The RV life has lots to love. A cold winter isn’t one of them, at least for dedicated snowbirds like myself. Since making our RV a full-time home for the last twelve years, I’ve become more adept at keeping warmth in and winter out of our RV when we’re flying south. Here are my best three tips when you’re trying to keep warm while traveling through cold weather.
Keeping RVs Warm in Winter Takes More Than Insulation
The snow-capped Rockies are one of my favorite sights in the world—from a distance. My husband and I love spending summer in the cool mountains but as soon as the aspen leaves fly, you’ll find us heading to the Southwest. Sometimes, however, we can’t make it to the sunny desert fast enough. When that happens, here’s what helps me keep my sanity and our RV warm when temperatures drop.
Tip #1: Accept that You Cannot Change the Weather
Believe it or not, watching after your mental health is one of the keys to keeping warm in winter. I learned that after our first tornado scare in the RV. That’s when I became obsessed with checking Weather.com when a storm was predicted. And while it’s important to stay current on changing conditions, it took me several years to finally realized that looking at the forecast (and googling things like “can RVs blow over in high winds?”) is not going to change anything. In fact, it makes the weather seem colder and nastier than it is. Don’t blur the lines between worry and preparedness when the weather forecast looks bleak. Be prepared, but accept that no amount of whining or fretting will change the weather headed your way. Deal with it and suddenly the cold won’t seem so awful.
Tip #2: Carry Reflectix Insulation
If you don’t know about the benefits of RVing with Reflectix, now is the time, before the wrath of winter strikes. The inexpensive insulation product comes on a large roll. You cut it to the size of your RV widows and either tape them to the wall with blue painter’s tape, or just squeeze them in-between the shades and window as we do. Sure, it might make your RV look like it’s out of the TV show “Breaking Bad,” but you’ll keep warm.
We didn’t realize how helpful this insulation product is until we went RVing to Alaska during summer and used it to darken windows and ceiling vents at night. I almost tossed it after our trip, then remembered that I have seen it used in RVs in cold climates. I’m so glad we kept it, especially after enduring an unusually cold Wyoming spring. Now I use it whenever freezing weather strikes. Of course, Reflectix has a few downsides, like trapping condensation behind it, and the big one, blocking out any sunlight. But overall, we’ve found it indispensable enough for us to carry in our mid-sized 27-foot rig.
Tip #3: Carry a Catalytic Heater
Our little Mister Buddy Catalytic Propane Heater is indeed an awesome traveling companion. He joined us a couple of years ago and now the little guy is a permanent member of our family. Since we don’t have an on-board generator, this portable space heater takes the edge off frosty mornings when we’re dry camping without hookups. It requires no battery power to operate, just a small propane canister (but you also have the option of hooking it into your main propane system). Mr. Buddy comes in a small and large size, and we found it to be well worth the cost.
Winter has a special charm all its own, but I prefer to admire it from afar. Really far. If you do too, there’s no reason why you have to suffer when cold winds blow and frost builds up outside. Follow the usual cold weather RVing tips like wearing sweaters, laying down throw rugs and making sure any drafts are covered. Then, remember these three tips to keep your RV warm on the move. Together, you’ll boost your happiness level enough to make it through to the sunny weather waiting for you down south.
About the author: Rene Agredano
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
Stephen B. ~ Coach-Net picked up my truck without me being there, called me for directions and then dropped my truck exactly where I asked. Great service!”
We are winter wise having started our travels from Rochester NY in January for 10 years, before we wised up and went full time. In many Cl A coaches with propane furnaces it is necessary to run the furnace (or rear furnace if there are two) to provide heat to the utility bay to prevent freezing the water and sewer systems. This does require battery and generator management if not hooked up. Also when traveling in cold weather we run the front furnace to keep things warm as the dash heat just warms the immediate driver compartment area. I know many believe that it is bad to run propane while underway, however on 30 degree days the furnace is necessary and so is the refrigerator. The propane system has many safeguards to prevent gas from flowing in an accident so long as the tank is not breached. I am referring to Cl A motorhomes specifically as that is what I know.
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