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!
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 insult 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. That's nice considering you probably do not want to spend your time outdoors in the winter staking down skirting!
3. Window Coverings
As we mentioned, your windows are the biggest point of heat release. While you can think about installing double-pane windows, they are quite a bit more costly 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, 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.
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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 to 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
Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ's about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida's Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida's Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you'll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.