Here are 11 useful tips on how to insulate a camper for winter use, from windows to ceiling.
RV electric heaters, or even a small space heater, can easily warm up small spaces. But if you do not insulate your rig, that heat can escape right through an exterior wall. And there is nothing fun about being cold on a chilly night!
But there are some simple insulation changes you can make to help keep your RV heat source running efficiently, and keep the warm air indoors where it belongs!
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Tips on How to Insulate a Camper for Winter Use
The following are my best camper insulation tips to help keep your rig warm this winter.
1. Seal the Windows
RV windows are the largest factor when it comes to heat loss when winter camping. The best way to ensure that you keep your warm air inside during freezing temperatures is to seal your RV windows. It's the first thing you should do when winterizing your rig.
Check the caulking in all of your windows. Then repair any caulking that needs it with a silicone caulk. Then make sure that you use a rubber conditioner for all of your weather strippings.
Make sure you repeat these steps as maintenance every year when winterizing your RV. It is a great way to ensure that you are prepared for cold temperatures every year.
2. Install RV Skirting
One of the best ways to prevent heat loss during the winter months in your RV is to dress up your RV. Or, rather, put it in a skirt.
RV skirting consists of any type of material that covers the gap between the sides of your rig and the cold ground. By installing additional RV skirting, you further insulate the bottom of your rig.
Skirting your RV can prevent cold air from becoming trapped under the RV and rising up through your floors. In fact, the warmth from the RV can hold in warm air under the rig when there is skirting in place, keeping it even warmer.
While you can find many different types of RV skirting, there are non-installed skirts called AirSkirts. They basically look like giant inflated pool noodles and do not require you to drill into your RV frame or install skirting snaps.
They are also durable and reusable, and you do not need to stake or weigh them down.
3. Window Coverings
As we mentioned, your windows are the biggest point of heat release. While you can think about installing double-pane windows, that's more expensive than trying to insulate the ones you already have.
You can choose from many different options to help increase the insulation around your windows. You can look for thermal curtains which help retain heat. Or, use radiant foil sheeting (like Reflectix), plastic sheeting, rigid foam insulation boards (like Polyiso or XPS), or even small area rugs.
You can attach the materials to your window using Velcro, double stick tape, or even certain command hooks.
4. Multi-Pane Windows
If you can afford it, consider getting multi-pane windows installed. These thermal windows have dual panes, with argon gas trapped between each section that helps insulate your vehicle. They range from about $200-$500 each.
5. Wrap Your Door
You can put up an added layer of protection around your door to prevent cool air from coming in (or warm air from escaping). One single sheet of thick plastic is enough to stop a cold draft from keeping you up.
6. Cover & Check Roof Vents
Since heat rises, it makes sense that it will go up looking for a place to escape in your RV. Make sure that your RV roof vents are covered and that the covers are in good shape.
They get exposed to the elements on a regular basis, so it is not uncommon for them to get broken, warped, or worn down.
7. Insulate Under the Mattress
You may have a storage area located directly under your mattress. If so, consider adding an insulation layer under your mattress.
You can try radiant foil, rigid foam, or another thick material to help ward off the cold air from the RV underbelly!
8. Heated Mattress Pad
Do you use a cold-rated sleeping bag or electric blanket at night to keep you warm? There is an extra layer of heating you may not have considered: a heated mattress pad.
This pad can slide right under your mattress, providing a little more heat without taking up space.
9. Make Sure Slideouts are Sealed
When your rig is fully extended, your slide-out rubber weatherstripping is exposed to the elements. Make sure that it is pliable by using a rubber conditioner so that it can form the best barrier against the elements.
10. Insulate Storage Bays
Insulating your storage compartments can help create a layer of warmth under your floor, ultimately keeping you warmer. It can also help protect the gear that you store inside!
You can easily add insulated foam board to help insulate those compartments.
11. Water Sources
Keep your fresh water tank from freezing to ensure that you have hot water when you need it!
Another one of the most effective ways to winterize your RV is to wrap your water tanks. Not only can this keep your tank heaters running efficiently (keeping you with hot water), but it can keep the water tanks and water pipes from freezing. Water freezes at 32 degrees F, so you want to prepare for that if you ever camp in temperatures near that.
To prevent RV pipes and holding tanks from freezing you can wrap them with insulating blankets and heat tape. There are many pipe insulation tapes available on the market, as well as blankets for your water heater.
Related Articles on How to Insulate a Camper for Winter Use
We hope you found these tips helpful on how to insulate a camper for winter use. Here are some other articles you might find useful:
- How to Dewinterize Your RV or Camper for Spring
- How to Heat a Camper Without Electricity (Be Prepared!)
- 5 Best Electric Heaters for RVs
We Are Huge Fans of Winter Camping!
Now we say that knowing many people are not. Indeed, you need to actually enjoy snow and cold. But we know there are thousands of RVers out there who just need a little coaxing and some tips to get out there and have fun in their RVs year-round.
So that’s why we wrote The Winter RV Camping Guide.
In this 36-page ebook – (NOT a Print book) we’ll walk you through what you need to do before you leave home to get your rig winter-ready, and we’ll cover what to do when setting up camp.