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Power Outages At RV Parks: What You Need To Know

a trailer parked on the side of a road next to a park with a fire hydrant on the side of the road, image for power outage

How to Handle a Prolonged RV Park Power Outage

One of the best parts about traveling in an RV is the easy access to water and electricity. But, of course, electricity has to come from somewhere. Batteries provide a decent amount of operating power, but most people rely on campground hookups for a constant flow of electricity. But what happens during a power outage?

Power outages are fairly common throughout the country, and they may be the result of storms, faulty electrical systems, or planned maintenance schedules. Either way, once you’re stuck without power, you’ll probably wonder what your next steps should be.

First of all, don’t panic! These outages might be annoying, but they are rarely dangerous. If the worst comes to worst, you’ll just have to pack up early and head back into town. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for outages and keep your RV running (even without power from a hookup).

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Take preventative measures

It’s important to plan ahead before you ever experience a camping power outage. If you’re caught unprepared, you might be stranded without the ability to communicate. Planning ahead will help you avoid long-lasting damage!

Install a surge protector

For starters, make sure your RV is equipped with a surge protector. These help regulate the flow of power in your vehicle. They’re essential items if you regularly connect to electrical hookups. If the hookups fail, they might deliver dangerously high or low levels of power. In this situation, a surge protector can mitigate the power surge. 

An unprotected RV can be damaged by power outages, especially those caused by storms. Surge protectors keep your appliances and wiring in good condition. Make sure you have one installed before you head out on the road!

Travel with a generator

Most RVers rely on electrical hookups or solar power systems. These are both great options, but they have their weaknesses as well. Hookups can fail during power outages, and solar panels won’t work well at night or during cloudy days.

A portable generator is your best bet for emergency backup power. Make sure it’s in good shape before you go. You’ll also want to bring fuel for the generator so it can operate for at least a few hours. Other options include solar generators like the Jackery or the CarGenerator.

Bring battery packs for small devices

Finally, you need to ensure that you have a way to charge your phone and emergency equipment in the event of an outage. Most phone chargers will drain your RV battery, so look for alternative methods. 

Solar chargers are a good option, but you could also get a portable phone charger. Just make sure it’s topped off before you leave! A dead charger won’t do you any good. 

Travel with emergency supplies for power outages

Once a power outage occurs, you’ll need to have the right gear for the job. You may be able to use your RV battery for a while, but some outages damage the electrical system. If the vehicle is completely dead, you’ll need to have some emergency supplies on hand. 

72-hour kit

First of all, make sure you always travel with an up-to-date emergency kit. A 72-hour kit is ideal because you may need to use it for a few days (especially if you get stranded in a remote area). This kit should be stocked with essentials like non-perishable food, seasonal clothing, medical supplies, and emergency cash. 

These supplies will keep you safe and comfortable while you wait for the power to come back or for help to arrive. Just make sure you restock it as soon as you can!

Non-electrical light sources

Power outages aren’t too concerning during the day, but they can be tricky at night. We all need light in order to see, but you shouldn’t rely on your RV lights in this situation. That’s why non-electric alternatives are necessary!

Make sure you have a few options on hand. Flashlights, gas-powered camping lanterns, and candles can all work for short-term lights. Just be very careful if you choose an open-flame method. Candles provide a decent amount of light, but they’re also a fire hazard. Never leave a candle unattended. 

How to adapt to a power outage

Even with all the preparation in the world, you’ll probably still experience a power outage at some point. As long as you take the proper preventative steps, you should be able to avoid serious damage. But while you wait for power to be restored, you’ll need to make some changes around your campsite. 

Regulate heat and cooling

One of the most important elements of any RV is the heating and cooling system. This makes camping bearable, no matter what the outdoor temperature may be! Unfortunately, when the power goes out, you won’t be able to regulate temperature nearly as easily. 

In mild weather, you’ll be fine to simply open doors and windows and let natural air flow in and out of the vehicle. If it’s cold, you should close everything up, bundle in warm clothing, and focus all your heating efforts on one room. On the other hand, if it’s hot, you should drink plenty of water and stay in the shade. 

Extremely hot or cold temperatures are hard to overcome without electricity, so consider breaking camp if you can’t maintain a comfortable temperature. 

Save battery power

If you want to wait it out and continue to use your RV, you’ll need to be very careful about your energy consumption. RVs are equipped with powerful batteries that can run essential appliances and systems for a while. If you have a solar power system, your functionality will be even better.

However, this supply won’t last forever. You’ll need to use power sparingly and make some decisions about what is and isn’t necessary. For instance, only turn on the lights for as long as you need them. You should also unplug appliances that may drain unnecessary power. 

Make sure you have enough power to safely leave the campsite. In addition, you should never completely drain your batteries. This practice can cause permanent damage. 

Check for updates

When a power outage occurs, electrical companies are immediately aware of the issue. In most cases, they’ll release a statement or provide some kind of update to everyone in the affected area. Save your phone battery as much as possible, but check for updates periodically. 

Power companies generally provide an estimated time when the power will return. If it was a scheduled outage, they’ll have very accurate information. Check for scheduled outages before you head out on a camping trip so you can avoid this situation. 

Outages are never fun for RV campers, but they will generally be fixed within a few hours. Once your living space is squared away, why not spend a few hours walking, swimming, or exploring the area? The power outage may be annoying, but it provides a good opportunity to commune with nature. 

Get tips from other RVers

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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