Travel Safety Essentials: 11 Self-Defense Weapons While on the Road

The next time you pack your car with snacks, water bottles, and extra blankets for a trip, you should also bring something to protect yourself when needed. An RV owner asked on an online forum whether to get a gun or other weapons to keep them safe as they travel, and tons of people suggested some self-defense weapons that can be used while on the road.

1. Collapsible Baton or Baseball Bat

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One commonly mentioned option is a collapsible baton, which can be easily concealed until needed.

However, as one experienced user stated, “I mean nobody wants to be hit with a baton but it won’t stop a determined attacker.” They added that you have to carry something longer and stronger, like a baseball bat or golf club. These weapons are harder to carry and hide, but their deterrent effect shouldn’t be underestimated. No matter what you choose, remember that it has to be something you’re comfortable swinging with ease.

2. Self-Awareness

couple with their camper van
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A camper says that the best weapon is being aware of your surroundings. You have a better chance of avoiding conflict if you know possible sources of danger. They also recommend getting a weapon that you’re familiar with. If you get a weapon you don’t use often; you’ll be dangerous but ineffective. Instead, you’ll be scrambling in a moment of danger.

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3. Get a Pepper Spray

Woman shocked face with open mouth and big eyes.
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Another RV owner shares they have a pepper spray that doesn’t fly back in their face when the wind is blowing against them. They advise avoiding talking too loudly, so others can’t listen to your discussions. Never stay in one spot for too long or anywhere that makes you uncomfortable. They sleep with their keys, which have pepper spray attached, and ensure they can access the driver’s seat if they need to leave suddenly.

4. Tools

Bad Axe
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Tools like a machete or a hatchet on a campsite would be helpful. How about making them your weapons? A commenter adds that you can carry tools that can serve defense purposes. They think the chances of someone breaking into an occupied RV are improbable; thugs watch campers and wait for when you leave.

5. A Gun

Poacher with Rifle Spotting Some Deers. Hunter with shotgun gun on hunt.
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Multiple travelers agree that a gun could be helpful on the road. However, the catch is the restrictions and laws in various states. One explains that getting a gun requires quality training and range time. They also recommend acquiring certifications to cover as many states as possible. According to them, Utah concealed carry permit is valid in most states.

6. Bear Spray

Brown Bear
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Another commenter states that they would recommend bear spray. They took a hunter safety course some years ago in an area with many grizzlies. Their instructor,  who had gun experience, said they’d rather use bear spray than a handgun for deterrence. When someone attacks you, you are in a state of stress. A weapon with a huge diameter ensures more effectiveness than one with a fraction of an inch.

7. A Cure for Your Anxiety

Motorhome RV camper van road trip on New Zealand. Young couple on travel vacation adventure. Two tourists looking at Lake Pukaki and mountains on enjoying view and break next to rental car
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Maridav

Several RV travelers and users say they have yet to experience any real danger. They say it’s improbable to hear of a case where an RV enthusiast was mugged, beaten up, shot, or attacked in any way. One says they never carry any weapon and never felt the need to for two years while living a full-time RV life. They say that needless anxiety creates imaginary danger. This is a bigger problem than actual danger.

8. Pepper Gel

Portrait of a shocked young man covering his mouth with hands
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Have you heard of pepper gel as opposed to spray? One user states that pepper sprays can backfire on you if the wind is moving in a different direction. The gel sticks to the attacker’s face and is hard to remove. If they try to wipe their eyes, they’ll only rub it in more.

9. Don’t Be an Easy Target

Man in the kitchen area of his camper van in autumn
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The best weapon is not looking like an easy target. Criminals assess the risk and benefits. They say that no matter the work you put into protecting yourself, sometimes bad things happen. It’s best if you seem prepared to defend yourself.

10. A High Lumen Bright Flashlight

Caucasian Camper with Flashlight Inside His Tent During Rainy Evening While on Hike.
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Another roadster says you should remember how effective a high-lumen flashlight can be, especially at night. They add that you can shine it on an attacker’s eyes to blind them for some time. This will give you time to decide your course of action.

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11. Air Guns

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A former full-time RV nomad says that their solution was a Bryna less-than-lethal weapon. They are typically air guns that fire a pinball with pepper spray. If you hit an attacker right, you could kill them. However, the main goal is defense from a distance, which warns the attacker to move away. They clarify that you do not need a permit for this weapon.

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