Every season adds beauty to our world. But winter RVing living can make it tough to enjoy the coldest part of the year. If you want to have fun in cold winter destinations, here’s what you need to know about staying warm, safe and happy.
Don’t Let Winter RVing Steal Your Fun
I spend most of my time in sunbelt states, where year-round RV living is possible. But those mild winter days can lull snowbirds like me into a false sense of security. Love it or hate it, winter always feels like an unwanted surprise — especially when I’m soaking in the spa at my favorite RV park in December. I find it easy to forget that unpredictable weather can be just around the corner. But even my favorite sunny regions like the Southwest often get hit with epic cold fronts that keep us indoors more than we’d like. A Midwesterner might laugh at my definition of “cold,” but the fact is that even the most well-built RVs like mine are not impervious to occasional arctic blasts and wet weather. I love my “four-season” RV, but cold always finds a way in somehow. This is what I do to keep it out:
Monitor the Weather
Winter weather camping can test your appreciation for this lifestyle. It pays to know the weather headed your way in case you need to batten down the hatches, so don’t ignore weather reports. You can get a general sense of your region’s upcoming weather by tuning into any TV station’s news report. But for the most accurate weather reports for your specific location, the Internet is your go-to source. Visit The National Weather Service first. You’ll get instant knowledge of weather changes, pending hazards, and freezing weather that reminds you to detach your drinking water hose from the campsite spigot.
Use a Dehumidifier
Running your RV furnace can keep you toasty warm. But it can also add unwanted humidity and mildew to walls, windows, and furniture. My small space dehumidifier is one of the best winter RVing gadgets I ever added to our seasonal toolkit. Each time I dump the water chamber, I’m shocked by the amount of moisture taken from my RV interior. A constant power source is necessary to keep the device operating, but I won’t complain about hooking up to shore power when the chill comes on.
Keep an Alternative Heat Source on Board
One of the advantages of owning a smaller RV is that we can camp just about anywhere. But a huge disadvantage is our 27-foot RV’s lack of space for an onboard generator. When we are dry camping in winter and it’s too cloudy or dark to rely on our RV solar electric power system, our Honda generator powers everything from our computers to the furnace. Unfortunately, turning it on means flipping a coin to decide who will go outside to get it started. In the meantime, our indoor catalytic heater quickly and safely heats our living quarters enough for us to get moving.
Carry a Stash of Old Towels
Ratty bath towels never get tossed; they go into our clean-up supplies. Besides using them for an occasional dog bath, that ample supply of old towels can mop the floor, soak up falling drops from wet rain gear, and clean up muddy dog paws before they decorate our carpet and furniture.
Maintain Weather Stripping on Exterior Cabinets
Cold weather creeps into our RV at the point of least resistance, those basement storage bays. When the chilly wind blows hard enough, I can feel it hit my feet when I’m working at my desk. That’s a brutal reminder to inspect and replace weather stripping around cabinet doors if necessary. When it’s looking worn out, all it takes is a few pennies to replace it and enjoy a more comfortable interior.
Insulate with Reflectix
That silver “bubble wrap” insulation material for home construction projects isn’t pretty. But it’s one of the best materials to keep you warm during the worst winter weather. Lightweight and easy to stash away, you can buy short or long rolls to custom-cut pieces that match your RV window dimensions. When placed over skylights and other openings, this material can reflect up to 96% of radiant energy for more warmth inside the RV. As a bonus, you can use them in summer to keep the rig cool.
Don’t Forget Plan B
Sometimes despite your best efforts, cold weather refuses to leave you alone. When that happens, remember that not even winter can steal one of the greatest joys of this lifestyle—the ability to turn the key and leave at a moment’s notice. If you’re tired of living inside and mopping rain and mud from pet paws and overcoats, just pull up stakes and follow the sun to your happier place.