Camping in Winter Wonderland…Majestic or just plain CRAZY?
Really depends who you ask…
Rving in a Winter Wonderland has its challenges but 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 sub-zero temps can quickly turn into a night in a freezing meat locker. All is not lost, however! Thanks to the many whom pioneered cold weather RVing, we have tips to help you stay warm and dry on your next winter adventure.
Keep Yourself & Your R.V. Warm
Your RV, just like you…does not like being cold. 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. Whenever using space heaters, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 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:
- You can drain your fresh water tanks completely. 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 put it in the bay.
- Add a quart of special pink RV antifreeze (not the green type used in cars) to each tank.
- 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.
- 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!
Consider taking along these emergency items
- Tire chains
- Emergency kit
- Weather band radio
- Extra blankets
- Sleeping bags rated for zero degree temperatures
- 5 gallons of drinking water in heated storage space
- A “white gas” camping stove (one that doesn’t require propane)
- Gasoline powered generator
- Extra propane tanks
- Electric pipe heaters for below freezing temperatures. Note: you’ll need an electric
- hook-up or generator for this
- Blow dryer to defrost pipes and tanks
- Emergency GPS system
- Extra food
- Solar charging panels are good for re-charging house batteries
- Cash for unexpected fees or emergencies
If you think RVing is just for the summwintercampinger months, you’re not just mistaken. You’re missing out!
Camping in your RV in the winter time is one of the most unique vacation experiences you can imagine. From testing your skills on America’s finest ski slopes, finding beautiful solitude, to cuddling up on the couch with your sweetheart under your favorite toasty blanket, once you take a winter RV trip, you’ll be a total convert. (Good thing, too, since there are so many amazing destinations to see during the chilly season!)
One last tip: Keep in mind that not every RV park stays open throughout all four seasons, so be sure to call ahead and make plans before you set out to your favorite resort.
Happy Winter Season and Stay Warm