Hello!! I have been a “working-homeless” member of society for about a year so I am very experienced with the lifestyle. Been staying mostly in a repurposed shed with no water or electricity and know quite a few tricks for success. Now I am planning to transition from this stationary shed to a vehicle. Big change though: I won’t have my 6’+ Boyfriend (who has a lot more experience) with me. So that’s what I’m here to ask you all for: how can I do this safely on my own? Will I need a gun? Security of some kind? General advice about anything is welcome too, There’s a lot I don’t know yet. Thanks!!
…or maybe not… lol
Sorry, some of us are slow on the uptake.
In terms of safety, common sense and being aware of one’s surroundings is far more important and effective than having a gun. That means paying attention to where you are, the people around you, and to situations as they develop. Don’t ever let a situation develop to the point where you’re no longer in control. Get out of Dodge if something weird starts happening. Keep your keys in the same place all the time where you can get to them easily even when you’re half asleep, and keep the driver’s seat empty. Don’t put stuff up outside like awnings if the area doesn’t feel safe, or take them down if something just doesn’t feel right.
A gun is, and should be, the very last ditch thing one should ever do when all other options are completely gone, and it could get you into a lot of trouble even if you’re completely justified. A gun could easily be turned against you, especially if you have the slightest hesitation in using it. There are many cases of guns being turned against their owners. Cops are dead because someone got hold of their guns. If you need defensive weapon, pepper spray or bear spray is pretty effective.
Don’t become impaired with alcohol or drugs if things aren’t right - gotta have your wits about you.
OK. I’d like to give you a response that makes a hell of a lot more sense. I’m a vehicle dweller, currently in a van finally, for three solid years. In Los Angeles. The more you relax, the better off you are. Period.
But before anything, I would like to know if you are open to sharing, what city are you going to van dwell in? Because that dictates a lot of this. If you happen to be in LA, boy oh boy can I give you all the goods!
Thanks Axel! It sounds like from your experience, the best safety tool is a clear head. I’m already clean and sober so I have that going for me! I am going to peruse the gun route, but I believe your advice is very sound; better to be prepared and leave a situation than stay long enough to need a weapon! Thanks so much for discussing this with me! Let me know if you think of anything else
Hi Aaron! Thanks for that advice! You’re so right, indulging in anxiousness creates more danger (or “danger”). Maybe what I need most for a weapon is confidence! And I’m going to be on the East Coast for now, but I will definitely take u up on some tips if I travel your way!
Ok got it. I know nothing of the east coast. What I did when I started is I googled where car campers sleep at night. If you’re by the ocean, then those camps spots are likely good. It’s better to be incognito on the edge of a neighborhood rather than tucked away near the woods. Your neighbors will ALWAYS be more understanding of you since you are a woman. *If you ever speak to anyone anyway, which sometimes can be good. Build a relationship. They’ll look out for you. I’m judged by peeps as if I’m a questionable because I’m a man (eye roll)
For showing. Heat up water on camping stove, pour into a camper bladder with shower nozzle. Finding a place where you’re hidden is the trick. *If by the beach, beach showers if available.
Doing a solar hook up? 12V fridge, looks like a common cooler, this is what I have running off solar inverter. My fridge is Aspenora brand, Amazon buy, $350. Damn good fridge.
There’s a few things.
Being a CCW holder I carry a gun every day and have done so for amost 10 years. One thng I have found is that, unless you train with it regularly, don’t bother gettig one. The bggest problem that gun owners have is that they buy a gun, and shoot it once every 60 to 90 days. They don’t do research or even watch practical application videos on a regular basis. You are responsible for every round that leaves that weapon. I am NOT saying you should not get a gun. My advice would be to go and rent a few and find one that you “enjoy” shooting. Reseach on youtube about practical situations you want to prepare for. Don’t just do it for defense but try to make it an enjoyable hobby. I train 3 times a month minimum and once a week max. Over the past 10 years I have had to draw my gun a few times. Thank God I traned regularly or I may have pulled the trigger too soon not giving the person to just stop what they were doing. Good luck and I hope this helped.
Linstrom, that’s a good approach. Carrying/owning a gun is a huge responsibility that most gun owners don’t take seriously enough. It’s not just the carrying part, it’s also about how you secure it away from those who shouldn’t get their hands on it, like children or others that shouldn’t have access. There are times in van life where you can’t carry, such as swimming, going into a government building (like a National Park visitor center), or taking a shower. When the gun is not in your direct control it should be locked away - not just in a locked van, but in a safe or locker that’s bolted or locked to the inside the van.
This approach also makes it legal to transport across most state lines where it might be illegal to have a gun out, accessible while driving. Some states, even though Federal law allows it will throw you in jail for transporting a gun in their state, even if properly locked away, such as New York, and maybe Massachusetts. Be aware of these state policies, even though they probably violate Federal law and the 2nd Amendment. It’s a mess you don’t want to be involved with, even if you’re right. Insisting on your rights in places with draconian gun laws might cost you a lot of money, and legal entanglements. Better to avoid it.
I live in New Mexico where the gun laws are pretty liberal, meaning that there are few restrictions. Anyone who can legally own a gun can also carry it loaded in their vehicle. It’s also an open carry state, and CCW is “shall issue” meaning that they cannot prevent you from getting the license if you qualify. Pretty good for a blue state.
Generally when in a state that doesn’t recognize your CCW (if you have a CCW) or doesn’t allow access while in a vehicle, the gun must be unloaded and locked in a case, locker, or safe, separate from the ammunition.
In most states that don’t have draconian gun laws they will probably not fault you for having a gun close by when you’re sleeping or stopped for the night. Kind of a legal gray area in many places though, so do some research and use common sense.
Also keep in mind that shooting someone might have far greater legal consequences than hitting them with a baseball bat or defending oneself with a kitchen knife. Using a gun attracts much more legal attention than other means, even if the end result is the same.
Very helpful, thanks! A gun is a huge responsibility, I’m glad to get this advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about!
So I may not be able to have it on me while in the van in some states… I’ll need to do some real research on these state laws…
Lots of good advice! Clear head!!! Very important! Next…do your homework on gun laws in each state. You can actually end up in jail/prison for not knowing the laws. I don’t believe in disarming or making a person carry one. I believe owning a gun is a very personal choice. There are classes on using your firearms and other classes on when to use it and laws. I advise anyone considering a firearm to take the class that teaches you when to use it and the laws. Some states require the classes. I grew up around guns, they don’t bother me. I don’t know everything about them and the classes were great! Very informative. I encourage anyone to take a class. Education is key.
If a gun is not for you, research alternatives. Mace, bear spray, alarm, self-defense class. I can’t stress enough about educating yourself and doing what is right for you.
Great advice thank you! In addition the the gun class, this made me think a self defense class might be the most helpful thing for me. The awareness mindset and common sense stuff. Not to mention Physical strength appeals to me more than relying on the technology because that’s all you have in a worst case scenario
I normally carry a gun in the van while traveling here in the west, but we’re planning a trip to Massachusetts and New Hampshire in a few months and probably going through New York on the way. We won’t have a gun in the van for that trip, but will probably have a tire thumper - looks like a short wood baseball bat. It’s for checking to make sure the tires haven’t lost pressure - yep, that’s what it’s for. Can find them at truck stops. Will also have a hatchet for cutting kindling and splitting firewood - that’s what that’s for too.
I have a very large sharp axe and I think I’m scary enough after 5 days of not bathing and waving that thing around.
I’d be hesitant to pick up a gun, especially a hand gun. You don’t want to take that into the wrong state. Even with rifles you need specific ammo in California. If anything I would choose a shotgun if it’s for protection. Less laws and easier to hit the target. The sound of racking a shotgun alone would deter most people. It’s unmistakable and could possibly be all that’s needed.
That being said all you need to do is be smart. Don’t be too trusting and don’t put yourself in situations where things can go from 0 - 10. We haven’t had any issues in two years and sure it could happen, but I don’t think a gun is going to solve any problem I might have either.
Wow… this must be a real good old U S of A forum that the first thing one considers for protection is to pack a weapon.
I’d reckon unless your grandma was Annie Oakley and you have handled Guns your whole life, I’d stick with common sense, a well secured vehicle, a clear departure strategy, and stay away from dodgy areas.
If you pull a gun on someone, you better be willing to use it, and likely kill them… (I understand you have the right to arm bears , but doesn’t mean you all should) I think a strategy of just driving away would be far easier on your conscience. JMHO
Still the “Wild West” here in the USA. The country is awash in guns, the vast majority unaccounted for due to some pretty lax gun laws, some forbidding any kind of accounting or registration. More guns in private hands than people. Even if all sales were banned tomorrow there’s more than enough to go around for many years to come.
I would recommend getting a camera that’s on 24/7 just so you have proof if any bad thing would happen. 2 cams one at the back and one in front.