9 Tips for Winter RV Living
January 28, 2019
Living in your RV during the winter has many advantages, like fewer people on the road (and at campsites), access to gorgeous snowy vistas, and activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The trick is to be able to enjoy the pleasures of winter while you stay safe on the road and warm inside the living space of your recreational vehicle. If you have winter travels ahead of you, we have some reminders for how to stay safe and cozy inside your RV after a fun day in the snow.
- Plan ahead. Though you certainly can boondock in the winter, most experienced RVers and campers find it more convenient—not to mention enjoyable—to stay in parks with hook-ups. However, not all RV parks stay open throughout the winter, so be sure to check your destination and make a reservation, if necessary.
- Winterize. RV travel in the cold and snowy weather requires extra care. Check your tires for wear and replace or repair as necessary. Check your owner’s manual (Dutchmen owners can find theirs right here) for advice on how to winterize an RV properly, with specifics for your model, including adding appropriate fluids to prevent lines from freezing.
- Invest in warm bedding. Heated blankets and mattress pads can make sleeping between the sheets more comfortable. You can also choose flannel sheets and layer blankets or quilts to trap air and keep you warmer over long nights and frosty mornings.
- Insulate openings. Keep the wintry winds at bay by covering potentially drafty areas like windows and doors. For windows, a layer of curtains will usually do the trick. But some people prefer covers you can attach with snaps or Velcro. Also, adding weather stripping to doors can work wonders.
- Add skirting. For those living fulltime in an RV in winter, temporary skirting around the outside of your rig helps reduce heat loss, insulating the floor and keeping the area under the RV from freezing when you’re camped. For Dutchmen owners, this problem is greatly mitigated as most units come with fully enclosed and insulated underbellies. If your campsite allows it and the ground isn’t frozen, embed the bottom of the skirting in the dirt or snow to seal off the cold air. However, make sure the skirting or snow doesn’t cover any of your exhaust vents or exhaust tailpipe, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Consider removable vent plugs. Ventilation replaces humid interior air with drier air from the outside. However, that drier air is also cold in the winter. You can insulate ceiling vents by cutting a piece of rigid insulation the size of the vent opening and securing it with duct tape, or with a cut-to-size piece of foam.
- Protect hoses from freezing. Consider using a heated water hose when connecting to the campground water supply. If not, keep a hair dryer handy to unfreeze hoses, and be sure to remove water from hoses before storing. You may also want to insulate interior pipes and install a holding tank heater.
- Use heaters safely. If your RV has a built-in heater, review the instruction manual carefully. Don’t use unvented heaters (like space heaters), the stove, or oven as heat sources because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And always, have a working fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector on board.
- Follow the sun. Whenever possible, park your RV in the sun during the day to take advantage of its warming rays while you can. Plus, you’ll be greeted by some pretty great sunrises.
Share your RV winter living and travel tips with us and other RVers on the Dutchmen Facebook page, where you’ll also find the latest RV news. And follow our Instagram account, @dutchmenrvcompany, for updates about our family of Dutchmen RV owners.