How to Live in a Travel Trailer During Winter?

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Last Updated on November 2, 2020 by Ted Mosby

Regardless of whether you are new or an experienced outdoor hobbyist, living in a travel trailer during winter poses special challenges and you have to prepare yourself and your vehicle to overcome those challenges!

Summer is the most appropriate time for road trips and adventures. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot pack up your rig during winters. In fact, RVing during the cold temperatures is something special that allows you to explore an array of outdoor recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, etc.

When RVing in winters, you witness the beauty of icy lakes and snow-frosted mountains. However, when considering to travel in winters, the biggest concern is how to live in a travel trailer during winter. Knowing how to live in a travel trailer during winter means you will be ready all the time to explore nature regardless of what the weather conditions are.

How to Live in a Travel Trailer During Winter?

This post will explain tips that will show you how to enjoy and comfortably live in a travel trailer during cold temperatures. So, let’s get started!

How to Live in a Travel Trailer During Winter?

1. Insulating the Windows and Floors

Window Insulation

Travel trailer windows, regardless of how well-insulated the manufacturer claims they are, lose a ton of heat. However, insulating them is an easy process and there are many ways to do that. You can add rugs and thermal curtains, which will help to absorb heat inside the camper. While underneath the trailer’s floor, there is earth and air.

You can protect your RV from the cold by adding thick rugs to the floor, which will add an additional layer to the camper floor to prevent the heat from escaping outside. Moreover, a thick rug will also keep you comfortable when you will walk bare feet on it around your trailer.

Trailer windows are the biggest culprit that steals the heat to deplete warmth supply if they are not properly sealed. In this regard, the best thing is the use of bubble wrap or foam insulation boards. You should hang the extra thermal curtains, which will give you extra warmth. It will also help you to maintain greater temperatures inside your travel trailer.

However, if the weather outside is sunny, make sure to keep the windows uncovered so that sunlight can shine the windows, adding natural warmth. The biggest disadvantage of covering the camper windows (when the weather outside is cloudy) is it will block the amazing outside views.

2. Protect Trailer Pipes, Batteries, and Plumbing System

Another most vulnerable machinery of your travel trailer resides deep in the underbelly, such as plumbing, pipes, and batteries. Although skirting is the most effective way, but you should also wrap up the pipes using a heat tap and purchase a Heated RV water hose.

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It will keep your trailer’s waterline from freezing when you hook it up to a city water connection. Moreover, if you aren’t ready to upgrade the heated hose, you can add insulation to the existing water hose or fill the onboard water tank to use it as your water source.

Whatever you are going to do, make sure to avoid using an unwrapped, summer water hose in freezing temperatures. You should know that if your water hose freezes and cracks, you will have to deal with a much worse situation.

3. Space Heaters

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Another great way to conserve propane burn and to get additional warmth during day and evening is the use of small electric space heaters. However, while purchasing, make sure to buy heavy-duty brand-name, undamaged electric cords small space heaters. Having a small space heater to the lavatory will not only prevent the trailer’s black tank from freezing but also a great addition for people coming out of the shower.

4. Insulate the Water Heater

Using the water heater insulation blankets will help you to maintain higher temperatures of the freshwater, making it easy for you to live in a travel trailer during winter. Although the only reason why your travel trailer is equipped with a water heater is to provide you the hot water, in incredibly cold temperatures, even the best camper water heater could freeze.

Water when freeze could cause more problems, such as cracking the pipes or tanks. But, an insulated blanket, will help to keep the desired water temperature, which will provide you a pleasant shower or doing dishes experience.

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Moreover, although the water tank has extra protection, water in the pipes is still exposed, so it is also necessary to cover to insulate the pipes as well. It will also help to keep the water from freezing in pipes. It isn’t necessary to keep the pipes hot but you should make sure to keep their temperature above 32° Fahrenheit.

5. Furnace

Furnace in a travel trailer tends to keep the interior of the trailer warm and cozy even when the weather outside is incredibly cold. But, the longer you run the furnace, the most it will conserve the propane. You should turn the furnace off or keep it too low when cooking. The heat produced by the stove is more than sufficient to keep the entire trailer warm.

Moreover, at night make sure to lower the furnace up to 55° and use electric heating blankets. Furthermore, make sure to do not set the thermostat lower than 55° when the temperature outside is too cold, as it could cause pipes and water tanks to freeze and crack. This way, you will be comfortable when living in a travel trailer during winter.

6. Use Vents Covers and Dehumidifiers

Although vents of your travel trailer are an essential part of the ventilation inside a travel trailer, they are also one of the significant sources of heat loss. Buying covers for the vents will not only help to keep you warm inside but will also promote ventilation to prevent condensation and humidity buildup inside the travel trailer.

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Moreover, using vent covers are also a great way of adding an additional layer of insulation, while also allowing moisture to escape, which helps to prevent mold growth inside your travel trailer. Moreover, you should also consider buying a dehumidifier to avoid the humidity inside your trailer.

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A dehumidifier will help you to lower the humidity level inside the camper, aiding to keep the trailer interior dry and mold-free. Furthermore, it will also keep the air clean and fresh inside a tighter place.

7. Use Electric Blankets

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Electric blankets on your bed are extremely useful for more comfortable sleeping when living in a travel trailer during winter nights. Another wonderful benefit of having electric blankets is you can drape them over a sofa leaving them in low settings and they will provide a cozy warm heat to your entire travel trailer. You should also know that electric blankets are also energy-efficient as they require less energy than an electric heater.

8. Consider Buying Solar Panels

Sun is beautiful and incredibly powerful because of the power it can generate. The UV rays of it can potentially penetrate even in the densest fog. So, having solar panels installed onto your camper means you will always be able to keep them charged. You no more need to burn through all the expensive propane as you can utilize solar panels to run an electric space heater or to use electric blankets.

When buying solar panels for your travel trailer, make sure to thoroughly research before you invest in them. If you often stay at a campsite where you have the full hookup facility, you won’t need them. However, if you go boondocking more often where you have no power source, having solar panels installed onto your travel trailer is a great option for you.

You will find two types of RV solar panels on the market,

  • Polycrystalline solar panels with 13 to 16% efficiency and they are also less expensive
  • Monocrystalline solar panels with 15 to 20% efficiency.

Regardless of the efficiency level, the energy of both the solar panels is almost the same and your coffeemaker will not be able to detect any difference.

9. Take Your Trailer in for a Checkup

Whether you are good with your trailer maintenance or you are ready to hire someone else, taking your trailer in for a checkup is nice. By making sure that your trailer is in good condition before you hit the road to encounter the freezing temperatures, you are potentially preventing incidents that need just a little tune-up, such as checking out the trailer’s battery.

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Since driving your RV charge battery, the battery won’t hold the charge for long when the weather is colder. So, if you are running an electric space heater on full, it will consume the battery quicker than you might expect.

Although it is not an issue if you are at a campsite with full hookups, you should consider it if you are boondocking. There are some RV stores that offer full winterizing services to make sure your trailer keeps its optimal condition maintained.

10. Stay Active

When the weather outside is extremely freezing and inside it’s 40° Fahrenheit, you should avoid bundling up in a blanket and regretting the decision of winter camp. Instead, keep your exercise on! It is even more essential after eating all of your favorite baked goods and drinking hot chocolate to keep yourself warm.

You have to work off those extra calories to wake up your internal body temperature. It will also help you to maintain heat for an extended period of time. In this regard, a short period of jumping jacks will increase the internal body heat.

11. Be Mentally Prepared

You should mentally prepare yourself for colder and uncomfortable weather conditions to trick yourself into thinking “this is not as bad as I was thinking”, enabling yourself to enjoy the freezing weather conditions. Instead of regretting your decision to camp in cold, just relax.

When we are cold we tense our muscles up to keep our mind aware that we are cold. However, by relaxing our muscles and minds, we trick ourselves to think “we are comfortable”.

Wrapping Up

Although camping in summer is more comfortable and we all want to appreciate the beauty of nature when we are comfortable. However, it doesn’t mean that you limit yourself to take your rig out only when the weather outside is suitable. Camping in winter is a stunning idea and can be a magical experience. However, you have to keep your trailer ready before you hit the road to encounter colder temperatures. Above, I have outlined some tips that will help you live in a travel trailer during winter. Stay comfortable, stay warm


How to keep your travel trailer warm for comfortable living during winter?

Living in a travel trailer during winter means you have to fully insulate it first. In this regard, you should insulate the windows because they can lose a ton of heat. You can use thick rugs and thermal curtains. Moreover, you should also consider wrapping up the pipes and plumbing system of your travel trailer.

Can you live in a travel trailer in the winter?

Yes! Although living in a travel trailer in the winter poses some challenges but it is possible to live in it during winter if it is fully insulated. You should consider the above tips to keep your trailer warm if you are considering traveling in winter.

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About Ted Mosby

I am Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a Freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. I own a Forest River Berkshire XLT Diesel 45A Class A Motorhome. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.