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Article Updated – 12/14/22
Tackling winter in an RV is always scary for the first time. With a few Illinois and Indiana winters under our belt, we have some great tips and tricks to help.
HERE ARE OUR SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY WARM IN YOUR CAMPER IN THE WINTER:
- RUGS– Place rugs on the floor to help insulate your floors. Some people also like these foam mats for flooring.
- INSULATE YOUR WINDOWS- For more on ways to do this read my post here.
- BLANKETS- Add extra blankets to your bed. I like to have a fleece blanket first, then my sheet, and then my comforter on top. I know many people who also use an electric blanket to help them stay warm.
- SPACE HEATERS- Use small space heaters to help with heating. Use infrared ones that will alarm you if they fall over or something gets placed in front of them. Here is one that is small, lightweight, and also energy efficient.
- DEHUMIDIFIER- If you use your propane furnace it puts moisture in the air. Be sure to have a dehumidifier (like this one) to keep the moisture low, avoiding the growth of mold. There are several reasons why I love ours. We utilize the auto function by setting it for the % of humidity we want in the air. The filter is reusable, adding no extra cost. Dehumidifiers are NOT cheap, let alone adding the cost of monthly filters! There is also the option to hook up a hose to it for draining instead of dumping the bucket. You can read more about dehumidifiers in RVs here.
- MATTRESS- Make sure you have a breathable mattress. The number one place that mold grows in a camper is under mattresses. Use marine-grade lumber under your mattress, marine webbing on top to give lift above the wood for air circulation, waterproof mattress pad cover that zips all around sides, and as I mentioned above, use a dehumidifier.
- RV SKIRTING- Insulate your RV with RV Skirting. We offer a great DIY RV Skirting Kits well as travel and install our system. Get pricing here!
- YELLOW JACKETS- If you are in really cold weather, often being subzero, it may help to place a few heaters underneath your unit (if you have RV skirting in place). Here are the ones that we use. They run on a thermostat. We have 2 under our 42′ fifth wheel (one back by the outdoor kitchen where the water pipes are exposed to the cold weather elements.
- WRAP YOUR SLIDES– Wrapping your slide outs with insulation boards and securing with tape help tremendously. We personally have never done it because I want as much light as possible to come in.
- INSULATE STORAGE COMPARTMENTS- Insulate the storage compartments that you don’t use during the winter months. We used bubble reflectix with aluminum tape and insulate it on the outside. It held up really well and also came off without leaving any residue.
- DIGITAL THERMOMETER– Purchase a digital thermometer to monitor and keep track of temperatures in your underbelly. This gives you a heads up if your pipes have the potential to freeze and if you need to do any additional insulating or add more heat sources.
- WATER COMPARTMENT HEATER- We place a small heater, run by a thermostat, in our water compartment to ensure our water doesn’t freeze.
- HEATED WATER HOSE- A heated water hose, like this one, keeps your water from freezing outside. Make sure you wrap your connectors in insulation.
- SEPTIC PIPES- Check your septic pipes to be sure they have a good flow. Our first winter we didn’t and we ended up with a poopsicle that took about a day of pointing a heater at it to get it thawed out. But here is a great no-freeze waste hose.
- CLOSE YOUR TANKS- Keep your tanks closed until they get full. Otherwise, you risk freezing your drain pipe.
- CARPET- Carpeting your outdoor steps and keeping them cleaned off helps prevent slips and falls.
- ROUTINE CHECK OF DETECTORS- Be sure to check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, as well as your fire extinguisher before using any heating source.
- OUTDOOR KITCHEN- We noticed that our outdoor kitchen’s water lines were underneath the slide outs and exposed to the winter elements. We use RV Skirting and this helps in keeping them from freezing, but in subzero temps, it’s always good to keep an eye on them.
- ROOF- Try to keep the roof on your slide-outs clear of any ice or snow. If you need to move, you will need to clear them before bringing your slides in.
- PROPANE- Finally, be sure to always have your propane tanks full. If you will be stationary for an extended period, I recommend checking with the local gas company about getting a larger tank that will sit outside your unit. We have seen them from 100lbs to 300lbs and have had both. And the gas company will typically deliver for a small fee and then keep it full for you (just like in a sticks and bricks house).
I hope these tips help you stay warm in your camper this winter. And as always, leave a comment below with other ways or recommendations for staying warm that I may have missed.