No one in their right mind would spend the winter months living in an RV, right? Wrong. Plenty of full-time RVers are happy to travel wherever their whims take them, even if that means camping in northern states during the winter months. Even some seasonal campers like to get out and about when most other RV owners have their rigs stored away. And when they go, they take their two best friends with them: insulation and sunlight.
Insulation and sunlight are an RVers two best friends during the winter months for obvious reasons. Insulation is key to keeping cold air out and warm air in. Sunlight offers natural heat energy that mitigates the need to use propane or electric heating during the day.
● Insulate Everything
If you are new to the whole RV scene, you might be shocked to learn that RVs are not designed to be used in cold weather. From the factory, they are very poorly insulated. Their walls are thin, as are their windows, doors, vent caps, etc. Making matters worse is the fact that RVs are not sealed up tightly to prevent air circulation.
All this adds up to the obvious need to insulate everything. Here are just a few examples, compliments of Connecticut-based AirSkirts:
- Vent Caps – Thin plastic vent caps don’t do much to keep cold air out. However, a piece of styrofoam cut to fit just underneath a cap does the trick.
- Windows – Thin glass panes don’t do much to keep cold air out either. However, reflective thermal blankets change things. Covering windows with the reflective side in can help keep an RV warmer during the winter. Put the reflective side out during the summer and you will keep your RV cooler.
- Window and Door Frames – Both window and door frames can and should be sealed tightly with caulk. Over time, calk dries out and wears away. It goes without saying that it should be refreshed at least annually.
- Plumbing – RV plumbing generally is not insulated at the factory. Pipes and tanks can be insulated by covering them with specially made blankets. RV skirting, like the inflatable product AirSkirts sells, adds an extra layer of protection by keeping cold air from circulating underneath an RV.
It is a good idea to give an RV the once over every fall. Getting into every nook and cranny to find air leaks gives you the opportunity to seal those links so that the rig stays warmer.
● Utilize the Sunshine
Sunshine is a fantastic tool for heating up an RV during the winter months. Here in North America, the best use of winter sunshine involves parking your RV in the right direction. It should be parked so that the largest windows face the south or southwest.
For example, imagine a motorhome with a large picture window on the driver’s side. Parking the coach with the window facing south also points the windshield to the west. Between these two access points, you get plenty of direct sunlight to heat the unit. Keep the windows uncovered during the day, then cover them with a reflective product when the sun goes down.
Not all RV owners store their rigs during the winter. Some live in them full-time while others take one or two winter camping trips every year. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to keep an RV comfy, cozy, and warm even when it’s cold outside. It is a matter of insulating and using natural sunlight to your advantage. Plenty of full-time RVers have proved it can be done.