Going on a winter camping trip? Here are some easy and affordable ways to keep your RV’s pipes from freezing while camping…
We love winter camping! Every January we camp on the snowy shores of Lake Michigan. It’s freezing… but so much fun! And if you’d like to see some more of our 2023 winter campout, find it below!
We highly recommend it if you’ve never camped in the snow before. It’s a completely different experience and a great way to enjoy typical summer destinations in a whole new way.
However, RV owners must take the necessary precautions to protect their RV from the cold. One of the most critical issues to be aware of is the risk of frozen pipes, which can seriously damage your RV’s plumbing system. And don’t forget your RV holding tanks! In extreme cold, they can also freeze.
In this article, we discuss the steps you can take to prevent your RV’s pipes from freezing when camping in cold weather. And we’ve included all the links in our Winter Amazon List for you to explore.
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Ultimate RV Winter Camping Tips
We wanted to share this video before delving into tips specific to preventing frozen pipes. These are our ultimate RV winter camping tips!
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Check it out, then read on for more great tips…
How to prevent your RV pipes from freezing while camping
A trip to the hardware store can get you most of the items on this list. That or of course Amazon. Wherever you get the materials, these tips should help protect your motorhome or caravan through the winter months. So you can fully enjoy your winter camping trip.
1. Insulate your RV plumbing
Properly insulating your RV pipes is the first step in preventing them from freezing. Insulating materials such as pipe sleeves or foam insulation can add an extra layer of protection. Or try pipe insulation tape. These materials can be cut to fit any size pipe and applied to the outside of the pipe.
Be sure to pay attention to all pipes, including under the sink and in the bathroom and kitchen.
2. Consider using heat tape
Another effective way to keep your RV pipes from freezing is to use heating tape or heating cable. Heating tape is an electrical heating element that can be wrapped around pipes and connected to provide heat.
Be sure to choose a heating tape specially developed for use on RV pipesand follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use.
3. Walk around your RV
An RV apron is another way to protect your pipes from freezing as it will increase the ambient heat underneath your RV. Skirting is a material that wraps around the floor or underbelly of your RV to block cold winds. she
This can be a DIY project using a variety of materials such as insulation foam, vinyl, or durable plastic. Or you can buy pre-made skirting kits…
EZSnap skirting boards and Fabricover skirting boards are very popular in the RV community. And you can see our experience with Air Skirts below:
4. Insulate your RV storage bays
Their RV sites are also prone to freezing temperatures. To protect the pipes in these areas, you should insulate them as well.
This can be done with foam insulation, foam board, fiberglass insulation, etc.
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5. Heat your RV sites
In addition to insulating the storage bins, you can also heat them to prevent the pipes from freezing. Electric heating pads can be placed on the bottom of the storage compartment and plugged in to provide heat.
Or you can use a portable heater such as a propane or electric heater. Just remember that these portable heaters can be dangerous if not used properly. So read their manuals carefully and check them often when in use.
6. Open your closet doors
An easy way to keep the pipes in your RV from freezing is to open the cabinet doors under the sinks. This allows warm air to circulate around the pipes and prevents them from freezing.
7. Place electric heaters strategically
Another way to keep the pipes in your RV from freezing is to strategically place electric heaters around the RV. To do this, place a small electric heater under the sink or in the bathroom to keep the pipes warm.
8. Use your tanks instead of connectors
If possible, use your fresh water tank instead of a fresh water connection. Your fresh water tank is insulated and protected from the cold (or at least it should be – read on). Your water hose, on the other hand, has a higher risk of freezing.
If you must use fresh water connections, consider purchasing a heated water hose. This heated hose connects to your water source and RV like other drinking hoses. It’s easy to use and one of the best ways to add fresh water to your RV.
Do not leave your sewage hose open or connected while camping. You shouldn’t leave your gray water tank and black water tank valves open when camping (common RV newbie mistakes), but doing so in the cold is especially bad. You certainly don’t want THIS liquid freezing (AKA stinky slinky) in your sewer hose.
9. Choose a sunny campsite
When choosing a campsite, make sure it is in a sunny location. This will help keep your RV warm and can also help keep your pipes from freezing. It’s a simple tip, but very effective.
If you don’t think it makes much of a difference, think about it as you drive up the mountains. You will see patches of snow under trees much sooner than in open areas. So try to park in a campground that gets as much direct sunlight as possible.
10. Install RV storage tank heaters
Finally, you should consider installing hot water storage heaters for RVs. Specially designed to keep the water in your holding tanks from freezing, these heaters can be a lifesaver in extremely cold temperatures.
BONUS TIP: Have a heat gun or compact hair dryer handy in case you end up with a frozen whistle. You can thaw it and add pipe insulation or any of the other tips above to prevent it from happening again.
Know the signs of frozen pipes
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there is still a risk of your pipes freezing. It’s important to know the signs of frozen pipes so you can take action before they burst. Some common signs of frozen pipes are lack of water flow, strange noises coming from the pipes, and frost on the pipes.
If you suspect your plumbing is frozen, the first thing to do is turn off the water supply to your RV. Then open the taps and turn on the hot water to allow the remaining water to flow through the pipes.
If the tubes are still frozen, you may need to use a hair dryer or heat lamp to thaw them. Never use an open flame, e.g. B. a propane torch.
Where to find more support
You are always welcome to ask your questions in our Facebook group, but feel free to join it as EVERYTHING is about this winter camping experience.
Here’s our latest winter camping video!
Tell us about your winter camping and frozen pipe experiences in the comments below.
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