The Best Cold-Weather RVs for Extreme Cold

Last updated on December 17th, 2021 at 12:45 pm. Originally published on January 25th, 2021

Who says you have to put the RV way for the winter? As avid campers, we say keep up the camping all year round! There’s beauty to be found in all seasons, and there are benefits to camping in the winter months. These include nearly empty RV parks, winter sports, and a serenity that otherwise tends to disappear whenever camping season picks back up. 

Of course, there are some challenges that come along with winter camping. Staying warm in an RV can be difficult, and ensuring your water systems stays thawed is even more so.

Obviously, your winter RV camping is going to be much more enjoyable if you are able to keep warm and keep your water running. For this, you will need to invest in one of the few cold-weather RVs out there.

Travel trailer in the snow

The Best Extreme-Cold-Weather RVs

Not sure where to begin your search for the perfect cold-weather RV? Here are our recommendations. We’ve provided one for each RV type, so no matter what kind of RV you prefer, you’ll be able to stay nice and toasty during your winter camping adventures. 

Northwood Arctic Fox Travel Trailers

Our favorite bumper-pull travel trailers for extreme cold weather camping are the Northwood Arctic Fox Travel Trailers. The brand that makes these trailers is based in the mountains of Oregon, meaning the folks who design them know cold weather and how to deal with it. 

To keep campers warm, foam insulation is used in the walls and ceilings. Additionally, reflective foil insulation is used on the roof and slide out, an extra measure that can really increase comfort levels inside the RV. 

When it comes to protecting the water system, Arctic Fox trailers are on the ball. These RVs include insulated water lines, enclosed dump valves, and insulated and suspended holding tanks. 

Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels

Prefer a fifth wheel over a bumper-pull? If so, you should look into Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels. This is a very popular fifth wheel model, especially in the full-time community. Why? Because it handles extreme weather well. 

In fact, the manufacturer of Montana fifth wheels put their designs to the test by placing a Montana in a controlled test chamber where they lowered the temperature to a bone chilling -4°F. Believe it or not, the temperatures in the interior of the RV remained in the 70s and the plumbing system continued to function normally without any freezing!

Clearly, this fifth wheel is made to withstand extreme cold, and we can heartily recommend such a well-made rig.

Jayco Redhawk Class Cs

Those who prefer a drivable RV but don’t want a huge class A will likely turn to the smaller class C option. Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly easy to find a winter-friendly class C camper. That said, they are out there, and the Jayco Redhawk is definitely our top pick. 

This motorhome is surprisingly well insulated, especially in the roof where many RV manufacturers tend to skimp. Additionally, the RV comes standard with 12V holding tank heating pads, meaning your tanks will never freeze. On top of all this, the furnace on this rig is an awesome 31,000 BTU, meaning you should be able to keep warm even on the coldest nights. 

Newmar Dutch Star Class As

Finally, there is the class A category of cold-weather RVs. When it comes to choosing an excellent class A for winter trips, we have to recommend the Newmar Dutch Star motorhome. 

This luxury motorhome has a hydronic heating system that heats the coach in chilly weather and provides hot water on demand. Radiant floor heat keeps your feet nice and toasty even in the coldest weather, and this heat—combined with the built-in electric heating system—can keep you warm in most weather without using any fuel.

If you do go into extremely cold temperatures, you can use these two systems plus the diesel burner to keep things warm no matter how cold it gets. 

Of course, it also helps that Newmar builds top-notch rigs, meaning the Dutch Star is a well-insulated motorhome. This ensures that the heat produced by these systems is kept in the rig, keeping you comfortable throughout the winter. 

Fifth wheel in the snow
Image source: j2davis

Tips and Tricks for Winter Camping

Even with the very best cold-weather RVs, there are still things you might want to do in order to ensure you stay warm and that your RV doesn’t sustain any damage. 

Try these tips for winter RV camping:

Insulate Windows

Windows allow warm air to get out and cold air to get in. Prevent this by putting Reflectix in all windows during extreme weather. 

Use Space Heaters

Space heaters can be used in conjunction with your propane furnace to keep things extra warm, or instead of the furnace to save fuel. 

Install Tank Heating Pads

If you’re worried your tanks might freeze, consider installing tank heating pads. This is easy and inexpensive and might just save you a load of money. 

Consider RV Skirting

RV skirting can also help keep your plumbing from freezing. Using a skirt along with a small space heater under the rig is even more effective. 

Get Slide Toppers

Slide toppers can help hold heat in slide rooms where insulation tends to be poor. They can also help prevent slide leaks. 

Invest in a Heated Hose

A heated hose will ensure the water coming into your rig continues to flow even in the coldest of temperatures. 

Leave Tanks Closed

Leaving tank valves open can result in a frozen sewer hose and valves that won’t close. If you’re camping in below freezing temps, be sure you close the valves immediately after dumping the tanks. 

Run a Dehumidifier

Camping in cold weather can result in a lot of moisture buildup in the RV. This can lead to damage. Combat this problem by running a dehumidifier as often as possible. 

Use DampRid

DampRid can also help control excess moisture, especially in cabinets and other enclosed spaces where the dehumidifier may not do much good. 

As you can see, with the right RV, a few good tips, and a positive attitude, winter camping is totally possible and extremely fun. Not sure where to go on your winter RV adventure? We highly recommend these campgrounds. Need an RV to take camping this winter? We’ve got a great rental for you!

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