Tips For Surviving Winter RVing
RVing during winter is some of our best times camping. Often we’re the only people in the campground. It’s peaceful and a great time to relax and get back in touch with each other. And there’s nothing more beautiful than watching the snow fall on a lake or open field.
Is Any RV Good For Winter Camping?
It depends. If your RV doesn’t have enough wall and ceiling insulation, the inside of the RV will be cold. Exposed plumbing and tanks might freeze.
The amount of work to get an RV winter ready may not be worth the time or expense. In this article, we’re assuming your RV has well-insulated walls, ceilings, and floors. And it has a covered underbelly or the option of skirting.
Checking For Drafts
The usual places where we find air leak is around the doors and windows. But outside air can also leak in around vents that don’t seat well.
TIP: Insulation doesn't block air. Use slow-expanding foam insulation, instead. We like slow-expanding foam because it’s more forgiving. Fast-expanding foam can cause damage due to too much expansion.
We also inspect the underbelly covering. If there is a cut or tear or rock penetration in the covering, we tape it with Eternabond Tape.
Indoor Portable Heaters
When it gets cold, RV heaters can struggle to can’t keep up. To say warm, an indoor portable heater is a solution.
Electric or Propane Heaters
When shore power (an RV park for example) is available, a plug-in style heater will give the RV heater a boost. When dry and boondock camping we rely on an indoor-approved portable propane heater. One of the best-known is Mr Heater Buddy.
TIP: Even though a heater is for indoor use, it is still consuming oxygen. And there is always the possibility of dangerous gases. Open a vent to bring in the fresh air and vent any dangerous gases.
TIP: During the winter, we take our heater with us to the campground shower. It heats the room up for a cozy shower.
TIP: While the RV interior is warm, the enclosed underbelly could be freezing. If your RV has underbelly heat, it's a good practice to run the RV heater to prevent freezing tanks and plumbing.
The Silent Winter RV Camping Enemy
Winter is when we struggle the most with moisture build-up in the RV. Cooking, showering, and even hot drinks create moisture.
The best solution to moisture building up is to keep a vent open. Moisture needs venting to the outside.
TIP: You can gauge the amount of moisture building up in the RV by watching the windows. As soon as the windows fog, open a vent.
Insulate the windows
There are 3 things we have done to our windows to insulate them.
- Use thick Plastic or Shrink Wrap to create a “dual” pane window.
- Use heavy Curtains over the windows.
- Use Reflectex to insulate the windows. It's available in rolls.
Create A Storm Door
Shrink wrap the screen door. The result is a makeshift storm door. We love the outdoors, so this is a good way to keep the interior warm but still be able to look outside during the day. And it doesn’t affect the operation of the door or screen door.
Insulate the Vents
vent insulators are pillows designed to fill the open space inside the RV vent.
Skirt Your RV
RV skirts block the space below the RV. They are available premade. Or you can make the skirt yourself. In below-freezing weather, an RV skirt can keep plumbing and tanks from freezing.
Keeping The Plumbing Warm
RV plumbing freezing is a big concern when RVing in below-freezing weather.
Tank Heating Pads
Adding tank heating pads will keep tank contents warm enough to not freeze, but they need power. They operate on 12 volts. As long as the batteries stay charged, the tank heating pads will keep the tanks warm.
Plumbing, Pipes, and Fixtures
If not insulated and kept warm, RV pipes can freeze in freezing temperatures. Covering them with pipe insulation will solve the problem.
Keep Propane Tanks Protected
Propane tank valves can freeze in cold weather. Adding insulation in the tank housing will help keep them operating.
Heated Fresh Water Hose
Having a heated fresh water hose isn’t any help to those of us who dry camp. But they work great when staying at an RV park or a campground with water and power.
RVing in winter is a great experience. By taking a few simple steps, an RV is a nice and cozy winter home on wheels. And there are few things more enjoyable than enjoying a snowy day near a lake, stream, or open field.