Carbon Monoxide Detector – The most important item in every LQ horse trailer


Fabulous weather is here and camping, rodeos, and fairs are on the agenda. All of these activities come with their fair share of challenges. One hazard, that is often overlooked, is carbon monoxide poisoning.

A few years ago I built and outfitted my own DIY LQ horse trailer. At the time I failed one extremely important item that should have been planned from the beginning and installed prior to the first trip. A smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It wasn’t until my enforced downtime during the COVID pandemic that I thought about the matter at all.

Here’s some sobering figures:

  • 500 people annually die inside of RV’s from CO poisoning.
  • According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, during 2010-2015, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • The National Fire Protection Association reported that during 2006-2010, municipal fire departments responded to an annual average of 72,000 carbon monoxide incidents, excluding incidents where nothing was found or fire was present.
  • Carbon Monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States each year.

As a guy who uses a propane stove for heat inside my trailer these stats were rightfully concerning.


Carbon monoxide (CO) is emitted when fuel, such as natural gas or propane, is burned. It is odorless and colorless, and virtually impossible to detect without help. CO reduces the blood stream’s ability to hold oxygen. Once the oxygen level is depleted, our body stops functioning properly.

The risks are elevated in confined areas, such as LQs and campers, without proper ventilation. CO is found in fumes produced by gas ranges, vehicles, portable generators, camp stoves, lanterns or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or even partially enclosed spaces, silently poisoning people and animals.

At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes.

The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to a common cold or flu. Anyone exposed to CO emissions, complaining of headaches, dizziness, weakness or excessive sleepiness, nausea, chest pain or general confusion should seek medical help immediately. The key is to respond quickly. Turn off appliances and open doors and windows.


  • Exhaust leaks from a vehicle engine or a generator
  • Improper use of portable gas powered heaters
  • Someone else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close quarters
  • Malfunctioning or unvented LP gas appliances


If your LQ horse trailer or camper doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector already installed, please purchase a battery operated smoke and carbon monoxide detector designed for use in RVs. Test the detector every time you use the trailer, and replace the batteries every year (I swap out batteries in the trailer and house when I change clocks for daylight savings time.)

Camping with our horses and mules is carefree by nature, but we should always take the proper precautions for fires and CO poisoning.

As always to find new places to ride and camp with your safe trailer visit the largest guide to horse trails and camps in the world

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