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With winter RVing there are two things to worry about. First, keeping the RV safe from winter damage and second, to be comfortable inside the RV.
Too much cold weather is harmful for your RVs component. Freezing temperatures can cause your RVs plumbing system to freeze and ultimately leak and damage.
Gaps, holes in RV can lead to cold and chilly air leaking inside. If the RVs components aren’t okay then obviously you will have to do the work outside to get it fixed and working.
This will mean your comfort will be compromised. Leaking air through gaps and holes will make it harder to keep your body warm.
In this article, we will see what you can do to overall keep the the travel trailer warm. This will include taking all the actions to protect the trailer from outside and then doing things internally to bring in the warmth.
Protecting the travel trailer externally
Take care of the underbelly of your RV, you cannot afford to have it exposed while you put all the insulation you can find in the market inside your RV cause it will only lessen the effect that you are hoping for.
Underbelly and skirting
You can either go for insulation by using spray foam or use a foil to keep the underbelly protected. Another idea is to skirt your RV because by doing so you can stop bitter winds from blowing underneath your camper.
You can get a skirt ideal for chilly weather – plywood, and foam boarding can be your top choice.
There is also an option where you can have your RV fitted with a skirt by a professional company that specializes and customizes RV skirting. This is another choice if you are going all out on expenses just to keep your camper warm.
Skirting your RV will protect your battery compartments, plumbing, and other significant components underneath your RV. Not doing so is a sure way of having these components covered in snow, and you will have bigger problems at hand.
Check for holes and gaps
Be wary though of rodents and other pests that may live underneath. Checking for holes is important. Adding traps and poisons below may address this issue.
There are also professional skirt installers who can do this job for you for a fee if you are willing to spend more to make sure that this task is done perfectly.
Taking care of Fresh Water tanks
If you are not keen on bringing water with you and would still like to use freshwater tanks in winter, you should make sure that the tanks will not be freezing anytime you need it.
There are space heaters available for purchase, and you can get an inexpensive one that can do the trick of keeping that side of your RV warm.
Using RV Antifreeze
RV antifreeze, on the other hand, is available for your plumbing and black tanks, you need to check though that you are buying the harmless antifreeze which you can just flush on the toilets and pour on the drains and nowhere else. Check out all the things you need to know about using RV antifreeze.
Do not forget to insulate any exposed pipes, and this will help further with keeping your pipes, plumbing system, and tanks from freezing over. There are multiple ways to protect your RV pipes from freezing apart from using antifreeze.
Insulating the Hose
Your hose will be at risk with falling temperature. You definitely don’t want to come outside to see what is wrong with your hose. One thing to do is to be make sure you use some kind of heating and cover the hose using insulation wherever it is exposed.
If you live one those areas where the mercury deeps too low and for long months then going for a hose that comes pre insulated is a good option. You get hoses that comes with insulation and heat cable that run through them to keep it safe from falling temperatures.
All these techniques will make sure your hose will be frost free and you wont be coming out to check on why the water isn’t available at the faucet.
Insulating the door of the water system bay or basement area
Protecting the box that stores your water filter, water pump and hose connection and other plumbing component is critical part of your preparation. The door could be the weakest link and you need to get some sort of insulation on the inside. Make every effort to get this fixed before heading for other things.
Some people also use space heater for this area. We haven’t tried this but have got positive responses for many people on this. Light bulb can also be used to keep the heat.
Black and Grey Tank Valve Insulation
Grey and black tanks also need to be protected. Having a frozen black and braking it down could creating a mess, you know what i mean. For this make sure you protect the valves of the black/grey tanks. You can use same approach of using heat cable or insulating with some sort of duct tape.
In bigger and high end RVs like fifth wheel or class A motorhome the valves would be better protected and you will not need much efforts. Even then its always better to be double sure on this.
Double check your door frame
Weather stripping around the door frame can be your solution to RV doors. Blanket or thick piece of cloth can also create a curtain like covering to your door. The thicker the cloth, or fabric you can find, the better it is.
Stairwell also gets too cold during winter. It will help if you cover it with a frigid foam or use a cover board to insulate that part of your RV. Another item you can use is a feather pillow to block that portion of your RV at night, where it is mostly cold. Frosty air can easily seep in via the stairwell.
Insulation is the key
Some RVs may need more insulation than other RVs because of the thinner walls, these RVs have, so the more you need to make sure you are insulating every area of your camper.
One choice of insulation is to have it insulated using a spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is a cheap option, and you can purchase it easily from any hardware. You can apply this to hollow spaces on camper flooring and the walls.
Foil Insulation is your other choice. It can keep heat from evaporating, and it can also protect the inside from the cold. Ask help from your hardware store if you are not a DIY person and look for blanket type foil insulation, which is easy to install and will not cost much to purchase.
Pay attention to the windows
There are many options on how to keep the cold breeze from seeping through your windows, one is by using shrink wrap inside and outside the glass window. This option is easy to install and will not take too much of your time to do.
Another option is using bubble wrap, which will serve as an insulation that can reduce heat loss by up to 50%.
For others who still want to see the sunlight while having protection from cold, vinyl is another option, but buy it on a roll if you are not keen on seeing creases when you place some on your glass window.
If you just like to have your windows covered during night time as it is dark anyway, using reflectix can be your option. It is not for those who love the sunlight, though, as it entirely insulates the sun’s reflection.
Be wary of slight gaps and windows that do not close as it should, use foam seal tape for these spaces as it will also stop the icy breeze from getting in.
Insulation around vents
The standard roof vent cover is used by many RV users as it reduces heat loss and reduces cold air from getting in and stopping snow and some rain from entering the RV.
There is an insulating foam vent cover that is available and will fit most of the standard sized vents of most RVs. These foams are removable.
However, if you have a non standard sized kind of RV vents, you can DIY vent insulation, just choose the right material to use and make sure that the size is right for the vent.
Insulating the floor
Heavy rugs and carpets can be your ally during winter as both help block the frosty air from making your floors cold. It feels cozy to stand on warm rugs than cold, freezing RV floors.
They can also use foam board flooring for your RV floors. Make sure you cover any holes in your flooring first because it will negate any insulation you are preparing if there are holes on the floor.
Using Furnace and Space heater
Having a good and efficient furnace inside is the best thing no doubt. The furnace will run on propane so you have to be careful on how much you will be consuming. RV furnace uses both propane and electricity. The propane is used to heat the system and the electricity runs the fan. It normally works on the forced air system.
We also use small space heaters that run on electric and that’s a very good option specially when you are connect to shore power.
Space heaters are the same ones that we normally use at home. These are compact and portable that provides for dry heating and runs with minimum noise. They will need more electricity and running them on shore power is recommended. One can also use generator to run them but not with the battery.
Electric heater are a great option as you don’t have to worry about the issue with propane furnace. Also, you get lots of options to choose from.
Maintain the heaters
The furnace should be kept clean and maintained at all times, so it is usable during winter. You cannot afford to have a squealing noise when you turn on the furnace just because you forgot to have the blower motor fixed. They also require it that you put on the lube to the bearings as needed.
An electric heater is another option to keep you warm inside your RV. An electric heater is your best option if you want to have a quick, warm fix in your vehicle as it heats up quickly. You can choose between infrared heaters, oil filled heaters, storage heaters, ceramic, and a space heater.
Electric box type heaters can do the trick, but do not put all your money on just purchasing a piece cause you need a few more to keep you warm inside your camper.
Do not leave the slide outs
Slide outs can also face the brunt of snow during winter. There is snow accumulation on top of the slide out, that if left for a long time, may create damage to your slide out. Removing snow regularly will keep it from any future damage.
Covering your entire RV will cause some humidity inside, plus body heat from the occupants. Not just from people, but from pets too. Body heat will produce moisture, and here is where condensation forms on cool surfaces because there is a presence of air moisture. Molds can thrive in this environment and may be a cause for health concerns.
You will need a dehumidifier to combat this problem. You can have these handy gadgets around so that condensation will be controlled. Another solution you can do is to provide ventilation whenever possible.
Time to enjoy your oven
This is the time you’ve been waiting for. Time to use your oven while camping outdoors. Summer is not the most ideal time to use the RV oven, but winter is.
There are fantastic meals you can come up with by using your oven and will complete your family bonding time.
Using your oven will generate heat at the same time while your family is waiting for the meal while the aroma of sumptuous smelling feast awaits.
It is not a splendid idea to keep your oven on as a heater for the whole RV because they are not made as an exchange for a space heater. Do not attempt to leave it on overnight.
Winter get up and blankets
After an interminable day of fun and bonding with your family, you are now ready for your warm blankets and a plush pillow and a long sleep.
Ensure that you have brought the right sleepwear for your winter camping. You cannot sleep at night wearing your summer sleepwear. Thick blankets can give you the best sleep, using a micro fiber blanket can help or an electric blanket if available.
An electric blanket is favored by many campers during winter because it is safe to use and has up to 10 hours of usage before it shuts off automatically. It is also not expensive to run as it only consumes little energy and available on battery operated types.
Another option is to have a heated mattress pad and can give you a warm surface while you sleep, some RVers use heated mattress pads instead of an electric blanket as it is more convenient for them. Campers just add layers of the comforter to keep the heat in.
Wear warm clothes
This is no brainier and you would naturally do i guess. Pack yourself multiple sweatshirt and pants that will protect your against the cold. Wear socks and do not walk on the floor barefoot.
I also use ear muffs that helps a lot. Another thing is too have cozy bedding. We prepare bed with multiple layered blankets, its a must. Nights are very cold and you would need extra protection.
One can also make use of sleeping bags that are normally meant for tent camping. These bags bring in great warmth and we have tried using them inside our travel trailer.
Small RV is better
Having a small space to heat will be better. A small rv is a good option for winter living. It will be more cozy and you wont need much propane to heat it. A small space heater too can work wonders.
If yo aren’t a big family then getting a small RV is a better option. A furnace can eat up the propane and having a big RV during winter can therefore be bad for your budget. If you are thinking to get a RV for next the winter season then definitely take this point into account.
To stay warm you also need to be active. Do not cover yourself in blanket on the bed all the time. This will tire you and wont keep you warm either. Staying active and exercise can actually make your warm even though the temperature haven’t risen up.
Make sure you stay active and also take good diet. Sip of a coffee or a hot chocolate once in a while. Hot soup or any other hot beverage can help you stay fresh and warm.
Apart from making sure you wear proper clothing do put on socks and slippers on the floor. Do light exercise inside the RV and also go outside whenever it is time. Don’t forget you need fresh air so when the weather is okay open up and get some fresh air.
Having fun in winter
There is no doubt winter can be much more fun than normal weather. If you are a winter sports enthusiast then RVing can bring in more joy than anything else. With RV, you have the freedom to settle down wherever you want with your camper.
There are a lot of things that goes into preparing your travel trailer for winter. A hundreds of things to worry about. But, with all the hustle and bustle around winter do not forget to go out and enjoy.
It is imperative to stay warm inside the RV if you want the comfort. And to stay warm the major effort has to be towards insulating the travel trailer as much as possible. The next step is to try all sorts of things to bring in the warmth.
Better Clothes, furnace will keep yourself warm and cozy. Winter camping in a travel trailer is amazing when you are comfortable and warm. Enjoy the winter RVing!