How to Use a Camper in the Winter

How to Use a Camper in the Winter
Many campers aren't designed to be used after the weather turns cold. Some, like pop-ups or folding campers will always be chilly in the cold season because a large part of the camper is made of canvas. Insulating water lines and preventing air from leaking are the extent of easy fixes for these recreational vehicles. More substantial rigs can be made weather-tight and comfortable. Try these fixes to extend your camping season through the winter.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Lexan or Plexiglas
  • Shrink wrap
  • Vent plugs
  • Spray insulation
  • Weatherstripping
  • Electric heaters
  • RV anti-freeze
Step 1
Winterize your windows. Have Lexan or Plexiglas cut to fit over the window and frame to reduce drafts and improve the window's insulating capacity. Attach shrink wrap to the interior of the windows with tape and use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic.
Step 2
Make sure your heating and plumbing systems are in good repair. Fill your propane tanks and consider carrying a spare tank if you plan to be in an isolated area for any length of time.
Step 3
Prevent warm air from leaving the camper through the roof vents. Again, use plastic, Plexiglas or Lexan. There are also commercially available plugs for the vents that can be removed when you want to let fresh air in.
Step 4
Use spray foam insulation on holes where plumbing and electrical lines enter the living space of the camper. Put weather stripping around doors that don't form a tight seal when they're closed.
Step 5
Check your owner's manual to see if the wiring can handle electric heaters. Using propane for long periods of time could lead to condensation problems in the camper. Avoid this by using electric heaters.
Step 6
Protect your sewer lines and holding tanks from freezing. Wrap sewer lines with heat tape and insulation if you will be camping in temperatures below freezing. Insulate your holding tanks with fiberglass and hang a light fixture with a low wattage bulb to keep the tanks from freezing. Generally, if the temperatures are not in the single digits at night, this won't be necessary. Otherwise, use RV antifreeze in your tanks.

Article Written By Meg Jernigan

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.

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