The RV Bug Out Practice Run

Each bug out plan needs to be run on occasion. For the RVer, this is little more than doing what you do for a snap shot trip, with some modifications. Going over RV BOVs, we can quickly see that they take the form of:

  • Motor Homes of all classes
  • Truck /camper rigs
  • Travel and Fifth Wheel trailers
  • Tent trailers and small tear-drop type trailers

Each of these has its own pre-trip readiness requirements. I believe that most owners have their prepping plans squared away, as far as getting on the road goes. Since road travel would most likely be slower than normal, and probably not faster than in normal times, I’ll keep my comments focused on the loading and hook-up (as needed) ahead of the trip.


If your rig is towing or being towed, the hook-up needs to follow an established routine. This prevents accidental oversights like leaving out pins and forgetting hitch locks. Each time a RVer goes out, he goes through this routine. Take time to review your procedures and see if you can get the same quality of security from a faster effort.

  • Stowing things in order of retrieval saves time during the next hook-up.
  • Laying things out all at once, instead of going back and forth to a storage compartment helps cut time.
  • A helper that knows what’s next is a plus.
  • Spares of small things like cotter pins will save lots of time if something is lost.
  • Flashlights help in the dark when hitch lights fail. Spare lights are mandatory.

Packaging of  Supplies

If your plan calls for doing a quick load of supplies that don’t normally come on your trips, like extra food and clothing, tools, electronics, etc., work out a system that makes loading them quick and easy. Some people use boxes or totes of a standard size. They are of a type that allows for easy handling and uniform stacking. This is especially important if the extras are going into a camper or small trailer, or a truck bed where space is limited and reconfiguration needs to be fast and flexible. If the emergency supplies can be loaded without having to shove and pack and beat things into shape, time is saved.

Irregular shaped items such as fishing poles, gun cases, frame packs and outside camping gear should have their own spaces. Actually, all items prepared ahead of time should have their own places. Determining position beforehand is part of creating a speedy loading routine.


With a loading routine worked out, the next step is to practice. The goal of your practice is two-fold. First, look for step that can be eliminated, combined or altered. Second, make the process so routine that you become bored with it. You can break it into different components.  Some can be practiced independent of the others. Here are some suggestions for various phases.

Pull emergency supplies (boxed, bagged, toted or otherwise) from their storage locations and place them in load order at the load location. This could be as simple as 4 totes taken from the garage to the designated load location in the driveway. It could be as complex as placing everything you plan to take in rows in the garage or beside the house, with family members each having their assigned material to secure, and loading them into a truck for transport to the RV.

Hook up towed units. These might be trailers, tow dollies, or towed cars behind motor homes. Work out the fastest and most error-proof routine you can. Practice for speed, but don’t sacrifice the safety of yourself or the RV.

Plan for the most sensible staging of vehicles at the load point, or both the load point and the attachment location, if both operations are not to be completed at one location. Some tow vehicles are loaded up, and then driven to collect the trailer from storage. Some motor homes are picked up from storage and brought home because the towed car can’t possibly transport all the extra supplies needed. Whatever your situation, practice it for safety and efficiency.

Dangerous Items

The last thing I want to address is the loading of dangerous items. Ammunition for firearms should be stored securely, and loaded the same way. I’m a big believer of ammunition boxes, .30 cal, for this purpose. These steel boxes protect the ammunition and the people around it. Be sure to load it into a location on the RV or tow vehicle that is safe from puncture, heat or unnecessary vibration. Fuel should be stored in steel cans and loaded into rack on the back of the vehicle, or in the open bed of a truck. Wherever the cans are stowed, they should not be allowed to move, and should never be stored inside the cab or body of any vehicle. Ammo and fuel need to be someplace other than with emergency road flares or other combustible materials.



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