Tag: camping tips

Here in Sylvania, Ohio, we’re no strangers to cold weather. “RV Season” often means clear roads and green woods, but to many, the real season starts when the snow hits and temperatures drop. If you’re new to the idea of cold weather RVing then it’s important you know the necessary preparations involved with making your RV winter-ready. It’s important to stay safe when cold weather RVing – read on to follow these critical tips!

Invest in RV Skirting

One of the best upgrades you can make to your RV for cold weather RVing is an RV skirt. If you’re not familiar, these are exactly what they sound like – a material that wraps around the base of your RV to keep out drafts from the underneath.

Sometimes referred to as “windskirting,” an RV skirt protects your RV during the cold, drafty days. The reason skirting is so important is that the underneath of your RV is easily the most significant area of heat loss throughout the entire vehicle. By creating extra insulation against the cold, you not only fight incoming drafts, you conserve the heat generated by your RV to reduce energy usage and keep the floors warmer for your feet!

RV skirts come in all types of connections, from basic buttoning to more advanced connections. But they all come with the same benefits:

  • Lower propane cost/usage
  • Help protect your water lines
  • Keep your RV warmer

If you plan to camp in the winter with your RV, an RV skirt is a no-brainer!

Be Prepared with a Heated Water Supply Line

Like a home, cold weather is most dangerous to your plumbing. While RV skirting can go a long way to help protecting your RV’s plumbing, it’s a good idea to invest in heated lines for your RV to make sure you never have to deal with the hassles of a frozen line.

Freezing pipes are a common problem for cold weather RVing. It’s not something to take lightly – from a functional view, it’s annoying, and from a maintenance view, it can be costly to repair plumbing to your RV following an ice burst!

Basic pipe wrap can be helpful, but when it’s well below freezing, these won’t be enough. Active heated hoses use some of your RV power to generate heat and keep the cold from leeching into your drinking water or otherwise. There are plenty of options out there for active heating supply lines, but if you have questions, we can help!

Insulate Your RV Underbelly

Another step you can take to capture heat in your RV and fight against the winter chill is to add some additional insulation to your RV underbelly. Because the underside of your RV is the most likely place to lose heat, adding some insulation will support RV skirts in reducing propane usage and generally making your RV safer and more comfortable to use for cold weather camping.

Fortunately, insulating your RV underbelly is a task that can be done easily and fairly inexpensively. One of the most common ways to bulk up underbelly insulation is with insulating foam boards available at nearly any local hardware store.

The actual installation will require some work underneath your RV, for sizing the cut of the board, making sure it fits snug against the underbelly (which can sometimes require removing and replacing some pipes) and screwing it in place.

Another solution that’s available is spray insulation. This type of insulation is sprayed from a can and foams up to not only add heat insulation, but protect your underbelly from moisture. Foam insulation can be easier to apply, but it’s a bit tricky to use for first timers. If you’re not familiar with it, you may want to leave it to a professional!

Be Careful with Space Heaters

Many cold weather RVing pros make use of space heaters to keep the interior of their RV warmer in specific areas or to make use of stored electricity versus propane heating. Most RVers would recommend having a small space heater if you plan to RV – they can make a huge difference in keeping you comfortable when the chill sets in!

However, you want to be careful when using your space heaters, as they can have some adverse effects for your RV. The biggest risk is when they stop the propane furnace from firing due to creating a warmer temperature in the RV than the rest of the RV is experiencing. While this may not seem like an issue if you’re comfy and warm inside, it is when your underbelly and other areas of the RV aren’t getting the heat they need!

So feel free to make use of your space heaters, but pay attention to the RV as a whole when you flip them on. It’s important not to trade immediate comfort for headaches when your underbelly plumbing starts to freeze, or the bedroom is ice cold after you’re done enjoying the common area.

Pack Warm Clothes

One mistake you could be making is putting all the responsibility of staying warm on your RV. While it’s true that your RV is a home away from home, you can make your trip easier to stay cozy on if you equip yourself for the weather. An extra few pieces of cold weather clothing can make all the difference and keep your RV from needing to work overtime.

It’s not unlike being energy-conscious in your home: keeping just the room you’re using warm is easier than keeping the whole house warm. Dressing in layers lets you conserve energy and is quicker to get your body warm than waiting for the whole RV to warm up.

On top of warmer clothes, you can look for more localized ways to keep the cold at bay like electric blankets or hand warming packets.

Pay Close Attention to Your Tires

Every RVer knows the importance of tire maintenance. As the only thing separating your RV from the ground, they’re critical for staying on the move and doing it safely. Of course, weather changes impact your tires, and when it comes to the winter, they can expose you slippery roads unlike any other season.

First and foremost, as the cold weather comes in, you need to keep an eye on tire pressure. As air volume changes due to the decrease in temperature, your tires are likely to lose some pressure. You’ll likely need to give them a quick boost of air before your next trip if you haven’t been maintaining them recently.

Next, you need to be prepared for snowy roads. Even if things look clear on your way out, that may not be the case on your way back home. Most RVs have tires suited for snowy roads, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in tire chains or similar devices to help keep traction on (or off) the road. Just make sure you know the laws about tire chains in any state you plan to travel!

Prevent Your Tanks from Freezing

Holding tanks are just as vulnerable as your pipes to winter freezing. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this:

Enclosed Tanks

Many modern RVs come with heated or enclosed holding tanks. If you plan to cold weather RV, you may want to mark this as a “must have” for your next purchase to ensure you’re ready to hit the campgrounds when the snow is falling.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze is another potential option for your holding tanks. Non-toxic antifreeze for RVs is a product that can be purchased at most RV supply stores. You can load a few quarts of this into your holding tanks to keep them safe against the cold weather. Just remember that over time, you’ll need to top off the antifreeze to keep it from being too diluted to work!

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 (419) 786-1126 

Connect with us on Social Media! 

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They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. However, there is such a thing as free RV camping. In fact, President Roosevelt called for the creation of free campgrounds on Federal lands when he addressed Congress in 1901. (Although at that time he wasn’t referring to RVs!)

Now commonly referred to as boondocking, camping free of charge is real, but it isn’t for everyone. Boondocking isn’t officially defined but the term stems from the expression “boondocks” that refers to a remote area. Overnight RV parking places such as truck stops, Wal-Mart parking lots, or campgrounds in which RV hookups aren’t available may not necessarily seem remote, but are all generally lumped into the boondocking category.

Hitting the open road with RV in tow can bring a sense of freedom as you explore new areas or simply get away from it all for a while. But even when you want to get away, you still want to be connected. There are several options for internet connection while you’re traveling. Researching the available choices and determining your needs before you set out is the best way to ensure you have the RV internet option that you need while you’re away from home.

What Are My RV Internet Options?

Cellular Data

Utilizing the data on your cellular phone is the simplest RV internet option to use. With cell phone plans generally comes a data plan which allows internet access. You can access the internet with 3G, 4G, 4GLTE, or now 5G connections, but be aware with older devices that, according to the FCC, mobile carriers are shutting down their older 3G and some 4G networks. So, even though using your cellular data works all over the nation, by the end of 2022 it will only work if you are on a more modern and supported network.

Even with all the network changes, most travelers find that cellular data is still the easiest way to stay connected when they are on the road. But if you aren’t like most travelers and you prefer dry camping in remote areas or boondocking deep into national parks, cellular data may not be a reliable way to stay connected. It only works when there are cell towers nearby, so if you are out in the middle of nature, you may find yourself disconnected if you’re relying only on cellular data.

Cost is another thing to keep in mind when determining whether using cellular data is the right RV internet option for your needs. If you don’t have an unlimited plan, paying for data – especially if you are off the beaten path – can get expensive. So, if you’re a full time RVer, you may want to consider some of the other options.

Satellite Internet for RVs

Satellite internet connects you to the web using satellites in space. It’s an RV internet option that, barring some environmental factors, means you have internet access anywhere on earth. There is initial setup involved with Satellite internet, but after that, you have access almost anywhere. In that way, it is similar to cellular data plans.

While cellular data plans may not have good signals if you aren’t near a tower, your satellite connection can be limited by things like storms and heavy tree cover which can impede the satellite signal from reaching your dish. So, you may have the ability to stay connected in more areas than cellular data but your signal can be lost abruptly plus you’ll have the costs associated with a monthly internet charge. If you’re one to do a lot of free camping, it can easily offset these charges.

Wired Cable Internet

The best connection is a wired connection. It is stable and reliable. For full-time RVers who stay parked in the same area most of the year there’s no better choice. Some campgrounds offer direct connections to wired internet so it feels just like your home connection. Go ahead, stream those movies, use your favorite apps or browse away, as long as the internet is live and you’re plugged in, you’ll be connected.

The drawback to this RV internet option is that you can’t take it with you. So, if you enjoy remote camping, this won’t be an option for you.

WiFi Internet

The most common RV internet option is public WiFi. Although there may be an extra charge for access, many campgrounds provide free WiFi as one of the amenities. Upon check-in you get your campsite number, a parking tag and the WiFi password; a few clicks later, you’re connected!

Sometimes the signal can be weak depending on how far you are from the WiFi source, so there’s a chance that your connection may be spotty. It’s a great RV internet option for those who regularly patronize campgrounds.

The downside to WiFi is, again, it requires you to be somewhere that it’s provided. The National Park Service offers free WiFi at many of their visitor centers and other locations. If you are staying at one of these National Parks but your campsite isn’t close enough to get service, you could grab your morning coffee and head down to the visitor center for an outdoorsy coffee shop internet café experience.

If you’re boondocking on public land, you’ll have to rely on one of the other RV internet options.

What RV Internet Option Is Best for Me?

There are lots of different RV internet options and the one that is right for you will depend your RV usage. In fact, having more than one option may be the best option if your camping habits change.

If you are on the move a lot and just need to check in on occasion, you may find that your needs are met between campground WiFi and cellular plans. Those on the other end of the spectrum who have a favorite spot they go and stay put, like full-time RVers, will likely benefit from a wired connection.

Then there are those who like to get back to nature and spend their time deep in the woods or remote reaches of parks. If you enjoy disbursed camping in remote areas but still love your gadgets, a satellite RV internet option is the way to go.

The great thing is that no matter what type of camper you are and what your RV usage is, there is an option – or combination of options – that will keep you connected to whatever degree you need so that you can enjoy your RVing to the fullest.

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 (419) 786-1126 

Connect with us on Social Media! 

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest