This post is about winter RV living and it contains some tips that I’ve learned while living in a cold, windy Montana winter. In Montana this winter we’ve had temps in the negative 27-degree range. And, I’m handling this weather in a 3-season camper.
For winter RV living one of the key factors to prep for is the wind chill.
Here are the systems I have in place to keep from becoming a chunk of ice in my camper.
Outside the RV
Skirt the camper.
This is key to keep the wind from blowing under your RV.
Insulate the pipes
Wrap heat tape around the pipes under your camper.
Use space heaters under your camper in vital areas.
For us, that is under the bathroom where drain outlets for the grey and black water tanks are located. And under the kitchen where the grey water tank for the kitchen is located and where the fresh water tank is located.
Use a heated water hose.
We started with just the heated water hose.
However, we found that these hoses fail in Montana’s extreme weather without adding extra insulation. It functioned as advertised until we got the combination of negative temps and a wind chill.
We use pipe insulation wrapped around the hose and secured with black electrical tape.
Also, we had to put part of the thermometer for the hose in the insulation. If we don’t then the low temps signal the thermometer to keep the heat running on the hose and we get boiling water out of our cold water tap. I’ve heard that you can melt the water hose when it is wrapped with insulation but, that hasn’t happened to us yet.
Install Heat Pads for the black and grey water tanks
You can buy heat pads that go in the belly of the camper under your holding tanks. But, at 600.00 a pop plus installation we chose to not go this route.
Inside the RV
- Inside we chose to just run the furnace. We didn’t have the room on the breakers to run additional space heaters. And, we didn’t have room to use portable gas heaters. Our gas bill is running close to 200/month for December, January, and February.
- There area rugs on the floor.
- We wear warm clothes
We are cold tolerant. In fact, I love the cold weather and the snow. And, I hate to be hot. So, I didn’t do as much inside the camper as we could have just because we didn’t need it.
Additional tips for prepping the inside of your camper for the winter.
- Shrink wrap your windows.
- add additional space heaters either electric or propane. Our breakers couldn’t handle any more electric appliances and we didn’t have room for a portable gas space heater.
- make fleece covers for windows to keep in heat. This is pretty simple because fleece won’t fray so you don’t need to sew anything.
The number one biggest problem we had was the wind chill.
- It froze the heated water hose before we insulated it.
- The wind combined with the cold froze the fitting where the water goes into the camper.
- It makes it hard to dump the tanks or work on anything outside that requires us taking off our gloves.
Wind Chill is a killer. If you’re going to live in an RV or work/play outside when the wind chill drops the temps into the negatives you’ve got to be prepared. So, I hope by sharing my experiences in this post I can help you get ready for winter before the wind chills kick in and make your life miserable.
What I Wear when the temps are Low.
- Layers. Silk underwear, Kerrits winter riding pants, fleece or wool sweaters, a hat, gloves, scarf, winter boots.
- A winter hat must cover ears. I love the Turtle Fur brand and you can find them here.
- Boots designed for low winter temps.
- Yaak Trax if there is ice or the snow is slippery.
- Mountain Horse gear. Both the jacket and the Mountain Horse Polar Breech. Note jacket hood should have a ruff to keep the wind off your face. The Mountain Horse jacket doesn’t have this. I may have a fake fur ruff added for next year.
- Winter gloves. Carry a spare set if you think they may get wet. MOST IMPORTANT.
- A scarf.
With a little preparation, we are making it through the winter comfortably. If I can do it, you can too.
If you have any winter RV living tips to share please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
Here are links to some of the products I’ve mentioned in the post. Remember have fun and RV!