10 Tips for Living in a Camper in the Winter & Living to Tell the Tale

Angela Devaney

Living in a camper in the winter isn’t for the faint-hearted. 

Winter camping trips or full-time cold weather RVing doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or something only Ralph Fiennes would consider.

We’ve just come out of a Patagonian winter, and as we defrosted, we reflected on the whole experience. 

Cold weather RVing is not only possible; it’s rewarding and, with the right kit and preparation, completely comfortable too.

In this post, we’ll walk you through our top tips for living in a camper in the winter, from insulation tips to keeping warm and dry.

Tips for Living in a Camper in the Winter

Living in a camper in the winter months isn't just possible, but it's exciting, adventurous, and you can even live to tell the tale!

Here are our top tips for winter RV living.

What To Pack For Winter RV Trips

Even if you don’t live in your camper year-round, winter can be a magical time to take a road trip in your RV. 

Winter RV living and driving in winter conditions need precautions.

On top of your packing essentials and accessories, make sure you’ve packed a few extras. 

Keep these in your camper for the whole of your winter road trip.

Shovel: A good quality shovel is ideal for clearing away snow in the winter season. While folding military-style shovels save on space, the cheap ones often aren’t up to the job of heavy digging. Because a shovel is helpful for campervan vehicle recovery in many conditions, consider buying one with a strong handle.

Snow Chains: Snow chains are mandatory on some roads and mountain passes in adverse winter weather. Because they provide better traction on icy surfaces, they help prevent skidding and getting stuck in deeper snow. 

Ice Scraper: Have you ever forgotten your ice scraper and needed to clear the ice from your windscreen with a credit card? It doesn’t help the card, and your fingers don’t appreciate it either. Get one with a brush on the back to help clear snow off your hood and lights without damaging the camper.

Road Flares: We don’t advise driving at night, especially in the winter. But even so, a blizzard or thick freezing fog could significantly affect visibility. If you break down on the roadside, you don’t want anything crashing into you. Make yourself as visible as possible by using road flares. You’ll be hard to miss. High-vis jackets and flashlights or head torches will help too.

Extra Propane Tanks: If your camper’s heating system, cooking, or hot water depends on propane, stocking up with a few extra tanks will avoid shortages. 

Small Space Heater: For an additional heat source when you need it, a small electric heater is just the job. Alternatively, a portable propane heater will eliminate cold air in no time.

12v Electric Blanket: For extra coziness in the depths of winter, electric blankets are a great choice. No matter if you’re car camping, RV living, or even camping in a tent, 12v blankets aren’t energy-intensive, so they won’t drain your batteries either.

Frequently Asked Questions About Winter RV Living

Will RV holding tanks freeze?

If you’re RV holding tanks freeze, not only will it result in a costly repair, but the mess and further damage caused when they thaw can be extensive. Whether or not the holding tanks will freeze depends on where they’re fitted. Warm air from the camper can prevent them from freezing. A full tank is more likely to freeze and cause damage than a half-empty one. Find an effective way to protect the tanks before the cold months arrive.

At what temperature will pipes freeze in a camper?

RV pipes can begin to freeze once the temperature hits 0°C or 32°F. That doesn’t mean they will freeze, though. If the pipes are used daily, it may need to be much colder than this to freeze. Frozen pipes are best avoided, so either winterize the RV if you’re not living in it or take the necessary precautions well before the temperature gets this cold.

Angela Devaney

Angela Devaney, a former IT project management professional, embarked on an adventurous journey of full-time travel, which included touring West Africa in a converted overland truck and converting an ex-military 4×4 Sprinter van into a camper for a five-year South American expedition. She now utilizes her hands-on experience to create practical RV living and van life advice as a full-time digital media producer, reaching over a million users annually through her YouTube channel, blog, and newsletter. Angela also lends her expertise as the editor-in-chief of the Campervan Electrics Handbook.

3 thoughts on “10 Tips for Living in a Camper in the Winter & Living to Tell the Tale”

  1. Great write up. It’s nice to know I reached all of the same conclusions prior to reviewing your your article. Keep up the good work.

    • @Jonathan, I am in a 20 ft. Nomad bumper puld trailer and what I need to know is, I have 2-250 watt solar panels with 8 25 watt panels on the roof and a 60 amp controller with 3-100aph batt.also with 5 – 32aph all hooked in series ,ok and now I was wondering if I could tie the 60amp solar controller into the trailers original inverter, converter and and do away with the plug that you would plug into a power pole or generator


Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Should I Disconnect my RV Battery for Winter

Should I Disconnect my RV Battery for Winter?

Should I disconnect my RV battery for winter? It’s a common question among RV owners as winter approaches. The answer isn’t straightforward and depends on various factors, including: In this article, you’ll learn: Why Disconnecting Your RV Battery in Winter ...
Living in a van in winter is comfortable with a diesel heater

5 Best Diesel Heaters for Van Conversions, Campervans & RVs | A Buyer’s Guide

Looking for the best diesel heater for van conversions, RVs, or campervans? We’ve got you covered! This guide will show you everything you need to know about diesel air heaters and help you choose the best one for your needs. ...