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Winter RVing survival guide

Many places across the country provide a winter wonderland for RVers to explore in the colder months, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. While a majority of RV lovers do most of their RVing in the summer, there are wonderful adventures that can only be had in the winter too. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have an excellent time winter RVing, as long as you take the necessary precautions and know what you’re getting into beforehand. That’s why we’ve crafted this winter RVing survival guide, so read on and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!

Preparing your RV for winter

One of the most important things you must do before setting out on a chilly adventure is to winterize your rig so that it can withstand the cold. Without taking these steps, you might find your pipes freezing over, your RV’s interior becoming extremely cold at night, or any number of other unfortunate consequences. Here are several ways to prep your RV for the cold weather.


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Insulate your RV

The number one way to keep your RV nice and warm inside even when it’s freezing outside is to properly insulate it if you haven’t purchased an all-weather rig. You can use many different materials to insulate your RV’s windows, including curtains, shrink wrap plastic, Reflectix, bubble wrap, and plexiglass. In most cases, you just have to go to your local hardware store to get the proper materials and then attach them to your windows. This process differs depending on the kind of material you get, and you can use our handy guide for a step-by-step walkthrough for each of the materials. If you’d like, you also have the option of permanently tinting your RV’s windows for some extra insulation.

Stop your RV’s pipes from freezing

A sudden freeze of your RV’s pipes can ruin any vacation. Your flow of freshwater can be completely halted, preventing you from using any water and potentially causing major damage that would cost a ton to repair. Thankfully, this is a very preventable problem. The best methods to keep your RV pipes from freezing are to insulate the pipes (either with an insulation kit or through a professional job) and insulate the rest of the RV as we’ve mentioned above. However, it’s best to tackle this issue from all sides to most effectively ensure that your pipes stay functional. We recommend keeping your RV’s interior warm and installing skirting around the base of the RV to trap heat in. You can also install a tank heating pad underneath the RV. Always be sure to carefully read instructions for warming devices before use.

Make sure your generator is ready

Your RV isn’t the only thing you need to check on before it gets cold. You’ll want to make sure that your generator is up-to-date on all of its maintenance before setting out. Check on all the filters and change out the oil if it’s time. If you’re able to, testing your generator out in a cold environment to make sure that it’s suited for that kind of climate is a great idea too. 


Don’t let a dead battery get you down. Read our guide to learn how to recharge your RV battery using a generator.

Inspect your appliances

Before going on any trip, it’s always good to make sure that all your appliances are working properly. This is especially important for winter RVing because you’ll have a rough time if you suddenly find your heater or microwave is malfunctioning. 

Use antifreeze in your grey and blackwater tanks

To prevent your grey and blackwater tanks from freezing over, it’s wise to add an antifreeze agent into them. Oftentimes, this can be done by simply pouring a few cups of antifreeze down your sink drains and toilet. However, before doing this, always be sure to read your RV manual about winterizing your rig and purchase antifreeze designed for RVs.

Packing the right gear

Packing up for winter RVing isn’t necessarily too different from any other trip, but there are a few key items you’ll want to make sure to bring before you find yourself needing them. You might already be planning to pack these items, but read through the list just in case you miss anything:

  1. Winter clothing. This is an absolute essential. You can’t dress for winter RVing like you would in the summer. Pack plenty of warm clothes for your entire body, and bring clothes that layer well together. Large, puffy jackets are great at going over multiple shirts and trapping in heat!

  2. First aid kit. Always have one of these on hand so that you’re prepared for any accident that might occur.

  3. Extra fuel and batteries. Hopefully you won’t need either of these things, but you’ll never be sorry for having them on hand. Running out of fuel or power in the middle of a winter trip can be devastating, so bringing some extra supplies is a great idea.

  4. Plenty of food and water. This should be a given, but you have to have something to eat and drink while you’re out! It’s okay to have more than you think you’ll need, especially when it comes to non-perishable items that aren’t in danger of expiring.

  5. Thermostat. Ideally, your RV will have one installed already, but either way you’ll want to have one with you. Keeping an eye on the temperature is important to stay aware of how cold it might be getting.


Are you a full-time RVer wanting to protect you and your home on wheels? We have everything you need to know about the coverage you need in our nifty full-time RV insurance guide. Ready for a quote? We can help you with a full-timer RV insurance quote

Extra winter RVing tips

Here are a few extra tips for RVing during the coldest part of the year.

  1. Use tire chains. Winter driving can be extremely dangerous, especially if your vehicle isn’t equipped for frosty roads. Putting chains on your tires will ensure your RV doesn’t slip and slide while driving.

  2. Avoid parking on hills or cliffs. RVs can slide down an icy hill or road, even after they appear to be parked in place. Always be sure to park on level ground. 

  3. Park your RV in a place with plenty of sunlight. This will help warm up your RV and prevent anything from freezing over. Additionally, parking under trees can spell disaster if a limb breaks under the weight of snow and ice.

  4. Stay on top of weather forecasts. Being prepared for the cold is one thing, but an unexpected blizzard or another harsh event could change all your plans. Weather is fickle and unpredictable so it’s good to keep an eye on the forecast regularly in case anything changes.

  5. Avoid black ice on the road. Another major hazard when driving in cold weather is black ice. Stay wary of what’s on the road in front of you and drive around black ice if you spot it. If you do wind up driving over it, stay calm and keep going straight ahead. Braking might seem instinctive, but doing so could get you into an accident. 

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