Although we have done our very best to get your RVs winterized (you can still book this service here), some of you are determined to continue your RV adventures into the cold months. We salute your adventurous spirit, AND we want you (and your RV friend) to be safe. Here are some tips to keep you warm in cold weather camping.
The easiest step to take – though not sufficient on its own as things get really cold – is to try to park your RV in the sun. Sure, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean the sun can’t do a fine job of keeping things a bit warmer. Make sure you close your blinds or drapes when the sun goes down, to keep as much of that solar heat inside your RV as possible. If you have solar panels, parking in the sun is especially important. The bright winter sun can still be effective at helping to power your unit, or at least keep your battery charged.
You also want to ensure you have lots of quilts, winter clothing, sleeping bags and warm things. If you have access to enough electricity, a space heater and electric blankets also go a long way to keeping you cozy when the weather outside is frightful. Of course, winter RV camping is best done with a well-maintained furnace, so check if your unit has one before committing.
Beyond those basic warming techniques, there are some things you want to do to ensure your RV doesn’t become damaged in the cold. The most important thing to do is to consider all of the ways you can insulate your RV against the low temperatures. Skirting helps to protect the underside of your RV, though be aware that it can also provide a warm home for rodents, so consider that if you plan to leave it on long term. If you have the room to store them, custom-cut pieces of thick Styrofoam that fit between the underside of your RV and the ground to help keep tanks insulated, as well as help to keep the floors inside a bit warmer.
Use structural foam to fill any openings in the floor around piping and wiring. There are foam tubes that you can use to help insulate the indoor sections of plumbing pipes.
Think about investing in storm windows, or at least using the plastic storm windows over your existing windows (the type that you heat shrink with a blow dryer). At night, hang a blanket or a sleeping bag over the door to prevent heat loss.
You may want to consider building an enclosure around your holding tanks, heated by 40-watt light bulbs and insulated with fiberglass batting. You can also buy heating panels for the tanks. Heat tape, crossed over itself, in the sewer hose, will also help to keep things from freezing, but you should consider replacing the plastic hosing with rubber or PVC pipes, as the plastic will be more easily damaged in the cold.
You may want to have your water system winterized and bring your drinking water with you. Otherwise you will have to insulate the system to keep it from freezing.
Winterize your fuel to keep it from freezing, and make sure you are taking care of your battery. Keep it charged with solar panels or an inverter, or at least start your engine periodically to keep it charged. Invest in an extra propane tank.
Lastly, consider that cold isn’t the only issue you need to be aware of – humidity is also your enemy. If you can run a humidifier, that is best. Otherwise, start collecting those silica packets that come with new shoes now! You can also use some old socks and cat litter to make some absorbent packages that can be left around windows.
If you follow all of these steps and come in to talk to us about the latest parts for winterizing your RV, you can enjoy your RV more of the year. Because as beautiful as summer camping is, there is a peaceful grace to winter camping that is truly extraordinary.