If the first snowfall of the year usually spells the end of your RVing season, we’d like to arm you with the knowledge to get out and enjoy your RV year-round! Not just good for warm summer days by the lake; RVing at a ski hill can be an excellent winter getaway. When going on a day trip to an outdoor skating rink or heading out for a day of ice fishing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling, your RV can function as the perfect place to come in and warm up, have a snack or rest, and head back out.
Here are our 9 tips for short-term winter camping to keep your cold weather adventure cozy:
1. Know the forecast. A few degrees can change the amount of preparation or supplies needed, so always check the local weather forecast before you head out to avoid surprises.
2. Prepare your water system. The very last thing you want is water freezing in your plumbing lines or holding tank. So if the temperatures are near or below freezing, travel with your RV winterized. Before use, when the tanks are empty, pour half a jug of RV antifreeze down the sink drain to the grey tank, and the other half down the toilet to the black tank, to ensure the drain valves are protected from freezing.
Using drain valve lubricant will also assist at preventing ice buildup on your drain valves and gaskets. Available at most RV Care parts departments, it is a good idea for regular, ongoing usage, but even more important when using your RV in cooler weather.
If your site has hookups, invest in a heated, non-toxic, food grade water hose.
The age and make of your RV are going to play a big part in how easy it is to use your water system in the winter, so talk to your RV Care dealer about your specific model. It is important to know certain information, such as whether your holding tanks are insulated and/or heated, the insulation value of your RV and other related topics.
3. Keep your water lines warm. Leave your cupboard doors open to encourage the warm air from the furnace to get in and reach the water lines, preventing possible freezing.
4. Fix your weakest link. The weakest links in your water system are the outside shower, outside sink and the city water hookup. These areas are prone to freezing, so remedy this with the installation of valves that prevent water from reaching them. This can be a DIY project, or done by professionals.
5. Have back-up heat. Carry an electric space heater to supplement your furnace, and act as a back up in case you run out of propane. Electric blankets are also a great way to stay warm at night.
6. Reduce humidity. Expect that humidity will build up inside the RV, so open your vents or crack open a window to allow air circulation. Use your vent fans when cooking or showering, and employ dehumidifying crystals to soak up moisture in your RV.
7. Add vent cushions. We highly recommend equipping your RV with roof vent cushions, available at most RV Care stores. The inexpensive foam insulates your vents and prevents heat loss, making your ceiling more energy efficient.
8. Avoid using your water system all together. If you don’t want the added work that comes with using your water system, bring along jugs of water and a bin to place in the sink. Do remember to pour antifreeze down the drain if you think some water may have splashed in.
9. Re-winterize. Lastly, if you’ve used your water system, remember to re-winterize your RV when you are done.
If you want to try out winter RVing, but still have questions, talk to your local RV Care Dealer, they are truly a wealth of information!