27. December 2010 17:34
For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about the ways to winterize travel trailers, motor homes and pop-up campers. But what about the folks that want to take their RVs out during the winter? Special steps must be taken before you set off on your trip, but winter RVing is possible (and can be fun) even in below-zero environments!
Winter camping is not for everyone. Before you set off for your winter RV wonderland, make sure you’re up for the challenge and wouldn’t prefer a winter in a warmer climate. If you’re determined and ready to go, keep reading to find out how to make the most of your winter RV experience.
- Park on blocks – If you’re going to be parked in subzero temperatures, make sure you are parked on pavement or blocks – never on bare soil. If the soil starts to thaw while your rig is parked on it, it will sink into the ground.
- Skirt your RV – Skirting your RV is absolutely essential if you are planning on being out in consistently sub-freezing temperatures. If you don’t do this, you can plan on having your rig towed to Cabo and waiting for your holding tanks to thaw out. Freezing tanks are particularly damaging if your tank is close to full, because there is a good chance that a hard freeze will cause it to rupture.
- There are several ways to insulate the bottom of your RV:
- Buy some 2x2 lumber and attach insulation to it, then attach this to the bottom of your RV. Make sure you seal all possible openings to prevent cold air from seeping through.
- Attach snaps to the bottom of your trailer and use a heavy-duty waterproof material to make a snap-on curtain. Buy enough loose fiberglass batting to fill the cavity beneath your trailer, leaving an empty spot beneath your holding tanks to insert a heat lamp or high wattage bulb to generate heat.
- Add insulation - Remove all of your interior fixtures and add insulation wherever you see it is missing. Insulate windows with either foam insulation or an insulated blanket, especially if you see that it is going to be below freezing. Tape up seams along windows and vents, but make sure you leave one window or vent open to let fresh air in.
- Buy a dehumidifier – Going RVing in the winter means you will probably have to deal with some condensation, which can freeze along your walls and ceiling if it gets cold enough. Using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air will save you some headaches during your trip.
- Wrap up your water hoses – Buying electrical heat tape and wrapping it around your water hoses will prevent the hoses from freezing. Make sure you wrap your inlet and your outside water faucet as well. Leave the tape thermostat outside to make sure it continuously provides heat, and don’t forget to insulate and waterproof the tape. Secure these wrappings with additional wraps of tape. Insulate your pipes – Wrap your pipes in insulation to prevent them from freezing. If you can’t access your pipes, place 40 watt light bulbs along the interior compartments near the plumbing. If you are using your freshwater tank instead of city water, make sure you put a bulb in the water pump cabinet.
- Keep your valves closed - Keep your gray and black water valves closed until you are ready to dump them. Draining them constantly will eventually cause an ice dam to build up and block the pipes. Keep extra water on hand - Keep a few gallons of fresh water on hand just in case your water lines end up freezing.
- Ventilate - Make sure if you are using a catalytic heater that you provide a source of ventilation. Otherwise, carbon monoxide can build up in your RV and create a very dangerous situation.
If you’re planning on going winter RVing this season, we salute your bravery. Just make sure you follow all of the above tips so that your dream trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare!