As road trips and traveling in recreational vehicles become more common, many traveling families have asked for tips on how to do a winter RV trip. “Head south” would be our best advice. However, we have often found ourselves traveling to colder areas or been caught in a cold stretch in even the warmest area. There is lots of fun to be had in ski and hiking areas. So, being prepared for the cold is never a bad idea.
Staying Warm Inside
Our first thought for a winter RV trip is to make sure you heat the inside of it. This is something that is heavily discussed and there is no right answer for how to heat the inside of the RV. Using the RV furnace may seem like the most obvious answer. However, many RVs do not have this heat evenly distributed. So, space heaters might be needed to help remedy this. There is also a factor of where you are parking and the costs for gas vs. electricity. If budget is a concern, you may want to have both ready to go and then be flexible on the combination of your RV furnace vs electric space heaters.
For many, a surprising consideration is the humidity inside during a winter RV trip. The heat inside vs the cold outside creates condensation and humidity, and if not addressed, can create moisture and mold problems that can affect the walls and mattresses inside. An issue that nobody wants to deal with. Air circulation whenever possible is helpful. However, make sure you have a dehumidifier working and check fabrics and soft surfaces often for moisture and mold.
Depending on the size of your tiny home on wheels, storage may be severely limited. In warm climates, this seems to pose some slight inconveniences. In cold climates, it can create an almost unbearable living situation. Boots, snow pants, snow goats, sleds, shovels, hats, gloves mittens – it seems the list of bulky winter gear could go on forever. Be sure to plan for this ahead of time, where are you going and how will these items be stored? What can you do without?
- Buy Clothing that compresses – Look into clothing and brands that are designed for camping and cold weather travel. They will often compress more than your standard winter clothing and allow for warmed + storage space. REI has been a favorite retailer to find great outdoor clothing that works with camping and travel.
- Clothing Layers – If you do not plan to do snowy activities, save space and wear layers. A lighter jacket plus a hoodie and long sleeve T-shirt can work just as well as a coat in cooler temps. They will also pack better and give versatility to what you are wearing for the day.
- Simplify – It feels that there is always too much stuff. I know for every time we back up and organize, we are able to take less and less STUFF. However, it still feels like too much! The challenge is to really think about where you are going and what you need to get there and enjoy your time there.
- Rent Gear – Check into locations to see where you may be able to rent skis, sleds, and other items. This will cost a bit of money, but will save a ton of space as you are driving. You can also be sure to have the best gear for the activity that you want to do.
Reach Out and Find Online Communities
If you plan on making RV travel a regular part of your life or travels, look into RV groups and online resources. There are always last-minute questions and ideas that you will want a bit of hivemind for. The Bébé Voyage community is always a great resource and many can connect you to other RV communities to help you find what you need.
Ultimately, the purpose of traveling in an RV/Van is to get out of the motorhome and into the world. So, no matter where you choose to go, be sure to spend time outside and prepare to embrace the rain, snow, and cold. Balancing being prepared with a sense of adventure will serve your family well.
Be flexible. Let go. Keep an open mind. Take it all in.
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