How To Safely Store Your RV

Safely storing an RV has broader concerns than just cold weather.  Most people may think about disconnecting the batteries, and flushing the waterlines, but there are other safety hazards that you need to consider when you’re thinking about the “when”, “where” and “how to” store your RV.  Theft and vandalism, rodent and insect infestations, water damage, and mold are also a threat to your RV and must be addressed in your storage strategy.  

To safely store an RV you’ll need to consider these three critical questions. 

  • “When should I store it?”
  • “Where should I store it?”  and
  • “How will I store it for maximum safety?” 

Each Situation is Unique

The perfect scenario would be to keep your RV in a private, heated, enclosed, garage on your property.  You could forgo winterizing and just keep it ready-to-go- so you could enjoy your RV year around. But most people don’t have that luxury.  Unfortunately, we do not all have that luxury. That is why it is important to have a plan when it comes time to store your RV for the winter. 

When Is the Right Time to Store Your RV

“When” to store your RV will depend on your location and your personal needs. For example, if you’re a hunter and need to use your RV for late fall hunting trips you’ll probably be storing your RV long after the first frost or possibly the first snow flurries cover the ground.  The “when” question will be determined by your needs and the weather in your location. Generally speaking, most people like to get their RVs into storage before the weather turns cold and snowy. 

Where is the Safest Place to Store an RV

“Where” you can safely store your RV will also depend on your unique circumstances. If you have space on your property, that might be an ideal place to store it, because you can check on the RV from time to time to reduce humidity, check for leaks, or sweep the snow off the roof. However, if you live in a location with extreme weather (deep snow, extremely low temperatures, strong winds, etc.) storing it in a storage facility might be safer than storing it uncovered on your property.  

Commercial Storage Facilities

Commercial storage facilities abound, and they provide all levels of services from inexpensive open outdoor storage lots, to secure, climate controlled indoor facilities with full concierge services.  Understandably, the costs of these various services vary widely.  It may cost more to store your RV in a secure indoor commercial storage facility but replacing damaged or stolen awnings, back up cameras, batteries and tires can easily cost thousands of dollars, increase the cost of your RV insurance, and be a huge hassle.  In the long run paying for secure storage may actually be a less expensive choice and it provides peace of mind about the security of your RV while it’s in storage. 

Should You Pause RV Insurance While It’s in Storage

Also, on this subject, many RV insurance policies allow for the policy to be paused while the RV is not in use but before you take advantage of that option you should consider what could happen to your RV while it’s in storage.  As mentioned above parts could be stripped off your RV, it could be vandalized, or seriously damaged by wind, ice, floods, hail, or other calamities.  If your insurance policy is paused when the damage occurs, those loses would not be covered.

Seasonal Campsite Provide an Alternative Storage Location

Regarding the question of where to store your RV, you have more choices than your driveway or a storage facility.  Many RV parks offer season spaces within their parks.  A seasonal RV campsite is an annual reservation which is paid by the month and thousands of RVs are stored in seasonal sites across the country.  The cost of a seasonal site would be comparable to a high-end commercial storage facility, but the advantage is you get to enjoy camping in your RV throughout the year.

In campgrounds that close for the winter, your RV would still need to be winterized for outdoor storage, but seasonal campsites are like having a vacation home or cabin.  As far as this being a safe place to store an RV it’s much more like having your RV in an unsecured open storage lot, than in an indoor secure facility.  RVs stored in seasonal sites are exposed to the elements and possibly to criminal misconduct so taking extra steps to secure it are necessary.  

Private RV Lots Can Be a Safer Storage Location

Finally, there is another option much like the seasonal rental sites mentioned above but in this case RV owners buy a lot (campsite) in an RV resort where they park their RV either part time or full time.  This option of “where” to store your RV may be safer because these resorts are typically occupied year around, and many of them have advanced security features to keep the RVs and their owners safe.  Many of these resorts are also located in the sun belt so parking your RV on a private lot that you own may not even require winterization, which can greatly reduce the hassle of storing your RV.   

Seasonal campsites provide a good option for RVers who want to enjoy their RV through the fall and winter months.

How To Store Your RV 

The “how” question regarding safely storing your RV must also take into consideration the damage that may occur from severe weather, theft, vandalism, rodents, and insect infestations. Whether you’re storing your RV on your property, in a campground, or in a storage facility, you should start by thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside and check for any defects or openings in the surface or seals. Small holes should be filled and weathered caulk should be resealed to eliminate leaks and to prevent pesky creatures from making your RV their new winter quarters.

Procedures for Storing an RV 

After cleaning the inside and outside of the RV be sure to remove all food from the refrigerator and cupboards then turn the appliances off and prop the refrigerator and cupboard doors open. Remove paper products, like Kleenex or paper towels because rodents love these materials for building nests. Remove the propane tank if possible (the smell of propane attracts rodents) and cap the propane line. Flush out all the water lines and tanks and add antifreeze to the tanks and water lines to prevent freezing.  Make sure all your batteries are fully charged then disconnect the batteries from the RV.  Some RVs have a convenient disconnect switch or you may need to disconnect the cables at the batteries. Use Dri-Air pellets in your RV to reduce moisture and replace these throughout the storage period, as needed.  If you have covered roof vents with screens leaving the vents open helps air to circulate throughout the RV reducing humidity, mold, and offensive odors. 

After you have finished all the inside storage prep, lift the RV slightly and put it on blocks to prevent flat spots from forming on your tires.  Finally, cover your RV with a commercially available, fitted RV cover that is both breathable and provides access to the RV so you can periodically check for mold, leaks, or rodents, and replace the Dri-Air pellets.  You can use mothballs or peppermint oil to deter animal pests and a security system to deter human pests. If you carefully consider the when, where, and how questions, and adhere to best practices, then you have the peace of mind that you have done all you can do, to safely store your RV.

About Peggy Dent

Peggy Dent is an author, writer and full-time RVer, currently traveling in the US and Canada. She's driven a motorhome more than 130,000 miles and learned the secrets, delights, and pitfalls of RVing through her own experiences. She shares her knowledge and insights in numerous RV industry publications. You can contact her through her website at