RV Life

Curious as to how many Full Timers are here. I have many questions. Recently retired Military and plan to live full time in my RV with wife and a 13 yr old. Plan to leisurely travel throughout the U.S. and eventually into Canada to Alaska. Seems almost overwhelming to figure out which States I can CCW, when do I have to lock them up etc. Additionally as my 43ft Fifth Wheel is my sole residence no mater what State a set up in whether for a week or a few months, how does the laws affect you regarding your imminent domain as you travel? Lastly for the group, I am very comfortable with weapons being a MAA (LE) Navy. My current legal residence is Illinois, I am stationed in California still Active for two more months on Retirement Leave and plan to switch legal residence to South Dakota to tax purposes. I have two hand guns and two Shotguns but currently no carry or concealed permits. Any recommendations on when, where, and how do I get my permit(s)? Thanks all, looking forward to hearing from you.


Looking forward to answers. I’ve thought of traveling in retirement also.


I believe you still need to maintain/establish a legal address somewhere. You need to deal with things such as state requirements for vehicle registration, inspection, drivers licenses, state income tax, other taxes, mail forwarding, etc. It would seem logical that would also be where you get your concealed carry lic.


I am from CA, retired now, and have traveled extensively in RVs. In one now in fact, on the Columbia River shore…

Very difficult to navigate and know all the rules, especially for handguns. Long gun rules are more forgiving. You can forget Canada if you want to take handguns however. Lock em up in Montana, or ship them to Fairbanks for your arrival.

In most states, you can have a loaded pistol or shotgun in your RV as long as you’re parked and set up for the night (your vehicle is no longer a vehicle, it’s an abode at that point). Although that doesn’t apply to NY and some super anti 2a states… The laws across the country are a mixed up mess.

I have a CCW for CA and AZ. Works many places, but not OR and WA for example.

My solution is to just keep it locked up tight in the safe until I’m camped in non carry states, then bring it out for access at night by the bed. Lock it up again when we roll. If you get stopped, never admit you have one tothe man. They’ll need a warrant.

It stinks, but those are the laws…

Enjoy your travels!

PS you might want to not carry all your guns in the RV in case you get broken into someday when you’re not there and lose some of it… Then you can circle back to a friend’s house and get your remaining ones.


Appreciate the insight and tips.


I’d get residence established Anywhere in the free states. Montana has a lot of full timers who have “permanent resident” status there. Remailing service gets your mail to you. Vehicles are licensed/titled in state. I’d think the same thing would apply to a CC license. Certain states will NOT honor your permit. Get used to it and take your travels and $$ someplace else (which is why we never go to Ca, Il, NY, and other similar states. No reason to. You “can” take a weapon to Alaska through Canada (no handguns) but you’ve got to have a Canadian permit (was $50) to do so. Rationale is “protection from wildlife in remote areas”- I used a model 94 Marlin in .44 Mag. Do your homework first. You Will want a “4 season” trailer, Check out Trailer Life magazine, look over various owners forums. Etc. good luck in your new adventures, and Thank You for your service to our country.


Welcome to the family brother and god bless you and enjoy your retirement and travels.


Looks like South Dakota would be a good state to claim residence, with a clear CCW path, and very good reciprocity for many other states. Also, no income tax :+1: BONUS!

Many full timers take up residence there (and Florida for the same reasons).


Alaska is awesome for many reasons. Although I’m not sure I’d want to live there all year… Staying daylight all night in summer is cool and interesting though.


I’m a retired LEO (Dec. 31, 2018). I bought a new travel trailer last year. My wife and I love using it, but full time is out for us. We have 3 grandkids between the ages of 1 and 8. There’s no way we could move around all year and not see them on a regular basis.


My wife and I went to Alaska and the Yukon last June. It was a combo cruise and land trip. We loved it. I want to go again soon.


Yes, that’s a big draw. We have three grands also, and while not full time, do travel a lot in the RV, and decided that we just have to circle back around to their towns every couple of months.


Check out this reference frequently! Our Reciprocity map is updated on a daily basis.

Note, some states will require you to notify when you have a firearm in the vehicle when you’re pulled over. Get to know the police/sheriff’s departments as you travel and ask questions. Be proactive and ask respectful questions. If you’re not sure about certain areas, please feel free to ask and we’ll see who may be in your area to answer those questions for you (be sure to state where you are or what state you have the question about as you travel)!


Dwayne, Appreciate the advice. Thanks for the kind welcome!

I envy your plans Rodd. Sounds like it will be enjoyable.

For maximum state CCL permit reciprocity out west, does an Arizona permit cover more states or have an advantage than does a Utah permit? Between these two states, which do you prefer to have a CCL permit in? Thank you.

Since I didn’t have any plans as yet to travel to an eastern state, I didn’t apply for a Florida permit. I chose Arizona over Utah. However, I wonder if that was the best choice; for when I’m due for renewal. I heard that for maximum reciprocity, Arizona or Utah, and Florida permits offer the most coverage, and if one does not yet have those permits, to apply now, so that once Spring and “April 2021” arrive, one has more coverage.

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