15 Tips For RVing In The Snow

This is our first winter living in the Toaster in a snowy place, which means we’ve learned a handful of tips for RVing in the snow. Here they are:

1. Awnings won’t hold up to snow accumulation, but it is definitely nice to have a cover over the front door for when it’s snowing to prevent snow from coming inside the rig, and to have a place to stand and shake off snow. We were going to build something but then decided it was too much work.

2. If you’re staying in an area that has snow removal service (plows or tractors), keep your stuff close to your rig and put poles/sticks in the snow to show where things stick out (front steps, trailer hitch, etc.) so the plows can avoid hitting them.

 

The snow comes up and over our steps.

 

3. Have plans for backup power, even if you’ve got shore connection, because winter weather means frequent power outages. If you’re in a remote place have a generator or propane for backup. Nothing is worse than losing power and having it be 34 degrees inside your rig and a high chance of your water tanks and pipes freezing. Trust us.

One day we lost power from 1 AM until the next day at 6 PM. This left the inside of the RV cold enough that we brought out all our 0 degree sleeping bags.

4. Tree bombs are a real thing. Either don’t park under overhanging trees or protect your vents and solar panels from falling clumps of snow and ice. Snow accumulation that fall from trees can crack RV vents, solar panels, and car windows.

We used free old plywood from our neighbor to cover and protect our solar panels and vents - but not until one of our vents was broken by a tree bomb!

5. If it’s regularly below freezing and a relatively humid environment (like the PNW) count on leaving at least one vent cracked to manage moisture. This does mean your heater will have to be powerful enough to compensate for the cold air.

6. Dedicate a space inside your rig for drying your jackets/boots/snowsport gear/etc. The shower is an obvious choice (and ours).

 
 

7. Don’t waste money on the “peltier effect” thermoelectric dehumidifiers - either get one with an actual compressor or don’t bother and just crack a vent. We purchased a small dehumidifier but it didn't do anything. We ended up returning it and just going with opened vents and a large tub of Damp Rid desiccant.

8. Consider not leaving yourself hooked up to water and sewer so you don’t have to protect them from freezing with insulation and heater wraps. We decided to only fill out fresh water tanks and dump when necessary. This also lets us continue to keep track of how much water we're using.

9. Get a rubber doormat to place inside your door to catch any snow/water. Nothing like a little bit of sitting water to ruin wood floors.

10. Keep a super absorbent chamois towel on hand to wipe up water from the floor. It'll save you from using a lot of paper towels.

11. Consider getting a thermometer like this one to keep track of the temperature under your rig. This way you know when to turn on a heat lamp to keep that space from freezing. 

12. We typically turn on the heat lamp under our rig when temperatures drop down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures can drop faster than a heat lamp can warm the space, so it's best to get the lamp turned on early. We purchased a 500 watt halogen portable work lamp.

13. Purchase a boot tray to prevent snow on your boots melting onto your floor. "Real" boot trays typically won't fit in small RV spaces, so consider going to Good Will and buying an old baking sheet instead of buying a brand new one.

Our $1 baking sheet turned boot tray.

14. If you’re going to be stationary for awhile, skirt your RV. It will make a big difference in keeping your rig freeze-proof and a lot warmer. Here's our post and video about skirting the Toaster.

15. Insulating your windows will make a big difference in keeping heat in and the cold out. You can purchase an indoor window insulator kit which provides plastic sheets to essentially shrink wrap your windows. We did that to all our windows in the main room of the RV except for one window (that way we can still open a window if we want). We also placed desiccant inside those windows to prevent moisture from building up behind the plastic sheets. We also added a layer of reflectix inside two of the windows. The downside of the reflectix is that it blocks all light, but it makes for a very well-insulated window.

The plastic sheets are clear enough that you can't even tell it's covering the windows.

Let us know if you have any tricks or tips for RVing in the snow.


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