16 tips for using travel trailer in winter

16 tips for using travel trailer in winter

Last Updated on :

Winter camping is exciting and difficult at the same time. It comes with challenges and you need to be fully prepared. Having a motorhome like class A RV or class C gives great insulation during winter. Its easier to camp in such motorhomes during winter.

Travel trailer however, may not be as great during winter. You need to insulate them and make use of different tricks for winter camping.

In this article, I put forward multiple tips that one can use to live in a travel trailer during winter.

1. Use a Travel Trailer Skirt

skirting a travel trailer for sub zero temperature

First and foremost skirt the exterior of your trailer with insulated panels to prevent the cold air from cooling everything from underneath your RV. Wind blowing underneath can freeze the water tank and take all the heat out of the trailer.

RV skirt helps to protect the travel trailer from freezing and it also keeps the wind and excess cold out.

There are a variety of skirts available for different seasons. It will not only help in the protection but it will also keep the travel trailer warm and it is very important to stay warm during freezing cold.

The travel trailer skirt also reduces the effect of strong winds and provides more comfort.

2. Use Thermal Bags for Sleeping

One of the most important things that you have to take care during chilly winter is your body temperature. Your focus must be on staying as warm as possible. You should use thermal bags for sleeping because it will keep you warm.

Another point is that in winters, the most important body parts that you should prevent from cold are head and feet.

So to prevent your head from wind and cold, you should always purchase thermal bags that come with the hood. It will help in covering your head and the heat and energy loss from the body will be less.

3. Prevent Travel Trailer from Water

Even small amounts of water in the faucets, bends drains, elbows will freeze and cause them to crack or burst open. So you need to take care of your plumbing system. This can be done by filling all the water lines with non-toxic anti-freeze.

You can also use heat strips and wrap up your fresh water hose and sewer hose with it.

Water is the biggest enemy of you and your travel trailer or RV in winter. The moment you see mold in the walls, it is an indicator of water leakage. To prevent yourself from this, you should invest in a vent cover.

Vents are important but they can also elevate the heat loss from your travel trailer, however, it is better to use a vent cover to reduce the heat loss. With vent covers you can keep your vents open to keep the trailer dry in all the seasons without worrying about the snow or rain getting inside.

By using a vent cover, you will not only prevent condensation but it will also promote proper ventilation. You will also prevent the buildup of humidity in your travel trailer.

Installing a dehumidifier can help diminish the humidity buildup. A dehumidifier will reduce the levels of humidity and it will also help in keeping your RV moist free.

4. Insulate windows and floor

winter camping in travel trailer

Install insulation to keep your trailer warm in winter months. Insulation also prevents the cold winds from damaging the piping and sucking the heat out of the RV.

To keep your travel trailer warm, you must properly insulate the floor and windows. Check the seals and caulking around the windows. If missing or weak replace them to prevent cold air from coming in.

Our feet are very sensitive and are more prone to catch cold easily. It is not possible to wear shoes all the time inside the travel trailer, so to avoid the heat loss through feet, you must cover the floors.

You can put thermal curtains on the windows and for the floor, you can use rugs. Rugs will work as a barrier between your feet and the floor.

Rugs are very comfortable and you will feel amazing walking barefoot on them. It will also elevate the look of your travel trailer and will make it more elegant. Windows can also deplete the warmness of your travel trailer, if not sealed or insulated properly.

Foam installation boards are also a great way to reduce heat loss. Install these boards and use heavy thermal curtains to cover your windows. It will increase the temperature and will also help in maintaining it. You can uncover the curtains if the sun is bright to allow the natural sunlight inside.

Do not cover the exhaust tailpipe or any vents with any insulated panel. If snow gets accumulated in these areas remove it.

Read : Preparing your RV for winter

Insulate the RV underbelly or floor. Similarly makes sure walls, ceiling are properly insulated. During very cold climate when the temperature is falling even small air leaks can make it worst.

5. Make use of heater

You can also use a small space heater to prevent water lines and pump of your trailer from freezing. But do not keep your space heaters too close to your trailer’s components and vents.

It may also be helpful to install a small heater under your RV to prevent the grey and black tank from freezing.

When the tank is emptied add half a gallon of windshield cleaner to it. This will make purging the tank easier and also keep the waste from freezing. Don’t forget to add windshield cleaner after each dump.

6. Get a Smaller Travel Trailer or RV

If you are planning to spend a long time in the travel trailer, then getting smaller travel trailer can be a good idea.

The main reason for using a small travel trailer is that it will get warm easily. Smaller the size easier it is to maintain the warmth.

It is also better for campers who mostly do camping in the cold areas because it will require less energy to warm up the entire trailer and you will also save your expensive propane gas.

7. Use Oven

If you are cooking something, then make sure to use an oven. Using an oven or any stove will increase the heat levels and will provide warmth to the entire RV or travel trailer.

There are two benefits of using stoves and oven. The first one is that you will get tasty, warm food and the second one is that it will also work as an alternative heat source.

You should always try to consume foods that are high in fats. This will provide a warm feeling. Also, exercising is another great way to keep yourself warm.

Having discussed this tips not all travel trailer will have ovens. Bigger RVs like fifth wheel or class A RV get lots of appliances but travel trailer are modest and may not have many of the amenities.

8. Make use of Antifreeze

winterizing your travel trailer

Your RV and its components need special protection to withstand extremely cold conditions. Use antifreeze in your RV water plumbing system to keep it from freezing.

Engine block heaters warm up the engine and should be run for about 5 to 6 hours before you start it, especially if the temperature is below freezing.

9. Check RV furnace functioning

Before embarking upon another camping adventure make sure your RV’s furnace is in proper working condition.

Remove any dirt from your furnace using compressed air or a brush. Also, make sure that the furnace air return is not blocked.

Read : Troubleshooting RV furnace

You may also use space heaters and other additional heat sources but these can add moisture to the air which can damage your RV’s engine and other components.

10. Install Solar Panels

using solar panel in travel trailer

Using solar panels in RV for charging batteries is easy and you can do it without high cost. If you want to spend your winter without any difficulty, then you should invest in a solar panel. One good thing about advanced solar panels is that they get charged through UV rays even when the sun is not really out.

With the help of solar panels, you will be able to use electric heaters. By using electric heaters, you will save your expensive propane gas. You can also opt for an electric blanket, it is more efficient than an electric heater and it will keep you warm and save energy.

One thing that you have to keep in mind is before purchasing a solar panel, research well, otherwise you will waste your money.

There are two types of solar panels. The first one is polycrystalline, which is less expensive and 10% to 15% efficient approximately. The second one is monocrystalline which is more expensive in comparison to polycrystalline and 15% to 18% efficient approximately.

Well, both are almost the same except the efficiency level, you won’t see much difference. One benefit of monocrystalline panels is that they are more flexible, which means you don’t need to put effort into drilling holes to install them.

11. Keep RV batteries charged and ready

Check your batteries for corrosion and make sure they are properly charged and connected. Partly charged batteries can die out in cold temperatures. Testing and monitoring the batteries regularly will help in keeping them in proper shape and charged.

You definitely need good batteries for RVing. Keeping batteries charged and ready is necessary specially when you don’t have electricity connection points.

12. Insulate AC with cover

Cover your AC unit with an insulated cover as you won’t be running it in the winter. Insulated AC cover will protect your AC when not in use.

13. Be Active and do exercise

Suppose if the outside weather gets extremely chilly and nothing is working to prevent yourself from cold then the best thing that you should do is get up and exercise.

Well, you should not wait for the weather to get chilly to do exercise but you should do it regularly. You can do different bodyweight exercises to increase the temperature of your body.

14. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are functioning

Check the carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms for proper functioning. Test them and change their batteries before you head out on the road.

15. Make your Mindset and be prepared for urgency

staying warm in your rv in winter

Be prepared for any emergency as winter weather can be unpredictable. Pack an emergency kit that has all the things you would need to repair your trailer, in case your trailer freezes up or breaks down.

This is an important tip for using a travel trailer or any other RV in the winter. Despite having a lot of good features in a travel trailer, it cannot give you every comfort as your house.

You will have to do some sacrifices but the most important thing is your mindset. You will have to prepare yourself mentally. Be ready to face with cold conditions which might make you uncomfortable. So a strong will power is a thing that you will need the most.

16. Get enough winter clothing and insulation material

Lastly, prepare for your winter adventure by packing several different layers made of insulating and breathable materials like wool and fleece. Keep waterproof outer layers like a winter coat or jacket that can protect you against snow and freezing rain.

Bring a few warm hats, socks and gloves also. Take electric blankets and sleeping bags for extra comfort during cold winter nights.

Lets see some other dos and donts of winter camping in travel trailer or camper. These tips will help keep your camper warm in the winter.

  1. Choose a Rving region that isn’t extreme cold. An adventure is amazing but make sure you aren’t seeing something very extreme. Very heavy snow can cause much more damage than you can imagine. So just be sure about the weather in advance.
  2. Do not open the main door too often. Keep its use to minimal. Frequently opening the door will obviously allow the heat to escape.
  3. Make use of heated water hose
  4. Keep your RV pipes and other plumbing systems from freezing. You can insulate them or make use of a heat source to keep them from freezing.
  5. Stay active and keep your body as warm as possible
  6. Make sure water hoses are stored with water in them. This will freeze them.


Summer and spring are most suited for Rving but winter can be more exciting provided you follow all the tips. Travel trailer can make your Rving experience amazing during winter if you keep it insulated and warm. No matter what RV you get for living in the winter make sure to enjoy.

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