Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Monday, February 15, 2010

Safety and Security

When I talk about my plans to take a solo cross-country trip with friends and family, concerns for safety arise. So, I thought I'd share how I'm preparing for the unexpected. This is probably more detail than anyone wants, but here it is.

-Situational awareness -- if it doesn't feel safe, I leave.
-Don't act like a potential victim (act with purpose)
-If attacked, fight back, yell (re-taking a self-defense class in April).
-Have a mechanically-sound, well-maintained car, good tires/spare, fix-a-flat, chains, flares, extra fuses
-Share itinerary with family & friends with regular check-in times
-Carry first aid kits w/whistle (in car and day pack)
-Carry bear spray and won't hesitate to use it
-Carry key fob with car alarm button
-Carry cell phone (kept charged with car and solar chargers)
-Carry SPOT GPS Messenger (911 caller, when I don't have cell reception)
-When dark, have a bright flashlight (also, useful as a small bat)
-Keep hatchet and knife within reach while in car
-Air horn next to bed (along with above carried items)
-Set up camp with two chairs so it appears that two people are camping here
-At night, put out a large dog food bowl w/heavy-looking chain leash (even tho' I won't have dogs)
-When in bear country, use bear lockers (for food, toiletries, cleaning supplies)
-Lock car when sleeping/resting in it.
-Cover windows with black curtains while sleeping in car, hide gear/bed under curtains when not sleeping in car.
-Seat belt cutter / auto glass hammer in glove box
-Fire extinguisher
-Tire air compressor
-Battery jumper cables
-Weather radio
-Duct tape
-Heavy duty garbage bags
-Extra food and water
-Car owner's manual
-A secondary stash of cash and credit cards hidden in car
-A money belt to carry valuables when among crowds of people
-Copies of drivers license, credit cards, w/800 numbers in case of loss or theft
-Maps and compass

I don't expect to need any of these "tools;" and I will use them if necessary. Leave comments or email me if you have other ideas.

I'm not planning to build any campfires while on my trip.  But, if I do, I'll follow Smokey The Bear's rules. Because, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires! (Picture taken near Mt. Hood, Oregon, Sept 09.)


  1. More great ideas. I am putting this in my notebook. I have some of these things but I will be adding to my bag now.

  2. I have read about the no see screen. So do I put this up and make a reflective cut out for sun, along with the curtains. I am going to try and make the screens for my car windows. That will be vital. Thank you again for all your posts.

  3. Thank you for your blog. Besides campgrounds, where do you park to sleep?

    1. When visiting an area I almost always stay in campgrounds. Sometimes, like right now, I'm with a group on BLM land doing dispersed camping. Rarely will I disperse camp alone. If I'm on my way to someplace and just need a place to sleep overnight, I'll often use Walmart parking lots or rest areas when allowed by law.

  4. Thank you for the Blog Suanne. You are inspiring!

  5. Belt cutter and glass hammer in clove box: If you are upside down and trapped in seat belt can you reach the clove box?

    1. That's a good question and makes me think. Yes, I believe I could open and reach inside the glove box while hanging upside down ... if injuries didn't prevent me from doing so.

  6. I would say carry a pair of large boots, maybe a large 3x tee shirt, to simulate a male presence. When I make Mylar window screens I want to make a magnetic set that would fit on the outside of the window too. That way when I have my no seeum net up I can keep out the sun or rain too yet get air. I want to do this for front window too I have noticed people that use interior window sun shades the front window is almost always cracked. My theory is the sun is heating the car the shade is inside reflecting increased solar gain on the window and often time a pop up shower will hit around 3 pm when car is hottest the quick cooling of the outside of the glass causes the glass to contract while the inside is still expanded the quick cooling will cause glass to fracture or crack. So I want my sun screens to be on the outside of my car. I would like to find a way to design a way to shade the car in the sun when it is 90 out getting in a car that sat in the sun is just crazy. I have a carport at home it is much nicer to get into a car that is not glowing hot.

    1. I totally agree that getting in a hot car is very uncomfortable. I'm curious how you plan to make the Mylar on the front window removable. Will you spray it with water before each application? I'm not sure where I'd carry the large boots as they take up quite a bit of room (my hubby wears a size 13). But, that's a good idea and will ponder it as a possibility. Thanks for the ideas.

  7. I have considered staying in the parking lot of Hospitals. There are also restrooms and food close at hand.

    1. That's a good idea. I know several folks who do that. I tend to stay away from hospitals because people with contagious diseases go there for help.

    2. Hi, good ideas!
      Just got my Prius, thinking of camping in her at Standing week...any tips on leaving the heat on all night in that freezing weather, North Dakota? Thx

    3. Hi Auntie Hunehune, If you are going to run your heater in sub-freezing temps there at Standing Rock, be sure to go in with a full tank of gas. Set the thermostat for as low as you can stand it to save fuel. Have a carbon monoxide detector/alarm and crack your windows for fresh air. The Prius is much less efficient when heating a car than when cooling. This is because it must run the engine to generate heat. While sleeping, try turning off the Prius and staying warm with just good blankets and a warm head covering. Then, when you get out of bed in the morning, turn your car on to warm the interior. The best to you.

    4. Thank you so much for the great tips!

  8. Oh my, that is a pretty long list. Where oh where do you find the space for all that stuff, plus clothing and food?


Please make a comment. I'd love to hear from you ...