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RVing in the Winter: Things to Remember

There’s a certain exhilaration that comes with camping and RVing during the winter months. Sub-zero temperatures are rarely a deterrent for hardened travellers, some even see it as a challenge.

Many RVs are outfitted for winter travel and there’s nothing like waking up in the morning to a fresh blanket of snow outside. However, there are risks and weather and fluctuating temperatures can wreak havoc on your RV. Here are a few ways to keep your RV camping trips warmer throughout the winter courtesy of campingcanada.com

  • To prevent holding tanks from freezing, buy electric heating panels. These panels are electrically powered (120v or 12v) and attach to the tank walls.

  • Fill any openings and cracks with a filler product such as Polycel or Monofoam. Pay particular attention to the floor especially around wires and plumbing pipes.

  • Install insulating foam tubes over inside plumbing pipes to prevent freezing.

  • Insulate your overhead bedroom roof vent(s) for the winter. To do so, fill the space (cavity) with foam insulation and keep the foam in place with a piece of ¼" veneer or cardboard.

  • Insulate light fixtures by pulling them off and stuffing the "holes" (behind each fixture) with insulation. Do the same for electrical outlets.

  • RV doors are generally poorly insulated and a prime heat loss area. To correct this, install a blanket over the door opening at night. Such a blanket can be made of a nylon-quilted material similar to a sleeping bag.

  • Close your blinds and drapes at dusk to keep the heat inside.

  • Always have enough bed quilting and winter clothing around so that everyone can easily live through a furnace failure even if stranded by weather for several days.

  • Park your RV in the sun whenever possible. You'll be amazed at how much a good winter sun can heat up your RV.

  • Park your RV on support boards. These boards should be approximately 10-12 inches wide, 3-4 feet long and 1 inch thick. These boards will prevent your RV tires from "sinking" when the ground thaws. Remember to also place smaller boards under your jacks.

  • If electricity is not a problem, use electric blankets at night to save on propane. Also, using a 1500-watt electric heater or 1500-watt ceramic mini heater will also save on propane and wear and tear of the furnace.

  • To help control humidity, leave Desiccant crystal moisture absorbers in several places. These crystals control mildew and can be purchased at RV dealerships or in most stores such as Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart or those with a household cleaning supplies department.

  • To keep your RV battery charged, consider getting a solar panel system or an inverter.

  • Skirting involves building an enclosure to insulate the underside of your RV. This enclosure can be made with fabric, plastic, vinyl, wood (OSB) or even metal sheets. As an insulating agent, you can use 4'x8' sheets of Styrofoam cut to proper size so that they fit tightly between the RV underside and the ground. This will help keep you and your floor warmer and as a bonus, it can lessen the chance of your grey and black tanks from freezing.

  • If you prefer to purchase a prefabricated skirt, check with your RV dealer.

  • Sewer hoses ( coiled plastic hoses ) were not made for Canadian winters. Replace yours with a 3" car heater blower hose (made of rubber and found at any auto parts store) or with a 3" PVC solid sewer pipe.

  • If you keep your sewer hose connected at all times, be sure it is placed and supported at a steep angle so all residue runs down.

  • To prevent excess moisture inside your RV during cold days, leave at least one roof vent slightly open (about ½"-1") at all times.

  • Always leave a water tap open slightly to prevent water from freezing in the pipes (keep an eye on your grey tank as it will fill more rapidly).

  • As a backup, keep a gallon or two of drinking water in your RV (plus a separate supply to flush the toilet) just in case.

Do you have any winter RVing tips we missed? Comment below or on our Facebook page and we’ll be sure to share them!

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