Do’s & Don’ts of Cold Weather RVing

from www.generalrv.com

For this post I scoured the Internet for some tips of what to do and what not to do, for cold weather RV camping.

 

First up is some great advice Mark Polk of RV Education 101. Mark is one of the industry’s leading RV professionals. He’s been helping newbies and veterans alike learn more about how to RV the right way for several decades. 

  • DO determine whether you’ll be camping when temperatures are below freezing. If so, the water in your RV’s lines could freeze and turn a wonderful trip into an expensive disaster. If you will encounter freezing temps, simply make sure your RV is winterized. You can still use the bathroom with jugs of water and antifreeze in the holding tanks. On that note, know where your water tanks and water lines are located on your RV. On many RVs the tanks and lines are in heated compartments. But some are not, and it’s important to know whether yours is susceptible to freezing.
  • DON’T seek a campsite that isn’t exposed to the sun as much as possible. Let the heat of the sun’s rays warm your RV during the day and give your heater a bit of a break.
  • DO make sure you are fully aware of how to use your RV’s forced air heater, as well as the amount of LP it will draw. If you’ll be using an electric-powered ceramic heater, ensure you are using it according to the manufacturer specifications and always have safety in mind. For example, make sure the area immediately in front of the heat source is free of combustible materials, such as bedding.
  • DON’T store any water hoses with water in them. If you need to use it, it will probably be frozen. You can take it inside to thaw out if need be, or use a hair dryer.
  • DO cover the windows with curtains, drapes or almost anything will help to hold some of the heat in.
  • DON’T close cabinets or drawers where water lines are located. Leave them open to allow heat to circulate around plumbing.
  • DO place cut-to-size foam in ceiling vents to keep heat from escaping.
  • DON’T open the entry door any more than minimally possible.
  • DON’T forget the electric blanket.

Next up are Jason and Nikki Wynn from the popular Gone With The Wynns blog. Their post on winter weather camping has a slew of ideas, many of which echo Mark’s advice while others I’ve highlighted below:

  • DO consider skirting the exterior of your RV. It can be as simple as DIY insulated panels cut to fit, but the more you can prevent cold air from getting under your RV, the warmer it will be inside.
  • DON’T forget to use wiper fluid specially formulated to withstand winter cold.
  • DON’T cover any exhaust vents or the exhaust tailpipe with RV skirting, and clear snow accumulation from these areas.
  • DO consider using a heated water hose when connecting to the campground water supply.
  • DON’T be connected to the full hookup sewer 100% of the time, otherwise Jason says you could end up with a “poopsicle.”
  • DO run the RV’s LP furnace at 45 degrees and use it to supplement an electric heater, which is the primary source.

Finally, the folks at Trailer Life have some additional tips that are worth your while:

  • DO check to make sure weather-stripping around doors and windows isn’t torn or frayed.
  • DO consider installing a holding tank heater.
  • DO install plastic film over your windows, especially if their single pane. The kits are available at any hardware store and are simple to install.

There you have it. If you’re willing to camp in the winter, there’s not too much you need to do to make it comfortable.

Cool Camping Gear, Part 2

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Here are the other gifts that round out the 12 Days of Christmas!

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#7 A 12 Foot Outdoor Movie Screen

This is a two-for-one because it is probably one of the coolest camping accessories AND you can use it at home, in the backyard, and anywhere else you can find room! Find It Here

#8 Coffeebox Rugged Coffee Maker 

Built for the coffee lovers in the house this coffee maker is resistant to all the hazards that characterize the outdoors from rust, dust, impact to spilling and water damage. It is made of lightweight material making it portable and is big enough to brew up to 8 mugs. It is a fast brewer and also allows for water filtering. Find One Here

#9 Packable Kayak 

Enjoy a fun-filled kayaking adventure with this highly portable kayak. It packs up all of the necessary features into one easy-to-carry package. These awesome kayaks are constructed from a high-quality material and provides lots of space to ensure your comfort as well as to store the essentials. Its construction offers remarkable stability making it pretty hard to topple. Get one Here

#10  The Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron

Crack open a cold one, or six. Everything you need, including your next drink, will never be far from hand with the Grill Sergeant Tactical BBQ Apron. Find It Here

(DISCLAIMER: We don’t actually recommend getting drunk and playing with fire 🙂 )

#11 Wazoo Gear Survival Bracelet 

This beautiful bracelet packs up a remarkable combination of survival tools that could save a life. It has a signal feature to call out for help in an emergency, hypothermia prevention facility, first aid provisions, food catching equipment, and even some basic tools for setting up a shelter. All of these are carefully concealed in the simple wearable package. Get one Here

#12 The Smartphone Fish Finder Attachment

The days of sitting in the canoe for hours “hoping” to catch a fish are long behind us. Be in the right place at the right time with this fish finder that connects directly to your smartphone! Find It Here

 

PLUS A BONUS STOCKING STUFFER FOR THE KIDS!

RAINBOW FIRE PACKETS

Gaze into the dancing rainbow flames, kids will be entertained and adults will be amused. Find Them Here

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

 

Winterizing Your RV

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http://www.tacomarv.com

 

This is from our friends at GoRVing.com

Winterizing Your RV

When RV owners hear the word “winterize,” it conjures up thoughts of protecting the RV plumbing system from freezing temperatures. The definition for “winterize” is to prepare something, such as a house or automobile, to withstand cold winter conditions. This is interesting because RVs are both a house and a vehicle. So, in addition to winterizing the RV plumbing system, we need to be concerned about preparing the RV’s interior, exterior, and chassis components for the harsh winter months too.

With that said, the most logical place to start is to protect the RV plumbing system from damage, since this is the number one problem RV owners face during periods of freezing temperatures. If you don’t protect the RV plumbing system, any water remaining in the water lines or tanks can freeze, expand, and break fittings and lines. This can be a very costly mistake next spring.

When I explain how to winterize the RV plumbing system, my goal is to make it as simple as possible and 100% foolproof against any damage caused by freezing temperatures.

The result is a seven-step process to winterize the RV plumbing system:

Before you get started, there are a few items you will need. These items can be found in most RV parts stores:

  • Nontoxic RV/Marine antifreeze. The amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines. Two to three gallons will usually do it.
  • A water heater bypass kit, if one is not already installed on the water heater.
  • A tank cleaning wand to clean and flush the black water holding tank if the RV does not have a built-in tank flushing system.
  • A water pump converter kit or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
  • Basic hand tools to remove and install drain plugs.

Note: Always read your RV owner’s manual for unit-specific winterizing guidelines. Some RVs come equipped with built-in winterizing controls.

Follow the steps below that apply to your RV:

Step #1: If there are any inline water filters, remove them. If you have an inline filter at a sink faucet, there should be a bypass hose you can install when the filter is removed. Locate and drain the fresh water holding tank. Drain and flush the gray and black water holding tanks at an approved RV dump station. If the RV doesn’t have a built-in tank flushing system, you can flush and clean the black water holding tank with a tank flushing wand while you are at the dump station. Drain the water heater tank.

Caution: Never drain the water heater tank when it is hot or under pressure. With no water connected to the RV and the 12-volt water pump in the “off” position, open a hot water faucet to remove any pressure on the system. Allow the water heater tank some time to cool before draining. Remove the drain plug or anode rod. You can open the pressure relief valve located at the top of the water heater to assist in draining the tank faster.

Step #2: Open all the hot and cold water faucets and flush the toilet to help get remaining water out of the plumbing lines. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped. Locate and open the low point water drain lines by removing the drain plugs. There is one for both the cold and hot water lines. You can use the 12-volt water pump to help force most of the remaining water out of the system, but turn the pump off as soon as the system is drained to prevent damage to the pump. Recap all drains and close all faucets.

Step #3: Bypass the water heater. The majority of RVs come equipped with a water heater bypass kit. If your RV does not have a bypass kit installed, the water heater tank will fill with RV antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six or ten gallons of RV antifreeze. You can install a bypass kit or have one installed by a local RV service facility.

Step #4: Install a water pump converter kit to introduce the RV antifreeze into the water system. Another option is to disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank), and connect a section of tubing from the water pump inlet into a one gallon jug of RV/Marine antifreeze.

Step #5: Turn the 12-volt water pump on. It will pressurize the system and start pumping the RV antifreeze throughout the water system. Start at the water faucet closest to the 12-volt water pump, and slowly open each valve until the pink-colored RV antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required. Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.

Step #6: Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears. Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour some RV antifreeze in the toilet, and flush it into the holding tank to prevent any remaining water in the tank from freezing. If your water heater is equipped with an electric heating element, turn the switch off. This will protect the element if the RV is plugged in while in storage. Make sure all faucets are closed.

Step #7: Consult your RV owner’s manual for specific winterizing instructions for icemakers and washing machines.

Your RV plumbing system is winterized, but as I mentioned earlier, don’t forget to prepare other items on the RV for cold weather storage too. Now you won’t have any unpleasant, not to mention costly, surprises waiting for you next spring when it’s time to go camping in the RV.