If you’ve ever been winter RVing, you know it can go very well or poorly, depending on your preparation.
No one wants to shiver through the night or have their water tanks freeze and crack. But how do you survive the cold?
We’ve got you covered with options to keep your motorhome warm and safe in the cold weather.
Let’s get started!
How To Survive Winter Weather RVing
John and Mercedes, known as the RV Odd Couple, run a YouTube page sharing their adventures living full-time in an RV. Their young daughter inspires them to keep their home as safe as possible.
First, the RV Odd Couple suggests buying a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Propane space heaters can be hazardous if not connected properly, and having a CO detector can literally save lives. Due to the dangers of propane heaters, they recommend an electric coil heater. The heaters may take a while to heat up, but once warm, they stay hot, which saves you energy.
John and Mercedes also worry about the outside of their RV. They disconnect any hoses to prevent freezes that could damage their home. The couple also keeps rock salt under their camper and uses it frequently to melt ice. This minimizes the possibility of a nasty fall.
These basic things could keep you and your RV safe. Let’s check out more tips for making the most of your next winter trip!
Pro Tip: Escape the cold and try camping in one of these 10 Best Free Campsites this Winter.
7 Tips For Surviving Winter Weather in Your RV
If you plan to take your RV out in the cold, winterizing it is essential. These seven tips will help you enjoy your trip and keep you safe and prevent damage to your RV.
#1 Protect Your Water Supply
Before heading out for your cold-weather trip, top off your freshwater tank. Most campgrounds turn off their water if the temperature dips below freezing. Coming prepared with a full tank of water should be your top priority.
Use a heated hose to prevent freezing if the water supply remains on. A frozen hose won’t just prevent water from flowing, but it could also damage your RV hookups. You can even make your own heated hose by wrapping a regular hose in electric heating tape.
#2 Ensure You Have Plenty of Propane
Depending on your rig, you may use propane to heat your RV, your water, and maybe even to cook your food. To truly enjoy your winter camping trip, you’ll want to top off your propane before heading out there.
Refilling propane on-site can be very costly. Make sure you have all that you need and then some extra too. Having a cold RV with no hot water is sure to spoil your trip – so come prepared!
#3 Keep the Critters Out
You may love to be warm and cozy in your RV. Mice and other critters would also enjoy coming in and warming up for a spell. Having small animals in your RV can make people and pets sick. They can get into and ruin food supplies and even chew through critical wiring.
Don’t let small animals ruin your experience! Keep your rig critter-free by sealing small openings with steel or brass wool.
#4 Dress Up Your Rig
You’ve probably seen an RV skirt if you’ve ever been to a campground in the cold. Campers typically don’t have amazing insulation. So skirting your rig will help prevent heat dissipation during winter RVing. Skirts also prevent snow from building up under your rig.
RV skirts can be made from various materials, like insulating foam or plastic. In 2020 a new invention, the AirSkirt, became available. This weatherproof, blow-up skirt takes about 30 minutes to set up and stores completely flat when you’re done using it.
Insulating your windows can also help keep the heat in your rig. This can be done with drapes or other window coverings, such as Reflectix. Keeping your RV covered up will help keep the cold out and the heat in for the most enjoyable experience.
With a heater running full-time, moisture can build up in your rug. Many RV owners unknowingly grow mold during the winter due to the excess humidity and cold. Luckily, this problem has an easy (and affordable) fix!
A dehumidifier can be picked up for under $50 from almost any home goods store. Moisture-absorbing packets can also be used to help get rid of excess moisture. Just remember, if you’ve got your heater running, have a plan to get rid of the extra humidity to keep your rig clean.
#6 Give Your Furnace a Hand
While your rig probably has its own heating mechanisms, you can lighten the load to help it be most efficient. Make sure not to leave any doors or windows open to keep the heat inside your camper. Some other popular tips for staying warm while winter RVing without excessively using your heater include wearing warm socks and using heated blankets inside.
Electric heaters can also give your furnace a hand. The RV Odd Couple emphasizes that if you use more than one heater, make sure they’re on separate circuits in your RV to prevent popping a breaker.
Pro Tip: Stay cozy with these 5 Ways to Heat Your RV This Winter.
#7 Protect Your Tanks and Sewer Line
Protecting your rig is our final tip to help you have the best winter RVing experience. A cracked tank, broken intake hose, or frozen sewer line can all cause an abrupt end to your trip.
Prevent your freshwater tank from freezing and cracking by purchasing tank heaters. Tank heaters look and work like giant heating pads. Additionally, don’t keep your rig connected to the water spigot even if using a heated hose. Other parts of the pipe may freeze, damaging your RV.
Add antifreeze to the waste-water plumbing to prevent the freezing and bursting of waste-water pipes. Do not add antifreeze where it might contaminate your freshwater supply!
Additionally, make sure you disconnect from the sewer. Reconnect and dump when needed, but staying connected increases the odds of bursting the sewage pipes.
Be Confident in Winter RVing With Our Tips
The tips we went over can help your next cold-weather trip go smoothly. Keep your mobile home cozy by adding some insulation and using a space heater. Full water and propane tanks can ensure you’re prepared for the trip. Stay disconnected from spigots and sewers to lessen the chances of pipes freezing. With proper preparation, winter RVing can truly be a delight.
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