The RVing lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. Adjustments have to be made for limited space and conservation of water and other resources (Hi! Leigh here. Not everyone who RVs is a conservationist, but it is important to us to reduce our footprint on the planet.)
Winter, however, brings a new set of challenges. First being the COLD. (It was colder than a witch’s teet! Brrrrr) Now cold to me is not so bad (He’s broken, ya’ll). I don’t love it or hate it. Just prefer not to be cold and if I am, it’s a minor inconvenience. Leigh, on the other hand, detests cold weather and goes to great lengths to avoid it. (You can say that again! I am a Cali girl to my bone. Cold, to me, is the low 60’s.) So it was an exercise in preparation and quick learning to get through a North Carolina winter and keep Leigh comfortable! (Epic Fail, but he tried)
The first line of defense was ” Shrinkable window film.” It was amazing to feel the immediate temperature difference after the window film was installed! Thin adhesive strips are applied around the circumference of your window. Then the film is cut to fit and applied to the adhesive. Once its all done you take a blow dryer and heat the film and it shrinks to an airtight seal. (It helped a little bit. No cigar though.)
Condensation…will be the bane of your existence in winter time RV’ing. (We only saw one video on youtube on this and they were in Canada so we didn’t think we’d have to deal with this. Boy, were we wrong!) I should mention here that we have an older rig, a 1990 Foretravel Grandvilla U225. I say this because I understand some of the newer rigs have “R” values on them and ours does not. Nevertheless, we love it and are willing to take these extra steps to stay warm in colder climates (Yep, like move to warmer weather, dat’s right). When we are all grown up we may have the finances and the want to upgrade to a newer unit but for now, we are golden! (He lying! We already want the IH45 or the Realm but they are for the Uber rich and we are just not there yet!) Anyhow one should have lots of…paper towels or just plain towels to soak up all the water that will be produced from condensation. Also, a dehumidifier may prove valuable in this situation. (Thanks to my sister, Sherri, for the recommendation. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it after living in a basement flat in Iowa one year. Now that is REAL cold also known as hell. You know…so cold it’s hot! Well, that’s Iowa, but I digress….) I know we have used ours quite a bit. The amount of water with and without one is noticeable. To further assist in the war of moisture, we used a product called “damprid”. It was some beads placed into a container that also pulled moisture out of the air. (Thanks to our wonderful RV friends, Judy & Fast Eddie for that recommendation, but don’t spill it. The liquid is weird and must be washed off.) We placed a few in the cabinetry and other hard to reach places. They performed well so be sure to check on them often should you decide to go this route.
With condensation comes mold and mildew. (Ewwwww…not only did it look gross, but It made my throat scratchy and made me feel like I was getting sick. We didn’t see it growing because other things stored here.) Get yourself some spray-on bleach or its equivalent. Be prepared to look in some pretty strange places for mold if you can’t get to all the water from condensation. I don’t think I have to tell you about all the health concerns that can come from unattended mold and mildew. I think I actually caught a cold/flu. We are talking a good scrubbing and new mattress and bedding to be sure we got it all! So leave no stone unturned when tracking moisture!
Space heaters are your friend. At least they were ours! The on-board propane heaters put out plenty of heat. On a rig as old as ours, however, the direction or flow of the heat can be an issue for you. Having the space heater as a back up to fill in the gaps has been a tremendous help for us. It is weird to have the left side of your body be warm and toasty and then your side be cool to cold (Or your whole body cold. Welcome to my world.) A space heater on that side can be all the difference in being both warm and toasty or just annoyed!
Electric blankets… enough said! Get one or two for that matter, don’t ask questions … and you’re welcome! (This kept me from running screaming into the night!)
Freezing pipes… We didn’t really experience this. (Thank goodness!) Our rig has a pretty hefty holding tank and our solution was just to fill the tank ahead of a below freezing stretch so there was more water than could freeze in one night. Also, we removed the water hose so there was nothing left in it to freeze. Our heating vents sat directly above the holding tank, thank you Foretravel, so no worries about freeze ups and we got down into the teens on quite a few nights. (You already know!)
Pets … Brini, our precocious mixed breed dog, got her very own space heater right next to her crate. Morning walks were fun. Who knew dogs like to eat snow! Or was that just Brini. She is a bit strange but so are we so it’s a good fit! (Remember he said that!)
All in all, we stayed pretty comfy through a pretty decent winter (Speak for yourself…I might not thaw out til April!). The biggest thing is to stay as warm and dry as possible. We hope this will be helpful to someone considering the full-time RV lifestyle. There are tons more information out there on Youtube and the like. So study up and I think you will be just fine.
I will say this…If you must spend the winter in a cold climate, make sure you have some good dark beer….Trust me, it helps!
Til Next time
Peace and Blessings
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