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Living in a truck camper during winter can be tough and filled with challenges. We have done that multiple times. There are a lot of things that we have learned during those camping seasons.
And, in this article will be sharing all the challenges that we have faced. Hang on. It’s not only the challenges that we will see but also all the good things that you can do during winter camping (what works with truck campers) .
Truck Campers aren’t like one of those big motorhomes. They are modest, compact and yet one can camp inside them during winter.
Keeping yourself warm can be tough
One of the biggest challenges during winter camping in truck camper is to keep yourself warm. It obviously will depend on where you live. Truck campers aren’t great in insulation and with snow falling, it will be much tougher. There are multiple ways to improve camper insulation though.
We have had some difficult times when we camped with our truck camper. Nights get more colder and if you don’t have sufficient heating solution then things get worse.
Unless you are hoked up to a campground shore power you will also have hard time managing power for heating the camper.
Batteries will drain much faster when you have a heater turned ON. You have to constantly check on temperature to make sure you aren’t going to see frozen pipes and tanks. Plumbing is at risk when the temperature goes below freezing point.
Lets see the things you can do to overcome this difficulties.
First, make sure you utilize the power cautiously. With no shore power, your batteries need to be there for you at night. Make sure you don’t have parasitic loads on the batteries. Charge them using your generator during the day time.
Limitations With Solar
We have solar on our camper that help charge the batteries, but the problem that we face during winter is sun wouldn’t come out much. I am sure many of you also face the same issue. Also, the solar panels can get covered with snow.
You need to make double efforts in getting it cleared else even with sun out, the solar wont provide for the battery charging
We do it all the time, climb up using the ladder and clear the snow.
Get Efficient Heater
Have a heater that is efficient enough. I would suggest to spend a little bit higher and get that quality one instead of saving on a cheaper one. Heater can eat into your power sources and therefore make sure you aren’t buying into something that will lead to higher power consumption.
Nights are much more colder and without good bedding it wont be possible to stay warm. Prepare a bedding that is much thicker. Make use of electric blanket. We normally make multi layer blanket bedding that keep us warm during night.
Condensation and Mold in winter
Have you ever seen water drops getting formed on the walls or ceiling of your RV? Well, that’s what is called as condensation. Truck camper just like other RVs are prone to condensation during winter.
Why It Happens : It happens due to the temperature difference between outside and inside of the RV. When you are continuously inside without much ventilation, condensation can start and result in water sticking all over the walls, on window glasses.
Also, Read : Pros and Cons of truck campers
Mold : Its important to wipe out such water immediately. If ignored, this can result in issues like mold. Mold can be very hard on RVs and you will face all sorts of problems. Smell, dirty looking walls and also health issue.
One can use a dehumidifier to absorb the moisture and keep the condensation away. Also, if you see the water forming anywhere inside the RV, immediately get it wiped.
Mold, condensation can also occur inside closet. This can obviously spoil your clothes. We sometimes keep the closet doors open when there is much difference in the temperature. Proper ventilation is the best solution but that may not always be possible, so do clear the water and make use of dehumidifier when possible.
Hard time in keeping the batteries charged
We already saw this point above. Batteries will be your power source when you don’t have shore power as source.
Running a generator during snow falling season can be tough. The issue with batteries is, you may have hard time keeping them charged.
With Normal RV batteries, you need to make sure they do not come down below 45%. Solar, as we already saw may not be always available due to limited sun exposure.
You have to keep monitoring the batteries to avoid discharged batteries. Here are some the common methods that can be used to monitor or test the batteries during winter.
Not having good battery charge is for me the biggest challenge while camping in a truck camper. You will have to sacrifice a lot. At times you may have to give up on many of your appliances. Heating may also be not possible all the time if your batteries aren’t holding much charge.
Power is by far the biggest issue in winter if you are camping at a location without shore power. But, with better usage and some adjustment you can do it.
Spending time outside is limited
If you are camping during snow and want to enjoy the outdoor then think one more time. We have seen this all the time. Winter snow, and you wont feel like going out. You will end up limiting yourself inside the RV.
No matter how active you are, living in a truck camper during winter chilly day will tire you. And as a result, you may loose the enthusiasm to go out. I am not saying this will happen to all. But, at least we have seen this. May be having a better RV with better heating can keep you warm and active.
So, with truck camper winter living can be tiring and therefore outdoor time spending will be reduced. Obviously it will depend on that day’s weather as well. We do outdoor activities and going out can be rewarding as you can enjoy the sports like snow boarding etc.
Your camper can get covered with snow
Depending on where you live, the snow can cover your camper fully. The roof will get thick snow covering and that can be very bad if left unattended for too long. You need to get on in there and remove it every time you see it.
This can become a lot of work for you. With chilly cold you will be as it is tired and extra work of getting at the roof and doing all the work will be too much.
I am just pointing out these things so that you have the right expectations. Its not going to be all activities and fun when you are camping out there in the middle during winter.
Snow accumulation can also cause damage to your roof. A thick layer of snow will mean your camper will become much more colder. Truck campers aren’t that great in insulation and therefore you will be more susceptible to issue resulting due to snow accumulation.
What to do : So, does that mean you should avoid winter camping in truck camper? Absolutely no.
Obviously, there will be difficulties but there are ways to deal with this. Have a attached ladder to your camper so that you can easily get on to it. Or have a portable ladder that can help you get to the roof when needed.
Keep tools that will come handy for this. Get a push broom with long handle, it wont hurt the roof as well. One can also make use of snow brush that are used for cars.
You need to be careful when dealing with roofs on the RVs. Similarly, you have to be careful if there are skylight or vents or ac installed. Roof caulking too can affected if you are not careful.
Too many things to be careful? Huh! But, its just for precaution else you may end up with issue that will be more painful and costlier to repair.
Removing the snow before travel is also important. Make sure you clear it as otherwise while traveling it may start falling and hit other vehicles or persons on the road.
Freezing cold and snow can result in issue that can stop water at your kitchen faucet or shower. This can happen when the water hose or pipes get affected due to cold. At times the pipes may get freeze and break, resulting in water leaks.
We have seen our water hose gets affected when its too cold and would not bring the water to the faucet or shower. Freezing cold for sure can cause water issues even when you are connected to campground water connection. One more problem to add. But, don’t worry, there is a solution.
How to protect hose and plumbing
What you need to do is prevent the hose from getting exposed to the cold. A heat tape or other type insulation can help it keep safe from extreme cold. You have to cover hose as much as possible. Same goes with other piping, whatever is exposed to the outside need to be protected with some sort of insulation. I recommend reading this article that discusses all the ways to prevent rv pipes from freezing.
We have seen Enough of challenges, now lets see whats works with truck campers in winter.
Can enjoy snow or winter Hobbies
Winter activities are amazing. We enjoy it a lot but as we saw already, you have to be ready to deal with all the hard work that comes with it. A lot of activities can enjoyed like snow boarding, skiing, ice skating.
Having a RV during this season is particularly great as you can travel and at the same time settle down for few days if needed.
With winter, its better if you stay a little longer at a particular location. This strategy helps as with winter cold all things slow down. Yo may want to rest for a day or extra hours with all the work and tiring.
So, its an advantage when you are camping in winter if you like winter or snow activities. Also, when you own a camper you can easily carry all the gear that you need for those fun activities.
With a hotel stay it may not be that easy to carry all the gear and RV gives you a lot of freedom as to how much time you want to spend at a location. At times, you may feel more tired and then you may wish to continue at the same location a little longer.
Can move to less colder region if needed
One of the cool things with RVs is you can easily move from place to place. In the winter, if you feel the region is way too colder then you can decide to move to a less coder region near by.
This has happened to us a lot times. Not only in winter but in summer too. If you don’t like the weather then change the location, find a place or region that’s lesser cold.
You can take hep from weather information and align yourself accordingly. After all that’s why you bought that truck camper isn’t it? You can relocate and change the places easily.
Truck camper is easy to drive in winter
I have driven different types of RV’s in winter and what i have found is truck camper fares much well. With snow accumulations on the roads and campground, it really does well.
Even though its better to stay at a location little longer, you may travel lot even during winters. So, its better to have a RV that will be better in snow. Towable RVs like travel trailer or fifth wheel can be hard to travel with in winters. Again, people will have their own takes on this, but this is just my observation.
No matter how old are you, winter camping in RV is thrill; you will agree. It a hard work to get all things done but the enjoyment and fun you can have is limitless.
Whether you take up the fun activities or no, it does not matter. Living in a camping site with snow falling or chilly cold is an activity by itself. Living such a life with your partner or family is a great quality time. So, what are you waiting for? Go get that camper out and have an amazing truck camper winter camping.
Truck campers are definitely not the best RVs to have when it comes to Winter camping. As we saw, they are less costly and you can buy them on a budget.
We have definitely faced a lot of issues with truck camper winter camping but honestly it’s been a great experience. Also, if you can manage some of the challenges that I have listed above then you too can have a great time within a budget.