How to Secure a Travel Trailer in High Winds

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Travel trailers have some weight to them, but they don’t usually weigh as much as a Class A RV, a toy hauler with the toys inside, or a fifth wheel. From a weight perspective, they sit between these and a camper. This provides some initial perspective on how to secure the travel trailer in high winds.

What Constitutes High Winds?

It’s useful to get some perspective on high winds because everyone has their separate ideas on it.

For instance, you can purchase an RV hurricane strap kit or RV high wind tie downs to secure areas of the travel trailer that may work loose in strong winds. It’s also possible to add a cover and strap this down, to protect the skylight, roof, and sides from the risk of hail.

RHINO USA Ratchet Straps (4PK) – 1,823lb Guaranteed Max Break Strength

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These strap kits are certainly worth having handy. But it’s worth getting some perspective on wind speeds too.

What threatens a travel trailer (and also a camper, and other recreational vehicles)? We’d say a tornado touching down is first, but also a hurricane too. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is useful for the latter. There are hurricane categories 1 to 5. And even the first level is scary stuff.

Even the category 1 hurricane wind speed exceeds 73 MPH and can possibly reach into the 90 MPH range. It’s expected that a cat 1 will do some structural damage to the exterior of homes and roofs, topple power lines, and fell the limbs from trees too. So, travel trailers won’t fare any better in that.

Read Also: Are Pop Up Campers Allowed in National Parks

Driving in Windy Conditions? Avoid It If a Storm is Coming…

Whilst you cannot protect against a direct hit from a tornado or the top-end of a category 1 hurricane, when wind speeds are below 60 MPH, the travel trailer or other RV is likely to survive. Preparation is key when you hear on the weather reports that a bad storm is coming.

How much wind can a travel trailer handle? When towing the trailer, we’d suggest wind speeds above 20 MPH to start to be concerning.

If you were planning on towing a travel trailer in high winds to make it to the next destination before the weather hits, we’d strongly advise against it. If you get caught in the storm, your travel trailer will only be able to withstand about half the wind speed that it could when secured in place (and that’s before taking the preparatory steps to better protect it too).

How to Secure Travel Trailers in High Winds

How do you anchor down a travel trailer? The following steps will help to reduce the effects of high winds, anchor the trailer to some extent, and improve your protection against storms:

  • Reorient your travel trailer toward the storm. Whatever direction the wind is coming from, it’s helpful to change the position of your travel trailer to point the nose that way. This reduces the risk of a crosswind hitting the trailer side-on where there’s more wind resistance and extra vulnerability.
  • Bring all personal and RV-related items back inside the travel trailer. You’d be amazed how many families forget some of the kids’ toys, a camping chair, and other valuables outside. These can transform into dangerous flying objects in a storm!
  • Secure all possessions inside the trailer. Imagine the trailer rocking side to side from the storm. What’s going to get dislodged if this happens? How can you make the interior of the trailer safer for the occupants?
  • Disconnect all electronics. Don’t risk lightning arriving and knocking out all your electronics. Survive on a smartphone and a power bank for the time being. Let the kids use the tablet and avoid watching TV until later.
  • Retract all slide outs. RV slides on or out in storms? Whether you’re used to the extra space or not, retract the slide-outs! They’re structurally less robust than the main body of the trailer. It removes some vulnerabilities and provides more heft to the walls of the travel trailer too.
  • Retract the awning. How much wind can an RV awning withstand? You don’t want to find out! An awning left out is going to fly around, get torn by flying debris or strong winds, and worse. Any metal supports can also work loose and create a risk of the windows breaking if they hit them. An awning anchor kit is sensible to prevent your awning become damaged from the wind. (affiliate link).
  • Use leveler blocks or stabilizing jacks. Blocks are fine, but a stabilizing jack is going to be better. Also, wheel chocks might be useful too.
  • Hitch up! The tow vehicle provides extra weight, so keeping the travel trailer hitched to it adds a little bit more stability. Every little bit helps.
  • Use RV hurricane tie downs or RV high wind tie downs. While the winds may not reach hurricane strength, use RV tie downs because they offer better protection (affiliate link).
  • Fill up the freshwater tank. If you’re currently at an RV campground or resort, fill up the freshwater tank. A broken water main could mean no H2O for a while, so it’s useful to have your own supply. It also adds more weight to the trailer too.

Extra Tips for RVers to Keep Safe in High Winds

Avoid parking your RV under a large tree. While the tree may remain standing, any falling tree branches can break a window, damage the roof, and solar panels installed on the roof.

An awning anchor kit can handle some degree of wind to keep your awning intact. See our recommended Camco one below:

Camco 42593 Awning Anchor Kit with Pull Tension Strap

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If you’re worried about possible hail, we have an article about how to protect your RV skylight from hailstorms.

Do your best to avoid high winds. While getting out of the path is a good idea, this needs to be done well ahead of time to avoid the risk of the storm changing direction and getting stuck inside it.

It’s sensible to look for a windbreak like a substantial building or barrier that can partially or fully protect the travel trailer and tow vehicle from the force of the wind. Forego a picturesque location for a protected position temporarily until the winds have died down again.


Closing Thoughts

Most storms are survivable with travel trailers coming out intact and not tipped over. As long as reasonable measures are taken as described above, RVers will weather storms pretty well.

It’s a good idea to have straps to tie down as much as possible. Also, if the storm is going to be a bad one, secure the trailer, and tow vehicle, and then shelter elsewhere for safety.

Ultimately, material possessions never matter as much as human lives. So, when the storm predictions include high winds getting closer to the category 1 hurricane level, that’s the time to find shelter away from your tow vehicle or trailer.

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