Can you use your Travel Trailer in the Winter?

Usually people think of camping as a warm weather activity rather than being able to do this during the winter. However, travel trailer owners are not limited to outdoor activities only in the warmer months. RVing is a hobby that can be enjoyed throughout the entire year! 

Can You Use Your Travel Trailer in the Winter? With the proper preparations and planning, a travel trailer can be used in any season, including during the winter months and even in snowy conditions. There are many upgrades you can make to make your trip more comfortable such as insulation, heated equipment, and an electric heater.

Using your travel trailer during the winter allows for an escape from the summer temperatures and crowds, while letting you enjoy some new scenery and nature activities. While it may require more prep work before you leave, using your trailer during this time of year can be a nice change to your normal adventures! Here are 14 ways to keep warm in your travel trailer this winter.

Prepping Your RV for a Winter Trip

While using your travel trailer in the winter time is definitely doable, there are some extra pre-trip steps that you will need to take to ensure that you don’t run into any winter related difficulties on your trip. 

  • Insulate Your Trailer – Insulating your travel trailer is your number one defense against unwanted cold weather getting inside. This can come in the form of window drapes, RV skirts, carpet, insulation, vent covers, etc. If you plan on traveling during winter conditions often, you may want to think about upgrading the current insulation levels in your RV. Typically, you cannot add insulation to your RV, but you can make seams airtight with spray foam as well as some items such as insulated vent covers and adding rigid foam insulation to areas. It will be a good investment to keep you and your trailer toasty, regardless of the temperatures outside. 
  • Check the Sealants – The sealants need to be able to do their job properly in order to keep out unnecessary cold temperatures and any water that might want to work its way in as well, perhaps from melting snow. Before leaving for a winter trip, check all of your sealants to make sure they are ready to go and reseal where needed. A draft coming in from an unsealed window can really make it chilly in your RV.
  • Protect Your Plumbing – While camping in the winter time, you want to make sure that you continue to have running water. If temperatures fall below the freezing mark on your trip, you will want to have a plan for this figured out ahead of time. There are multiple methods out there to prevent this from happening with your exterior pipes and hoses, such as heat cable or purchasing a heated water hose.
  • Fill all your Propane Tanks – Propane is the substance that controls the heat in your trailer. You want to make sure that those tanks are full before you head out on your trip so that they do not become empty while you are in your travel trailer in winter conditions. If you plan on traveling in the cold often, consider upgrading your tanks to a larger size.
  • Slide Covers – If you plan on camping in areas that will expose your travel trailer to snow or ice, you will need something to cover your slides. If snow and ice build up on the slide while it is out, you could find yourself having a difficult time getting it back in. Here is some more information on slide toppers.
  • Add Another Heat Duct – We have added another heat duct in our trailer to push air to the front of the trailer as our only heater is in the back. Here is our step by step how to article on adding a vent.

A lot of the insulating steps you will take to winterize your trailer are simple and easy. A majority of them can stay up the entirety of the year as well. This will make it easier to install and have it ready when you are available.

Keeping Your Camper Warm

Preparing your trailer for the winter conditions is a great way to keep your trailer warm, but there are many others steps you can take while you are actually on your trip to help with this as well. 

Parking your trailer in the sun can help to heat the trailer during the day. The trailer will be able to absorb some of the sun’s heat throughout the day that will keep the inside of the trailer warmer longer. 

Bring a long brush with you to wipe away all of the snow that may fall on your trailer. When snow sits on top of a travel trailer, it cools down the trailer’s insides, similar to an icepack. By clearing it away, the snow will not cool the exterior or block the sun’s rays from getting to the trailer’s surface. 

Open the cabinet doors to the areas that contain your pipes. This will allow the warm air inside the trailer to heat the pipes, preventing them from freezing. 

Some Things to Take on a Winter Trip

Winter camping is going to require a few different things than normal in order to make your trip an enjoyable one. These are some ideas of items that you might want to purchase and pack, depending on where you are taking your trailer. 

  • An RV Skirt – This easily attachable skirt covers the underneath sections of your trailer, guarding it from the winter conditions and keeping it warmer inside. 
  • A snow shovel – You will need this if you are heading to areas where snow is likely. 
  • Tire Chains – These will help you maneuver your trailer on roads that may have snow or ice by increasing the wheel’s traction.
  • A Hair Dryer – Slightly silly, but if you get caught with something frozen that shouldn’t be, a hair dryer is an excellent way to get it unfrozen quickly.
  • A Space Heater – It is a good idea to bring along a space heater to help warm up the common areas in your trailer. If you plan to bring more than one space heater, consider bringing an extension cord to connect one to a plug outside since having too many heaters connected to your trailer could cause you to blow a circuit. Make sure you get one with a thermostat and remote control like this one so you don’t overheat yourself.
  • Thicker Clothes, Blankets and Sheets – It is important to pack enough jackets and blankets to keep warm during the day and at night in whatever conditions you come across. 

Precautions for Towing Your Trailer

Driving a car, let alone a trailer, can come with some major road hazards when driving in wintry conditions. It is important to be extra cautious when you are traveling in these situations while towing your travel trailer.

When driving your travel trailer on roads that could have snow or ice, you will want to be extra cautious about your speed. It is possible that you could hit patches of black ice and slide around on the road, possibly leading to a jack-knife situation. When in these conditions, slow down or avoid driving altogether. If you must drive, this is when tire chains are a good investment. 

Before you leave for your trip, check to make sure that your tires are in good condition and not in need of replacement. Tires that are bald and low on tread do not have very good traction will not handle well. If you plan on towing your RV a lot through snow, you may also want to consider purchasing snow tires. 

Check all of your trailer’s brake lights before traveling. If visibility is limited on the road, you may need to turn on your hazards, which will allow other drivers to see where you are located on the road. 

While winter RVing may not appeal to some, it is very possible to enjoy all that this season has to offer in your travel trailer. Take the necessary precautions, pack some warmer clothes, and hit the road for a different kind of camping experience! 

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