RVing is a popular mode of travel for many reasons, but one of the most obvious is the recreational vehicle’s ability to provide the traveler with a nearly endless array of outdoor recreational opportunities. RVers can enjoy any outdoor hobby from mountain biking to paragliding to surfing to hiking. In addition to the opportunity to enjoy such pass times, RVers have the option of using their RV to provide them with the means to spend time in less populated areas where enjoying their chosen outdoor hobby can be even more enjoyable due to the decrease in general “traffic.” This doesn’t make RVers anti-social; it simply means they are willing to accept that a popular sporting arena is not always the best place to play. Some would prefer to play the same game or activity in an open field or on a public trail with fewer restrictions and less chance of unavoidable bodily collisions.
The opportunity for solitary enjoyment is a definite benefit of the RVing lifestyle. Most view it as a great advantage, but solitary outdoor recreational enjoyment does have a downside. In heavily used outdoor recreational areas, outdoor enthusiasts can depend upon help or at least companionship if they sustain an injury in the midst of their activities. This can be a great help as highly populated outdoor recreational facilities often keep medical staff on hand or at the ready and accessible for just such an event. It is also more likely that properly trained individuals will be “on hand” when there are a high number of visitors to the area. In the RVing community, many injuries receive proper treatment and aid not from a designated site medical professional, but from a fellow outdoor sports enthusiast who happens to know how to handle the medical problem or injury at hand.
The same medical situations or injuries can be a lot more devastating when they occur in more solitary outdoor areas. This doesn’t mean that we recommend that individuals out to enjoy RVing should only enjoy it in the midst of a crowd. The answer to this potential problem is to recommend that RVers make themselves familiar with the basic concepts of first aid and injury prevention.
Most RVers aren’t medical experts, but every RVer is capable of learning enough to make a difference if it becomes necessary. First consider the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen. According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common injuries from outdoor recreational activities were fractures and sprains. Most of these occurred to the arms or legs. Head or neck injuries were a close second. The activities that resulted in the highest number of injuries were: snowboarding, sledding and hiking.
The first step in getting prepared is to contact your local fire department or American Red Cross center. Find a first aid certification class that will prepare you for handling basic first aid in the outdoors as necessary. In addition to being capable of basic first aid treatment if an injury should occur, it is best to practice injury prevention practices.
1. Know your skill level and do not exceed your limits.
2. Appropriately maintain all equipment and replace when necessary.
3. Carry a first aid kit and a two-way communication device for emergencies.
4. Leave a trail. Almost more important than leaving a physical trail as to where you headed for the day is to notify others as to where you are going.
RVing is an amazing opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts. The idea isn’t to fear the worst, but to expect the best and be prepared for the worst. RVers everywhere will learn that they can enjoy their traveling even more when they have decreased the potential stress and/or danger of any given situation with proper planning and preparation.