Your RV need not be in storage during the cold months. Get out there! Here are 27 Effortless Winter Camping Tips for RVers.
We are always amazed at how many RVers who live in northern states and provinces leave their RV in storage from the first frost until spring.
Some, we know, are snowbirds, heading out for warmer temps in the South and Southwest,
But so many others winterize their RVs and just leave them sitting there all winter.
Not Jennifer and me. We camp in our RV every month. And we love camping in the snow.
Winter Camping Tips Video
First, please watch this video we did to accompany this article. It's our Ultimate Winter Camping Tips guide and it shows the things we do to stay warm and comfortable… and to have fun in the snow:
Winter Camping Tips – Setting up camp
Tip 1) If there is a lot of snow in the area you're missing and you are at a campground, ask them to have it plowed for you just before you arrive.
Tip 2) If you are boondocking, bring a snow shovel and clear off the area.
Tip 3) Whether summer or winter, we always flip the switch to keep the entrance step retracted, so it's not automatically going in and out every time we open and close the door. But in winter camping, we think it's a good idea to turn that override switch off so the step is in the retracted position. Should freezing rain develop while camping, you wouldn't want it coating the step and freezing it in the open position.
Tip 4) Pull out your windshield wipers so they don't freeze to the windshield. Some people put a piece of cardboard on the windshield and hold it in place with the wipers.
Tip 5) Set out the same ground cover matt you use in warm weather. It will help keep you from tracking ice, snow and sleet into the RV.
Winter Camping Tips – Cold weather clothing
Tip 6) Dress in layers. Start with long Johns or long-sleeve T-shirts, under a flannel shirt or sweatshirt. I bought a pair of flannel insulated jeans that I use for winter campouts. Put a Parka over it all. In the Winter Camping Tips video above, I wore the clothing you see in the photo and was comfortable down to 21 BELOW Zero F.
Tip 7) Most of your heat is lost at your head and feet. You want good winter boots with insulated soles. Wear wool socks. A wool hat is great. I have a knit stocking cap with a built-in facemask. It stores up inside the hat when not needed.
Tip 8) The next most important bodily area to protect against the cold is your hands. Mittens are warmer than gloves. But a light wool glove liner inside thicker cloves does a great job, too. Get some of those Hot Hands chemical pads that you can put inside the gloves if you tend to have trouble keeping your hands warm in the cold.
Tip 9) A scarf is also great in super cold weather.
Winter Camping Tips – Staying warm inside the RV
Tip 10) Your RV heater may need a little help if the temperatures drop into the single digits or below. We have a small ceramic heater. It's a big power drain (1,500 watts) and I don't keep it on all night if boondocking. If we are in a campground with electric hookups, no problem. But the heater does a great job.
Tip 11) We have Battleborn Lithium Batteries. We added the heater option for them when we ordered our RV and the battery heaters do a great job keeping those batteries at full efficiency. Some RV lithium batteries can have the heater installed aftermarket. Check with your dealer. If you plan to do lots of winter camping, it's worth it.
Tip 12) Bring slippers. As soon as you come in from the cold, get out of your boots and slip into your slippers. Watch out for tracking snow inside. Keep the boots by the door.
Tip 13) If your clothing is snow-covered or wet, hang them up in the shower.
Tip 14) Use Reflectix insulation in the windows. Most of the heat in your RV escapes at the windows. Reflectix can be bought in rolls at any or the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes or on Amazon. It cuts easily with scissors. We cust out window coverings. The Rexlectix is just rushed up against the window and rests in place in the window tracks.
Tip 15) Expect to have lots of condensation on your windows in the morning. We use a microfiber towel to wipe them off.
Winter Camping Tips – What about Water?
Tip 16) Because most RVs and Towables in northern climates are winterized (the water has been drained, turned off and the pipes have RV antifreeze rin through them), you obviously can't count on running after like you do in the warmer months.
Tip 17) Bring bottled water to drink,
Yes.. you can use your RV toilet!
Tip 18) Just don't flush with water. Whatever you put in the toilet, pour an equal or slightly greater amount of RV antifreeze and flush as normal.
Winter Camping Tips – What to do
Tip 19) The winter camping tips video above shows some of our favorite winter camping activities. They include:
- Cross country skiing
- Skijoring (watch the video!)
- Dog sled rides (Google “dog sled rides” in whatever area you will be camping)
- Hiking (we love to find frozen lakeshores where there is always beautiful ice formations to see)
- Big campfires with friends
- Night sky viewing (we swear, the skies are always ce=leaer in the winter. You may get lucky and see the Northern Lights!)
- Go ice fishing
- Rent a snowmobile
Winter Camping Tips – Driving an RV in snow
Tip 20) We have never needed snow tires or chains, and as you saw at the end of our winter camping video above, we've driven in low visibility winter whiteouts. Our RV weight 11,000 pounds. It handles very well in snow with all that weight. The 2021 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder we have has All Wheel Drive.
Tip 21) Drive much slower in snow. Watch out for icy roads. Overpasses and bridges tend to freeze before roadways. If in doubt, call the state police or the sheriff's department in the area you will be driving. They are always very helpful in advising you of the current conditions.
Tip 22) Some areas, particularly out west, have strict rules requiring chains on mountain passes. So always know the local regulations.
Tip 23) Pay close attention to weather reports. Don't just check at the start of your trip. Winter weather can change very fast. Check the forecast several times a day. We carry a weather alert radio. If a major snowstorm or freezing rain is expected, we stay in place until it has passed and the roads are clear.
More Winter Camping Tips
Here are a few more winter camping trips we've picked up over the years
Tip 24) If you need a shower (you cant take one in your winterized RV), go to an area motel. Most will let you rent a room at a greatly reduced rate to shower.
Tip 25) Bring paper plates for eating. Saves having to do the dishes (remember, a winterized Rv has no running after).
Tip 26) If you do need to clean your dishes, put some household vinegar in a spray bottle, mixed 50-50 with water. Then spray it on the dishes and use a paper towel. You'll be amazed at how well this works.
Tip 27) Eat out more than usual. It will save you lots of cleanups (always hard without water) and you will get to know the area better by finding local restaurants
What winter camping tips do you have?
So those are our winter camping tips for RVers. Please share yours in the comments below!
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