Cold-weather RVing is a majestic, yet challenging, experience. If you’re looking for peace, quiet, and beauty, winter RVing has it all. However, it takes a lot of careful planning and work. Without the proper forethought, a night in a winter wonderland can quickly turn into a night in a freezing meat locker. All is not lost, however! Thanks to the many that pioneered cold weather RVing, we have plenty of tips to help you stay warm and dry on your next winter adventure.
Keep Yourself AND Your RV Warm
Your RV has feelings, and it hates being cold just as much as you do! Just kidding, but you will experience some big problems if you don’t keep it warm. Even though many RVs come with thermal packages, which include extra insulation, it’s still not enough for sub-zero temperatures. If you’re camping in extreme cold, put your RV in a skirt! Skirting the RV will keep the battery bays, plumbing, and other important components warm. If you don’t have a skirt, you can pack snow around the RV bays.
RV windows lose a ton of heat, no matter how insulated the manufacturer claims they are. There are several ways to insulate them: foam insulation boards, bubble insulation, solar blankets, etc. For extra warmth, line your windows with heavy-weight thermal curtains. Use electric or propane space heaters to supplement your RVs furnace. Don’t forget to bring along a heated blanket to stay warm in bed!
Water Can be Your Biggest Enemy
A burst pipe is an RVers worst nightmare. When you’re camping in the winter, you always have to think about your plumbing. So what’s the solution? There are several:
- Many RVers drain their fresh water tanks completely and go sans water for the season. That means bringing bottled water for brushing your teeth and doing the dishes.
- The bay that holds your tanks must always be kept above freezing. Mini space heaters are inexpensive and use very little amperage. Buy one and stick it in the bay.
- Use antifreeze in your plumbing and gray/black tanks. You can do this by flushing antifreeze down the toilets and pouring it in your drains.
- If your RV doesn’t have tank heaters, buy some! They’re a godsend if you can spare the energy usage.
- If you do choose to use water hookups, make sure you insulate the pipes with heat tape. You’ll also need to insulate any connections and exposed piping.
- Never allow your black tank to freeze unless you want to deal with a disgusting mess. Use a PVC pipe for your sewer hose – it’ll have less chance of freezing than a regular hose. If you plan on leaving the tank hooked up, add a layer of insulation around the sewer pipe. However, it’s a good idea to keep your tank closed until it needs to be dumped.
You Can Never Be Too Dry
Cold and wet is bad. Not just for you, but for your RV, too. All that heat in one confined space can lead to humidity and condensation, which can cause mold in your walls. Use a dehumidifier when it starts to get stuffy or toss some dehumidifier pellets in the problem areas.
Vent covers are great for two things: they help prevent condensation, and they keep you warm. Lots of warm air escapes out the vents in your RV. A cover adds an extra layer of insulation. The best part is, you can still open the vents even if there’s snow on the roof!
You’ll see some beautiful, unique sights along your winter RV trip. There’s nothing quite like being in the solitude of a winter campsite, watching the snow fall and blanket the land around you. Make sure you follow the tips we’ve included here to stay safe during your winter adventure. Remember, warm and dry, not cold and wet!