How to Prepare an RV for Storing Over Winter
The fall season marks the end of outdoor camping activities across Canada. And below-zero temperatures at night are enough for people to pack it in and prepare for a few cozy months indoors.
We know you’d RV all year long if you could, but unfortunately our climate doesn’t make this an easy endeavour.
With chilly winter days ahead, it’s time to winterize your RV so you’re not greeted by any nasty surprises come springtime.
Follow along to learn how to prepare an RV for storing over winter all before the snow falls, with the winter season just around the corner.
How to Winterize Your Camper in 4 Steps
Step 1: Unload Your RV for Storing Over Winter
An entire season of cruising around the country means that you were slowly adding more and more items to your camper throughout the summer—now it’s time to unpack them. Ask yourself these questions:
What Will Freeze or Spoil Over Winter in My RV?
You may think this just applies to food and drinks, but there are a lot of liquids in your RV to consider.
Start with the kitchen cabinets and remove any pop, beer, sauces, and liquids. Even if it won’t freeze, check packaging for expiration dates so you can eat foods before they go bad.
Next, move to your bathroom and gather your toiletries, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners.
Finally, go through your cleaning supplies and remove anything that risks freezing and bursting over the winter. Put everything you won’t use at home in a large, labelled tub so it’s easy to spot next spring.
What Will Attract Pests to My RV While in Storage?
Those furry little critters sure are determined, so it’s best to make your RV less enticing for them to enter.
The obvious tips are to remove any food or products with a scent that may attract them in the first place. However, you should also consider removing anything that would make good nest material.
Things like newspaper, toilet paper, and soft fabrics like rags, towels, or clothes, are easy for mice to move and rip up, so we recommend removing these items completely or making them inaccessible (but remember, mice can chew through just about anything!). It also doesn’t hurt to have a few mousetraps set up around your RV so you’ll know how well your precautions are working.
What Should I Take Out of My RV While Parked for Winter?
Go through what’s left in your RV and think about what you’ll want to use before next spring. You don’t want to come back searching for items like board games, kitchen tools, and warm clothing during the December holidays. So, do a thorough search before you lock the door for good.
Step 2: Prepare Your RV Interior for Next Year
Give the Inside a Good Scrub
After just one weekend spent camping, let alone a whole season, your RV is generally pretty dirty. That’s why it’s important to wipe down absolutely everything at the end of the season so that it’s in tip-top shape for spring.
It’s best to follow a routine after each trip to maintain your RV so it’s in great condition for years to come. But just before the winter season, and storing for several months, follow this list of must-clean items.
- Wipe exterior surfaces, like cabinet doors, walls, stove top, fridge door, countertops, sinks, etc.
- Clean interior surfaces, like drawers, shelves, cupboards, closets, microwave, oven, etc.
- Clean the windows and pull the shades to avoid prolonged exposure and sun damage.
- Do a final load of laundry and consider keeping all linens indoors away from critters.
- Sweep, vacuum and mop your floors, depending what kind of flooring you have.
- Empty rooftop vents, kitchen vents and window screens if they’ve collected dust or debris.
Once you feel like you’ve completed a thorough interior cleaning, leave your cupboards, drawers, and fridge open to avoid musty smells over winter.
Step 3: Prepare Your RV Exterior for Winter Storage
Now that you’ve emptied the inside and cleaned well, it’s time to prep the outside of your RV for the cold months to come.
This step will prevent pests from entering, materials from cracking, and liquids from leaking.
Cover All Openings to Keep Out Moisture and Bugs
Fix cracks or tears, screen or cover vents, and seal openings in preparation for storing your RV, camper, or trailer. This prevents moisture from soaking in, mildew from building up, and the fluctuating temperatures from worsening the damage. This is also another barrier to keep those pesky little critters out of your RV, whether that be mice, spiders, or bugs.
Use a Winter Cover When Storing Your Camper
Whether your RV is protected by an overhang or out in the open air, it’s a good idea to use a cover. This provides an extra layer of protection from the elements and keeps it clean.
Save Vehicle Electronics with a Few Steps Before Winter Storing
Remove the battery to protect it from the cold. This needs to be stored somewhere safe, dry and at room temperature.
Next, turn off your appliances and shut off your gas valve. Fuses are often the main reason for battery drain, so by turning everything off and removing your fuses, you can save yourself a headache in the spring.
When Storing an RV in Below-Zero Temperatures, Add Antifreeze
If your RV will be stored without heat this winter, drain the water, and run antifreeze through your pipes. This helps ensure that when temperatures dip below zero your pipes don’t freeze and burst, leaving you with a hefty repair bill.
Step 4: Choose a Safe Location to Store Your RV Over Winter
Your RV is prepped for cold weather and you’re ready to tuck it away for the season. Choosing where to store it is a big decision, as you want it to be safe and protected from the elements.
You’ll want to check on your RV throughout the winter to ensure all your precautions are protecting it for next season, so having it nearby is a definite bonus.
When you’re missing the space in your driveway or the homeowners association doesn’t allow the storage of recreational vehicles, look for self-storage and RV parking options nearby. New to self-storage? Learn how self-storage units work from planning to key benefits self-storage can offer you.
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