Winter is Coming!

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Kevin and I are from Southern California. Our plan is to Winter in Southern California, Southern Arizona and Southern Texas.
We’re clueless when it comes to a real Winter in an RV.
We’re just clueless to any real Winter and freezing isn’t an option.
What do we need to Winter fulltime in an RV?

8 thoughts on “Winter is Coming!

  1. Stay in the warmer climates and you won’t have to worry about winter:) Okay, occasionally we have had to unhook the water at night. And we carry two small portable heaters which work great when the days are cooler which saves on the propane.

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  2. We are not full-timers, but we do go out fairly frequently in the winter months in the northern part of Texas. We also drain our water hose before going to bed, then reattach it without water until the next morning when the temperature rises above freezing. We also carry two good space heaters to help save on propane, too. Ours both have thermostats where we can set the actual temperature in two zones in the RV. The bedroom stays warmer than the front end that can be a bit more drafty due to doors and windows up there. I made an insulated panel to hang in front of the door from a curtain panel that we would not trade for now. That helps so much to keep the cold drafts down. Some full-timer put a wind block around the base of their RVs to keep wind from blowing underneath it. All we really ever do is drain our water hose and reattach it empty overnight. Even in our part of the state, the temps are often quite nice in the winter months, unless a big cold front with snow has impacted our weather. South Texas is beautiful in winter. Just make sure you have an advance reservation. 😉 You may never even get close to freezing temps there overnight. Have fun!

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  3. Well there’s winter and then there’s winter. Being from Winterpeg Canada I see Southern California, Southern Arizona and Southern Texas and I just snigger (except up on the mountains when you southerners could give us Canadians a run for your money when it comes to cold). It does however, get cold enough down there for freezing up waterlines. All of the above advice, which is good, of course, plus I’ll add my own. There are several really good blogs on getting through real winters in Canada or in skiing season in an RV but we have found in Arizona it does not get cold enough to be much of a problem unless you are up above about 3000ft.

    Below 3000ft you just monitor the weather and use your pump and fresh water tank instead of the hose when it is predicted to be cold. You can buy heat tape and use it to keep the hose hooked up but we never bothered. Easier just to fill the tank each day. Your grey and black water valves might partially freeze up overnight if it goes down to about -4C/25F but in general if it warms up above freezing to at least 10C/50F during the day and drops to just at or just below freezing (which is the worst cold we ever saw in those states below 3000feet) you’ll be fine. There is enough solute in your waste water that you don’t really need to worry about it freezing right at the freezing point, especially black water. I also keep some potable water system antifreeze on hand. It’s marked especially as RV antifreeze. If it is going below freezing I add that to the two waste water tanks to make sure that water doesn’t freeze up. I add about two cups/20gal tank and it seems to work very well. Don’t leave your waste water valves open trickle draining in cold. Open them to drain in one big swoosh once a day (right after your shower is best so the water is warm) and then close them again. That way you won’t get an ice build up in your drain line. If you valves do freeze up, do not force them open, use a blow hair dryer to defrost them or wait for warmer daytime temperatures. Our fresh water holding tank is under our bed and is as warm as the interior which is not ever cold enough to freeze.

    You may find your windows getting wet. That’s the hardest part about cold in an RV. You absolutely must keep humidity down. We use a portable electric dehumidifier for that and a shot of fresh air at midday to kind freshen everything too. Also, if you have water on your windows, you will need to watch out for water in closets, against walls and anywhere else air doesn’t circulate. When you pick your portable electric heater either buy one with a fan, or if you use a small oil filled one like I do (to avoid sucking in and burning up dog hair) add a regular fan to keep the air moving. I have also used that plastic shrink wrap window stuff to keep the drafts out and it helps a lot. You won’t need to be preventing wind from blowing under your rig that far south unless you are up in the mountains. However for comfort sake you might consider getting a custom wrap around tarp. We didn’t bother due to cost/benefit issues. Too much cost for too little benefit. If you have to drive through mountains and the temp is going to be below freezing you will need to drain your water and winterize for the trip.

    Our trailer has a autoswitch that flips the the propane access from one tank to the other automatically when it is empty. Very nice and handy until we discovered we could run out of propane in the middle of a cold snap and find ourselves freezing at 2:00 am when nothing is open so we keep one tank shut off and when we have to go out and open the valve we also know we need to go get propane. We have not run out since then.

    Sliders are usually poorly insulated compared to regular walls so if you layout allows it you can pull the sliders in overnight to stay warmer.

    To keep warm myself, I added some fleece vests to my wardrobe, which really helped. Also if your head is warm, you are warm, so consider some warm nice hats. Warm slippers are also a good investment. I also found getting into the bed is cold. You undress and it’s cold and the bed is cold when you get in. I stick a heating pad in for a few minutes before bed to warm the bed unless hubby dearest has been there first and then we snuggle.

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  4. Good question. We just spent over an hour in Camping World trying to figure out how to make our solar power last more than three days. Two options – another panel or a generator. Guess you need to figure out what kind of camping you intend – dry or hooked up.

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    • We’re trying dry camping in a few weeks at Death Valley National Park 49er days. We have 3 solar panels and a generator. Our refrigerator is a residential fridge so that takes up much solar energy. I bought a solar shower to use for wash dishes & our hands outside. We should find out if we like dry camping at Death Valley. 🙂

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  5. I absolutely loved Death Valley but I don’t advise going over those Pintomino mountains on the west side to get there unless you are very sure of your RV being able to handle 9% grades for 23 miles up and then 9% grade for 23 miles down. Better to go around the south end and then come in on the easy route on the east side.

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