Image of RV parked for living in a camper in the winter, covered in snow

Tips for Living in a Camper in the Winter

Wintertime isn’t usually what comes to mind when someone mentions camping. But when temperatures drop and snow covers trees and bushes like thick frosting, there’s nothing like camping to experience all the beauty of wintertime and the activities that come with it. The freedom to camp year-round means you can experience a variety of climates, scenery, and you don’t always have to battle the crowds for a good campsite.

Protect Your Water

It’s no secret that freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on water lines. Even in a brick-and-mortar home frozen water pipes can burst. When you are living in a camper in the winter, taking special care to avoid frozen lines is just as important.

There are several solutions to combat frozen pipes but the best way to avoid a frozen RV water line is to have a heated water pipe or hose. This is by far the best option for avoiding frozen lines. Heated hoses for drinking water are pricier, but they are all inclusive and if you plan to do a lot of winter camping, well worth the investment. There is also heat tape and heat cables (sometimes called heat wraps). If you already have a hose and are looking for something economical, these alternate wrapping solutions can work to keep lines from freezing. Insulating your hose along with using a heat wrapping solution helps improve the effectiveness.

Something to remember when purchasing these heated hoses or heat wrap solutions: you get what you pay for! You may see two nearly identical hoses or heat tapes and one is much less expensive than the other. You’ll think you just got a great bargain until you realize you’re living in a camper in winter temperatures that get down to -40 or -50 degrees and your “bargain” is only rated to -20 degrees. Not a great deal in the long run.

Another thing you can do to help prevent liquids from freezing in the tanks is to keep in warm inside your RV. That doesn’t mean you need to crank up the heat and feel like you’re living in a sauna. But when you keep the temperatures above freezing on the interior of your RV, you are more likely to prevent freezing tanks from occurring.

Consider a Smaller RV

The larger your RV, the more space you have to keep warm. This also means more insulation is required. If you plan to do some winter camping, or are considering living in a camper in the winter, consider purchasing a smaller RV. Smaller size doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing amenities. Good things come in small packages and there are tons of benefits packed into many smaller RVs. One of the biggest benefits is that they are much easier to keep warm in the winter. On the flip side, they are also easier to keep cool in the summer!

If you already have a large RV and are accustomed to all the room, you may not be willing to give up those big RV benefits. Or you may have a large family that needs a larger RV. Whatever your reasons, when you have a large RV, one of the most efficient ways to warm your RV is by sectioning off areas of your interior with blankets. This will help you heat the areas you are using only when you are using them. Keeping just your usable space warm will help keep down heating costs.

You’ll still need more insulation with a larger RV, but if you can prioritize the areas above your tanks as your main areas of heated usable space, it creates a win-win because your tanks will be less likely to freeze.

Speaking of Insulation

Large or small, your RV will be equipped with stock insulation. For most camping situations the stock insulation is perfectly fine. But if you are living in a camper in the winter, the temperatures can be extremely cold. It’s a good idea to improve the insulation as much as your situation and resources allow.

This can mean adding aftermarket insulation to your entire RV to improve the heating efficiency. If you are watching your budget, there are also some basic insulation solutions. RV skirting is a great overall fix that not only insulates your entire RV by trapping warmer air in underneath your RV, but it helps keep cold air and frigid winds from blowing underneath. Simply blocking off windows is a big help when it comes to preventing heat loss. There are window insulation kits available, but many handy and rather ingenious ideas for using plexiglass, blankets and even bubble wrap are available as well. Resourcefulness is a great trait to have when you’re camping any time of year, but very handy when you’re camping in the winter.

Prepare Enough Propane

You may not be surprised that living in a camper in the winter can be tough on your heating system. Ensuring that you are stocked up with enough propane tanks to last for your entire trip is critical. Running out of propane when you’re camping in the winter isn’t a mere inconvenience. It can jeopardize your physical well-being along with your water tanks. So, be sure to stock at least one extra tank. That way if one tank runs out, you can still have heat while you refill the empty tank. This is especially important when you are camping in a location that doesn’t offer on-site propane fills.

Safe Driving is a Must

No matter how many times you’ve driven with your camper in the other three seasons, it is crucial to make sure you’re comfortable driving it on slick and snowy roads. If the roads are snowy or icy before you take a long trip away from home, take the chance to get out there and practice some driving. While any vehicle is difficult to maneuver through snow, towing a travel trailer or driving an RV take difficult driving to a whole new level. Something as routine as backing up can become quite an ordeal if you aren’t prepared.

Getting stuck in a snowbank is no one’s idea of a vacation, and even less fun when you’re towing an RV. Keeping tire chains on hand is a good idea and you’ll be extremely glad you have them should you ever need them. It’s important to know what the local laws are about tire chain usage. Even if you’re living in a camper in the winter, if you need to relocated and the road conditions are dangerous, tire chains can make all the difference.

While there are a few unique things to keep in mind when you are winter camping vs. other times of the year, there really isn’t anything that compares to it when you want to experience all the beauty of wintertime and the activities that come with it.

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871 

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