Don’t Fear Camping in the Cold
If you’re like me, you’d rather be warm 12 months of the year, so that means you’d rather be RVing in the sun or on the beach than RVing in the snow and cold. I’m trying to get over my disdain for the winter months, and think about the benefits of cold weather camping, such as the beautiful winter scenery and activities like skiing, skating, and snowmobiling. No wonder so many people use their RV year-round. A good idea to ease into cold-weather camping is to take a few shorter trips to work out all the issues that come with the colder season. (Longer trips may require a bit more planning and material, such as a protective skirt). READ ON FOR SOME TIPS ON PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR MOTORHOME IN THE COLD.
1. First things first – the temperature will be below freezing. You should winterize your RV otherwise, if there is water in your system, your plumbing or water heater could freeze. If you haven’t winterized, it doesn’t take much effort to get it done, and it will save you from a massive repair bill that could happen if your lines freeze.
2. Don’t worry; you can you still use your RV bathroom after winterizing your RV. Take some four-litre jugs with you to fill the toilet and if your holding tanks are not heated add some RV antifreeze to them. You can add the RV antifreeze through the toilet for the black water holding tank and down the shower drain for the gray water tank. You will also have to bring extra water with you for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and brushing your teeth.
3. Make sure you know the location of all your RV’s plumbing. If your water system is below floor level, in areas that aren’t heated, it could again, freeze and damage the water lines. If you do hook up to an external water supply, you might want to leave your faucet dripping slightly. The flowing water decreases the chance of freezing. You could also use heat tape to cover any outside water lines. If you know it is going to be an extremely frigid trip and you don’t want to risk your water supply freezing, you could fill the fresh water holding tank if it’s in a heated area. But, a better idea is would be to use the campground’s facilities. This saves your grey water from filling up and you from worrying about freezing lines.
4. Your RV’s heating system should be enough to keep the interior warm. Remember, that a forced air furnace, will not only consume propane but will also draw up to seven amps of electricity while operating. You could considerably drain the battery. Try to book a campground that you know has an electrical supply (batteries can also freeze in cold temperatures.) If you have electricity, then you can also supplement your heat with a portable ceramic heater. You won’t have to worry about fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. If you don’t have a hookup, you could use a generator, just be confident that the exhaust system is working correctly and that you have a carbon monoxide detector.
5. Pack extra blankets (or an electric blanket), your thermal wear and an emergency kit. If possible, camp in a spot that faces the sun, and is protected from the wind. You can also minimize cold drafts by shutting your curtains and keeping the entry door closed as much as possible.
After you have protected your RV from the cold, bundle up, get out outside, and enjoy those winter activities - you will feel better knowing you can come back to a cozy and secure RV.