Can a Camper Be Used in the Winter?

If you have questioned if your camper is appropriate to use during the winter season, then I am here to help. I have researched the issue and come up with an answer to validate your questions regarding winter camping.

Can a camper be used in the winter? If you’ve already winterized your camper for the year, then you won’t be able to use any water nor put water in the tanks or else it can freeze and burst the pipes. But you can use it, sleep in it, tow it, and use the heater and power just fine.

If you have any additional questions to prepare you for your winter camping trip, I have some tips below. I will explain how to prepare your camper for the winter and how to stay warm while you are on your brisk trip.

Preparing Your Camper for the Winter:

If you are going to take a trip with your camper during the winter season, there are a few things you should do to prepare the camper. Just because it is cold outside, does not mean you have to stop enjoying the experiencing of camping.

Here are just a few things you should consider before taking a winter camping trip.

The Plumbing System

Drain your plumbing system!

Because any water can freeze, it is important that there is no liquid present. The water can freeze and ultimately burst the pipes in your camper.

There are two ways of blowing out the system:

  1. Using a blowout plug. This is an easier way, however, you need an air compressor and a blowout plug. You must disconnect your camper from any outside water sources and turn off all power. Then, you must open the faucets to drain. Flush the toilet to get all the water out of the line. Hook up the air compressor hose to the blowout plug and turn on the compressor. Let it go for a while until the water is completely out of the faucets. Close all the drain valves and empty the water heater tank.
  2. Using antifreeze. This option is rated to be more reliable. To do this, you simply pump the antifreeze through the system with a hand pump or your camper’s internal water pump. Attach the pump’s intake to the antifreeze. Connect the output hose to the city water inlet. Close all faucets and drain the valves until a bright pink color comes out of the faucets. Repeat on both hot and cold sides. This should be done to each faucet.

The Exterior

Damage can be done to any part of your camper, including the exterior. This process mostly consists of checkups. Although checking may not seem extremely important, the effects of the damage are important enough to take the checkups seriously.

A list of things to check for on the exterior of your camper is as follows:

  • Check the window seals. Re-caulk where it is necessary.
  • Check the weather stripping on every exterior door (Entry, basement areas, access panels). Replace if necessary to keep the cold air away.
  • Use insulating foam boards. Cut them until they are a good fit between your frame and the ground. This should be all the way around the base of your rig. This step will allow insulation for your tanks, lines, and other things susceptible to the cold.
  • Check all the seams and windows for cracks that water could come in through.
  • Spray locks and hinges with lubricant.

The main part of the exterior is to be able to make sure the little things aren’t harming your camper. Things like cracks and seals are so small and seemingly insignificant. But, they make a large impact on your winter preparation.

The Interior

The interior of your camper is the easiest to monitor and fix, because it is where you are more of the time. If there is a problem on the interior, you will often know about it to be able to fix it.

Some things to remember for winter preparation on the interior of your camper is:

  • Defrosting and cleaning your fridge and freezer.
  • Turn off the LP gas supply.
  • Turn off the main breaker in the distribution panel.
  • Clean the air conditioning filters.
  • Remove any batteries from electronic items.

Although the inside or your camper is generally warmer than the outside, there are still issues that could come through the systems.

Stabilizing Jacks

Stabilizing jacks have their own section because this is often forgotten or unkown to many people.

Stabilizing jacks are dangerous in the winter because they can freeze to paved or concrete pads. The solution to this is to place blocks of wood underneath the jacks.

This makes it possible for you to lift the jack off and use ice melt along with a hammer or chisel to break it free. So, before taking your winter camping trip, remeber to take some wood blocks.

The most important thing to remember while you are preparing your camper for the winter season is that water is your enemy. Anywhere where there is water present, there is a chance of it freezing, which will only damage your camper’s pipes and lines.

Best Winter Campers:

If you are looking for a camper that will best fit your winter needs, then there are a few things to look for while camper shopping.

The Arctic Package Option

The arctic package option is an important thing to look for while camper shopping. This package inludes:

  • Extra insulation
  • Dual-pane windows
  • Extra heating for the plumbing

These elements are all extremely important while you’re winter camping. These extra features will give you the capabilities to have less preparation work. They solve many of the issues related to winter campers.

Some arctic packages give the feature of temperature guarantees. Just like sleeping bags list their temperature guarantee. Look into whatever temperature you need, and accordingly buy a camper with a matching temperature.

So, when you are looking into a camper fit for the winter, just make sure there is an arctic package available and you will likely be safe.

Snow Friendly Features

Along with the arctic package option that is avaliable on many campers, there are other camper features to look out for.

If you are camping in a place with high preciptation (snow), your camper should have:

  • A solid roof. There are ratings for each roof, so it is important to make sure your roof is able to withstand the load that comes with a heavy layer of snow.
  • Enclosed dump valves and suspended grey and white water tanks. This will allow air to circulate around the holding tanks.
  • Awnings for slide-outs. This is an important feature to protect the slide out mechanisms. It will keep the snow and ice away to avoid damage.

All of these features specifically help the camper to be protected from the snow. Where you are camping may not have high precipitation. In that case, these features are not necessary.

However, with lots of snow accumulating, these features will save you from any major concerns regarding your camper. This is another reason why it is so important to check the weather conditions before you leave on your trip. Snow comes and goes, but your camper should be ready for either situation.

Best Rated Campers for Cold Weather

To help you out with your winter camper shopping, I have gathered a list of the best campers for the winter. Many of these campers contain similar features. However, they are all suitable for the winter months.

Because of their great features and support for common winter camping problems, I have chosen these as the top 9 cold weather campers.

  1. Northwood’s Arctic Fox Line. This is built by people who take into account the extreme cold side of camping. It is well insulated. It also has heated holding tanks.
  2. Keystone’s Four Seasons Living Package. This camper has had extreme tests done to ensure it durability during the cold weather. Everything was completely operational.
  3. Lance’s Four Seasons Certified Option. This camper has a ducted heating system. It also has a heating system for holding tanks.
  4. Heartland’s Yeti Extreme Weather Package. This one contains dual pane windows. It also has a high tech heating system.
  5. DRV Luxury Suites Mobile Suites Fifth Wheel. This contains a solid insulations system and construction. It also very roomy as a bonus.
  6. Redwood RV Redwood Fifth Wheel. This camper contains adjustable awnings, heated tanks, and two layers of insulation.
  7. Coachmen Chaparral Fifth Wheel. This camper has insulated storage, and electric fireplace, and heated holding tanks.
  8. Northwood Fox Mountain Fifth Wheel. This camper contains foam insulation and all season insulation.
  9. Highland Ridge Open Range Fifth Wheel. This camper is good for the winter because it has an extreme arctic package and dual pane windows.

Although there are many campers that could be prepared for the winter with some alternatives, these are already top quality winter campers.

Depending on your desire for cost or quality, you may want these or other campers. Other cheaper campers will require more work for your and therefore more of your time. Some of these campers cost more, however they have the features to give you less work to do.

Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Camping:

If you are not a well experienced winter camper, there is no need to worry. I have assemebled some do’s and don’ts regarding your camping trip.

Some things that are good to do:

  • Figure out whether you’ll be camping will be below freezing or not. This will help you decide how much winterizing your camper will need.
  • Make sure you know how your heaters work. Some campers’ heating systems are more complex than others. But, before you head out on your trip, test the heating out and make sure you know how to use it.
  • Cover the windows. You can cover your windows with curtains, drapes, or anything that covers well. This helps ensure the heat is staying inside of your camper.
  • Put foam in the ceiling vents. Cut the foam to fit snuggly and place it inside. This keeps the heat from escaping.
  • Skirt the exterior of your camper. The cold air that is coming underneath your camper has just as much an impact as on the outside.
  • Use diesel fuel supplement. This will ensure your diesel does not gel.
  • Run the furnace at 45 degrees. This supplements the electric heater.
  • Install a holding tank heater.
  • Install plastic film over windows. This is especially important with single pane windows.

Some things that you should not do:

  • Camp where there is not much sun exposure. The warmth that comes from the sunshine will help to heat your camper.
  • Store water hoses with water inside. The water will likely be frozen.
  • Close cabinets or drawers where water lines are. With the cabinets and drawers open, the heat can circulate around the plumbing.
  • Open the door too often. This may seem obvious, but by opening the door, you are allowing the cold air to seep into your camper.
  • Forget your electric blanket. Luckily, even in the winter months, there is electricity available to you. As long as you have the electric blanket with you, you should remain fairly warm.
  • Use regular wiper fluid. There are wiper fluids that are specifically built for withstanding the cold weather. This is what you need.
  • Cover vents or exhaust tailpipe with your skirt. The skirt is very helpful, but it is not helpful when it is covering these things.

Although there are more things that will help or harm your winter camping experience, these will save you from a lot of harm times.

If this is your first time camping during the winter, this list may help you a lot. However, as time goes on, you may find some things that work best for you. That is great. Do not feel that these guidlines are not flexible.

I understand that everyone’s camping experience is different. These tips will just get you through most general circumstances.

Tips on Having a Warm Camping Trip:

Up until this point I have been discussing how to keep your camper warm and prevent damage. However, I realize one of the most important things is to keep you warm.

Outside of your camper, there are ways to keep you warm. If you have a trip like mine, where the electricity begins to fail, you will need this.

Some of the best ways you can stay warm are by:

  • Packing extra hat and gloves. There is a high chance that you could lose your hat or gloves on the trip. Do not run the risk of going without them. Your head needs the most heat out of any part of your body.
  • Relieving your bladder. By holding in your pee, you are actually taking away energy that could be going to warming you up. If you have a tendency to hold it in, stop. Let it out and you will feel much warmer.
  • Using a sleeping bag. Although you do not need a sleeping bag to sleep in a camper, the winter months call for it. Sleeping bags will contain all your body heat inside and keep you warm through the night.
  • Using vaseline. By covering any exposed skin with vaseline, you will prevent the risk of windburn and frostbite.
  • Using a hot water bottle. If you boil water and place it into your water bottle, the heat will stay in. You can place that water bottle inside your sleeping bag (I like to put it between my legs) and fall asleep comfortably.
  • Wearing the right clothing. Depending on your camping experience, you may believe that your camper will be just as pleasant as your toasty home where you can wear a short-sleeved shirt. Do not plan on this. Wear clothing that you would wear if there were no electricity.

Campgrounds that are open are generally empty, the crisp air is quiet and the landscape is peaceful. Still, the best part: no bugs.

Jeff Adams

This all may seem excessive to you with a comfy camper avaliable. However, you must prepare for any situation. Depending on how far away you are going, you may not be able to find a solution to problems you have while you are out camping.

Prepare ahead of time and you will be pleased when situations arise. Besides, who doesn’t want a little extra warmth while they are out camping in the winter?

Related Questions:

Can you live in an RV in the winter?The simple answer is yes, it is possible. However, there are many preventive measures to take to protect your RV. There is minimal insulation on the walls, which will not lead to a warm winter. Camping is very possible, however, living conditions would be very difficult.

What is the best insulation for an RV?RV insulation will help your RV stay warm through the winter months. The three most commonly used RV insulations are:

  • Fibreglass insulation- the most common out of the three.
  • Rigid foam insulation- durable and resists moisture.
  • Spray foam insulation- cheapest and is easy to use.

How do I keep my RV cool in the summer?Keep your RV cool during the summer by:

  • Placing it under shade wherever it is parked.
  • Covering the windows.
  • Cover the shower skylight.
  • Use tarps for shade (always have them handy).
  • Use LED lights.
  • Cook your food outside.

One Comment

  1. I have to say that here in the Midwest, camping in the colder weather has its own charm because of no humidity or bugs! I own a tiny camper, a “tall” teardrop, and even though that creates its own challenges, the freedom of not having to deal with frozen water systems is a big plus. There are no systems to freeze. I do find it ironic, though, that my ice box is used more for keeping veggies from freezing than for keeping them cold when the temperatures are in the teens. Here is an article of cold weather camping with my tiny trailer.

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