Four Tips for Winter RVing

When winter sets in, it can put a damper on travel plans. When the weather turns cooler, many store their rigs for wintertime. For the open roaders, any month can seem like a good time to load up and drive off. For the lovers of snow and winter outdoor activities, the winter might seem like the prime time to do some winter rving. 

If you don’t want your traveling days to end with the end of fall, there are several RV parks that are open year-round. RV travel doesn’t have to stop just because the warm temperatures disappear. While its true that winter RVing does take a bit more prep work and a bit more planning, the open road can be just as magnificent in the cold months as it is during the summer. 

With a little hard work prior to heading out to a cold, snowy destination, there are some steps to take to prepare your RV for the harsh weather. Here are some tips to make prepping for winter RVing a breeze. 

Winterizing Outside the Rig

One of the lengthiest chores to prepare your RV for freezing temperatures is to use heat tape around the pipes. Locating the pipes and wrapping them according to the manufacturer’s instructions can be time consuming. But, once it’s done, it’s done. One less chore to cross off the list. 

Add a small amount of antifreeze to prevent freezing within the holding tanks. Its recommended to select the specialty RV antifreeze that is purple in color, instead of automotive versions that are green or orange. 

To avoid having to hook up to a water line at the RV park, be sure to fill your fresh water tank prior to starting out on your journey. This is a way to skip having your water hose freeze from being outside. 

Another tip is to purchase heated RV hoses. Research hoses that are specifically designed from the range of cold temps you will be experiencing during your trip. 

Make sure to use RV specific antifreeze when filling the reservoir.

Get Under the Hood

A few pointers for the healthy life of your engine:

  • Inspect batteries for any damage or corrosion. Make sure they are also fully charged. 
  • Check the antifreeze and fill it up with the proper balance of water and antifreeze. It is recommended that the ration of antifreeze to water is at least half antifreeze during the cold weather, if not more. 

It’s important to note you should always leave some amount of heat running continuously. It is easier to maintain a steady temperature than to always be trying to heat up a rig that is completely cooled off.

The next tip covers maintaining the warm air. One of the best ways to help ensure heat stays inside the rig, while the cold air remains outside is to install and upgrade your insulation. This includes a variety of steps, such as: 

  • Check windows and doors- Be sure the weatherstripping around these two areas is not torn or old. Replacing this as needed will help ensure drafts don’t sneak into your rig.
  • Purchasing a skylight cover is a great way to insulate the RV and can be used year-round.
  • Replace light window drapes with heavier, insulating drapes as this will also help block cold air.
  • Add a heavy rug or carpet runner on the floor as a blocking device.
  • Cover the Air conditioner units as this step will not only keep the cold out, but it will also protect the unit from the harsh winter conditions. 
  • Steel wool can be used to fill small openings. Not only will this help block cold air blasts from entering the RV, it will also help block small rodents (AKA mice) from entering the RV. 

You don’t have to give Winter RVing the cold shoulder, be prepared and have fun!

Condensation Removal Tips

This is an important tip, that will need to be repeated often. To prevent mildew and mold from building up, there are a few steps to take. The two main places that create condensation is the shower and the cooking area. It is recommended to run the roof vent fan, and that an RV roof vent cover is recommended to block snow or rain in while vent is open. 

After showering, consider using a squeegee to push excess water off the walls of the shower and down in the direction of the drain.

Convenient Take-Along Items

When prepping for winter RVing, first and foremost, an RV generator is a must. In the freezing temperatures and winter weather, lose of power is always a possibility. Be ready and show up prepared. Carry at least five extra gallons of water with you, in addition to a full freshwater tank. It’s a good idea to  have extra food, batteries and blankets on hand as well, in case of becoming snowed in or stalled somewhere.

Another item to bring along for extra comfort is a space heater or two. Keep in mind that space heaters use a lot of power, so depending on your amps of power, you might only be able to use one space heater. An electric blanket is a nice thing to have on hand. By ‘pre-heating’ the bed with the blanket, the bed will be toasty and in turn will demand less heat from space heater overnight.

Tire chains are an easy remedy to traction issues caused from snow and ice.

For the sake of an easy and safe drive, be sure to bring along a set of tire chains. While they help in snow, they are mandatory on a few mountain passes.

Emergency flares, jumper cables and a bag of sand are also important tools to carry during the winter months of travel. In case you were wondering, the bag of sand will come in handy if the tires stop moving and start spinning. Placing sand in front of the tires will give the traction necessary to keeping moving forward. A snow shovel is also a staple to travel with, in case some snow needs to be removed from around the tires.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to prepping for winter RVing. These tips should keep your RV running smoothly during your winter months of travel.

About Debra Pamplin

Since 2007, Debra Pamplin has worn her freelancing hat proudly. Though she has written about music and RV topics over the years, travel writing has always been her priority. Since the beginning of her career, she has had many articles published on a variety of topics. Websites such as USA Today Travel, Coldwell Banker and have published her stories. Her byline has appeared in numerous print publications and popular websites over the years.

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