Not all RVers are allergic to snow. Many manufacturers make arctic packages for RVs to keep them camping all year round. If you want to be one of these hearty RVers, here’s what you need to know before deciding on the best motorhome, trailer, truck camper, or van for your winter camping adventures.
In this article you will learn what to look for in arctic packages for RVs, such as:
- The best and worst kind of winter camping RV
- Why insulated plumbing and holding tanks are critical
- How heated basement storage keeps you comfortable
- Which manufactures make the best arctic packages for RVs
- Why a sealed undercarriage is important
- and the best snow camping accessories for comfort
Why Buy Arctic Packages for RVs?
It’s time to pack up your RV until the warmer season before the first snowfall of winter arrives, right? That’s what many RV owners decide to do. But not all RVers will. Some actually love RV snow camping, so they take their trailers and motorhomes out despite the arctic temperatures.
As you can imagine, though, driving an RV and camping in cold weather isn’t exactly easy.
You can’t just choose any RV for winter camping. A four-season RV is the best kind. These year-round campers can handle the sweltering temperatures of summer. And they can keep you warm in freezing cold winter too. Four-season RVs are a special kind of camper. They come equipped with what’s known as an arctic package.
Four Season RVs with Arctic Packages Usually Include
- A powerful and efficient furnace
- Heated basement compartments and holding tanks
- Extra floor and wall insulation rated for winter
- Dual pane windows
- and other cold weather camping gear chosen by the manufacturer
What to Look for in an RV with a Four Season Package
Do your homework if you’re looking for a four-season RV with an arctic package. If you want to try winter RV camping in a well-insulated RV, check out these seven things to know about arctic packages for RVs — before you buy one.
1. Four-Season Campers Aren’t Always What They Seem
Your RV is an investment. Don’t go in blind and buy something just because it says “four season RV.”
Read four season RV reviews. And know that just because a manufacturer says their RV is four-season, doesn’t mean that it is. To know for sure, it means shopping in-person. It means inspecting the camper inside and out, top to bottom.
For example, when you want to know if an RV is truly made for the cold, just take a look at the pipes. If pipes are fully enclosed within the body of the RV, then you know it’s a four-season vehicle. If the pipes are exposed or only partly covered, keep looking.
2. Inspect the RV Insultation Quality
You probably take the insulation in your home for granted because you can’t see it. Insulation is put within the walls and sometimes beneath the floorboards. You know it’s there because you don’t freeze to death in winter.
Arctic packages for RVs ensure adequate insulation too. The floors, walls, and even the ceiling are insulated with better-than average materials. And four-season RVs also have insulation and a warming source around the pipes and holding tanks too.
RV tanks exposed to freezing temperatures will give you a big headache. Imagine not being able to dump your holding tanks because the contents inside are frozen solid. What a hassle!
3. Ask about the RV’s Insulation “R-Value”
All building materials insulation is rated in terms of “R-Value.” This rates the level of thermal resistance found in the insulation materials. The R-value changes based on the number of insulation layers used in construction. A multilayered insulation will have several R-values added together. The density, thickness, and type of insulation pushes the R-value higher or lower. Arctic packages for RVs have higher R-value insulation.
The most popular RVs with arctic packages for winter camping
Research the manufacturer in-depth. Read through their website.
Talk to other RVers who bought the same winter camper that you’re considering.
Test the RV in person. Prepare a laundry list of questions to ask a sales rep. Jot down the answers, then mull everything over for a few days. Make a slow, educated decision and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort and warmth for cold-weather driving.
5. Check for Undercarriage Insulation
You could have every inch of your RV insulated, but if the undercarriage is not, you’re going to freeze.
A sealed undercarriage is part of the best arctic packages for RVs. Sealing it keeps cold air from getting into the RV. If you’re in a motorhome, you will also notice less road noise.
You can always buy undercarriage insulation material if yours doesn’t have it. Just buy waterproof insulation so wet road conditions don’t ruin it. The material should be woven so it can stretch to accommodate your vehicle. Adhere your insulation material with undercarriage seam tape. Get into the habit of looking at the underbelly of your RV every few months to ensure the material is still intact.
4. Choose a Four Season RV Manufacturer
The features of arctic packages for RVs change from one manufacturer to another. Not all are made with quality materials. To find the best winter camper in your budget, do your homework.
As you browse around for a winter camper, ask the salesperson or the manufacturer about the R-value for each one you check out. The worst kind of winter RV is a fiberglass trailer, which generally doesn’t have a great R-value. RVs with steel, aluminum and wood construction materials have a high R-value rating.
Here are some of the best four season RVs
- Heartland’s Yeti Extreme Weather Package
- Lance’s Four-Seasons Certified Option (available for travel trailers, toy haulers, and truck campers)
- Keystone’s Four Seasons Living Package
- Northwood’s Arctic Fox Fifth Wheels and Trailers
- Gulfstream Yellowstone’s Diesel Motorhome
- Starcraft’s Launch Ultra-Lite Travel Trailer
6. Don’t Forget About the Warranty
If you shop from a four season RV manufacturer, hopefully you’ll never have to think twice about your RV warranty. Starcraft’s arctic package for RVs includes a limited warranty good for 24 months, for instance.
When buying your arctic package or any RV part or accessory, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Look into what the manufacturer does and does not cover. At the very least, your RV warranty coverage should cover the cost of damages if part or all of your arctic package fails.
7. Get the Best Winter Camping Accessories Too
Sometimes, even the best arctic packages for RVs are no match for climate change impacts on RVing. Carry these extra winter camping accessories to keep you warm:
- Small space dehumidifiers. These little gadgets lower humidity and remove moisture from inside the RV. Too much condensation promotes RV mildew growth.
- Install RV skirting. This material wraps around the bottom half of your RV (including the wheels). It acts as a barrier to wind and cold when you are stationary for long periods of time.
- Catalytic space heaters. These small but mighty propane heaters warm up any RV in a jiffy. These can be used with or without utility hookups. Do NOT buy electric heaters, which can overload your circuit and create a fire hazard.
Conclusion on Arctic Packages for RVs
Arctic packages for RVs make year-round camping possible. These four-season add-ons include features such as:
- Wall and floor insulation
- Heated storage bays
- Enclosed underbellies
- Sewage and fresh water tank heating pads
- Double-paned windows, and more.
Follow the seven tips and tricks above to get your RV decked out from roof to floor with hassle-free ways to block cold from entering the RV. If you’ve always wanted to experience the wonder of wintertime camping, arctic packages for RVs ensure you’re ready for wherever your wintry adventures take you!