Keeping your RV – and yourself – Warm
It’s a camping mantra: Cold and wet is Bad…Warm and dry is Good. But, that doesn’t mean winter camping is off limits to RV owners.
Winter is generally not thought of as an ideal time to camp. But to those that close up the camper before the snow flies,
we think you might want to reconsider. Quiet, uncrowded campgrounds and premium parking spots with beautiful views of mountains, ski slopes, and the snow softly
falling on a forest of evergreens, are the PERECT time to camp in our book!
Sure, proper planning for the worst is a wise idea. So let’s get this out of the way to start; always have the following in your winter camping emergency kit:
• Tire chains (and make sure you still have good thread on your tires!)
• Weather band radio
• Extra blankets and or sleeping bags rated for sub zero temperatures
• Extra warm clothing (including socks!)
• 5 gallons of extra drinking water
• A “white gas” camping stove (one that does not require propane)
• Gasoline-powered generator
• Extra propane tanks
• Emergency GPS system
• Extra food
• Solar charging panels for re-charging house batteries and phones
• Cash for unexpected fees
Now that we’ve covered that – here are some other things you might want to think about…
Although many manufacturers claim that they have thermal packages that include extra insulation, know that it’s still not going to keep you warm enough in sub zero temps.
When camping in extreme cold – RV skirting is the answer! Applying skirting should also help to keep your battery and plumbing warmer, too. No skirt? Use snow – it’s a great insulator!
Vent covers are another great way to conserve heat in your RV.
Your major heat loss will occur through the windows. There are a myriad of ways to seal out the cold: bubble insulation, foam boards and thermal curtains are three favorites to cold weather warriors.
Keep them up on cloudy days and at night. Take them down or open them on sunny days.
The biggest concern in winter camping is water. Want to take the easy way out? Forget about filling your fresh water tank; bring bottled water for cooking, cleaning
and teeth brushing. Or get yourself a heated hose. Beyond that, here are some dos and don’ts taken from RVshare.com:
• The bay that holds your water tanks must always be above 32 degrees. Space heaters work well to make sure you don’t freeze up.
• Use antifreeze in the toilets, drains and gray/black water tanks.
• Buy a tank heater, if you don’t have one. Like they say in the commercials, “You’re worth it!”
• Insulate your pipes with heat tape.
• Never, EVER allow your black tank to freeze! Use a PVC pipe instead of a regular hose for the sewer. And keep your tank closed until it needs to be dumped.
If you experience a frozen line, don’t panic. A few minutes with concentrated heat to the frozen pipes should do the trick. Heat guns work great for this, hair dryers
do, too. If your camper has water lines that run under the subfloor, outdoor propane heaters might help, if your rig is tall enough.
And, don’t forget to read your manual. It might tell you things that you never even though about. One such jewell of information might be that you should remember to drain and turn your water heater off while driving in freezing temperatures!
But, our favorite tip to keeping warm and cozy on a winter camping trip (other than to head south!): bring along a heated blanket!