Looking for winter camping tips and accessory suggestions? Well first, allow us to congratulations on not hibernating throughout the winter! Kudos. Here at OutdoorGrove we relish in winter because let's face it, there's no getting around it—and it lasts for 5 long, cold months. Luckily, winter doesn't mean the end of your RVing and trailering fun!
Winter camping, trailering and RVing is a good news-bad news scenario though. The bad news (because isn't that what we all want first) is that you'll have to prepare your RV or trailer for winter and stock up on other must-have winter items. The GOOD news is that you'll only have to prep it and buy the accessories once—and then you'll be set for winter-camping life, forever.
So, down to the nitty-gritty. To prep your RV or trailer for winter-wonderland adventures you'll need to do the following to prep the unit for winter camping...
Winter Camping Tips and Accessories
- Get in Winter-Mode Thinking To prep yourself for prepping your RV or trailer the first of our winter camping tips is that you need to set yourself in winter-thinking mode. Consider what are the lowest temperatures you are willing to camp in, because this will become the temperature rating you need to customize your RV or trailer to. Most of the tips on this list will take your trailer down to about 10 degrees, if you plan on going colder than that you will need to evaluate the types of materials used and you may need to opt for materials with colder temperature ratings.
- Sewer Line InsulationThe most important of our winter camping tips is this: the absolute last thing you want to freeze is your sewer line. To say the least it could ruin a trip if it froze and backed up or if it froze and then flexed and cracked. You'll need to wrap the hose in insulation to keep it from freezing. The thickness and temperature rating of the insulation, as with everything on this list, will depend on your maximum 'cold rating. If you only use the sewer line to dump then you don't need to insulate it, but be sure to return it to its storage spot immediately after use to avoid freezing. Also, the sewer line's compartment should be heated. If it isn't consider venting some warm air from the trailer or RV into the compartment or installing a small space heater.
Should your holding tank not be heated you'll want to add some anti-freeze to it.
- Water Hose Insulation.You'll see insulation all throughout our winter camping tips, so ditto for the above about your water hose.
- Hammer and Chisel In the winter your jacks are nearly guaranteed to freeze to the concrete or ground, so you'll need a hammer and chisel on hand to free them in most cases.
- Cover your Fridge Access In temperatures of 20 degrees and lower the temperature of the liquid in your fridge can drop so low that the liquid thickens, turning into a gel consistency. When it does this it can plug its coils, causing them to cease functioning and need replacing. Avoid this by closing off a rear access to your fridge and sealing it by applying insulating tape around the access edges. If there are pipes coming out consider insulating them with some leftover insulation material from your sewer piping insulation.
- Space Heaters If you have an RV it likely has fuel-based heating, which can be extremely expensive to use regularly. Consider small space heaters, which use less energy and run on electricity—which you're already paying for with your electric hookup campsite. If you use propane-based heating, be aware that it generally only lasts a few days so have backup propane on hand, and/or have another heating method handy.
- Stop Heat from Escaping (and Cold from Entering!)Older RVs and trailers are generally leaky beasts (and some newer models too). So to save yourself on heating expenses—and a few chilly nights—seal doors and windows with insulating tape and entry holes with thick insulation.
- Protect your Water PumpWater pumps are generally on the underside of trailers and RVs, and are often susceptible to cold. Some manufacturers protect the full-of-water pump, but others do not. If your water pump isn't insulated from the cold you'll need to insulate and/or (depending on how cold it will get) install a small space heater.
- Small BlocksYou'll want to keep all your hoses and cables off the ground to avoid them freezing to it. This can be accomplished with small blocks, similar to the blocks you put under your trailer to keep it from rolling (but smaller). When you put the hoses and cables away, be gentle as they will be vulnerable to cracking if they're frozen or have frozen fluids in them.
- Winter FuelYou will need to use a winter blend diesel fuel, winter blend gasoline or a winterized additive to keep your fuel from freezing as your truck or RV sits for days at the campsite.
- Block HeaterIf you plan on camping in super-cold temperatures consider a block heater, because if you're in the middle of nowhere and you can't get your engine to turn on—well that's a problem. You'll likely already know your truck or RV by now, and how temperamental it is—or isn't—to get started.
Winter Tips for RVing and Trailering
Beyond simply prepping your RV or trailer for winter trips, you also need to get yourself prepared—and here are some winter RVing and Trailering tips to help you do just that:
- Dress in Layers: For long stays outdoors you'll want to maintain your temperature properly by avoiding freezing—AND sweating—by wearing a sweat-wicking (that moves the sweat away from your skin) base layer, an insulating middle layer and then a windproof outer shell or jacket. Outer layers with zippered 'vents' are ideal because when you're doing rigorous activity you will overheat and begin sweating.
- Have Winter Footwear: feet are especially susceptible to cold so be sure to have winter-rated footwear. Winter gloves are also a must-have, especially for children (mitts are better for kids though as they don't separate the natural heat of the fingers like gloves do)
- Don't Go into the Wilderness Alone: despite all your Boy Scout training, navigating in snow is extremely difficult as it hides visual markers and tracks that would help you find your way back. So, don't go out alone and have a guaranteed way to find your way home.
- Check...Everything: you'll want to check weather conditions, road conditions, avalanche conditions and snow forecasts. Do it daily, or multiple times a day.
- Be Safe and Prepared: before leaving on any winter trip, leave a trip plan that lets others know when you will be back, where you will be at any given time, when you'll return and your vehicle information. To be prepared for everything bring not just extra food but also extra cash and extra fuel.
- Bring More Food: our daily caloric requirements are higher in cold weather, so be sure to pack more food than for summer camping trips.
- Bring Activities: bring winter-specific activities and gear with you to help you relish in winter. This can be skis, snowboards, snowshoes, or anything else you can think of.
Our final tip: relish in your winter camping, as it truly is an amazing and unique experience. Our country has some beautiful spots that turn into picturesque winter wonderlands, so a second congrats for not hibernating this winter—get out there and have fun. Maybe we'll see you there.