A woman on a path outside holds up and shoots pepper spray from a can towards the camera.

Bob Wells Maced?!

Staying safe while RVing is important. Part of maximizing your safety is knowing how to use safety equipment properly. Recently, one popular RV YouTuber learned this important lesson while sharing safety tips and using protection devices.

He made a major mistake, which resulted in a painful experience. Let’s look at what went wrong and what we can learn from it, so we don’t make the same mistake.

A woman on a path outside holds up and shoots pepper spray from a can towards the camera.

Who Is Bob Wells?

Bob Wells is an RV content creator, author, and minimalist. He’s the brains behind the popular RV website Cheap RV Living.

Bob worked as a union clerk in Anchorage, Ala., and eventually moved into a box van. Later, he remarried and moved to North Carolina.

However, Wells found himself moving into a truck camper when his second marriage went south. He transitioned from the truck camper to a work van and then a four-wheel-drive ambulance. 

Portrait of Bob Wells
Mydogisbetterthanyourdog, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

He’s the organizer for the popular Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) each January in Quartzsite, Ariz. Many refer to this event as the “Burning Man” of retirees and RVers. The event has grown and now attracts as many as 10,000 attendees. He’s also one of the OGs for full-time RVers and content creation.

Get to know the OG vanlife influencers.

What Is Bob Wells Known For? 

Bob started his YouTube channel in 2015 in hopes of offering content to help educate and inform the RV community. The channel has more than 122 million views as of August 2022. He’s a trusted source in the RV community and knows exactly what it takes to live the nomadic life.

As a result of his experience and popularity, Wells was featured throughout the 2017 book “Nomadland.” Bob portrayed himself in the 2020 film adaptation of the book. That film went on to earn six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards. It won best picture, best director, and best actress. 

What Is RTR Van Life?

RTR, or Rubber Tramp Rendevous, is a two-week RV and van life event held in Quartzsite, Ariz. Bob Wells and Cheap RV Living organize it.

This free dry-camping event takes place on public lands where attendees can enjoy breakout sessions and classes. Education helps nomads make the most of living in a house on wheels.

 A young couple dressed like hippies in the back of their van that they live in.

The movie “Nomadland” featured the event and gave it some major publicity. This is a must-attend event for anyone looking to further their knowledge about living in an RV or van.

It’s also great for anyone who wants to connect with others in the community. The event has gained the reputation of being the largest free gathering of nomads.

Was Bob Wells Maced?

Well, sort of. While demonstrating how to use various pieces of self-defense equipment properly, Bob displayed a few types of bear spray. When using any self-defense spray, you must account for the wind.

However, the wind changed directions on Bob, and the bear spray blew in Bob and his wife’s direction. As Bob was spraying, the wind sent the chemicals into his eyes.

Bob tests out bear spray in this survival tip video, and ends up inadvertently trying it on himself!

Bob’s wife was able to help him to deal with the effects of getting bear spray in his eyes. At the very least, Bob showed viewers the importance of making sure they consider the wind when discharging bear sprays.

Luckily, Bob learned this lesson when there was no imminent threat, and he’ll be more mindful of the wind direction if he ever does need to defend himself with bear spray.

How Do You Survive a Bear Attack? 

How you survive a bear attack will depend on the type of bear. Regardless, you should always carry bear spray when hiking or in bear country.

Like Bob showed in his video, make sure you know how to use it. You should also never run or climb a tree to escape a bear. They have a massive biological advantage for running and climbing trees.

The generic rule is, “If it’s brown, lie down. If it’s black, fight back.” Grizzly bears are brown and can be more aggressive. They’re not going to back down from a fight with a human, and your best bet will be to hit the ground and curl into the fetal position.

A black bear with all four paws on the ground, looking like it's ready to attack.

Cover the back of your neck with your hands and lie as still as possible. A grizzly will be more likely to leave you alone if they no longer feel threatened by you. Continue to play dead several minutes after the bear leaves, as some grizzly bears will wait to ensure the victim doesn’t get up.

Black bears are still very dangerous animals but are often much more likely to back down from a human. If the bear spray doesn’t do the trick, stand your ground and make lots of noise.

You should fight back against a bear attack using rocks, sticks, fists, and anything available to you. Black bears are more likely to give up if they see that you’re willing to put up a fight.

Bob Wells has been making content on YouTube since before it was trendy. Here are a few of his most popular YouTube videos that you should watch. Let’s take a look!

Tour of a Nomad Living in a Truck

In this video, Bob walks through a truck owned by his friend, Stan. Stan lives full-time in his truck and can travel with all the comforts of a typical home.

It has a full kitchen and a massive sleeping area. The video gives you a peek inside what this trucker goes through to live comfortably on the road.

Living in a Car on $800 a Month

Filmed right at the RTR, Bob takes the time to speak with Dee, a nomad living in her 2005 Pontiac Grand Am. She hit the road after leaving a toxic relationship and is enjoying the lifestyle, the freedom, and the community.

Dee does all her adventures on the $800 a month she receives in social security. Is it easy? Absolutely not. However, Dee makes it work and is enjoying life.

5 Reasons to Avoid RVing on Social Security

Fearless Retired Woman Living in a Lance Truck Camper

Jo is a friend of Dee that has embraced life as a nomad in her 2004 Lance truck camper. She has a 1997 Dodge Ram that she uses to haul her truck camper around. Jo wasn’t happy with her life and where she was living.

In this video, Jo shares how she made a mistake every diesel owner fears: putting gasoline in her diesel tank. It cost her a fair amount of money, but she learned her lesson. Check out this video if you want to see how this fearless retired woman lives on the road!

Is Bob Wells’ YouTube Channel Worth Watching?

If you’re interested in the nomadic life, his channel is a must. You may not relate to every video he releases, but he’s rich in knowledge and provides valuable information for his viewers. The stories he shares can help inspire your future adventures, whether it’s full-time or part-time.

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