Absolutely! And not just for recreational purposes only! Since the start of the Pandemic many more people have resorted to permanent living inside their RV. This is no problem during the Spring, Summer and Fall, but of course Winter time is a whole different story, especially here in Canada, where the temperatures easily drop to the -20 and -30 degrees Celsius.
How do you stay warm inside your RV when it is freezing cold?
Well, as with everything else, any successful outcome always starts with 3 P’s: Proper Planning and Preparation.
For starters, the first thing that should come to mind is: Winterizing!
RV antifreeze is the first important thing that needs to be applied to the fresh and grey water tanks, as well as the black tank, and flushed through all water lines. Even if you’re going winter camping for just a week or a weekend on a year round open campground with access to power, water and sewer, you'd still be safer to add antifreeze to your grey and black tanks. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water to keep inside for consumption, and always keep your black and grey tank valves closed, until you’re ready to dump.
Make sure you check the weather forecast before you head out, so at least you know what to expect while driving and when you’re all set up at your designated location. If you decide to go off the grid, for obvious safety reasons you would still be wise to inform a family member or a friend when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back - as well as your location, preferably pinpointed as exact as possible.
Did you know that wooden blocks underneath your stabilizer jacks help prevent your jacks from freezing onto the ground?
Here are some useful suggestions what to BRING, and what to DO with your RV in winter time:
- extra propane
- extra antifreeze
- good working generator with extra fuel
- small portable electric space heater(s)
- snow shovel
- electric blanket for RV bedroom mattress
- thermal sleeping bags (preferably with hoods)
- warm winter clothes, jackets, boots, toques and mittens
- RV plumbing heat tape
- extra food and drinking water
- waterproof matches or lighters
- CB radio in case of emergency (some of the newer iPhones have emergency connectivity with GPS)
- dry wooden logs for fire pit
- heated camping chairs, blankets and hand warmers
When living permanently inside your RV, you’ll need to:
- ensure your unit is safely anchored to the ground in case of severe winter storms.
- even if you are located in a permanent spot on a year round open campground with access to all amenities, you will still need to reduce heat loss by trapping the heat inside the RV.
A most effective way to prevent the cold wind from blowing underneath your RV is to apply RV skirting
There are several options available regarding foam, canvas and inflatable RV skirting (AirSkirts) - all of them popular by permanent RV-ers depending on the price. On top of that, thick foam board insulation or foam spray can be used on the underbelly of the RV or applied to the top and bottom of the slide outs.
For RV windows a really good insulation material is reflective foil, plastic film or bubble wrap.
- Check the seals and caulking on your RV door(s)and windows.
There are special RV vent covers (called ‘draft shields’) available for purchase in RV supplies stores, as well as special RV vent insulating materials. That said, some ventilation inside the RV needs to be maintained in order to keep condensation to a minimum, and to prevent mold build up.
- most important, always check the validity of your safety devices such a your fire extinguisher and your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and this of course goes for short trips as well
- sewer and fresh water hoses need to be wrapped with special heat tape or foam pipe insulation.
- keep the snow off your RV roof, slide tops and sewer hose!
- extra indoor carpets on your floors will also greatly help keep your inside temperatures comfortable.
Solar panels, portable generators and good working batteries may help to provide extra power if you’re suddenly without electricity.
All the above mentioned ‘BRING’ items will be useful irregardless of short- or long term winter RV-ing.
At Swift RV Repairs Inc. we are happy to give you free advice, or answer any questions and concerns you may have regarding Safe ’n Sound Winter RV-ing.
Stay SAFE, stay SOUND, and stay WARM campers!