If you’re like us, your RV or motorhome is one of your most prized possessions – and that means you use it whenever you can. If you can’t bear to leave your RV in deep freeze (pun intended) for the long winter ahead, we get it. And we’re big-time proponents for using your rig every season of the year. Whether or not you’ve taken a winter weekend road trip yet, you should make sure you’re familiar with our little Winter RVing 101 list of everything you should know and do. Here’s how to keep yourself comfortable and your rig up to snuff during these colder months.
Winterize, winterize, winterize
You’ve heard the term “winterize” but perhaps you’re not sure what that entails. If you’ll be taking your RV out in freezing or below-freezing temperatures this winter, it needs to be winterized. Neglect this key step and you could be looking as some super costly and highly annoying repairs. The bottom line is that any water in your RV water system, plumbing lines or water heating tank can freeze, which can then cause damage to your systems and equipment. Winterizing your rig isn’t particularly difficult, but you will need to remove the water from these systems. The good news is, winterizing doesn’t mean you’ll be going without water or the use of your RV plumbing. Part of your “winterizing” process should include getting some 1-gallon jugs that can be filled (and refilled and refilled…) with water to use in the toilet and in other systems. It’s possible your RV’s tanks and lines are located in heated compartments, so be sure you’re familiar with your RV’s technical features before you proceed.
Be careful about site selection
During the summer months, you might have a “no site is a bad site” attitude about camping – or you might even make sure you get a spot that’s shaded with lush foliage. In the winter, however, you’ll want to swing the other direction entirely, finding a site that’s mostly – if not wholly – exposed to sunlight throughout the day. Additionally, consider how you get yourself situated on the site. If you’re expecting wind or other, well, wintry weather, be sure you position your rig so the front or back is getting the bulk of the wind. This will be a lot more comfortable than if the side of your RV is taking it all.
Fill the holding tanks
During the winter, all bets are off when it comes to which resources you’ll find plentiful at any given campsite. If it’s really cold out and your fresh water holding tank is in a heated area, be sure to fill it up before you settle into the site. Many campgrounds shut off water in the winter, and there’s always the possibility that outside water supplies could freeze. It’s best to be prepared when it comes to your water needs.
Monitor the LP tank
Any RV trip that leaves you uncomfortably cold isn’t worth it, but that’s the beauty of the RV – you have many of the comforts of home to get you through those wintry days. That said, your RV’s best source for heat is your forced-air furnace. This consumes a lot of LP-gas, so you’ll want to ensure you leave with a full tank and keep checking up on it throughout your trip. Additionally, if you don’t have access to electrical hookups, your furnace could drain your auxiliary batteries, so be sure you plan in advance and have a good idea of what’s available at your destination.
Keep yourself safe
If you’re using a generator instead of electrical hookups, this can be a good way to keep warm without draining your batteries. That said, you’ll need to have fuel for your generator and ensure that exhaust is directed well away from your camping area. In the same vein, it’s imperative that your RV is equipped with a properly working carbon monoxide detector.
Are you a winter road-tripper? What’s your best tip?