Can You Live In An RV In The Winter?

RV living in the summertime is a wonderful experience. Enjoying a nomadic lifestyle in the warm weather is an expression of your freedom in this beautiful country.

When the season’s change and the mercury drops, RV living presents a unique set of challenges. Staying warm in snowy weather requires the proper preparation of your vehicle. In this post, we’ll look at practical and effective strategies for winter-proofing your RV.

How to stay warm in your rv in the winter

Is it Possible to Live Full Time in an RV?

Yes, it’s entirely possible to live in your RV all year round. If you adapt your vehicle to meet the climate changes around your area, there’s no reason you can’t live in your RV through all four seasons.

Living full time in your RV requires you to have ablutions onboard your vehicle, or else you’ll have to use rest stops and public facilities to shower and use the bathroom. Proper RVs come with everything you need to live year-round in the vehicle.

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You get all the creature comforts of home, right down to TV, air-conditioning, and a stove or microwave. However, you’ll need an adequate battery bank to power your appliances and your heater in the winter.

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Most RVs come with a solar recharging solution for the battery-bank, allowing you to have a full charge, even in overcast weather. It takes some time to adjust to a mobile lifestyle, but after a few weeks, you’ll feel right at home.

Upgrade your RV to meet the challenges of the cold winter season. You won’t have any issues with frozen pipes, dead batteries, and freezing interiors with the right preparations.

Living in your RV during winter can be as comfortable as staying in a real house, provided you make the right upgrades to accommodate the seasonal change.

Can You Drive An RV In The Winter?

An RV in Rocky Mountains in Colorado in the winter

Of course, you can drive your RV in the winter. The RV is like any other truck or car; if you use anti-freeze and get some snow chains, your RV can handle all winter conditions. Proper maintenance of your vehicle ensures you get the most out of your RV in the wintertime.

If you’re going to be driving through salt and snow, spray Salt Terminator underneath your rig before (for protective coating) and after your trips.

Driving your RV in the wintertime presents a host of challenges thanks to the cold weather. However, it’s entirely possible to fire up your RV and hit the road in the winter. You’ll need to keep your vehicle maintained to ensure the engine and electronics are in working order.

After that, you’ll need anti-freeze for the radiator and diesel fuel additive to ensure you get a start first-time when turning over the motor.

When driving, you’ll need to get some RV snow chains for your vehicle to prevent losing control on icy roads.

Can You Use a Travel Trailer in the Winter?

Travel trailer parked in the snow in winter

Yes. Travel trailers are easy to insulate and prepare for the wintertime. Both RVs and travel trailers require the same preparation for cold weather. Provided you complete your adjustments before the cold weather arrives, you should have no trouble spending the winter in your travel trailer.

A travel trailer, or caravan, is another option for mobile living. You can use all the tips in this post to prepare your travel trailer for winter. Side skirting, underbelly insulation, interior insulation, and space heaters help you keep the interior of your travel trailer toasty this winter.

Travel trailers also require snow chains to prevent slips and loss of control of the trailer while towing. Look for custom skirting options to suit your specific trailer model.

How Do You Live in an RV in the Winter?

Step 1: Install or Upgrade Installation

Some RVs come with pre-installed insulation suitable for winter conditions. However, if you’re upgrading an older or cheaper model, you’ll need to add insulation yourself. There are a few insulation options, with the most popular being foam insulation board or plywood with insulation foam.

If you’re insulating the entire interior of your RV, you’ll need to strip everything from the walls, floor, and roof before you start. Measure your foam boards or plywood and cut it to size using tools like jigsaws and bench saws.

Insulating an RV is no easy task. It’s possible to do it by yourself if you have the right tools and handy experience. However, most people will need to take the RV to a professional for the upgrade.

If you don’t have the budget to insulate the RV’s interior, here are a few hacks to help you keep the cold out.

Pipes and Tanks

Exposed pipes around the RV can freeze in cold temperatures. Replace the standard RV drain hoses in your sewer line to prevent then freezing and splitting. Insulate tanks with insulation foam or foam panels to prevent them from freezing.

Windows

Hang blankets or towels over windows and in stairwells to keep in the heat.

Doors

If the seal around the RV door is weak or perished, it needs replacement. Prevent cold from coming through the window by hanging a towel over the inside of the window.

Floors

Line the floor with rugs or carpeting to stop the cold. If you’re on a budget, use blankets as a quick fix.

Water Heater

Insulate it with insulating foam or fiber, or foam panels. Prevent heat loss from the tank that wastes your battery power. Closed-cell foam offers the best option for holding in the heat on your water tank.

Step 2: Skirting Your RV

Also known as “wind skirting,” RV skirting is a material you use to block off the underside of your RV from the wind and cold. It fits the underside of the RV skirting, providing seamless protection under the RV. As a result, wind and cold air don’t move around under the RV, reducing heat loss through the floor.

There is a variety of skirting kits available, featuring design and construction with different materials. You can choose to buy a pre-fabricated kit off Amazon, or build the skirting yourself using inexpensive materials. However, if you’re going to do a DIY option, make sure you make it easy to remove the skirt.

Some of the options for RV skirting materials include the flowing.

Vinyl Materials

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Cut tarps to size, and fit them to the skirting around your vehicle using grommets. Vinyl offers the best portable solution for easy setup and takedown. We recommend going with vinyl for the best skirting insulation.

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Plywood or foam boards

Cut plywood or foam insulation boards to custom sizes to fit the underside of your RV. You might need to join several panels together to cover the entire surface area of the undercarriage.

Step 3: Heat the Underbelly of an RV

As mentioned, most of the heat loss from your RV comes from the floor. Ensuring you have an insulated and heated underbelly for your RV keeps you toasty in the coldest weather. The skirting goes a long way to preventing cold air from moving under the RV. However, you’re going to have to ensure you cover the undercarriage as well.

You have a few options for selecting your insulation.

Foam Boards

Foam insulation boards are a good choice, but they require measuring and professional installation.

Spray Foam

Spray foam is a good alternative, lining the undercarriage with a thick insulation layer to keep out the cold.

It’s possible to do the spray foam or the board installation by yourself, provided you have the right tools and experience working with these products. However, you’ll need to lift the RV to access the underbelly. If you don’t have a hydraulic lift in your garage, you’re probably going to have to go to a professional for fitment.

Step 4: Keep Temperature Inside RV above Freezing & Humidity Out

When the temperatures drop at night, you’re going to have to ensure you keep the RVs interior above freezing. Letting it get below zero results in the freezing of your water tanks and lines, and burst pipes.

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Insulation goes a long way to ensuring you keep the interior of your RV warm. Make sure you cover the windshield from the outside to prevent cold penetration.

As a result, you’ll probably need to run heaters overnight. Ensure that you have the battery capacity to run the heater, without waking up in the morning to a dead battery and an RV that won’t start.

Step 5: Get a Space Heater

When things start to feel cold inside your RV, get a space heater. These units come in electric and gas-powered models. The propane heaters burn efficiently, without causing a buildup of fumes. An electric space heater is a good choice for avoiding the use of propane inside your RV.

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Ensure you purchase a space heater from a reputable manufacturer. Choose an energy-efficient model suitable for heating the interior of your RV. Installing a small space heater in the toilet is a great way to prevent the black tank from freezing in cold weather. Having a heated bathroom helps after getting out of the shower as well.

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