Winter Camping in our RV
We have spent some time winter camping in our RV (boondocking to be exact!) this year, to be able to snowboard the various mountains on our #MaxPass! Through our experiences this year, we have learned A TON through trial and error, but have found out that there are some easy things you can do to make it a lot easier! We spent several nights in the parking lots of ski resorts without electric hookup, but were able to stay warm and cozy – here’s how!
Mr. Heater Buddy
Most nights we run our portable propane heater, Mr. Heater Buddy (connected directly to our propane tank onboard the RV) and get the RV nice and toasty until we go to sleep, at which point we turn it off for the night. Don’t forget to leave a window cracked while it’s running! As long as it’s not below about 20 degrees, the temps in the RV stay above freezing (usually don’t go below 40) all night until we turn the heat on again in the morning. We do know people that leave the Mr. Heater on all night long, but the warnings on the package say not to. We usually aren’t super rule followers, but we also have a cat and we are (probably unnecessarily) nervous about an open flame and a cat tail….
We successfully survived the coldest night (low of 8 degrees) by using our Mr. Heater until we went to sleep, then waking up at 3am to run our furnace again to make sure our pipes didn’t freeze (we kept water in all of our tanks)! We don’t keep the furnace on all night because it kills the battery really quickly.
We have also insulated all our windows with Reflectix insulation (buy at HD!), and put a sleeping bag between the cab and the “house” which both helped keep the heat in immensely. We cut the Reflectix to fit the windows perfectly, and tuck in at the corners. We do have one window that does have tuck in-able corners, so we use small suction cups on that particular piece of Reflectix.
We did put RV antifreeze down all our drains to keep the black and grey tanks from freezing. Our black tank did freeze over in Colorado (ewwwww – frozen poo), so we dumped (a bunch) of hot water down the toilet and eventually it thawed enough to dump. We did not put antifreeze in the fresh water tank – we didn’t want to deal with that. Our fresh water tank is under our couch so it stays warm enough inside the RV and it never froze over (although the water was pretty chilly!) We kept using our fresh water throughout our winter experiences, with no issues.
Another option for very cold weather is to keep the water system winterized (dump all fresh water and blow out any remaining water from pipes using air compressor), and use a 5 gallon container for fresh water. Make sure you dump antifreeze in the grey/black tanks if you plan to use them!
We do find that our fridge stops working when it gets too far below freezing (usually in the single digits). Applying some heat to the outside cooling element helps the fridge start working again – a blow dryer works, but we don’t have one so we used our Mr. Heater Buddy!
Please leave any other suggestions for winter RVing in the comments section!