7 Do's and Don't's of RVing in Winter That You Need to Know

Are you ready to hit the winter roads? It's actually easier than you might think!

RVing during the winter months has a ton of benefits that you won't get during summer. Summer campsites are usually crowded and hard to get into. And you have to deal with heat and bugs. 

Fall and winter bring on crisper, cooler air. It's a refreshing experience to enjoy nature when it's not blazing hot outside. 

Before you plan your winter RV trip, do some preparation to make sure you're not left out in the cold. Here are 10 do's and don't's for RVing in winter.

1. Smaller is Better 

Consider buying or renting a smaller RV. It takes much less energy to heat a smaller RV. And you have less surface area to protect and insulate.

During the summer, you'll likely use electricity to keep your RV cool. And electricity is included in your camping fees if you're at a site with electrical hookups. But camping in the winter means you must bring your own heat source.

And propane can be expensive! So if you're planning to camp regularly during the winter months, a smaller RV might be the best way to go.

2. Invest in Good, Thermal Sleep Gear

During the days, you'll be out and about, exploring the winter landscape. So most of your heating needs will come at night.

Save yourself some money on propane by turning the heater down and bundling up while you sleep. Consider sleeping in thermal sleeping bags rated for colder weather. Then you can set your heater to a mild 50 degrees and still have a warm sleep.

Protect your head with a soft hat that covers your ears. Buy thermal pajamas to help hold in body heat. And wear thick socks to keep your tootsies toasty.

Also, purchase electric blankets. Although your campsite might not have free propane, you might still have an electric hookup. And a good electric blanket can take the edge off of a cold night.

3. Buy a Skirt

RV skirting wraps around the bottom of your RV to keep the undercarriage warm. This is a great way to conserve heat and keep pipes from freezing. If you're stationary, an RV skirt is a must-have winter item.

Even if you're mobile, you can get portable RV skirts that attach to the vehicle using velcro. They're customizable so you can get one that's an exact fit for your rig. And they come in a variety of different materials to work for any type of climate.

4. Control the Water, Inside and Out

The most important thing you need to do when you RV in the winter is keep water under control. 

Make sure pipes are insulated. Many RV pipes are inside the heated area of the rig. But some aren't and you need to know which ones aren't so you can cover them up. 

Wrap pipes with foam pipe insulation. Do this for your sewer hose too. A frozen sewer hose is more likely to break, which is bad news!

Only connect your sewer hose when you plan to dump your tank, not while your RV sits at the campsite. Once it's dumped, clean it with water and store it in an insulated area of the rig. This keeps it from freezing solid when it's not in use.

Dump the gray and black tanks before you embark on your trip. And add some RV-specific anti-freeze to the tanks to keep the valves from freezing. You can also buy small, electric tank warmers if you're planning to camp for an extended time in freezing weather.

Don't fill up your freshwater tank. Instead, use a heated water hose to run directly to the water hookups at the campsite. Or use bottled water if you don't have a water hookup. 

It's important to keep the inside of your RV warm too. Humid air makes you feel colder than dry air. Run a dehumidifier inside while you're in the rig to keep the air drier.

5. Insulation is Your Friend

If you don't have cold-weather windows in your RV, you might consider upgrading to dual panes. Or add insulated curtains or window panels to your gear. 

Buy special insulated panels to fit your RV. Or make your own with foil-backed insulation that you can buy at any home improvement store. Cut it to size for a perfect fit and secure it with velcro to the windows. 

Before you travel, make sure your seams are sealed. Caulk all windows and doorframes. Cover fan vents with insulation or custom fan vent cushions.

6. Mind Your Propane

Propane is essential. One tank is likely to last only a day or two if it's really cold. Don't run out!

No really, don't get caught off guard. Make sure you're camping near a place where you can refill propane. Bring at least two tanks for your trip.

Test your furnace before you leave to make sure it's working. It's also a good idea to bring a spare electric heater or two in case you run out of propane. 

If you have an electrical hookup, run your propane heater at a lower temperature and run the electric heaters too. This saves you some propane. 

7. Bring Emergency Supplies

Every RV should have some basic emergency supplies. Stock up on blankets. And pack your warmest clothes, in case you do run out of propane.

Have some small, spare propane tanks and a camp stove so you can cook if your big tanks run dry. Bring fire starting supplies to make a campfire if necessary. And pack a blow drier in case you need to defrost frozen pipes. 

Keep plenty of bottled water in a heated area.

Become a Pro at RVing in Winter

Rving in winter is easy when you come prepared. And once you try it, you'll get hooked! It's an amazing experience!

Consider renting or buying a smaller RV. Invest in some thermal sleep gear to keep you warm at night and conserve propane. Remember that propane management is the key to successful winter RVing.

Insulate your rig for the best heat efficiency. Consider buying an RV skirt to insulate the underside of your RV. And control water by insulating pipes and using a heated water hose. 

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