floors!  If you have laminate flooring in your RV, you will find that they are cold and drafty in the winter, especially if you have an older RV. To combat this, you can place rugs/runners over the floor to provide more insulation. Laying a runner or several runners together along the wall behind the bed can help insulate the seams and keep cold air out. I also use a down comforter to give extra insulation from the floor.  
  2. More Windows.   My RV has three windows in the back in the sleeping quarters. I have two small windows and a large emergency window behind the bed. These many windows can make the sleeping area cold and drafty. Using blankets over the curtains will make a huge difference in keeping the cold out. I suggest using full-length curtains for extra insulation from the walls as well. To insulate the emergency window, you can place a reflective sun visor in the window over the blinds/curtain. Next, place a blanket over the sun visor. I also use extra pillows to line the wall to hold the blanket in place. The extra pillows create a barrier between the wall/window and my head while sleeping.  
  3. Remember Warm Clothes.  If you are in freezing weather, the best thing for you to do to keep your body heat is to wear a hat. Sleeping in a zero-degree sleeping bag is also a great way to stay warm and cozy in your bed.
Alternatives to using a furnace

How to Heat your RV When You Do Not Have a Furnace

Whether you are primarily boondocking or do not want to drain your battery using the furnace, or maybe your furnace quit like mind did, there are other ways to heat your RV.

  1. Mr. Heater Buddy.  The Mr. Buddy is portable and heats up to 200sqft. It runs on propane, so you will need a separate propane tank, hose, and filter to filter the gas going into the Heater Buddy.  I know some of you are gasping: What about CO2?  This heater has a low oxygen sensor shutting it off automatically. The shutoff safety feature keeps carbon monoxide from being produced at dangerous levels. CO2 is the result of not enough oxygen being present in the air. As a precaution, your RV should have a CO2 detector/alarm installed, even if you are not using a portable heater.  My RV is older and very drafty. I can feel fresh air circulating, even with the extra coverings. But, if you do not feel safe with this, keep reading for more options.
  2. Catalytic Heaters.  If you are worried about CO2, a catalytic heater is another alternative.  Catalytic heaters use chemical reactions to produce heat, which means no CO2.
  3. Electric Space Heater.  If you are at a campsite with hookups, an electric space heater is an option instead of using your furnace. Take caution as these can be a fire risk. I suggest finding a model with built-in safety features for shutting off if knocked over or too hot.
Prevent breaks in freezing weather

How to Keep Things from Breaking in Freezing Weather

You will never be able to keep things from freezing if you are indeed in freezing weather, but there are measures you can take to make sure your pipes and tanks do not break. Water in your black and grey tanks will freeze when you are in freezing weather conditions.

  1. Don’t keep your Fresh Water Tank and Waste Tank full in freezing weather.  In case you did not know or did not remember, liquids expand when they freeze. The liquid in a closed container will expand when frozen and create stress on the container and possibly crack it. Foreseeing that I would be spending at least one night in colder weather, I dumped my waste and only filled my freshwater tank about less than half full.
  2. Turn off your Water Pump and Open Faucets.  Water left in your pipes will freeze. Everybody who lives in an RV and dry camps relies on the water pump. Turn your water pump off. Turn your faucets on to empty all of your water, including your shower. Remember to make sure no water is remaining in your toilet. You can pull the toilet lever releasing the remaining water for the flush to drain.
Thawing out in freezing weather

Be Prepared for When Things Freeze

It can take a few hours for things to thaw out. You may not have running water for a while if not hooked up to city water.  

  1. Before you go to bed, fill everything up. I have my Britta Water Pitcher that I I fill up before I go to bed to ensure I have water to drink, water to make coffee and breakfast. 
  2. Keep another gallon of water on hand for the toilet.   You will not be able to flush your toilet if the water is frozen.  Have an extra jug of water on hand to place some water in the toilet for flushing. You can keep it in the cabin with you to keep it from freezing.  

And that is it! Simple steps to survive some freezing nights. Notice I said SOME, as in a few. These are steps I take because I know I will not be in the cold weather for long. The few times that I have had to stay overnight in freezing temperatures, as low as 15 degrees, the steps I’ve shared have worked very well for me. Enjoy your travels! Stay warm, stay safe. And as always…

BE HAPPY, BE FREE, BE KIND.

Check out my list of places you can Remote Boondock in a larger RV.

Curious about Full-Time RV Life? Here are some fun facts >>> Fun Facts of RV Life

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DISCLAIMER: Carolyn’s RV Life and Carolyn Higgins share her experiences, thoughts, opinions and ideas in this blog post and on this website for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, instruction or guidance. Viewers/Readers should consult with professionals before pursing any actions or behaviors exhibited in this video. Carolyn’s RV Life or Carolyn Higgins cannot be held liable in the event of any accident or injury that may occur as a result of application of procedures and information provided in this video.

10 Must Have Items for Full-Time RV Living

I shared the 10 Must Have Items for Full-Time RV Living in a recent video to help you prepare for full time RV or Van Life.

After living in an RV for nearly 4 years, I’ve learned there are some tools, services and products that I can’t live without. I share those with you and why they’re critical to successful and comfortable full time RV Life!

RV Living and Van Life Necessities

Here are a few of the must have items for Full-Time RV Living or van dwelling, I cover in the video. You can get the full list – and why they’re so important – in the video!

  1. Good Road- Side Assistance. Not all RV Road Side Assistance plans are created equal – make sure you know what to look for! Watch now!
  2. Nationwide Guarantees and Service Plans – don”t be stranded in Hell Michigan with a warranty only good in Texas! Here’s how to get the best service plans!
  3. The Right Tools – I go over ALL the tools you need to take care of yourself in an emergency. There might be a few here that surprise you!

You can watch the video here!

What are some of the items you’ve found critical to successful RV Living or Van Dwelling? Leave your comments below!

Free Hot Springs at Tecopa, California

My full time RV life took me to a remote and free hot springs in Tecopa California recently. I enjoyed a relaxing dip in the natural warm waters and had the pool all to myself.

If you love nature and exploring remote places and hot springs, check out this video.

Tecopa is just about an hour west of Las Vegas and while there are pay hot springs just up the road at the campground and resort, this pool is free. It can get crowded, but I visited on a rainy day and had it all to myself.

In case you missed it, check out this abandoned hot springs resort I visited in Warm Springs, NV recently. This was one of my favorites.

I also visited Wild Willie’s Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes, CA recently. Watch that video here!

To learn more about my RV Life and how I got started, read my post, “Full time solo RVer”.

How to Find the Right RV or Van to Live In

Where to find your nomadic home on wheels

Deciding to live a nomadic life can be as scary as it is exciting. Similarly, choosing the right vehicle can be intimidating. That’s why, in this blog, I give you my best tips for shopping for an RV.

Which vehicle is right for you? There’s much to consider! For instance, size, type and cost. Therefore, before you begin, I suggest watching this three-part video series I made covering the pros and cons of RVs, Motorhomes, Vans, Truck Campers, Trailers, Skoolies and more.

Once you decide on the right vehicle for your RV Life or Van Life you can start shopping. But what’s the best place to find your new home on wheels?  And what are some tips for finding the right one for you? Everything I learned buying the two RVs I’ve lived in is outlined below. (Click here to watch why I choose to live in a Class C Motorhome).

Carolyn Higgins of Carolyn’s RV Life

RV, Motorhome & Van Shopping Tips

  1. Craigslist: Craigslist is always my first choice for searching for most things. You can search RVs, Motorhomes, Vans, Skoolies, Minivans – or anything your heart desires on Craigslist. You can refine your  search for new or used, private or dealer sales and you can enter other filters like price range, mileage and more.  I like Craigslist because I can shop anywhere in the country and compare makes and models, prices by region and more. It’s also a great place to begin your research into the right home on wheels for you.
  2. RV Trader: You can also sign up for RV Trader and other auto-sales online sites.  I’ve found that most listings were out of my price range.  If you’re on a fixed budget, your choices on these sites may be more limited than what you find on Craigslist.
  3. Visit Local RV/Van Dealers:  It doesn’t hurt to visit local RV lots, take tours, test drives and talk to the dealers to become familiar with RVs, Vans and Motorhomes. This is a great way to learn about RVs and Motorhomes and figure out what is going to work best for your RV Life.
  4. Expand your Search: If you live in a large, expensive metropolitan area, I suggest expanding your search to another city or state to get more for your dollar. When I first searched for my RV to live in, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and therefore paid San Francisco prices. I got an $8000 lemon that probably would have been far less in another state.
  5. Search Off-Season:  Trying to buy an RV or Motorhome in Spring or Summer, during the height of the recreation season is going to limit your lower priced options. Demand will be higher when everyone else is shopping, driving the prices up.  Buying in Fall or Winter can earn you a much better deal.
  6. Take Your Time:  Waiting until the last minute to shop for your RV or Van is a mistake. Do your research, take your time and wait for the right one to come along. I’d even start searching before you have the money. That way you’re already familiar with what’s on the market and the price ranges.
Carolyn’s RV Life in Alaska

Other RV Buying Resources

There are other sources for buying RVs and Vans like Facebook Marketplace, local classifieds and more. I have given you the sources and tips I’ve used to shop for and buy two Class C RVs that I’ve lived in for three years. I hope you found this helpful.

For more an extra tip, check out the 5 Minute Video I posted on YouTube, How to Find an RV to Live In.

To read more about my process of buying an RV and choosing the right one, click here.   

Are you living in an RV, van or motorhome? How did you find yours? Or are you in the planning and shopping stage? Leave your comments below.

Carolyn's RV Life Friendlies

Carolyn’s RV Life Fan Club on Facebook

Are you looking for a fun group of like-minded Friendlies? Join the Carolyn’s RV Life Fan Club on Facebook!

Carolyn’s RV Life YouTube viewers got together and decided to create a place to meet, share ideas, inspiration, stories and practical tips and tricks for living the an authentic life. That’s how the Carolyn’s RV Life Fan Club was born! The result is a strong community of like-minded Friendlies where the spirit of independence, free thinking and self-reliance flourish and kindness reigns.

Carolyn’s RV Life photos and quotes

If you’re looking for a place to hang out and meet people, join us!

And if you want more RV Living or Van life resources, check out the resources page.

RV Living: Discovering that Natural is Beautiful (at Fifty)

Rejecting Beauty Standards at 50 Years Old Wasn’t Intentional!

When I moved into an RV I wasn’t thinking I’d make a statement about beauty standards and our obsession with youth. But here I am three years later, no red hair, makeup or expensive youth-preserving treatments, flaunting my natural, salt-and-pepper hair, laugh-lines, crows feet and full figured menopause-middle. And I’ve never been happier (or freer)!

I ran across this HuffPost article this morning. First it made me cheer. Then it caused me to reflect upon my own experience as a middle aged woman in America. The article, “Stop Telling Me I Look Younger Than My Age” was written by 30 year old Elizabeth Lavis, who, at the age of thirty started hearing , “don’t worry sweetheart you look ten years younger” (I’m paraphrasing).

Her experience as a woman in her thirties made me think about my own process of ‘going natural’ at fifty. How two years into my nomadic RV life I realized how ridiculous it was to keep up my Loreal Paris Superior Preference 5MB Medium Auburn colored hair. I was, after all boondocking on public lands for days at a time and rationing water! Besides, the fake red didn’t really match my new nature-immersed lifestyle.

Natural IS Beautiful!

In my old life, I spent hundreds each month on hair dye, makeup, anti-aging creams, gym memberships, manicures, pedicures, expensive haircuts. As a result, I constantly heard, “wow, you don’t look your age!”. I cringe now to think I took it as a compliment; not yet ‘woke’ to the idea that there is no shame in looking my age!

Carolyn Higgins, Business Owner

Now that I live in an RV and have made a conscious decision to stop conforming to America’s fake version of beauty (youth and thinness) I constantly read comments on my YouTube Channel like these: “Wow the road has really aged you, you look horrible”;  “You’re 51? OMG you look 70!”;  “You’ve really let yourself go, you look like an ugly old hag now”;  “You really need to dye your hair red again, you look haggard” ; “The road has not been kind to you, you look so old!”

Of course, I laugh these comments off because I recognize what’s behind them; ageism and society’s fear of getting old.

Beautiful at Any Age

How did I go from looking 10 years younger to looking 20 years older simply by going natural? The answer is, I didn’t.  It’s all how society views aging women.  I find it fascinating that I went from “looking younger” to “looking old and haggard”. There seems to be no room for “looking my age”. Or even looking like me and how I’m supposed to look at 51!

Carolyn Higgins of Carolyn’s RV Life – 50 and proud!

This chapter of my life, as a menopausal 51-year old woman has been fascinating. I’m learning what it means to be invisible as an aging woman who doesn’t conform to society’s expectations of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it. But it certainly makes me question many of the mores and cultural messages I’ve lived with.

Check out Lavis’ article. It’s a provocative piece.  And I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about our obsession with youth and beauty?

If you want to read and understand more about my life as a full time solo woman RVer read more here or visit me on YouTube!

Solo RV Road Trip to Alaska

In the summer of 2018, as a solo woman RVer I took an RV road trip to Alaska via the Alaska Highway and the Cassiar Highway. I fortunate to spend 3 1/2 months touring the scenic, wild and remote state of Alaska!

The Alaska Highway, Yukon Territory, Canada

RVing to Alaska

My solo RV Road trip started from my winter home in Nevada and Arizona. I drove through California, Oregon and Washington in the spring, crossing the Canadian border at the end of April. Alaska, here I come!

Traveling to Alaska with a dog took some preparation. Therefore, I took Capone to a veterinarian near Bellingham, Washington for a health check. The USDA verified vet examined Capone and issued a health certificate. This certificate is required to enter Canada and Alaska (I was never asked to verify I had it).

I created a border crossing checklist for RVing to Alaska with a dog  Click here to check it out.

RVing Through Canada

Crossing into Canada was so exciting! But as a full time RVer I had some concerns about telling them I was living in my RV. This caused suspicion and questioning by the Canadian Border Patrol. Boy was I nervous! However, after satisfactorily answering everything, I was flagged through. Hello Canada! (To find out all the questions they asked and why I got so nervous you can watch the video. )

Once I crossed into Canada, I found a beautiful free campground in Lillooet, British Columbia where I stayed a few days to acclimate. There was some gorgeous hiking in the area. The temperatures were warm, with daytime highs near ninety degrees.

As I traveled north toward Alaska I realized there were a few things I needed to know about driving an RV in Canada: how tall and wide my RV is in Centimeters and how heavy in Kilograms! There were some underpasses that scared me as I tried convert inches to meters in my head (and I had no cell signal).

I quickly got the hang of it and enjoyed my three week road trip across British Columbia and Yukon. Driving the remote Yellowhead Highway and Cassiar Highway, I visited Prince George, Hazelton and Watson Lakes’s famous SignPost Forest. Watson Lake also has a great Visitor Center where I learned the history of the Alaska Highway.

One of my camps on the remote Cassiar Highway

Is it Safe for a Woman to Travel Alone?

As a woman traveling solo, I felt completely comfortable RVing across Canada. There was only one incident that caused me some alarm. A strange man approached me near the Highway of Tears in Hazelton, British Columbia.

One day, I was having lunch at a roadside pull-out and a man stopped, got out of his car and started lurking. After some awkward silence, he asked me, “are you traveling alone.?”. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I grabbed my lunch and went inside and locked the door. It wasn’t until later that I realized the stretch of highway I was on is notorious for women disappearing. Yeah, that realization really struck me. But overall, I felt safe traveling alone, even in the most remote areas.

RVing to Alaska

Crossing into Alaska

Capone and I crossed the Alaska border in late May and I made my way to Fairbanks. I spent a few days seeing the city and then mosied toward Denali National Park. My reservation at Teklanika Campground was June 14. Teklanika is the furthest point in the park you can drive your personal vehicle to. Without the reservation at Teklanika, you have to take the Camper Bus to get to Teklanika and all points beyond.

While staying at Denali, I hiked the Teklanika River near my campground, and MonoChrome pass where I encountered a Grizzly Sow and her Cub! On my last day in Denali, I rode the Camper Bus about 50 miles to scenic Wonder Lake.

Grizzly Bear in Denali National Park, Alaska

I spent the rest of July and August traveling to Homer, Soldotna, and Valdez. In Valdez I boondocked near the Valdez Glacier and took the LuLu Belle Cruise to the Columbia Glacier where I got to witness some Glacier calving. It was a rare sunny day (it was a wet summer in Alaska that year) and a gorgeous day on the Prince William Sound. And oh, the views!!

Cruising through icebergs in Prince William Sound, Valdez, AK

RVing the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean

I topped off my summer by driving my RV on the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay. Prudhoe Bay is a giant oil field on the Arctic Ocean.
From Prudhoe Bay you can shuttle through the Oil properties to dip your toe in the Arctic Ocean. You’ll have to watch the video to find out if I was brave enough to go in!

The Brooks Range, Dalton Highway near Coldfhttps://youtu.be/OA7u1a2P1JYoot, Alaska

The Dalton Highway is 415 miles of remote rugged road. Also called the Haul Road, it’s mostly driven by big rigs that service the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. There are few services, no hospitals and almost no cell service. The Haul Road takes you along the Alaska Pipeline through the Brooks Range and over Atigun Pass, the tallest driveable pass in Alaska. It took me two weeks to drive the road (at about 30 mph the whole way) with no troubles. I only carried one spare tire and didn’t even need that. The wild remoteness of the tundra in the fall is breathtaking. With wild caribou, muskox and bald eagles roaming the wilderness. It was amazing!

Goodbye Alaska (for now)

I fell in love with Alaska and wanted to stay. However, as summer came to close, days were getting shorter and the nights cooler. I knew it was time to say goodbye. With a heavy heart, I pointed my RV nose toward Canada and the lower 48.

When Capone was diagnosed in Yukon a week after leaving Alaska, the trip back to the U.S. became a race. I wanted to be near friends when it was time to say goodbye to my best friend.

Capone in Alaska

My summer in Alaska is a time I will never forget. It was the trip of a lifetime, I highly recommend anyone who has an adventurous spirit and a love of nature to make the journey. You won’t regret it.

For more information about my travels and all the videos of the places I visited be sure to check out the Alaska Road Trip Playlist on YouTube.

Do you love hot springs? How about Ghost Towns? Check out the recent Ghost Town Hot Spring I visited!

What’s life really like as a full time RVer? You might be surprised! Join me for a day on the road!

Have you ever been to Alaska? What is your favorite Alaska memory? Is it on your bucket list? If so, what would you most like to see? Leave your comments below.