Have you ever wondered about wintering in your RV? We actually have wintered for two winters in the mountains of North Carolina, so we want to tell you about all the things that we did to make our experience more comfortable. Not everyone who RVs spends their winters in Florida and Texas. There are people who actually winter on purpose in colder climates.
Maybe you have family you want to be close to during the holiday season. Visiting them in your RV can make sense but you need to be prepared for the cold weather. Maybe you like to ski, so you're going to park your RV near some fantastic ski slopes so that you can take advantage of the snow. But also, if you full-time RV, you may actually find yourself in a winter event that is unexpected in certain parts of the country. A weather event that maybe you weren't ready for. These are things that you should have with you in case that happens.
Most RVs are not super insulated to begin with. In the summertime your air conditioners are always going to be over-worked to keep the RV cool. In the wintertime, you are going to feel a little stifled with the heat running to stay warm but if you turn it off - it gets cold fast.
Make sure if you are shopping for one that it is a four-season RV if you want to be prepared or plan to camp in the winter some place cold.
Heating your RV can come from multiple sources. You probably have heat pumps on your roof but those don't work efficiently below 38 degrees and are noisy. You next type of heat source will be your furnace. You may have a propane furnace or a specialty system like a diesel or propane Aqua-hot or other type of coach wide heating source. You will need to use one of these heat sources depending on the temperature where you are wintering.
So let’s take a look at a few things that can make winter camping more comfortable.
5 Must-Have Items for Winter RVing
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1. Heated Hose
You are going to need a heated hose to camp in the winter. If the temperatures are going to drop below 32 degrees many campgrounds will make you disconnect your hose from the spigot and put your hose away to keep from damaging their property and keep your lines from freezing. This is a short-term solution. If you are camping where there is snow or an extended period of freezing weather you will want to have a heated hose.
A good one costs money. You get what you pay for. You don’t want to wake up to no water or a frozen water tank. This is the heated hose we bought and have used now for a couple years. It works great!
In addition to the heated hose, another tip for protecting your water intake process is covering the water spigot. Get a bucket and a small piece of insulation. Cover the spigot with the insulation and turn the bucket upside down over the spigot. This will prevent the spigot from freezing and breaking. Or use this handy sock to insulate your spigot.
We used this strategy when we spent the winter in Asheville, NC in our RV. We had snow, ice and freezing weather and successfully had water all winter.
2. Windshield Sunshade
One of the biggest sources of cold in your RV could come from the windshield. Now 5th Wheels and pull behinds don’t have windshields so this isn’t a concern for them. But this a common cold source when you own a motorhome,
A lot of cold can seep in from the windows in the cockpit and so one way to keep it out is to put a reflective sunshade in the windshield. Don’t buy a car size one, they will be too small. You need a motorhome size one to completely cover the window for the best effect.
This winter RVing strategy helps a lot. When the sun comes out and starts to warm things up, remove it to let the sun warm up the RV.
If you want to do this to more windows you could custom cut a reflective sunshade and use Velcro to put them on any windows allowing cold to seep in.
When you use your propane in the winter for heat, your windows can accumulate a lot of condensation. Propane is moist and leads to this happening.
Moisture inside your RV can lead to delamination. Something you want to avoid for sure. Removing excess moisture from the air in your RV protects it.
One way to help avoid moisture accumulating inside your RV is to use a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers come in all shapes and sizes. We have a floor model and it does take up space. It also works really well. We store it behind the driver’s seat when it is turned around for seating while we are camping. We tried to find a smaller one that was easier to store but it just couldn’t do the job as well as the bigger one.
Dehumidifiers can also come in handy in summer and winter or when you want to store your RV. Another use is if you ever have water invade your RV’s interior, a dehumidifier will help remove the water faster from inside your RV. We know all of these uses well 😊
I have seen some RVers use DampRid as their dehumidifier. This is a non-electric way of getting rid of excess moisture. You just have to remember to change them out when they need it.
4. Electric Blanket
Another nice thing to have when winter RVing is an electric blanket. We love our electric blanket when we're wintering in a cold weather climate. Use it to warm up the bed or keep you warm while you limit your heater use during the night. We don't like our heat running a lot at night. It's kind of stifling, so the electric blanket is a way to stay warm without having the heat on and blowing all the time.
5. Space Heater
Space Heaters come in handy when wintering in your RV.
For fire safety, make sure you us a ceramic or infrared space heater in your RV. The ceramic ones are safer to use than electric coil heaters. The ceramic space heaters will cut off if you knock them over. They also don’t get hot to the touch but do a great job of heating the air.
We use our space heater often in the winter to keep the overhead or furnace from operating all the time. We get tired of hearing the heat constantly running in the winter.
5 Tips for
Look for a sunshade that will cover your whole motorhome windshield to keep out both the sun in the summer and cold in the winter.
Find and use a good heated hose and a bucket with insulation to insulate your spigot.
Get a good dehumidifier to take the moisture out of the air to protect your RV from delamination.
Find an Electric blanket that you can use plugged in but could also be used as an everyday blanket.
Buy a ceramic or infrared heater to warm up your space.
Need more must-haves for your RV?
Check out our RV Must-Haves Page on our website for everything you need!
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