How To Prepare For Winter RVing (RV Winter Camping Checklist)

How To Prepare For Winter RVing (RV Winter Camping Checklist)

Last Updated on :

Are you planning to go camping in RV during winter? You need to prepare an RV winter camping checklist to make sure that you don’t leave out anything important.

Winter RVing can be an invigorating experience that you may want to try at least once in your life. However, it entails careful planning to keep you and your family safe and to ensure that you are going to have a wonderful winter camping experience.

Checklist For Winter Camping In RV

Here is a complete checklist, things or items that you should pack before starting the trip. We generally do it few days earlier and follow a printed checklist.

Remember its not only about packing things inside the RV, winter camping needs specially preparation. Your RV need to be able to keep you comfortable during freezing temperature. We will see all those things after the checklist of items to carry. Read on!

1. Bed and Bath

  • Bedding and pillows
  • Germicidal hand soap
  • Towels
  • Toilet essentials (bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.)
  • Toiletry kit (razor, nail clippers, deodorant, lip balm, etc.)
  • Sleep aids
  • Extra sleeping bag for cold weather
  • Feet and hand warmers

2. Personal Items and Clothing

  • Several pairs of thick socks
  • Snow hat
  • Facemask
  • Gloves
  • Mittens
  • Sweatshirts and shirts for layering
  • Clothes for cold weather
  • Long underwear
  • Boots or snowshoes
  • Raincoat
  • Warm coat
  • Underclothing

3. Personal Hygiene and Safety

  • Skincare essentials
  • Hair necessities (comb, brush, etc.)
  • First aid kit, prescription drugs, anti-allergy, etc.
  • Laundry essentials (wash bag, detergent, etc.)
  • Teeth essentials
  • 70 percent rubbing alcohol
  • Wet wipes

4. Lights

  • Gas-operated and battery-operated lanterns
  • Extra propane
  • Extra mantels
  • Batteries
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight

5. To Keep You Hydrated

  • Water
  • Water purifier
  • Insulator for water

6. Meal Preparation

  • Foods that last for a long time
  • Snacks
  • Hot drinks
  • Matches and lighter
  • Grill
  • Charcoal
  • Pots and pans
  • Bowls
  • Spoons and forks
  • Potholder
  • Coffee filters
  • Seasonings
  • Condiments
  • Utensils
  • Knives
  • Chopping board
  • Ice chest
  • Stove
  • Hot pads

7. Trailer or RV Needs

  • Extra fuel
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road flares
  • Assistance equipment
  • Jack
  • Spare tire
  • Tools

8. Other Essentials

  • Rope
  • Whistle
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Ax
  • Duct tape
  • GPS
  • Energy bars
  • Generator and gasoline
  • Cash
  • Chairs
  • Umbrella
  • Extension cord

Few important tips to keep in mind when camping

Some people might deter you from experiencing winter camping and tell you that it involves all life-threatening elements. All people face life-threatening elements every day, but it did not stop them from going to work, trying different activities, and others. All you need is to do everything with caution.

Take note of the following:

  • Never go to a camping site alone in extreme weather conditions.
  • Make sure to bring along some change of clothing.
  • Don’t wear cotton clothing. Cotton does not provide extra warmth during cold days, unlike wool or thick fabrics.
  • You may develop frostbite when your extremities are wet so make sure to keep them dry.
  • Cover your head with a hat when sleeping. Much of your body heat slips out from you through the head.
  • The RV winter camping checklist can help you prepare everything you need for the trip and to make sure that you don’t leave out anything.
  • Add lemonade or hydrating drink to your water. The sugar can help prevent the water from freezing until it gets really cold.
  • You can use coffee filters to strain dirt from melting snow before boiling it and keeping it in a jug as drinking water.

Insulating the RV

camping in rv during winter guide

You need to prepare your camper for the cold condition and ensure that you can be warm inside during your winter camping. A well-insulated RV can keep you and your family warm and make your stay in your camping site more comfortable.

To make sure that your camper is insulated properly, here are the things that you need to do to prepare your RV for winter camping:

  1. Seal the doors and windows of your RV.

Check the seals and caulking of your camper’s windows and replace the ones that are weak or missing. You also need to change the weather stripping of your exterior doors to stop cold moisture or air from getting inside your RV.

  1. Put window covering.

Reflective foil and window film are effective and economical ways of giving your RV windows further insulation. You may cut the reflective foil to fit the windows of your camper. It also provides an added bonus of reflecting the heat back to your RV.

  1. Put heavy drapes around the windows of your RV.

The thick fabric can effectively block the cold drafts and keep the warm air circulating inside at night when it gets colder. This RV winter hack has worked for us very well. You may also use insulated curtains to create a border between the living space and the cockpit. It is easier to heat up a small space.

  1. Make sure to install the proper insulation to your RV floor.

You can use foam boards to insulate the floor of your RV. You may also use heavy carpets or rugs to block the chilly air from the floor.

  1. Put RV skirting.

The cold wind blowing beneath your RV may suck heat out and freeze your water tanks. Installing RV skirting can help prevent damaging and chilling the components of your vehicle and its interior.

  1. Sealing up the windows to keep cold air out is not enough.

You still need to have adequate heat source even if you already sealed your vents and windows. Have a built-in forced-air furnace as your main source of heat. You may also choose to have oil-filled electric heaters.

Protect Plumbing System

protecting rv pipes from freezing

You need to protect the plumbing of your RV from damage to keep your water flowing. These tips can help you with that:

Use heat tape around your hose and pipes.

You need to wrap heat tape around your sewer hose and freshwater hose to keep them warm and avoid freezing. Put heat tape around the connections and valves that are most likely to freeze up. You may also put foam insulation aside from heat tape for added protection. Here are some tips to save RV pipes from freezing.

Keep your internal plumbing warm.

You need to open the cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom so that the heating in your RV can warm even the internal plumbing.

Make use of your internal freshwater tank.

Fill your internal tank for fresh water as your main source of water instead of connecting to the external sources of water.

Take advantage of a space heater.

If the water pump and water lines of your RV have no heat source protecting them, you can use a small space heater to provide the needed warmth. Make sure to put the small space heater at a safe distance to prevent destroying the vents and components of your RV.

Use antifreeze.

You can protect the valves from freezing when you add some antifreeze in holding tanks.

Dump tanks only when they are full.

To reduce the risk of freezing, you only need to dump tanks when they are already full. You also need to keep the valves closed if not in use.

The cold air can freeze the holding tanks.

Consider using a holding tank heater to keep the content of your holding tanks from freezing. The heater is similar to electric blankets.

Occasional winter campers may add non-toxic RV antifreeze in the tanks via the P-traps. Some RV users recommend adding rock salt to the tank, but the salt can cause corrosion to some parts of the metal.

A steady supply of fresh water through the duration of your stay.

You need to have a steady supply of fresh water during your stay and beyond. You never know when a storm might suddenly hit your camping site and force you to have an extended stay.

If you connect to the water spigot of the campgrounds, your hose may freeze. You can use the electrically-heated RV hose instead of the usual one.

Preparing RV Appliances

It is essential to come fully prepared for your winter camping to avoid trouble that you can avoid easily. Take a look at these problems and know what you can do to avoid them.

The cold surroundings can affect the proper functioning of your refrigerator.

At some point, the extremely cold air surrounding you may soon affect the performance of your refrigerator. To prevent this, you may obscure the first top two or three slots of the vent of the access door of the exterior refrigerator to keep the cold air away from its back.

One can also employ a winter kit specially made for refrigerator. If you own a Narcold refrigerator then do check you their winter kit. Its kind of a heating system that will protect the refrigerator. But, that may not be sufficient if you are in those sub freezing region where temperature goes below freezing.

Getting the Furnace Ready

Inspect the Intake and exhaust vents on the furnace. Any type of obstruction can affect the operation. Check the exhaust events for any incomplete combustion. Sign of such an issue is black powder like accumulation at the exhaust vent.

Incomplete combustion is the result of obstruction. So, make sure you are checking for any obstruction before the use. There are 4 steps into making sure you are prepared with your furnace for winter RV camping.

  • Cleaning the furnace as far as possible
  • Routing of the ductwork
  • Fresh air returning to the furnace
  • Proper DC voltage supply to the furnace

Be Ready With Propane

RV heating is mostly done using propane run furnace. And if you too are using propane then be sure to be ready with the supply. Get a extra propane tank just to make sure you wont run out of it. Or locate a refill station that’s near by so that you can quickly go there and refill when needed.

Campground can also have the propane refills so do check with them as well. Making sure you are using the propane with good efficient furnace can help you stay put longer. We make sure the furnace is running at peak efficiency.

For this, we make sure the RV is properly insulated. Doing regular maintenance of the furnace is important too. Any obstruction in furnace not only reduces the efficiency but also produces carbon monoxide.

Clearing Slide Out

Slide out can get covered with snow and you need to make sure its all cleared before retracting the slide. We have had hard time removing it many times. Answer to this is slide out topper. Slide out topper at the top can help in keeping free from snow.

You just ave to install it at the top and when its time you just remove the slide out topper and you are good to go. We have had many morning when significant amount of our time was wasted in getting it cleared.

Do not retract it with the snow lying there. A thing that we have learned is retracting the slide a night before the day we would be going back. That saves a bad morning for sure.

Staying Warm Inside the RV

staying warm in rv in winter

To stay warm inside the RV during winter, you need to make sure that there are no air leaks, and your RV is well-insulated. You also need to maintain your furnace and when it gets dark you must turn it down.

If you have a heat pump, you can use that instead of the furnace during extremely cold nights. Don’t forget to wear warm clothing and make sure that you are wearing your winter socks.

Have your electric blankets ready and arrange the rugs neatly so you can walk comfortably in your RV. Prepare a ceramic heater to give you the warmth you need whenever you need it most.

Prepare mugs of hot cocoa and cozy up with the whole family and enjoy your time together.

Always keep your RV winter camping checklist handy so you will never miss out any important item.

Staying Active

You may try different things, a good heater, insulation and all sort of things but for me staying active is much more important. A regular exercise will keep you warm.

A light exercise while inside the RV stays you active. Sipping in on hot coffee or any other beverage once a while will keep you body warm as well.

Stepping outside the RV when the temperature isn’t that low will also help. Its not the cold but how you adjust to it. Being there in the bed all time will make sure less active so be active and enjoy the winter.

In Conclusion

RVing in winter can be enriching and a joy if all goes well. We have felt tired during winter when we started for the very first time. With experience we have learned it is more of a early preparation that keeps all things sorted out. Staying active is also key to successfully camping during winter. Following a checklist for packing also helps a lot.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
Close Menu