RVing in the cold - yes, you can!
As I write this, snow is falling in the Arizona mountains and we have 3 to 4 inches of snow. Itís a beautiful wonderland. And, George and I are grateful we donít have to go out in it unless we want to.
While most RVers head south for the winter some enjoy the cold and the snow. Imagine! Some workamp there, others go to homebases or to visit family. A few decide to settle down in a cold, wintry place like Alaska.
If you plan to spend extended time in places that get below freezing for more than a few hours at night, here are a few things you should know:
1.† Choose the right RV: Most RVs are not made for cold weather. The amount of insulation does matter and the four-season rigs come with double-pane windows and heated basement compartments. If you are still looking, join RV Consumer Group to find out the rating of RVs you are considering.
2.† Winterize your rig: If you are living in your RV in a place like this, you can take some measures to keep the heat in and protect your RV. Put skirting in the form of bales of hay, boards or other material around the bottom of the rig. This will keep the bottom warmer and lessen the likelihood of your tanks freezing. You can put plastic or aluminum foil over windows and skylights to keep heat in. If your tank compartment isnít heated, add a light bulb you can leave on in below freezing temperatures.
3.† Reduce condensation: When your rig is closed up tight, condensation develops, particularly from using propane. Keep a vent or jalousie window slightly cracked. Open cupboards and closets to let air circulation. Invest in a dehumidifier.
4.† Disconnect your hoses: Fill your internal water tank and disconnect your hose so the hose doesnít freeze. Attach it only to fill the tank. You can use heat tape, but make sure that will be adequate. Ideally the faucet should freeze-proof or self-draining and the hose needs to be removed for it to drain. Attach the sewage hose only when time to dump. Prop the hose so it flows at an angle the entire way from RV to opening in the ground.
5.† Heating solutions: For long stays, get a larger propane tank that can be filled by a local company. It will be less expensive and easier than filling small RV tanks. Install a catalytic or ceramic heater. They are more efficient, though youíll need a slight crack for air. You can also purchase electric heaters, though youíll have to see whether propane or electric heaters are less expensive to run if you are paying for the electricity.
If you are a skier, you may be able to find a Workamping position where you have ski privileges. We have RV friends who did that for years, getting free or discounted lift tickets working at a ski resort or nearby RV park.
We have had several friends who volunteered or worked where they had housing and moved out of their RV, winterizing it or leaving it in a warmer place. Thatís another option.
Moderate temperatures are more comfortable in an RV, but there is no reason you canít spend time in extremes if you are prepared for it. Make a snowman for me! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak December 2011