7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Winter RV Camping Adventures
Many travelers dismiss the colder months for camping and believe it’s solely a sun-soaked summer activity. Yet there’s something magical about a landscape covered in snow, the stillness of a frosty morning, and the coziness of a warm RV.
While winter RV camping is growing in popularity, it also requires preparation, knowledge, and a dash of bravery. Here’s a complete guide to everything you need to know about winter RV camping.
Why Camp During Winter?
When many people think about camping, they imagine warm summer nights, campfires, and hiking under the sunlit sky. But there’s a hidden charm in winter camping. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider camping during the colder months:
Winter transforms familiar landscapes into new scenes with snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and forests blanketed in snow.
There are fewer crowds, as popular sites that are busy during the summer can be quiet and tranquil in the winter.
You can experience unique wildlife encounters that you wouldn’t otherwise see during other months of the year.
Other outdoor activities can be enjoyed during winter like snowboarding, ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Ultimately, winter camping isn’t just an activity. It’s all about the experience, the adventure, and the opportunity to try something new and unique.
Preparing for Winter RV Camping
Deciding to set out on a winter RV camping adventure is undeniably exciting! However, thorough preparation is necessary to ensure both a safer and more enjoyable trip. From your RV’s internal systems to your personal comfort, here are several essential steps to make sure you’re ready for your winter trip:
Protect Your RV’s Water System
Because you’ll be using your RV during colder weather, you won’t have your pipes, hoses, and tanks fully winterized. However, here are a few ways to protect your water system during colder months:
Invest in a heated water hose that won’t freeze like a traditional hose can.
Insulate exposed plumbing or water lines.
Keep your fresh water tank at least half full.
Use your furnace to keep some of the internal plumbing warm.
Consider using an electric tank heater that can be attached to your water tanks.
Monitor the temperature inside your RV to be sure it doesn’t go below freezing.
These steps can help you maintain a functional water system even during cold weather. This allows for a comfortable and hassle-free experience.
Insulate Your RV
Consider insulating your windows, vents, and the base of your RV if you plan to camp during the winter months. Use insulating foam boards or bubble wrap on windows to reduce heat loss. Also, consider vent cushions which can be placed on roof vents to prevent heat from escaping. Placing skirting around the base of your RV can help to block out cold air as well.
Choose the Right Heating System
As the temperatures dip, you’ll want to be sure your furnace is in good working order or that you have another heat source planned. Start by cleaning out the dust or debris on your furnace and check for proper ignition. Consider propane space heaters as additional heat sources, too. With propane usage, it’s important to always have a carbon monoxide detector available as well.
Pay Attention to Battery Care
Cold temps can drain battery life quickly, so make sure your RV battery is fully charged before heading out. Additionally, you can use a battery blanket or insulation to protect it from extreme cold.
Seal and Secure
Warm air can easily escape and cold air can make its way in if areas of your RV aren’t sealed correctly. Inspect doors, windows, and the RV's exterior for any cracks. Apply caulk or seals where necessary to prevent drafts. Additionally, secure or store loose items like awnings to protect them against harsh winter winds.
Stock Up on Supplies
Whatever time of year you decide to camp, you need to make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food and water. This is especially important during the winter months when you may find yourself in more remote areas. An emergency kit is also crucial. Include items like flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, first aid supplies, and any necessary medications.
Pack the Right Clothing
While your camper may stay warm and cozy, your entire trip will be more enjoyable if you pack the right clothing and gear. Consider wearing multiple layers to trap heat. Opt for moisture-wicking materials and avoid cotton which can hold moisture and reduce insulation. Also make sure you have waterproof boots, gloves, and jackets. Cold and wet is a combination to avoid.
Plan Your Route
Before you begin your adventure, make sure to double-check your route and where you plan to stay. Some campsites close during winter, so research to ensure your desired location is open and accessible. It’s also important to check weather forecasts before and during your trip. Stay informed about upcoming snow storms or severe weather and adjust your plans accordingly.
7 Tips for Winter RV Camping
As mentioned, winter camping in an RV is a unique experience. You also want to be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Here are seven tips that can help you make the most of your winter RV camping trip:
1. Pay Attention to Energy Consumption
With the furnace running and increased lighting usage due to shorter days, energy consumption can spike. If relying on batteries, monitor their charge closely and consider solar panels or a generator as backup.
2. Maximize Sun Exposure
When parking your RV, try to maximize exposure to the sun. Positioning your RV so that large windows face the sun can naturally help warm the interior during the day.
3. Stay Dry
Moisture can be an issue in cold weather, especially with the furnace running and people coming in and out. Invest in quality vent covers that allow for ventilation even during precipitation. Also, use moisture absorbers or dehumidifiers to manage condensation.
4. Remember, Safety First
Roads can be slippery. Make sure your RV’s brakes, tires, and all systems are in top shape. Carry tire chains and familiarize yourself with how to put them on. Additionally, campsites can get slippery due to ice. Use rock salt or sand around the entrance of your RV to provide better footing if need be.
5. Regularly Check Vents and Propane
Snow and ice can block exterior vents, so regularly check to make sure they remain clear for proper ventilation. Cold weather can also affect propane's efficiency. Keep tanks as full as possible and consider insulating them. Additionally, understand that in extremely cold conditions, propane might not provide the same level of power.
6. Keep a Flexible Itinerary
Winter weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared to adjust your plans based on weather conditions, road closures, or other unforeseen circumstances.
7. Stay Connected and Engage with Fellow Campers
Winter RV campers often form a tight-knit community, as there are fewer of them out there. Engaging with nearby campers can provide additional safety, shared resources, and, of course, great company.
Winter RV camping is as much about the journey as the destination. Embracing the season's challenges and enjoying its beauty can lead to some of the most memorable adventures. With these tips in hand, you’re set up for a successful winter camping experience.
The Value of Covered RV Storage During the Winter
With the right preparation and a spirit of adventure, your winter RV camping experience is sure to be both fun and memorable. As every adventure winds down, however, it’s important to think about the well-being of your vehicle.
Don’t leave your RV exposed to the harsh winter weather. You can find safe and convenient storage solutions at Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage. Reserve your long-term RV storage space today and give your RV the shelter and care it deserves.