RVing during the winter offers a ton of unique travel opportunities across the US.
Whether you’re exploring the awe-inspiring scale of Rocky Mountain National Park or hitting the slopes in Oregon, every RVer should go on a winter road trip at least once.
Before hitting the road, it’s paramount that you have the right gear to stay safe and comfortable. A winter RV trip presents a unique set of challenges, many of which may not be at the forefront of an RVer’s mind. At Lazydays RV, we’re quite familiar with what it takes to enjoy the winter RV lifestyle, as we’ve been proud to call Colorado and Minnesota home over the past few years.
The first step all RV owners must do before any winter road trip is to winterize your RV. This process ensures that your RV’s water systems and appliances will be prepared to handle below-freezing temperatures. Afterward, you’ll need the right gear to have a fun, safe winter RV trip. Check out a few must-have winter RV accessories from Lazydays RV!
A Working Furnace, Fireplace or Space Heater
Staying warm is the number one thing RVers should consider when preparing for a winter road trip. One of the easiest ways to beat the cold is with an electric fireplace, furnace or space heater. Larger RVs and motorhomes, like Class A motorhomes or Fifth Wheels, come standard with an electric fireplace. Medium-sized rigs like Class C’s and travel trailers typically include a combination heating/AC system with a thermostat. If your RV has either, make sure they’re in top condition before heading out. A broken heating system or fireplace can become a safety hazard, depending on the conditions.
If you have a smaller or older RV that does not have a central heating system or a fireplace, a space heater is a must for any winter trip. Depending on the size of your RV, one may be all you need to keep the interior at a comfortable temperature. Many have great safety features, but it is always best practice to be cautious when using a space heater. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector on hand for safety.
Warm sheets and bedding are very important items for a winter RV trip. Having plenty of warm blankets, bedspreads, and sheets can help keep you warm if your heater is insufficient. Using thermal sleeping bags instead of standard bed sheets is another easy way to stay warm throughout the night.
As part of the winterization process when traveling in cold temperatures, heat tape needs to be applied to the pipes to keep them from freezing. Pipe insulation or covers are other great products to keep your RV’s pipes from freezing during a winter trip. Best for exposed PVC or metal piping along the undercarriage of your RV, pipe insulation and covers are affordable solutions that hold up in most conditions.
If you won’t be traveling, then antifreeze will need to be a part of your winterization process. When storing your RV for the winter, generally before the cold weather arrives, you’ll want to add antifreeze to your RV’s water system to prevent the holding tanks and pipes from freezing.
Whether you’re storing your RV for the winter or taking it on a ski trip, an RV cover is a great accessory to have. If you’re putting your RV away for the winter under an overhang or in a space with poor insulation, a cover helps shield your RV from the elements and keep it somewhat warm. If you’re on a winter trip and plan on being away from your RV for a long time during the day, there are a few cover options to use:
- Full Cover: A full-sized RV cover, which is commonly used during long-term winter storage, can be used during the day to keep your RV protected. If you have the time to throw one on before heading out, a full-sized cover does a great job of maintaining heat.
- AC Cover: If you’re hitting the road this winter, using an AC cover is highly recommended. Since you won’t be using your AC unit during the winter, a cover will help protect it from the elements and prevent heat from escaping.
- Windshield or Roof Cover: While not a necessity, a windshield and/or roof cover is another layer of protection RVers can opt for. If you’re hitting the road where hail or strong winds are a possibility, a windshield cover helps protect against nicks and cracks. Both can help keep heat as well, as a compromised windshield or roof seals allow warm air to escape your RV’s interior.
With the elements being a potential hazard, make sure all of your safety equipment is stocked and working before your next winter road trip. Your checklist should include:
- Road Flares
- Tire Chains
- Extra water, food, batteries and propane
- Tool Kit
- Prescription Medication
- Extra items of warm clothing and blankets
- Hair Dryer (great if pipes or handles freeze)
Other Great Winter Accessories
Plenty of warm clothing is something everyone has on their list of must-haves for a winter RV trip, but there are a few items that can be overlooked. Two of the most helpful items of clothing that people can miss are mid-layers and socks. While you may have a sturdy, well-insulated waterproof jacket or pair of boots, what goes underneath those is just as important. A shirt, extra wool sweater or breathable thermal shirt make a world of difference in the cold. Thick wool socks or specialty ski socks can make hiking or other snowy activities much more enjoyable and keep your toes warm.
Heavy drapes are another great accessory to install for the winter. Their thick material helps keep heat in, which is easily lost through your RV windows. A fuel additive, especially if you own a diesel motorhome, is a handy item to have in case you experience frozen condensation, or fuel gelling.
Make sure to visit your nearest Lazydays RV Accessories & More for all your winter RVing needs. The Lazydays blog is your go-to for RV travel tips, and Lazydays RV service experts can help get your RV ready for the winter!