Planning to park your RV and wait out the winter off the road? If you do, you'll be missing out on some of the best seasonal spots and adventure there is. While RVing is generally considered fair-weather recreation, it doesn't necessarily have to be. There are plenty of ways to enjoy life on the road in the wintertime months, provided that you plan ahead.
As always, location is key. If you prefer warm climates, you can join the caravanning Snowbirds heading south to spend the winter months in popular Southern destinations. Key West and Fort Walton Beach in Florida boast beautiful white sand beaches and a wide variety of water sports year-round. Savannah Georgia is a popular destination, overflowing with Southern hospitality and if the city isn't your thing, the small community feel of Jekyll Island may keep Georgia on your mind.
If you'd rather travel west in your search for winter warmth, be sure to check out Port Aransas Texas steeped in seaside charm and Alamogordo New Mexico, where you'll enjoy 70 degree weather and can still day-trip into the mountains for skiing and snow sports. The painted deserts of Rancho Mirage California make it a Must-See and a popular Winter RV destination, but if you tire of the view, you can easily head east again and set your stake down in Yuma Arizona where winter temperatures average in the 80s.
If however you've decided against warm winter destinations or expect to pass through significant cold weather on your trip, you'll need to address three main issues: water, power and heat. The following tips will help you prepare for an enjoyable season no matter where the open road takes you.
Fresh water is a necessity, not just for drinking and bathing, but also for flushing. For quick weekend getaways, consider purchasing a few gallons of water for drinking and flushing and make use of the public showers available at many RV parks and travel plazas. If you're planning on parking in one place for the season, you may want to drain your tanks, refill them with antifreeze, turn off the pump and connect to public outlets. If however you're going to be mobile you'll want to winterize your hoses and pipes.
Your power and heat will need to come from propane and/or electricity. Check to see if your generator has a winter setting. This will balance the fluctuations that come from your furnace cycle. Solar panels atop your RV can help provide energy during daylight hours but your best bet is finding a campsite with electrical hook-ups. If your main source of power is propane, you can expect to pay a hefty price. Increasing insulation and cold infiltration can reduce the amount of energy you'll need to use to make your RV warm and cozy. Special consideration should also be given to humidity and ventilation. Applying simple shrink film to your windows will cut down on pesky drafts and the same film can be used with the addition of batting to block roof vents to keep the warm air from escaping.
With a little planning and a fair bit of luck, your winter adventures can be incident-free. But just to be on the safe side, you'll want to bring along a shovel, ice scraper and wood blocks to keep your wheels from getting stuck in unexpectedly thawing ground.
Brian Hawkins works as part of the internet development team at Dave Arbogast RV Depot in Troy, Ohio, where he writes about the RV industry daily. When he's not covering the RV lifestyle he enjoys camping with his wife and children.
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