How to Set Up Your RV Campsite in Winter

Last updated on November 4th, 2019 at 01:36 pm. Originally published on October 30th, 2019

Cold weather RV camping? Follow these 6 tips for a stress-free winter RV camping trip.

A summertime RV trip is always a fun experience, but many RVers know a secret: a trip is just as exciting and fun during the winter months! An RV trip in the winter can be peaceful, beautiful and a unique experience worth trying. Winter RV camping can come with its own challenges, but we have some tips to make it easier.

Read on for six of our best RV winter camping tips and tricks to create the best winter RV:

  1. DIY the Best Insulated RV. An RV can quickly lose heat, and the cold air and wind of winter can actually damage vehicle components. The best solution is to insulate the RV in as many ways and places as possible before your winter RV camping trip. There are many areas within your RV that can let in cold air, but some of the best, most effective places to add extra insulation include
  • Windows and doors – weather stripping and caulk can be utilized, as well as window film, reflective foil and even heavy drapes or insulated curtains.
  • Floors – foam board flooring can be used as well as heavy rugs or carpets.
  • Vents – add a vent cover or cushion to prevent warm air from escaping.

Many RVs on the market have extra insulation, especially four-season rigs. But pair one with your own additional insulation measures and you’ll have the best insulated RV!

  1. Use RV Skirting for Winter RV Camping. Another effective way to create the best insulated RV is to utilize insulated RV skirting. RV skirting can stop wind from blowing underneath your rig, which sucks heat out and can cause water tanks to freeze. It keeps battery bays, plumbing and other important components protected from the cold temperatures.
  1. Focus on Plumbing. Just like at home, a frozen or burst pipe is a nightmare. Avoid a costly problem by focusing on your RV plumbing before your cold weather RV camping trip. You may want to consider draining your fresh water tank completely and bringing water for necessary instances such as brushing teeth or washing hands.

RV antifreeze is a must-have cold weather RV camping product. When purchasing RV antifreeze, remember that it will always be pink in color. Run it through your system and add it to each holding tank to protect valves and pipes from freezing a few weeks before your winter RV camping trip. You may also want to check out your owner’s manual before using RV antifreeze, as some RVs require a bypass kit or blow-out plug to stop antifreeze from entering the hot water tank. For more detailed information on using RV antifreeze, click here.

Here are some other plumbing tips for cold weather RV camping:

  • Be sure to keep the bay that holds your tanks above freezing. If you’re not using RV skirting (or even if you are!), you can purchase a mini space heater for extra assurance. Tank heaters can also be beneficial.
  • Insulate your water pipes with heat tape and insulate all pipes and connections.
  • Pay special attention to the black tank, as you don’t want that to freeze! Many RVers keep the tank closed until it needs to be dumped, but if you want to leave it hooked up, an extra layer of insulation is essential. Foam pipe insulation is an easy fix and can be picked up at a local hardware store. You should also consider using a PVC pipe for the sewer hose, as it has less of a chance of freezing than a regular hose.
  1. Check your Furnace. If most of your adventures have been during the warm months, you may not have used your furnace in a while! It’s important to check the system before your cold weather RV camping trip to ensure it’s working perfectly. Check vents for damage, run the system to ensure it heats up the space properly and clean it using compressed air or a soft brush. You may want to consider having your furnace inspected and serviced by a certified RV repair technician.

Don’t forget that heating your RV can add moisture to the air, which can cause damage to many components to your rig, as well as mold and mildew. If you’re running your furnace plus other heating methods, make sure to use a dehumidifier as well. Aim to keep your RV warm, but dry!

  1. Pack Specifically for Cold Weather RV Camping. It’s not just your rig that needs to be winterized before hitting the road – so will your bags! When it’s time to pack for your cold weather RV camping trip, ditch your shorts and trade them for cold weather items. Think about what kind of activities you’ll be doing on your winter RV camping trip and pack for them, making sure to include extra warm clothing, snow shoes or boots, gloves, hats and even a few space heaters and electric blankets.

If you’re planning on an extreme cold weather RV trip that includes camping outdoors in a tent, you’ll need even more warm clothing and blankets, plus you’ll want to invest in a cold-weather camping tent, a tent heater and one of the warmest sleeping bags on the market!

  1. RV in Winter Emergencies: Be Prepared. Every RV should be stocked with an emergency kit, but if you mostly take trips in the summer, add a few cold weather items to the kit before your cold weather RV camping trip. Some must-have items include:
  • Warm clothing, including socks, hats and gloves
  • Tire chains
  • Extra blankets
  • Cold weather sleeping bags
  • Blow dryer that can defrost tanks and pipes
  • Weather band radio
  • White gas camping stove
  • Gas powered generator
  • Drinking water
  • Extra food

A cold weather RV camping trip can be beautiful, peaceful and serene, but it’s important to have a warm, dry place to return to after a day spent enjoying the cold temperatures! Follow these tips to stay stress-free and warm when cold weather RV camping.

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