RV Camping Guide

 

RV Winter Camping


How about full-time RV camping in the winter? Can it be done?

Absolutely! You can live in your RV in winter weather. You’ll need to take some extra steps and precautions, but camping even in below zero environments is doable.

Winter camping is not for everyone, so before you launch yourself into the winter wonderland, make sure you wouldn't prefer a snowbird winter down south.

For the hearty souls that don't mind a little ice and snow, go for it and enjoy the experience. The main thing is to be prepared.

Here are a few suggestions: 

Winter Fun In Colorado1. If you’ll be parked for several months in sub-zero temperatures it is advisable to put wide planks beneath your tires and jacks to prevent your rig from sinking as the ground thaws. 

2. In sub-zero climates, or even consistently below-freezing temperatures, it will be absolutely essential that you put skirting around the bottom of your trailer. If you don’t, you will have to probably tow your RV to Mexico and wait a week or two for those frozen blocks -  that used to your holding tanks – to thaw. If your tank is relatively full, there is an excellent chance that a hard freeze will rupture it. 

3. There are several possible ways to insulate the bottom of your trailer. First, you could construct a frame and attach insulation to the inside and outside of the frame. At a minimum, you could use 2 X 2 lumber and staple or screw on the best insulation you can get locally. Try to get the insulation slightly below ground level to prevent drafts. Seal all possible openings to prevent cold air seepage. You could also attach snaps to the bottom of your trailer and make a snap-on curtain from a heavy-duty waterproof material.  Buy enough loose fiberglass batting to fill the cavity beneath your trailer. Leave an empty spot beneath your holding tanks and put a heat lamp or high-wattage bulb to generate heat.  I wouldn’t advise putting an electric heater there because of the risk of fire and the fact that it will burn too much electricity. 

4. Remove all interior fixtures and stuff with insulation where it is missing. If temperatures are going to be well below zero, you will want to either cut and install foam insulation board over windows, vents and doors, or make some type of insulated blanket and attach over them. Tape up seams along windows and vents. You may want to leave one vent or window available to open for venting. 

5. You are going to have to deal with condensation. In freezing weather, you can find a sheet of ice on your walls and ceiling. Since this is probably not a good thing, you may think about getting a dehumidifier to ease the problem. 

6. Go to your local discount or hardware store and buy electrical heat tape designed to be wrapper around water hoses. This will help keep your water hose from freezing. Be certain that your inlet to the trailer and also the outside water faucet are wrapped with the heating tape. If you leave the heating tape thermostat hanging outside and don’t wrap it, you will get a continuous source of heat to help prevent freezing. Add a couple of layers of insulation over the heating tape and then wrap with a plastic sheeting to waterproof. Finally, secure all of this with overlapping wraps of tape.  

7. Interior plumbing should be wrapped with insulation. Sometimes access to the pipes is impossible. In that case, where possible, place 40 watt bulbs along interior compartments by your plumbing. Put a couple of bulbs in the compartment with your dump valves. If you are using your freshwater holding tank instead of city water, make sure you put a bulb in the cabinet with your water pump. Otherwise, winterize your freshwater tank with the proper antifreeze an be certain that the solution is also in your water pump before turning it off.
 
8. Keep your gray and black-water valves closed until you are ready to dump. Gray water constantly allowed to drain will eventually form an ice dam in your sewer hose. As an alternative, you could also try insulating and wrap heat tape around your sewer hose if you want to leave the gray-water valve open. In any case, be absolutely certain that your sewer hose is at a steep angle where liquids drain rapidly and are not allowed to stand. 

9. Keep a couple of extra gallons of freshwater in containers in case all else fails and your waterlines freeze. Plan on enjoying inventing new ways to thaw your water pipes.

10. If you plan on using a catalytic heater it is mandatory that you provide a source of ventilation unless you want to risk dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

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