Editor: This informative article has been provided by Mark Bennett of outdoorily.com
When you watch television commercials promoting recreational vehicles, you will invariably notice that the RV owners are often depicted having a great time at the beach, the mountains, deserts, forests, and even urban environments, but they all seem to be enjoying postcard-perfect weather of sunny skies.
Moreover, you will notice the RV campers wearing attire for the spring and summer; colder weather (even winter!) camping scenes are rarely depicted in these promotional advertisements. The reality of cold weather camping for RV owners is that they are likely in a better position to do so compared to other travellers, but this would be an activity that requires some thought and planning.
Cold weather camping is for the more adventurous travelers. Some people do it with nothing more than warm clothing, backpacks loaded with cold weather supplies, and special gear. In some cases, these braver cool weather campers will have a better time than RV owners because they are more likely to plan ahead and avoid the cold realities of very low temperatures and inclement weather.
Cool, shoulder season camping for RV owners is not just an exercise on staying warm; there is the RV to consider as well, and this is why careful planning is a must.
Will the RV Handle Cold Weather?
Humans tend to be more adaptable than vehicles. There is a good chance that your common sense will allow you to prepare and handle wintry conditions. This is not the case with all RVs; while they may be able to get you from one destination to another even during the winter, not all of them will provide adequate shelter.
Hybrid RVs, for example, are not the best choice; motor-home types with arctic packages, which include insulation, water heaters, special windows, and winterizing options, are the best in this regard. Think about this when purchasing or leasing RVs if you plan on many shoulder season or winter trips.
While many manufacturers offer winter packages, here are some ideal RVs which are advertised as 4-season:
Northwood Arctic Fox (Travel Trailer)
Heartland Bighorn (5th Wheel)
Bigfoot RV (Class C)
Triple E (Class C)
Northern Lite (Truck Camper)
Choosing the Right Tires
It is easy to forget that tires are the only parts of vehicles that make contact with the road. To this effect, going with all-season tires is a bad idea; you will want to install winter tires and become familiar with their recommended pressure so that you can adjust it as needed during your excursion. Needless to say, the condition of the tire tread is also crucial.
(if you are looking at buying Backup cameras for your RV, check out this article on the RV Backup cameras for RV by Outdoorily)
Paying Attention to Water Lines
RVs that feature arctic packages include special insulation around the various lines, pipes, and hoses that circulate water. In the absence of this package, you will need to circulate antifreeze through your holding tanks while keeping in mind that there may be times when you will have to wait for the lines to defrost before using the RV plumbing system.
You will want to take advantage of the cabin heat generated by the RV while driving; to this effect, try to leave cabinet doors open so that the heat circulates into those compartments where the water lines run. When you plug into a sewer line at an RV camping site, do what you have to do and disconnect as soon as possible because you do not want to get frozen and stuck.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s winterization guidelines. Check with the manufacturer of your RV.
Making the Cabin as Warm as Possible
Weather stripping the windows should be done before your trip, and this would be a good time to cover them entirely with plastic kits sold at RV supply shops. Think about heavy draping for the windows so that you can trap as much heat as possible. Vents should never be covered in a way that air is completely obstructed, but you can safely attach foam pieces to trap heat. If the exterior of the RV is not insulated, you can still provide some insulation with carpets or even blankets placed right on the cabin deck. Don’t forget to bring one or two electric blankets for all passengers.
Packing the Right Supplies
The extra storage space that RVs provide is perfect for colder weather; this is a great advantage when compared to travelers who drive passenger cars or who travel on foot. Make the most out of this space by preparing a comprehensive emergency kit; one that is separate from the usual jump-start cables, spare tire, snow shovels, and signaling flares in case you break down on the road. We are talking about a kit that can be as large as a backpack and will allow you to abandon the RV if needed. Here are some suggested items:
* Snowsuit, socks, gloves, and winter caps.
* Water in an insulated bottle to avoid freezing.
* Mylar blanket.
* Emergency smartphone charger.
* Flashlight with extra batteries.
* A spare feature phone with fresh battery and prepaid SIM card.
* A list of emergency telephone numbers written down on paper.
* Cigarette lighter or matches.
* Snacks that are high in protein.
* Band-aids, gauze, and wraps.
* Disinfectant, aspirin, acetaminophen, camphor and menthol decongestants, cough medicine.
* Extra cash.
* Lip balm or vaseline.
Ideally, you would never be in a situation to leave your RV behind, but carrying the supplies above will vastly improve your situation until you can get help.
We hope that you found these tips useful, and that they inspire you to plan your next RV early season, cooler weather or even winter camp. Have you gone cold weather camping in RV’s before? When do you usually start / stop your camping for the year? Do you have any tips to add or do you have any feedback? Let us know in the Comments. We would love to hear your colder weather camping experiences, tips and tricks!
Have fun camping, and most importantly, stay safe. ❄️
Author’s BIO: Mark Bennett is an American writer and traveler, whose major inspiration has been camping with his father ever since his childhood. He aims to visit 75 countries before he’s 30. You can also follow his adventures on his site Outdoorily.
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