I’m always surprised when I’m asked whether it’s safe to RV in Canada – because I always consider Canada to be safe. But when I stop and think about it, there are precautions we take to ensure both our RV and ourselves are safe.
The list below are things to consider when making your own travel plans for RVing in Canada.
Table of Contents
Is your RV safe?
Is your RV well maintained and in good condition? Things happen – we all know that. However, if the RV itself has been taken care of, there’s less risk in having breakdowns or put ourselves in emergency situations. We probably don’t eliminate the risk but it’s definitely reduced.
Pre-trip safety inspections are a good thing. By creating a routine check prior to leaving home or your campsite reduces the risk even more.
Make a to-do list to follow each time and you shouldn’t have any problems. Your Pre-trip safety list should include some of the items listed below:
- Ensure the steps, awning, slides and jacks are all retracted and secure.
- Check the oil, transmission and coolant fluids.
- What is the level of your fuel?
- Check your brakes, air brakes, tow brakes and parking brake.
- Turn off stove, oven and heaters.
- Check propane tanks and hoses for leaks , certification and blockages
- Check tire pressure and tread.
- Verify that smoke and propane detectors work.
- Close all exterior storage bins.
- Close all interior cupboards and drawers, securing them.
- Disconnect power, TV, water and sewer.
I’m sure you probably have other items you could add to the list to make it more personal – which is great. Having the check list helps keep you safe.
Plan Your Route in Advance
Whether you’re RVing for a few days or a few months, it’s important that you plan your route in advance. I know – that’s not what most of us do – because we have a tendency to be spur of the moment people. At least I am – to a degree. You can still be spontaneous and open to new ideas and unseen places but be safe and take a few extra steps of caution. I recommend using RV Trip Planner.
Before heading out in the morning you probably have a good idea as to that days final destination. So, then you can research the condition of the roads on the route you’ll be traveling on. Finding out whether there’s any obstacles ahead of you such as floods or fires or even construction, that raise a red flag. The obvious thing is for you to change your route.
This could impact you if you get caught somewhere that’s not considered safe. Just knowing of potential problems can alleviate future issues.
In Alberta the website for finding out what’s going on over their highways is 511Alberta. Each province has their own source for highway information.
Ontario: I did a quick search and this is what I found.
Manitoba: Looking for information on the forest fires you want to avoid. Click here.
Just type in the name of the province along with the word highway and you should have everything you need. The same system can be used for finding out if there are any wildfires in the area you plan on traveling to.
Ensure you have Necessary Documents and Permits
Is your RV insurance current? Do you have the proper licence to drive it in the province or territory you’ll be traveling in? Do you have an air brake endorsement that’s recognized in the area you’re traveling in? If you’re traveling outside of your province – do you have travel medical insurance? Depending on how long you’re away from your province will determine if you need travel insurance.
A really good example of having different laws in each province is: In Alberta you can haul a fifth wheel or trailer behind your truck and then tow a boat behind the fifth wheel. That’s okay but don’t even think about bringing that combination into British Columbia – it’s not allowed.
Canada has 37 National Parks and 31 National Reserves – each needing a park pass to enter at certain times of the year. To learn more about this read The Best Guide to National Parks Canada Camping.
Research your Destination ahead of Time
Once again those highways and wildfire apps should give you some good information as to what you can expect. That’s a good start.
Remember, we want to know you’re safe to RV in Canada and pre-planning goes a long way to keeping you safe.
Things to think of:
- Climate conditions – check the weather forecast. Are you prepared for rain, wind or even hot sunshine?
- Do you have a campsite reserved? Though that may not be necessary but knowing there are RV Parks or campgrounds in the area makes finding one much easier.
- If you prefer boondocking or free camping – do you have a good idea as to what’s available.?
An example of not being prepared: I’ve heard of people arriving in big cities like Vancouver thinking there will be campgrounds available and have made no reservations and when they arrive to a full campground (if they can find one) they have no backup plan. Honestly, that would probably be me but I’m saying don’t do what I do – do as I say. LOL
An excellent backup plan should include Boondockers Welcome and/or Harvest Hosts. Both of these are becoming more popular in Canada and there’s a lot of great places to choose from. We’re members!
Do your research! Check to see if there’s any big events going on where you’re heading – is the place going to be filled to the brim with thousands of people attending a carnival when you were hoping for peace and quiet?
Having a destination in mind you will know whether there’s room for your 40 foot motorhome or maybe you should have chosen a different campground. Planning!
Prepare for Unexpected Emergencies and Weather Conditions
Before heading out, it’s essential to make sure you’re prepared for various weather conditions and potential emergencies.
Carry an emergency kit with basic supplies such as a first aid kit, extra oil and coolant, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, spare tires, flares/reflectors, food, bedding, water filters, tools, flashlight, batteries, and other personal essentials such as medications.
Let people know your plans. Having friends or family members at home know of your plans will eliminate any delays if you should run into difficulty on the road and not show up on time. This could help if you’re stuck on the side of the road with a vehicle breakdown and no means of communication. Knowing someone will come looking for you will be a relief.
Is it Safe to RV in Canada?
We’re back to the question – “Is it safe to RV in Canada?” I then ask you if you have followed some or most of my suggestions and thoughts shared in this post? If so, then I have to respond – “Yes, it’s safe to RV in Canada”.
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