living fulltime in an RV in winter

Cold Weather RV Camping: How to RV in The Winter Full-time

Chris Coleman

Most RVers consider summer as the most crowded season for sightseeing and camping around the country. So, winter is actually a good time for those who want to avoid the crowd. But you need to know more about RV winter camping before living fulltime in an RV in winter. Learning the best winter RV living tips will boost your confidence.

RV living during winter is a great opportunity to enjoy several outdoor activities and sports while staying close to nature. Camping in winter comes with the bliss of quiet campsites with fewer travelers around and more chances to feel the countryside’s beauty.

living fulltime in an RV in winter
Photo: Vicky Duckworth / Getty Images

Ultimate Tips for Living Fulltime in an RV in Winter

Motorhomes have thinner insulation than a brick-and-mortar home. Sub-zero outdoor temperature may cause serious damages to the delicate systems in the RV. However, it’s still possible living in a travel trailer during winter after making certain arrangements.

The most crucial question that people ask is how to keep a camper warm in the winter while it’s out in the wilderness. Following the top 10 winter RV camping tips will keep you safe and protected while living fulltime in an RV in winter.

Make up your mind for the winter travel challenges.

The beauty of wilderness during snowy winter is much more enjoyable in person than watching through magazine pictures. Hence, real-life experience prepares the mind to accept challenges and hurdles during living fulltime in an RV in winter.

There will be fellow travelers in any campground where you might visit during the winter, though numbers may be lesser than the usual. With increasing demand, some camping sites now offer winter season services as well. So, it’s highly unlikely that you will be out of power or water in a campground.

Put a reminder for pre-winter RV checkup service.

winter RV camping tips
Photo: stellalevi / Getty Images

RV owners may either complete the checkup maintenance on their own or visit an expert mechanic. If a vehicle checkup is already due, engine oil, brake fluids, and other easily-decaying automobile parts may require replacements.

The RV manual or maintenance guide should provide an elaborate checklist. However, if you visit an expert technician, the mechanic will take care of all the things mentioned in the checklist.

Take extra care of the vehicle battery. Winter condition forces the battery to lose power much earlier than any other season, even when not in use. Perform a proper health checkup for the battery and charge to its full capacity if necessary.

Install RV skirting to stop heat loss during winter.

RV skirts are insulation fabric or boards fitted to the vehicle through Velcro or other fastening methods. Their main function is to prevent the travel trailer underbelly from releasing heat to the exterior environment. They also protect the RV flooring from getting cold due to the cold wind blowing beneath the motorhome.

Skirting choices vary from RV model-specific vinyl materials. Several automobile aftermarket shops have a huge collection to choose from. RVers can also install homemade skirting around the camper vehicle using plastic sheeting, hay bales, foam padding board, or insulated siding.

Motorhome skirting increases the heat retention capacity of the vehicle to a higher degree, and thereby, facilitating the ability of living fulltime in an RV in winter.

If you are out of RV skirt material supply, use snow around the campground to build a covering shield all around the RV. Make sure the height of this barrier covers the vehicle underbelly.

Winterize the RV plumbing system to keep water flowing.

winter camping
Photo: Christopher Sweet / EyeEm

In cold weather, water inside pipes, hoses, taps, and tanks will freeze. This may lead to the cracking and splitting of these infrastructures. To avoid this, you will need to take preventive measures before the winter sets in.

Veteran RVers leave the clean water tank empty during the winter. Doing so prevents the possibility of blowing pipes due to water freezing inside closed tubing. They use bottled water for kitchen and drinking purposes while living fulltime in an RV in winter.

When connecting the water hose with the campground supply system, use proper piping insulation to prevent water freezing. You might wonder how to winterize a camper to live in. Put antifreeze chemicals in grey and black water tanks to avoid ice buildup in those tanks.

Always use the oven in the travel trailer.

Use the RV oven on a regular basis to bake or cook food. The heat from the oven will act as a secondary source of warmth within the vehicle interior.

When the cooking part is complete, switch off and unplug the oven. Then, keep the oven door open for its heat to keep the camper warm for a few hours.

Stay energetic by enjoying winter sports.

living in a travel trailer during winter
Photo: Cavan Images / Getty Images

It may sound reasonable to stay inside the RV during freezing winter or a snowy afternoon. But staying inside will use up more resources like the power to heat the cabin.

Go outside and enjoy a couple of winter sports like skiing, snow bowling, and making snow dolls. Staying active will provide sufficient warmth to you, keep your mind healthy, and the camping experience will get better.

Spend more time looking after the insulation work of the RV exterior. Check the camper skirting condition and make repairs if it’s necessary.

Put a check on interior humidity.

When you have done proper sealing, it’s easier for humidity to build up inside the travel trailer. Excessive humidity will cause fungus to grow, affecting the freshness of the air and overall comfort inside the camper cabin.

Retrofit the RV with a proper exterior vent cover. It will promote better air circulation, which will ultimately control interior humidity and increase the warmth. Normally, humidity increases during cooking and showering. RV dehumidifiers are also good to take care of the humidity problem.

Make sleeping arrangements inside a sleeping bag.

When staying inside a tent or sleeping under the sky, people tend to use sleeping bags. However, using a sleeping bag inside a motorhome can increase the comfort factor when living fulltime in an RV in winter.

Always choose a lower temperature rating for the sleeping bag than the expected exterior temperature. If the external temperature assumption is 35 degrees Fahrenheit, choose a sleeping bag with a 25-degree Fahrenheit rating.

Pick a small size RV for winter camping.

how to winterize a camper to live in
Living in a small RV is more convenient in winter. Photo: Matt Anderson / Getty Images

Small travel trailers, truck campers, or micro motorhomes are best suited for winter camping. A small interior space requires less power and heats up quicker than larger vehicles.

Seasoned RVers always suggest that the smaller the travel trailer, the less amount of propane it consumes to warm up the interior. Choosing to stay in a small trailer will keep your fuel cost low without compromising comfort.

Insulate camper doors, windows, and floors.

Living fulltime in an RV in winter requires heavy insulation of air entry routes. A new RV owner might wonder how to insulate a camper for winter use. The RV insulation requires rugs and thermal curtains. Spread thick rugs on the RV floors. These materials trap heat inside the vehicle. The interior heat will not leak through the flooring, improving the heat efficiency.

Similarly, use foam insulation boards to insulate windows and doors. It will prevent interior heat from leaking through these openings.

RV living in the winter
With proper preparation, you will quite enjoy winter camping.

Characteristics of RVers Who Enjoy the RV Living in Winter

Living in a travel trailer in winter requires being a go-getter and comfortable with accepting challenges.

The number of families, couples, travel companions, and friendly groups living fulltime in an RV in winter are increasing more than ever. All of such travel enthusiasts share some common characteristics. Find out if you have them:

  1. Campers are much more flexible than those living in a brick-and-mortar home. However, accepting the full-time RV winter living is another magnitude of determination. It requires more flexibility in adapting to the surroundings, looking for positivity in challenging weather, and a very patient mind.
  2. Full-time RV dwellers love quietness in RV parks and campgrounds in the winter. They enjoy the peace of living alone more than any other travel enthusiasts.
  3. Many RVers love camping in the freezing cold more than any other season. They are mostly huge admirers of winter sports on snowy grounds or mountain slopes. With the growth in the trend of living in RVs, some motorhome owners also enjoy the beauty of winter and prefer camping during that time.
  4. Learning how to live in a camper in the winter means learning about some extra maintenance and doing some planning. Winter RVers need to be hard-working, as it’s necessary for the preparation and arrangement for making the camping time memorable.
how to live in a camper in the winter
Photo: Pekic / Getty Images

Conclusion

Seasoned RVers always take thorough preparation for winter camping, so they can enjoy it to the fullest.

However, those owning an RV for the first time or coming from a warmer climate area should know all tips and tricks before making the decision for living fulltime in an RV in winter.

If you follow all the tips, you can spend the whole winter in the motorhome without facing any major trouble.

Last Updated on February 24, 2021

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