When it comes to getting your RV ready for the winter season, whether that means a camping trip or packing up for the season, there is a lot of information to know. We covered everything you needed to know about getting your RV winter ready last week. You can view that post How to Get Your RV Winter Ready, Part 1.
When it comes to winter RV trips, there is plenty of fun to be had: from skiing to hunting, adventure is always out there. It’s important to remember with every camping trip you take in your RV, fifth wheel, or travel trailer, you ensure the safety of yourself and your friends and family. Adventure may be calling, but traveling responsibly should be your number 1 priority. And here at Guaranty, we want to ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe.
Our tips for winterizing your RV for storage or travel touched on a few safety tips, like avoiding using your oven or burners to heat your RV, but we wanted to share a few more tips to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. Winter camping can be fun and adventurous—but with low temperatures, icy conditions, and unpredictable weather, it can also be dangerous.
1. Double Check Your Campground
Some campgrounds may close seasonally, without warning, or may close suddenly for severe weather. Having a place where you can check on that information before setting out can be important. There is nothing worse than heading out for a trip and arriving to find a campsite closed!
Some campgrounds stay open year round, especially in areas that stay warm throughout the year, but others can be variable. When making plans for your trip, always make sure to ask about seasonal closings, closing for weather conditions, and where you can check on that information as you travel.
2. Prepare for Anything
On any RV trip, winter or summer, you should never head out without an emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, an emergency radio, a flashlight, extra medication, and warming blankets. Your emergency kit should also include non-perishable food items like granola bars, protein bars, and bottled water. You should always have extras of everything, much more than just the bare minimum.
As well, make sure to pack plenty of extra winter clothing, like sweaters, snow pants, gloves, hats, and socks. One of the main ways the human body loses heat is through the head and feet, so ensuring you have plenty of warm, wool hats and socks for your trip will keep you warm.
3. Check Your Tires & Perform Maintenance
Before heading out for your winter camping trip, make sure to check your tires. Ensure that they are filled correctly and don’t have any slow leaks that could disrupt your trip. RVs have the small advantage of weight when it comes to winter driving, but in slick conditions, that might not mean much! You may need to carry chains for some areas, so ensure that you have those available should you need them. For more driving tips, check out this article.
Alongside your tires, you should make sure that everything in your RV is working in perfect order, from your generator and heating system to your engine. Getting an oil change, checking filters, and more will ensure that if something goes wrong, it won’t be your RV.
4. Turn on Weather Alerts
If you have a smartphone, downloading an app like AccuWeather that sends you alerts when weather changes or turns severe can be extremely helpful.
Especially in the winter and traveling into the mountains, weather can change with just a moment’s notice. Knowing when the snow will begin, or if you are heading into white out conditions, can help keep you safe. If conditions are severe enough, you’ll at least be alerted to know you need to pull over and stay put until it passes or clears enough for you to continue safely.
As well, if the weather on your trip seems like it will be worse than you had imagined, it might be worth postponing for a few days to ensure safe conditions for you and your family.
You can use websites like TripCheck for Oregon or SafeTravelUSA to keep an eye on road conditions and road cameras.
5. Have Emergency Numbers Ready
Make sure to save emergency numbers in your phone, as well as keeping a written list of them in your RV. Some good emergency numbers that are good to have:
Contact for at home
An emergency contact for everyone in your family
Ensure that everyone you are traveling with has access to this list of numbers and knows who to call in case of emergency, such as an accident or extreme weather.
Also remember to bring chargers for all your phones and electronic devices. Having a portable charger available in case you lose power is an important part of your emergency kit.
6. Stay Warm
Staying warm in your RV once you reach your destination can take a little bit of work. As we recommended in part 1, using electric heaters inside your RV, alongside your RV’s propane heating system if you have one, will go a long way towards keeping you snug (and protecting your RV’s water system). However, there are other tips to consider.
Bring heating pads and heating blankets to use while relaxing or during the night. As suggested, pack lots of extra clothes to layer, like sweaters, long sleeve tops, and socks. Have an emergency system to stay warm, like small electric heaters or a larger propane heater for inside your RV, is crucial for if you lose power or run out of propane. (Although, as mentioned in the first part of this blog post, always ensure you have enough propane before heading out on a trip!)
As we mentioned before, never use your oven or burners to heat the inside of your RV, fifth wheel, or travel trailer.
7. When in doubt, sit it out
Safety comes first. If weather conditions are looking rough, the roads look iced over, and things just seem to be going from bad to worse with a winter storm coming, it is best to stay home. When adventure calls, RVers are often the first to answer it; but if conditions aren’t safe, you don’t want to be reckless. If you ever don’t feel 100% confident about driving conditions or weather conditions, don’t power through it. Staying home is just as cozy as going out into the snow!
Winter can be a fun time to go camping, hunting, or skiing. If you are interested in learning more about four season RVs, including the best makes and models, you can check out our previous blog post here or contact us here to learn what RV will fit your exact needs.