Everyone loves to camp during the warmer months of the year. But winter RV camping can be an amazing experience – and much quieter too. There’s rarely a crowd when camping in the winter months.
Soft blankets of snow cover the ground and create a canvas for wildlife activity that may not be as easy to spot when camouflaged by the greens, yellows and browns of the other three seasons. Trails you may have hiked before are transformed into new adventures in the winter. Activities like swimming are exchanged for sledding, snowshoeing, or even cross-country skiing. You may be a snowmobiler and enjoy winter camping while out on new trails.
Whatever the motivation for your winter RV camping, it’s important to know how to prepare for cold-weather camping. The snow-covered terrain may be beautiful and breathtaking, but being unprepared can result in troubles that can easily be avoided by planning ahead. Here are some tips to make your winter camping safe and enjoyable.
This may sound obvious, but keeping warm is essential to safe and enjoyable winter camping. So, just like keeping cool air inside during the warmer months, you want to trap warm air inside during the colder ones.
Winter RV camping tips actually start prior to camping to ensure your RV’s sealing and caulking hasn’t degraded and opened airways for your heat to escape. Performing an inspection of your RV prior to camping can help you determine if any of your caulking needs attention.
Even though RVs are built with insulation, some DIY campers like to improve their vehicle insulation. This is especially useful for cold-weather camping and foam insulation boards can be helpful for added insulation.
Another useful DIY insulation tip is using plastic film over the windows. Windows are a natural source of heat loss and the use of plastic is a neat RV owner hack to cheaply aid insulation.
Protect Your RV’s Plumbing
An important thing to remember is that pipes in an RV don’t have the thick walls your home does to separate them from the frigid temperatures. Protect your plumbing with another one of the most important winter RV camping tips – insulate your pipes. Pipe wrap or insulation can go a long way in keeping your pipes safe from freezing.
Depending on your camping location or whether you are dry camping can determine your power source. If you know you’ll be hooked up to power for your stay, you can even invest in electronic pipe heaters to be sure your pipes stay warm and safe from freezing.
Remember that all liquids can freeze, so you will also want to add some RV antifreeze to your black/gray water tanks to protect them as well.
Heated water hoses are also available for RV owners. They’re more expensive than regular hoses, but less expensive than a surprise freeze or burst pipe. If you plan to make winter RV camping part of your regular camping experience, heated hoses may be a very worthwhile investment.
RV skirting also helps insulate the underside of your RV. This added protection adds a buffer between the frigid temps outside and the pipes and flooring of your RV. If you haven’t prepared ahead of time with RV skirting, in a pinch you can even shovel snow around the base of your RV to create a snow skirt. It isn’t ideal, but it will insulate the space under your RV like an igloo to help keep you warm.
Bring Appropriate Attire
Many RVs have all the amenities of home. However, unlike your home, your RV isn’t as sturdy and well-insulated – even if you’ve added extra insulation. Heat naturally escapes more quickly from your RV. Also, unlike power supplies to your home, propane and battery power can run out so it’s not efficient to use electronics and propane heating to keep your vehicle warm all the time.
To conserve energy, heat your vehicle only when necessary. If you are out and about enjoying the wonderland of winter, the heat can be turned down. The recommended temperature to keep pipes from freezing is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When you return, raise the temp to warm it up inside. Space heaters can also bring the temperature up in a jiffy.
If you plan to camp for a while, you’ll be better off dressing in layers and bringing plenty of extra clothes or blankets to keep warm. The warmer you keep yourself and your core, the less energy you’ll need to expend warming the air around you.
Most importantly, don’t forget to pack extra in case your clothes get wet. If you’re out enjoying the beautiful snow-covered parks or forests, it is guaranteed to happen! You’ll want to be sure to change out of wet clothes as soon as you return. Wet and cold is a dangerous combination in sub-zero weather!
Winter camping, although fun, has some unique risks. In warmer weather you may encounter wet conditions and the possibility of getting stuck in muddy ruts. In frigid temps, icy or snow-covered paths can be difficult with a heavy motorhome or towing a large RV. You’ll want to be very aware of your surroundings and the terrain. Make sure not to park in valleys or down hills that may become impossible to travel back up overnight.
Winter RV Camping Tips for Day-to-Day Living
There are a few changes you can make during your daily routine to make the experience more enjoyable in addition to the major preparations for winter camping:
Keep the Doors Shut – It may seem obvious, but minimize your trips in and out of the RV. Every time you open the door, you’re letting cold air in and warm air out.
Keep Cabinets Open – Any cabinet with plumbing needs extra heat to flow through, this helps prevent freezing. If doors become tripping hazards, removing and storing them for the duration of your camping trip is an option.
Bring Extra Rugs – Rugs help insulate the floor of your RV and double as another place to absorb some moisture from melting snow when you come in from the outside. Thirsty, absorbent bath rugs such as non-skid memory foam rugs are great for entryways and for parking your wet shoes and boots on.
Pay Attention to Power – Heating an RV takes a lot of power in freezing weather. It also makes your battery work harder in your motorhome or tow vehicle. Conserve energy by lowering the thermostat, bundling up, and using space heaters to quickly warm only the areas of your RV that you are using.
Following basic winter RV camping tips can keep you warm, safe and having fun. You may enjoy winter camping so much that the “off” season becomes your “on” season!
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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