extreme cold weather rvs

The Best Extreme Cold Weather RVs To Buy In 2020

Chris Coleman

Winter camping offers magnificent snowy landscape, but not every RV is meant for days out in such icy temperatures.

If you’d like to take your RV out during very harsh winters, you’ll need to invest in what’s commonly named an “arctic package”, which upgrades the existing insulation and provides additional heating.

Otherwise, if you live in or frequently travel in such weather, investing in the best extreme cold weather RV will give you a peace of mind.

extreme cold weather rvs
Extreme cold weather RVs are specifically designed to keep you warm in sub-zero conditions.

There are certain models of RVs designed and built with extreme winter in mind. These are the vehicles that can brave below-freezing temperatures, icy winds, and even heavy snowing.

Whether you live in bitterly cold weather year-round or you want to enjoy unique winter camping experiences, these best extreme cold weather RVs will keep you warm and toasty. 

We have browsed that market and consulted reviews by professionals and full-time RVers to handpick the best extreme cold weather RV with a wide selection of functional features. Each will be accompanied by highlighting features as well as pros and cons.

That said, a helpful advice from many seasoned RVers is it’s a good idea to first rent an RV to see for yourself if it meets your needs. If you like it, you can buy it afterward.

2020 Best Extreme Cold-Weather RVs 

Arctic Wolf by Forest River 

Arctic Wolf by Forest River interior
Forest River means quality and craftsmanship.

The Arctic Wolf by Forest River has consistently been rated among the absolute best  extreme cold weather RV models by professionals and full-time RVers alike. The manufacturer, Forest River, is a name known for excellent quality, customer service and warranty. 

The Arctic Wolf is a worthwhile investment for the avid winter driver, thanks to the expansive and inclusive cold-beating features that are available. Arctic Wolf offers either an Extreme Weather Package or the Arctic Package for harsh winter excursions. 

Regardless of how cold the weather may be on your trip, you can rest easy knowing that the Arctic Wolf will keep you warm, comfortable and very well insulated, particularly with the upgrades in the Extreme Weather option, according to many seasoned winter travelers.

It is available with six floor plans to cater for the different requirements and budget of nearly every camper, so if quality and comfort are your priorities, there is definitely an Arctic Wolf for you. 

The largest models top out at a huge 10,000 pounds, equating to a hitch load of approximately 1,400 pounds. This weight is down to its generous proportions which max out at 35 feet in length and 11 feet in height. That said, for the less avid drivers, probably the only downside of this marvelous vehicle is the challenging parking, turning, and other maneuvers on long road trips.

best extreme cold weather RV
2020 Forest River Cherokee Arctic Wolf 287BH – 37666

Arctic Package

  • Solar wiring
  • Windows for the upper bunk
  • Outside shower and outside TV bracket capabilities
  • A kitchen faucet that pulls out
  • Entry doors with friction hinges
  • Home entertainment system
  • Dinette drawers
  • Top-level bunk windows
  • Dinette draws, and the kitchen faucet can be pulled out

Extreme Weather Package

  • Arctic insulation fitted throughout
  • Ducted air-conditioner
  • Featured fast cool fan
  • Upper decking with insulation
  • Powerful ceiling fan
  • Underfloor heating
  • High gloss wall construction
  • A powerful furnace capable of outputting 35,000 BTUs in a matter of seconds

Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels

Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels
Keystone Montana Fifth Wheels

Together with the Arctic Wolf, Keystone Montana is another favourite that often comes up in discussions on the best extreme cold weather RV. This fifth wheel Keystone Montana, as well as other Montana models, all come with the four seasons living package to keep you toasty warm and cozy on winter trips. 

Harsh winter means excessive wear and tear on your RV both externally and internally, painful maintenance and loss of comfort, however the Keystone Montana will keep all of these problems at bay with excellent cold-beating features. 

First off, insulation is top-notch. The all-season package includes an enclosed, insulated underbelly as well as 12V electric tank heating devices to prevent freezing damage to your RV. The main floor is kept warm with R-21 insulation while the slide-out floors are protected from cold temperatures by R-5 insulating material. The walls are shielded by a double layer of R-11 insulation, and the roof provides radiant technology R-38 protection for maintaining adequate heat inside your RV. 

In addition, the centralized heated external water and convenience center provides the luxury of an outside shower, water heater bypass, and low-point drains that are enclosed to ensure optimum functionality.

This top-rated RV also offers a dual thermostat and remote sensor and a second duct design air conditioner that is a frame and wire construction. Its foam core straight line heat duct system measures 3 by 14 inches, and this model is equipped with an auto-ignition 35,000 BTU furnace. Additional features of the Keystone Montana RV include in-floor water lines, dump valves, and holding tanks that are enclosed and of course insulated, a well-vented attic system, and a powerful free-flow air conditioning at 15K BTUs.

In case you are willing to pay to get some extras, the Montana also offers models with elite design features such as fireplaces and an expansive walk-in closet for storing your bulky winter clothing and gears. 

In short, with its optimal quality insulation, the Keystone Montana offers the ultimate comfort and convenience for the icy winter months, and it is essentially a solid year-round vehicle. The only con that one can find with this first class winter RV is its price tag. 

This advanced fifth wheel trailer is in the higher price range, selling for $48,000 – $49,000 at most dealerships, however any owner would swear by its value for money.

Features:

  • 15,000 BTU free-flow air conditioning
  • Dual thermostat with a remote sensor with the second A/C
  • Insulated holding tanks and dump valves
  • Heated, enclosed and insulated underbelly
  • Electric tank heaters
  • Heated exterior convenience center
  • Heated low point drains for city water
  • Water lines in floors
  • 35,000 BTU auto-ignition furnace
  • Heat duct system with foam core
  • Electric fireplace embedded
  • Fiberglass sidewalls with a double insulated layer (Equivalent to R-11)
  • Insulated main floor (Equivalent to R-21)
  • Insulated slide-out floors (Equivalent to R-15)
  • Radiant technology insulated roof (Equivalent to R-38)

Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3008W Travel Trailer

Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3008W
Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3008W

Another solid extreme cold weather RV by the renowned Forest River. Their Rockwood Windjammer 3008W is a travel trailer, which is a much cheaper alternative to full-blown RVs, thus this model is ideal for beginners and budget travelers. 

Despite its relative affordability, the Windjammer, as the name implies, is a fantastic option for camping in the harsh icy months with solid insulation and other features. No matter how freezing it is outside, you and your companions will be comfortably toasty inside.

A huge plus is this trailer is not exactly small, boasting an 897-pound hitch load and it can accommodate a maximum of five beds, so each member of your whole family will enjoy maximum comfort.

In addition to the spacious sleeping quarters, it can hold a generous 45-gallon black water tank, a 75-gallon gray water tank, and a commendable 45-gallon freshwater tank.

Additionally, the Windjammer offers a host of other features such as a wardrobe, linen closet, kitchen space with microwave, gas cooker hook-up and an awning to keep the sun or snow off. To top it all off, the master suite features a clever table that folds away and a large double bed.

Although it’s not much to look at, don’t let it dishearten you. The Windjammer is often included in lists of the best extreme cold weather RV for a good reason: what it lacks in the looks department, it more than makes up for in the functionality department. 

The only downside is it’s a heavy trailer to haul around compared to most other camp trailers. Given its size and weight, it might take a while to get used to driving it around.

The features that make this trailer a good fit for winter excursions:

  • Holding tanks that are heated and controlled electronically
  • The whole trailer is insulated
  • Main bedroom area contains a heated mattress
  • Upgrades for thermo-pane windows
  • Upgrades for fireplace
  • Ventilation fan and vent cover
  • Floor-ducted furnace
  • Two sliders to separate the living quarters
  • Reasonably sized wardrobe in the master bedroom
  • A foldable table in the master room
  • The master bedroom can fit a bed which measures 60×10
  • Linen closet
  • Oven with microwave hookups, and a gas grill connector
  • 44-inch dinette space
  • Outdoor Awning

Northwood Arctic Fox

extreme cold weather RV
Northwood Arctic Fox

Northwood is a well-known brand for RVs made for cold weather, and very few arctic campers are held in such high regard as the Arctic Fox all seasons RV. The Arctic Fox guarantees a warm and comfortable winter camping and it also offers a ton of additional features, which means not just comfort but luxury on the road. 

That said, like everything else that borders the line of luxury, you’re going to have to pay for the privilege. The latest models from 2017 onwards will cost at least $56,000, and previous models don’t tend to depreciate a lot in value, which in itself is a testament to their quality and durability.

Features:

  • Fully insulated through with four-seasons foam insulation, providing exceptional insulation properties
  • Built into the bedroom are USB charging ports, as well as a well-proportioned mattress and carpeting throughout
  • A fully function bathtub with a skylight and foldable shower screen
  • A foot-operated toilet
  • Powerful extractor fans in the bedrooms
  • Inbuilt skylights and a sizable fridge as well as ample storage space
  • A fully equipped kitchen including a microwave
  • A booth eating area and L shaped sofa with comfortable pillows
  • A digitally monitored and controlled thermostat for perfect heating
  • Inbuilt smoke, carbon monoxide, and LPG detectors
  • A foldaway 19-inch widescreen TV with Bluetooth connectivity and CD/DVD player
  • Clever storage options.

Additional extras are also available, including solar panels, rearview cameras, holding tank heat pads, generators, bathroom and kitchen fan vents, thermal pane windows and an aluminum main awning.

Lance 4 Seasons Travel Trailer

Lance 4 Seasons Travel Trailer
Lance 4 Seasons Travel Trailer

Whereas the Lance brand is not as well known as Forest River or Jayco, they are specialized in all seasons RV models. Manufactured specifically for all-season driving, including winter and warmer weather, the Four Season Travel Trailer by Lance proves that you need not spend a fortune to get one of the best extreme cold weather RV. 

Notable features include easily removable hatch covers that can be added or removed in a matter of seconds depending on the weather. The insulated covers are designed to keep the outdoor weather conditions from encroaching into the indoors of your RV.

Instead of the more traditional wood, this Lance model uses thermoplastic, a natural insulator which is adept at keeping the heat in and the cold out. This insulation won’t rot or is not prone to hosting mildew or mold, unlike wood tends to do. This material will also provide a certain amount of soundproofing, making your trip even more enjoyable. 

An extra cold-beating feature is an impressive ducted warming system. Clever engineering and design mean that the heating is equally directed across the whole interior of the RV, ensuring every room is warmed to the same level.

Lastly, the windows are dual pane and tinted, which provides an additional level of insulation and soundproofing. With such superstar insulation, you can rest assured that winter is kept outside of your toasty mobile home.

Features:

  • 11 different floor plans available
  • Block foam insulation throughout
  • Ducted heat is routed into individually insulated holding tanks to keep them, the valves and PEX lines warm.
  • Water heater bypass & winterizing valves make draining the system for winter storage a breeze.
  • Insulated hatch covers add an additional layer of insulation to vents and skylights.
  • Radius acrylic tinted thermopane euro window
  • Aluminum-framed floor, ceiling, and sidewalls
  • Decorative pull cabinet hardware
  • Lite-ply cabinet construction

Bighorn 5th Wheel by Heartland

In addition to Lance, Heartland is another brand known for its all season RVs. Heartland puts an astounding level of craftsmanship and detail into all their all seasons RV products. 

Heartland’s all season RVs are not only functional in terms of guarding against icy cold weather, but also offer luxury aesthetics and great attention to details. Among them, the Bighorn is often regarded as one of the best extreme cold weather RV models. 

Bighorn 5th Wheel by Heartland
Bighorn 5th Wheel by Heartland’s interior.

It has 11 floor plans to choose from, so you are likely to get one that meets your requirements and budget. There are different Bighorn sizes available, with the largest weighing 14,000lb, with a hitch weight of about 3,000lb, and measuring nearly 45 ft. in length.

Bighorn by Heartland introduced the industry to innovations such as the Universal Docking Center, 88 Degree Turning Radius front cap designs, laminated floors and sidewalls, drop frame Texas Size basement storage and hydraulic landing gear. Bighorn combines all of these industry firsts with the most luxurious interiors producing one of the most sought after luxury fifth wheels available today. 

The craftsmanship and durability is expressed throughout this fifth wheel. The bathroom features water lines Plumb-PLEX, while the fiberglass walls, dark tinted windows and laminated flooring make the camper trailer look sleek. The bedroom has a built-in closet, king-size bed with memory foam mattress, ceiling lights in the bedroom, extra storage shelves, a headboard and a pull-out storage drawer.

The majority of the floor plans offered with the Bighorn range, generally have the following winter comforts:

  • The entire RV is fully insulated: R-38 flooring in the main living area, R-11 walls, R-14 flooring on the upper deck, R-34 roofing
  • Heated, insulated underbelly
  • Insulated air conditioning duct system in the roof
  • The below-floor has its own heating system: single piece heating duct
  • The roof has an internal air conditioning duct unit
  • A high-quality furnace functions at a 42,000 BTU level
  • A water system from the Plumb-Plex range so it’s just like your bathroom in your home
  • Sleek interior and exterior design and layout
  • Plenty of storage space
  • A king-sized bed with a comfortable mattress made from memory foam.

Redhawk 26XD by Jayco

Redhawk 26XD by Jayco
Redhawk 26XD by Jayco

The Redhawk 26XD by Jayco has a warmth and beauty not often seen in RVs, especially with the newer models. This trailer has been gaining a lot of popularity for the last couple of years, first making an impression with its huge space and beautiful design, then winning the hearts of seasoned campers with its host of functional features for withstanding winter. 

We do warn you though, that you will need quite some money to enjoy this solid beauty, but if you do, the Redhawk might be the best extreme cold weather RV that you can buy.

These models come with five different floor plans to choose from. All of these are built on a Ford chassis and include a spacious master bedroom with a queen-sized bed, a 13ft. awning, an 8 cubic-ft. refrigerator and linen closets.

Importantly, you will also be able to stay warm during winter in this gorgeous RV with a 15,000-BTU ducted air conditioner with heat pump, a 31,000-BTU furnace with wall thermostat with auto-ignition, a 6-gallon water heater,  solid bead-foam insulation for the roof, floor and all walls and well insulated doors and windows. 

There is no need to worry about space, as it is very spacious. As it can sleep eight passengers, you can hit the road whenever you want with family or friends.

Redhawk 26XD by Jayco
Redhawk 26XD by Jayco interior.

The following are the standard features for this all seasons RV:

  • 15,000-BTU ducted air conditioner with heat pump
  • 31,000-BTU furnace with wall thermostat with auto-ignition
  • Bead-foam insulation (R-15 max roof, R-9 max floor, R-5 max walls)
  • Vacuum-bonded, laminated roof, floor and sidewalls
  • Aluminum running boards
  • Fiberglass, radius-cornered entrance door with screen door
  • 6 gallon gas/electric DSI auto-ignition water heater
  • Full bathroom
  • Fully fitted kitchen, including countertops, upper shelves, large sink and microwaves
  • Queen sized bed master bedroom
  • Roomy, built-in linen cabinets and other closets.
  • The living area comes with a 2-seater sofa and has a lot of space

With a hefty price tag of around $100,000 for a new one, you may have to settle for an old model, which will not necessarily have all these luxury features.

Extreme Cold-Weather RVs: FAQs & Tips

What does a Cold Weather Package cover?

Cold weather packages, also referred to as arctic or polar packages, are a great upgrade to your RV when you are storing it during cold weather or wish to travel occasionally in extreme cold weather. Some of the upgrades include:

  • Extra floor and roof insulation
  • Double or the triple-paned windows
  • Heating pads for freshwater and the wastewater tanks
  • Enclosed underbellies
  • Temperature guarantees
  • Heated storage bays

How Do I Make My RV Warmer In Extreme Cold Weather?

The key to keeping your RV warm in the harsh winter is effective insulation, that is preventing cold air outside from leaking in and trapping the heat inside the RV. The two areas to focus most of your energy on if you want to improve insulation are windows and vents. 

Below are pro tips on how to keep your RV warmer in icy conditions:

1. Maximizing natural sunlight

Simply positioning your RV so that the largest windows point to the south and west to maximize your RV’s exposure to direct sunlight definitely will warm your RV up. It is one useful tip on how to heat an RV that many new RVers do not know or underestimate.

2. Fixing air leaks

Before trying to do anything to more effectively trap warm air inside your RV, you must make sure cold air cannot leak in from all the nooks and crannies first. Tiny air leaks from the rubber gaskets around your exterior windows, doors and vents are often overlooked, however keeping them in good shape will ensure cold air is not leaking into your interior. 

3. Reflective insulation

Relectix is a reflective insulation accessory consisting of an aluminum foil, which covers all your windows to rebound most of the heat that travels to them. Thus the existing heat will be trapped or condensed inside your RV while only a small amount will escape, thereby more effectively maintaining the ideal temperature. 

Simply attach these rolls to cover the whole area of each window. Also, if your RV comes with a shower skylight, don’t forget to insulate it too.

4. Hatch vent insulator

An RV’s hatch vents, roof and wall vents are also often overlooked and can let cold air in, thus all of them need to be covered. It is best to equip them with extra protection by adding another layer of Styrofoam right below the covers. 

The Styrofoam must be cut to fit precisely. Secure it in place with tape or another adhesive. The second option is to get a vent insulator. A vent insulator is a large piece of insulated foam that may or may not come with a reflective surface. 

5. Solar Heating

This green energy source will save you money in the long term, all the while being environmentally friendly. You can now buy solar panels from many sources. A panel typically costs between $500 and $300, depending on the durability, efficiency and size of the panel. The bigger the panel, the more green energy it can produce to heat your RV without electricity. 

How Do I Store My RV In Winter If I Cannot Store It Indoor?

Your RV might suffer substantial damage while in storage during the icy cold winter months, unless you own or rent a heated storage for it. Otherwise, if your budget doesn’t permit you to rent a storage unit, purchasing an RV cover is a great option to protect your RV in cold weather. Renting an RV storage unit is a more effective option but also the most costly.

 RV covers prevent ice buildup and snow accumulation on the exterior of your rig, thus minimizing damage to its surface and also keeping meltwater from seeping into the seams and panels. Below are a few steps that you need to take to safely store your rig under an RV cover during winter:

  • Ensure that you drain out all your water systems.
  • Clean and let dry the interior and exterior of the RV before covering.
  • Remove the batteries and store in a secure place.
  • Inflate the RV tires and it is best to cover them thoroughly with RV tire covers to avoid damage and maximize their lifespan, as RV tires alone are expensive.
  • Double-check that the cover shelters all sides completely and snugly to avoid the cover billowing against your RV in the wind.
  • Check the snow that accumulates on your roof regularly and remove it if required.

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