For many, colder temperatures and winter frosts mean tucking the RV away until the thawing season arrives.If you tend to be a fair-weather camper, you’re not alone. Many RVers prefer to get their camping in when the sun is shining and the temperature is solidly above freezing. Like all of these fellow hibernators, now is the time to get your camper ready for winter storage.Laurel Creek Campground | Murfreesboro, AR – Photo by: Nina HerzigWinterizing your RV can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This quick checklist will help you on your way to buttoning up your camper for the season.Photo by: Rv Chickadee Drain Your Lines and Tanks Any left-behind liquids can quickly freeze during the winter and lead to burst pipes and damaged equipment. To prevent any disasters, start by draining all of your lines and water tanks in the RV. Remove any in-line filter you may have and then empty your freshwater tank.Next, make sure that your black water tank is completely empty. Use a built-in flushing system, a reverse flush valve, or a flush wand to help remove any lingering black water and to rinse the tank.Don’t forget to drain the water heater as well. Frozen water in the water heater can easily ruin the appliance and require you to install a new one in the spring.Depending on how cold of a climate you live in, you may want to introduce antifreeze into your pipes as another protective measure. Remove Batteries and Turn Everything Off Cold temperatures and batteries are not a match made in heaven. This applies to both coach batteries and if your RV has an engine, the engine battery. Disconnect and remove the batteries for the winter and store them in a relatively warm place, like a garage. Do not place the batteries inside your living space.Invest in a battery tender to keep the batteries active while they are not in use, and be sure to not keep them on a heat-sucking concrete floor.Also, any LP appliances inside your RV need to be turned completely off to avoid any potential leaks with the temperature change. Leaving any valves open can lead to some costly repairs. Protect From Moisture The freeze and thaw cycles that the winter brings often allow moisture into tiny crevices that it usually wouldn’t reach. The best practice for winterizing your RV is to thoroughly check the RV’s exterior for any potential damage leading to leaks. RV desiccant buckets can help remove any moisture that happens to sneak inside during the winter. This will ensure that no mold forms and you don’t come back to a pungent odor that will be difficult to remove.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Critter-Proof the Camper One of the most harmful things that can happen to your RV over the winter is critter infestation.A great first step in deterring critters is removing all of the food inside. During the “on-season,” it is easy to leave the basics inside the RV’s kitchen. During the winter, you need to remove every last scrap of food that a mouse may be interested in finding. This includes deep cleaning the interior to get any scraps that may have fallen into small spots.Next, do a complete check of the exterior of the RV. Start your inspection underneath the camper and in the engine, looking for any small crevices that mice can make their way in through. They don’t need much space and can quickly destroy the wiring inside your RV while building several homes.Lastly, you can set some mouse traps that can act as a last resort if they still find their way inside. If you choose this route, make sure to do checks on them often throughout the winter.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Find a Safe Location Ideally, we would all be able to put our RVs in an indoor, heated space. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to these spaces. If you’re storing your camper outside for the winter, one big thing to look out for is potential falling tree branches or large snowdrifts sliding off of a roof on a nearby building. Remember that the winter freeze can easily snap branches that otherwise appear strong and healthy. If you park your RV next to your house or garage and have large chunks of ice or snow slide off during the winter, this can also damage your RV.The best outside spot would be on a flat and paved surface, underneath a covering. If this isn’t possible, find level ground that doesn’t have any trees nearby, and keep it out of long grass.If you’re paying to store your camper at an off-site property, be sure to ask questions about the safety and monitoring devices available at the facility. The last thing you want is to return to a camper that’s been broken into or damaged. Cover and Protect the RV Even in the wintertime, the sun’s UV rays can damage your camper’s exterior.Before winter hits, give your camper a thorough wash, followed by a layer of wax. Wax protects your camper from UV rays, helping to prevent paint fade and dry out of any rubber or vinyl.A full cover for your camper will also help protect it from any wind, UV rays, or other elements trying to bring more wear and tear to the RV. While these covers can seem expensive, it ends up being a worthwhile investment to protect your much more expensive RV. Many covers that are made for specific models will have zippered entries around the door so that you can still get inside when the cover is on.Read Article
The end of summer is just around the corner, but as we move into brisk and beautiful autumn weather, there is still plenty of time for camping adventures.Moose Hillock Camping Resort | Warren, NH – Photo by: MaggieCamping comfortably in the fall is within any RVer’s reach. You don’t need special equipment or a four-season camper to enjoy this gorgeous, quiet season. Here are a few easy and inexpensive camping tips that will set you up for camping success.Grouse Mountain Dispersed Camping | Buffalo, WY – Photo by: Laurie 1. Check the Weather In some parts of North America, fall is a barely noticeable blip on the spectrum of seasons. In other places, it’s an intoxicating mix of warm days, cool nights, and a few dips into freezing temperatures. Florida in October may represent a beautiful summer’s day in Maine, while fall days in the higher elevations may bring a dusting of snow.It’s essential to check the local weather before heading out. You may find yourself packing shorts for the day and a down jacket for the evenings, but that’s just part of the fun!Coconino Rim Road Dispersed Camping | Grand Canyon – Photo by: borntobenomadic 2. Pack Extra Blankets Camping comfortably means sleeping comfortably. To get a good night’s rest, load up your camper bed with extra blankets—they can be the difference between a cozy night and a night spent shivering.Bonus! Not only do blankets help you stay warm while sleeping, but they are also a perfect addition to a fall evening by the campfire or even at the dinner table. 3. Put Reflectix In Your Windows Keeping every last bit of heat that you can inside the RV will be critical when you’re trying to stay warm. The windows of any vehicle will be the main culprits for rapid heat (and cooling!) loss.A great way to insulate windows is to cut Reflectix and place it over your windows at night. Typically you would find this reflective surface being used to keep the sun and heat out, but it works to trap heat inside too.Pro Tip: If you have fixed blinds in your RV, you can often place cut Reflectix against your window and then close the blinds to keep it in place—no suction cups, hooks, or magnets required. 4. Service Your RV Furnace No matter how old your RV is, it’s important to give your furnace a once-over before heading out in the fall. Without the working furnace, the Reflectix will have little heat to trap, and you’ll run the risk of spending a very chilly night camping!Whether you service your furnace yourself, or bring it to a shop for care, make the time to get it checked out before you head off on your fall camping adventures. If you don’t have a furnace in your camper, considering looking into camper-safe space heaters.Photo by: Dave Burns 5. Keep Your Toes Warm If there’s one thing that can make your whole body feel chilly, it’s cold feet. There are a couple of great ways to keep cozy, no matter how cold it starts to get. First off, getting rugs set up in the RV is an excellent defense against icy feet. Remember, your camper floor has nothing but cold air beneath it! Rugs help to provide a barrier between your toes and the chilly air below.Another personal favorite is packing some slippers. There are great slippers for making your way to bed, but there are also slippers with hard soles that can be worn outside. With these, you can keep your feet cozy around the campfire and when walking around the camper at night.Brundage Mountain RV Parking Lot | McCall, ID – Photo by: Mike S 6. Beware of Freezing Nights Sub-freezing temperatures, especially when you’re up in the higher elevations, are possible during the fall. Just like you might in your house, freezing temps means keeping an extra-close eye on your plumbing. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than a burst water pipe!While you shouldn’t need to get your rig fully winter-ready to camp in most parts of the US in the fall, definitely research your destination and its average high and low temperature. If it looks like it might freeze during your stay, check out our list of winter-ready RV preparations. While you won’t need to implement all of these, you might consider wrapping your water lines or investing in a heated hose.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free 7. Don’t Forget About Your Pets When getting ready for fall camping, don’t forget about your pets! Little Milo and Otis may be covered in fur, but they can definitely feel cold, especially if they are used to living indoors.There are some great options out there for pet fashion that will also keep them warm. Vests and fleece pet coats are not only adorable on your dog, they can help him or her sleep as well as you do. You can also line your pet’s bed with some of those extra blankets you brought so they can nest up and stay toasty all night.Photo by: Wandering Pulse 8. Cook Comfort Food If you’ve ever gone winter camping or hiking, you may already know that your body is a house, and your stomach is the furnace. What you feed the furnace will affect how efficiently it works throughout the day and night.Comfort food is called comfort food for a reason. Hot soups, creamy mashed potatoes, beef stew, and our other favorite comfort foods are typically packed with calories. These calories give your stomach the energy it needs to heat the house…and keep you warm and happy.Read Article
Are you dreaming of living full-time or even seasonally on the road?As many in the Campendium community know, there are many rewards to a nomadic lifestyle, but there are also plenty of challenges and hurdles along the way that may be holding you back.Lake Holloman Dispersed Camping | Hollomon Air Force Base, NM – Photo by: RVplus2Although I’ve lived a nomadic lifestyle for several years, my experience is a single experience, and it would be impossible for me to give you a well-rounded view of how to begin your full-timing journey. Earlier this summer, we sent out a survey in our weekly newsletter to learn more about how full-time and seasonal travelers made the decision to hit the road and what advice they have for those looking to do the same.There is so much to be said about full-timing that we won’t be able to fit it all in just one article. So, treat these questions as the launching point in your research to help point you in the right direction as you get started. The 5 Big Questions Transitioning from sticks-and-bricks living to living on the road takes a good amount of planning and preparation, especially if you own property or work full-time.As you answer these five big questions, you’ll discover that everyone’s full-time travel journey looks a little bit different, and that’s because they’ve designed it to fit their needs, desires, and lifestyle. So, while there are several resources and examples of what full-time travel can be, don’t forget to make yourself a priority and pursue a lifestyle that fits you best.Madden Peak Road Dispersed Camping | Hesperus, CO – Photo by: Blake Will You be Traveling Full-Time or Seasonally? One of the first questions to answer is, “how long will you be on the road?” Some like to travel a few months out of the year while keeping a home base, and others choose to live on the road full-time. Of the full-time and seasonal travelers that answered our survey, they were pretty evenly split between seasonal and full-time RVing.There is nothing wrong with either option. It simply depends on what you’d like to pursue and what is possible with your schedule. For instance, do you have a family and want to stick with one school district as the kids grow up? In that case, you may only be traveling throughout the summer.Are you retired but don’t like the idea of living on the road all year? Perhaps RVing for a few months at a time is ideal for you to experience the seasons you enjoy in different areas of the country.Everyone’s timeframe for travel is different, but the length of travel and if you plan to retain a house, condo, or apartment will impact your planning and budget moving forward.Tom’s Best Spring Dispersed Camping | Panguitch, UT – Photo by: Lveloz Are You Planning to Move Out of Your House? As you narrow down your choice of seasonal or full-time travel, some of you will now have to decide if you plan to keep your house, condo, or apartment or whether you’re going to give up your permanent residence. If the latter, you’ll have plenty of work to do with selling and emptying your property.Our survey found that one of the biggest hurdles that many in our community faced as they transitioned to full-time traveling was downsizing. When we asked, what were some of the most challenging aspects of transitioning from a stationary to a mobile lifestyle? The answers included: “Figuring out what I really needed. We overpacked when we first started out. Had a ton of unnecessary stuff.”“For seasonal campers like us, it is a challenge to take care of the home front while we are on the road. Leaving your permanent home for months means you have to arrange for someone to check on the house, waters plants, look after pets, fill bird feeders, etc.”“Downsizing. Realizing you don’t need so much stuff!”“Figuring out how little one actually needs to be happy on the road. Less is definitely more.” During this process, you will start to learn what you truly need to be happy, and for most of us, we don’t need as much as we think.Ambassador RV Resort | Caldwell, ID – Photo by: DIDO What Will Your Rig Be? Your choice of RV will be particular to your needs. As you are making this decision, ask yourself: How much space do you need for living, storage, and to be comfortable in your camper? (If you have kids, you’ll likely need more space!)Will you be moving locations regularly or looking to park at a single location for a few months at a time?What climates will you be staying in most of the time?What is your budget? Vans, travel trailers, RVs, truck campers, or even short-term rentals are all feasible options for seasonal and full-time travelers. Deciding is the hard part, but you can narrow down your selection by first looking at your needs.If you are traveling with a family, a motorhome or 5th wheel may be the best option, so you have the extra space. If you are traveling solo or with one other person, a van may be a good fit If you want to park your rig for weeks or months at a time, then you may want a travel trailer, so you have a day-to-day vehicle as well.It’s also important to consider whether you prefer to stay in campgrounds with amenities or if you prefer to boondock; your answer will help you determine which type of camper is best for you.As you downsize, get to know what creature comforts you can and cannot live without. Some people can live comfortably biking across the country, while others may prefer a motorhome with a kitchen and a comfy bed. Without a doubt, when you first set out, you will overpack, and with time, you’ll continue to edit and curate your new home until it’s just right.That said, don’t fret if you invest in a travel trailer and then decide after a year of travel that you want something bigger or smaller. Many full-time and seasonal travelers have switched up rigs after they settled into their new lifestyle. Sometimes the best option is to “go for it,” and you’ll figure out the rest along the way as a part of the journey.Clearwater Forebay Number 2 | Clearwater, OR – Photo by: Life Among Pines Do You Need to Work on the Road? Another major hurdle many travelers face is how to fund their lifestyle. Some travelers are retired or taking a break from their career, while others choose to work either remotely or pick up jobs on the road. Again, this will be a very personal journey. Some choose to live a simple lifestyle on the road, resulting in lower costs and expenses. For others, traveling full-time will be equally as expensive as living in and owning a house.As remote work has gained traction, more and more RVers find themselves able to maintain full-time jobs on the road as long as they have access to a strong cell signal or are in a campground with a reliable WiFi connection. For others, seasonal work such as campground host, staffing a local gift shop, or guiding may do the trick.Of the full-time and seasonal travelers who responded to our survey, those who work on the road do various jobs, including as consultants, software developers, life coaches, seasonal harvesters, customer service agents, and accountants.If you maintain a job as you travel, this can sometimes narrow where you go and how long you stay to ensure you have access to the internet.Wellton Canal | Wellton, AZ – Photo by: StoryChasing.com Are You Prepared for the Common Challenges of Full-Timing? Full-time or even seasonal travel can often be seen as a coveted lifestyle, but that does not mean that it’s easy. One piece of advice that we’ve heard repeatedly when talking to full-time and seasonal travelers? Be flexible and adaptable.We asked our community, If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is just starting to plan a mobile lifestyle, what would it be? “Roll with the punches. You will have bad days where you think, is this really for me? But then think about those that see the same scenery day after day, week after week, and how lucky you are that you can pick up and see something else, any time you want to.”“Take your time, enjoy the journey even when difficulties arise. It’s all part of your story. Remember to video or photograph everything! We had a tire blow out when we started and it was living hell out on a busy highway. I was so afraid we were going to get hit by the nonstop vehicles passing by and going 60 mph. I never filmed it and the struggle. We survived and our RV got fixed, and I wish like anything I had filmed it…..the whole thing now makes a great story!!!!”“Educate yourself on your tow vehicle limitations and that it doesn’t matter if you paid 100k or 10k they all have issues and require regular maintenance.”“You don’t need to see the entire country in your first year. Take it slow or you’ll burn out.”“Do it! It take some adjustment but it is so worth it. There are so many places to explore and great people to meet.” In the end, embrace the journey and the fact that starting with full-time or seasonal travel can be intimidating, but you are not alone. Even the most experienced full-time travelers are still learning and honing their skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and work on building community and connections along the way.Read Article
We left Asheville, NC back in March of 2015 and have been living on the road full-time since. This has given us a lot of time to figure out what gear we really need and use daily. Here are ten of our favorite items.We held off for several years before buying the Viair 400P portable air compressor because of how pricey it is. But it’s worth the money and we’re extremely glad to have it each time we’ve had to use it. The Viair is so fast and it has the capacity to fill up high-pressure and high-volume tires like our F-250 truck and fifth-wheel.Jerud and I both need internet for work. Having the Proxicast antenna opens up the places we can boondock because it lets us pull in cell signal we otherwise wouldn’t have.Since our rig is 100% powered by solar (we don’t use any propane and don’t have a generator), it’s important to have kitchen appliances that are very energy efficient. The Instant Pot fits that bill. It also allows us to save weight and trash by not having to carry canned beans around and find places to recycle the cans.Who can live without bread and cookies? Not us! Having an electric oven so we can bake was very important. This toaster oven lets us cook meals like we did when we were in a house, make our own granola bars, bake desserts to share with friends, and butter that freshly made bread with honey.Plastic bags drive me nuts! The Earthwise mesh produce bags are perfect whether we’re buying kale, apples, potatoes, or even bulk items like popcorn kernels. These bags are durable and can be washed again and again.While I hate plastic bags, the Debbie Meyer Green Bags get a pass because using them means wasting less food. These bags keep our produce fresh for a lot longer. This is key since we stock up our fridge with enough fresh food for two weeks or more while we’re boondocked far from towns. And these green bags can be washed and reused for years!We purchased a 5-gallon bucket from Lowes and a Gamma seal lid to store Tyki’s dog food. This airtight lid keeps smells and rodents away.We hit the road full-time so we could explore our public lands, which means we spend a lot of time out in the sun and our skin pays for it. Think Sport sunscreen is not only reef safe, but it stays on whether we’re mountain biking, paddling, or hiking.There’s nothing like ice cold water after a long summer hike or hot chocolate after snowshoeing. The Hydroflask water bottles seemed like an unnecessary luxury item at first, but after the heat waves this summer, it’s moved to our must-have list. This rechargeable LED necklace goes around Tyki’s neck on every late-night walk. It lets us keep track of where he is and it’s entertaining to watch the bright lights bounce around like glow sticks at a dance party.Follow Ching & JerudBlog & Website: Live Small Ride Free Instagram: Live Small Ride Free Campendium: Live Small Ride Free Sharing your *Favorite Camping Gear* with the Campendium Community is a great way to help the site earn affiliate revenue while helping your fellow campers learn about great gear. If you’d like to contribute, please email photos with links to the product details on Amazon, along with a couple of sentences about each item to email@example.com. Thanks in advance!Watch Video
Life on the road can be a very freeing, enjoyable experience. But as many full-time RVers can attest, you need to be prepared for anything. Things can break, tear, and malfunction while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on the move for months at a time. A well-stocked RV toolkit is a must-have for any camper, whether you’re out for the weekend or indefinitely.There are tons of little things that can break that won’t stop you from hitting the road, but they can become inconvenient and bothersome. Avoid the headache and have the right tools to repair your RV on the go. 8 Tools to Include in Your RV Toolkit 1. Tire Pressure Gauge Be sure to carry a tire pressure gauge in your RV or any automobile you own. More modern RVs and vehicles may have tire pressure sensors but do not always depend on these, especially if you bought your RV used. If you are driving a lot, get into the habit of doing daily tire pressure checks to avoid any mishaps while you are on the road.Even if you’re parked for an extended period in one spot, keep in the habit of checking your tires regularly. A slow leak or flat tire can really put a damper on your trip, especially if you only discover it on the day you’re planning to head somewhere new.You can choose from the classic pen-style tire pressure gauge or a digital reader. When looking for a tire pressure gauge, get one that reads to at least 100 psi. This will not be an issue with a digital reader. 2. Air Compressor Having a tire pressure gauge is helpful to get to know if your tire pressure is low or not, but you also need a way to inflate those tires if need be.Many gas stations have free or paid air compressors available, but long-term RVers (especially boondockers) may choose to invest in a portable air compressor that draws power from your vehicle battery. These handy tools are not only great for pumping up a low tire but are easy enough to use that they are a must-have for those who like to drive 4×4 roads or on the sand. 3. Flashlight or Headlamp There are many options for lights to include your RV toolkit, and flashlights and headlamps are two of the best options. Better yet, have both!Flashlights are ideal when you are looking in hard-to-reach places, and headlamps work well for working on tasks that require both hands. No matter the light source you choose, always pack extra batteries. There are also several options for rechargeable flashlights and headlamp options too.Most of the time, investing in a rechargeable light source not only saves you from running low on battery, but it often saves you money in the long run. If you decide to go the rechargeable route, make sure you have ample power to power it up. This is easy if you often stay in paid camping areas, but a solar charger or generator will be handy if you frequent boondocking campsites.Another excellent light option is an inspection mirror with LED lights. If you choose to invest in one of these, look for a telescoping mirror that extends and has a flexible head to give you more reach. While a headlamp and flashlight can be more versatile, the inspection mirror gives you an easy way to see out-of-the-way places. 4. Drill and Drill Bits When packing a drill in your toolkit for RVing, make sure it is cordless and battery-operated. It also won’t hurt to have at least two batteries, so you can always have a full charge when you need to use it. Having a drill on the road has many uses, including saving your time with your stabilizer jack if you have the right drill socket. Beyond that, having a drill is excellent for fixing various things on your RV, both inside and out.When deciding which drill to get for your RV toolkit, consider what you may want to use it for and how much power you want. A drill with around 14 volts will be sufficient for most travelers, but it will only really work for smaller jobs and may feel underpowered. A 20-volt drill is recommended if you plan to use your drill often. 5. Zip Ties Zip ties are very similar to duct tape in that they can fix almost anything—at least for a little while. You can use them to reattach a wayward hose, keep cords and wires together, or lock shut a wily cabinet door for travel. They are so versatile that once you start looking, you’ll find uses for them everywhere. Need to wrap insulation around your pipes for a freezing night? Break a shower curtain ring? Need an extra keychain? You can use zip ties for all of those. 6. Knife or Multi-Tool Having a multi-purpose tool of any kind is useful. Keep it in your pocket while inspecting your RV or while milling around camp, and we can guarantee you’ll find dozens of uses for it. Some multi-purpose tools also include a knife or blade, but it’s worth it to keep a dedicated pocket knife, too, for small tasks. 7. Multi-Bit Screwdriver A big part of RV travel is organization and space-saving. So, instead of having multiple screwdrivers, get one with multiple bits.You can get these with their own organization cases, which is recommended, so you don’t lose any of the bit heads. You should at the very least have a flathead and Phillips to swap in and out since these are the most common screw heads.If you get the screwdriver in a set, other heads will be included, which on an RV will likely come in handy from time to time. 8. Socket and Ratchet Set Sockets and ratchet sets are useful in any car toolkit, but especially for RVs. Make sure that the set(s) of sockets you carry are the ones that best fit the bolts and screws in your camper. Most of the time, you will only have to buy one or two additional sizes, but it is a good idea to check what you may need before you hit the road. Other RV Toolkit Tips When RVing and traveling full-time, having the right mindset for encountering repairs and pitfalls is necessary. Take some of the stress away from any situation by being prepared for the most common RV repairs. Having roadside assistance of some kind is also recommended for those times when you encounter mechanical issues you can’t fix yourself.Preparedness goes a long way during long-distance travel. So, on top of the eight must-have tools to include in your RV toolkit we listed, bring along a toolset in a carrying case. Some of these toolsets will consist of some of the items we listed, like the ratchet set or a screwdriver, but they will also include other tools needed for auto and RV repair.When investing in an RV toolkit in a carrying case, look for SAE or metric sizes that are compatible with your rig. Not all rigs are the same, even within the same brand names. Having a toolkit specific to your rig in a carrying case helps save you from having to buy individual tools, and it keeps them organized while you travel (win-win).Read Article
There’s nothing quite like hitting the road for a summer adventure—visiting your favorite parks, hiking and exploring, and curling up in your RV for a comfortable sleep on those soft summer nights. But we travelers often feel the pull of the open road all year long, even when that blissful summer warmth is replaced by the chilly bite of autumn and winter. So when can we justify investing the time and money into weatherproofing an RV and heading out for some cold-weather travels? Let’s take a look!We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of weatherproofing and insulating an RV, the different methods out there along with RV insulation types, and the top considerations to think about before diving in. Blue Ridge Roadside Campsite | Canton, NC Why Insulate? Broaden Your Travel Season By installing RV insulation, you open up the whole year for travel. All you hikers and summer sports enthusiasts out there will appreciate the added capability to visit your favorite recreation areas earlier in the spring or later in the autumn while avoiding most of the peak-season crowds. Meanwhile, winter sports lovers will enjoy the warm air that greets you when you come in off the snow to a cozy winter home.Investing in weatherproofing your RV ensures that no event, sport, or season is out of your reach! Improved Summer Performance Insulating your rig doesn’t just keep you warm in winter, but it also helps keep your RV cool in the summer. Insulation combined with proper hot-weather practices will keep that hot air outside your vehicle while keeping it cool inside. Remember, coolers rely on insulation to keep your food cold, and the same principle applies here. Reduce Condensation Condensation is the enemy of many a full-time RVer. From condensation while sleeping (hot breath collecting on cool walls) to steamy days, water can build up quickly and, over the long term, slowly cause water damage to your rig. Proper insulation can help to regulate these temperature differences and reduce condensation to protect your camper. Coconino Rim Road Dispersed Camping | Grand Canyon, AZ – Photo by: Doug Primary Considerations for Insulation Weight One of the primary considerations before installing insulation is how much weight it will add to your RV. Depending on the materials used, the added load can be significant, impacting your tow capabilities, gas mileage, etc. That doesn’t mean you should skimp on your insulation! But be strategic and thoughtful in your implementation to strike a good balance. R-Value R-Value is the ability of insulation material to resist heat/temperature transfer. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at insulating. When searching for the right insulation for your camper, consider the temperature extremes you want it to protect against, and then weigh potential R-values against other factors like weight and expense. Expense Properly insulating your RV from top to bottom is an expensive proposition no matter how you slice it – whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional. Therefore, the primary consideration you need to think about before moving forward is whether or not you’re ready to make that investment. Remember, this is not a project you want to skimp on! Half-hearted insulating and weatherproofing will only lead to chilly evenings and the potential for costly issues like burst pipes.However, there are definitely some more budget-friendly material options for weatherproofing. Let’s take a look at some of these options.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Types of RV Insulation Fiberglass RV Insulation Fiberglass insulation is very common for almost any project, from homes to RVs. It typically looks like fluffy pink rolls that are installed behind your wall panels. This type of insulation is generally among the cheapest options out there and has an excellent R-value. It is also reasonably straightforward to install since it’s flexible and easy to match your RV’s shape (keep in mind that you’ll have to remove your wall paneling, install, and then reassemble your walls).However, fiberglass insulation is less expensive for two reasons. First, it wears down faster than spray foam insulation and rigid foam (discussed next). Second, it’s very susceptible to moisture, which may lead to mold growing in your RV walls over time.With all this in mind, fiberglass insulation is best suited to RVers who tend to adventure in one primary climate or multiple mild climates. This insulation will not perform well if you’re often jumping seasons from extreme heat to severe cold. Spray Foam Insulation While tricky to install correctly, spray foam offers a plethora of benefits to your RV insulation project. First off, it’s lightweight, which soothes any worries you may have about overburdening your RV with excess pounds. Second, this type of foam insulation expands and seals. The foam can access all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies and seal them. That seal is also water-resistant.For all these great benefits, this type of insulation has a lower R-value than other options. Therefore, it won’t offer the same level of protection against hot or cold air as the alternatives. So if you’ve got your eye on chilly winter camping for skiing, you should probably opt for a different type.If you choose spray foam insulation, we highly recommend trying it out on some scrap plywood first so you can get the hang of it before installing it in your RV. Compensating for the foam’s expansion takes a little practice. Rigid Foam RV Insulation Rigid foam insulation tends to hit the sweet spot between spray foam and fiberglass. It has a mid-range R-value, is moisture-resistant, and is long-lasting. Sounds great, right? Not so fast.Rigid foam insulation tends to be one of the toughest to install. You’ll need to cut each foam board to precisely fit the space you’re covering, and you’ll need additional tools or adhesives to secure it properly.So, while labor-intensive, this option is ideal for insulating RV walls if you’re planning on some cold weather in the winter and seamlessly making the transition to toasty summer camping. Wool Insulation Those looking for a more natural solution may find it in wool insulation. Made with the less popular colors and qualities of sheep wool, wool insulation (not to be confused with rock wool, which is made from raw materials spun into fibers) has a great R-value and handles moisture well. If you choose the wool insulation provider carefully, you can avoid any types of pesticides or other chemicals in the material.On the downside, nature wool insulation is heavy, more expensive than the other options, and can be tricky to install, especially between the roof and ceiling. You’ll want to double-check your tow capacity and gross weight ranges before committing to wool insulation.Photo by: Live Small Ride Free Plumbing, Tanks, and Underbelly If you’re simply insulating your RV for more flexibility in the shoulder seasons, rock on! But if you’re looking to camp mid-winter, don’t forget that you’ll need to insulate your rig’s plumbing, water tanks, and underbelly as well.Water freezes quickly in winter conditions, and a ruptured water pipe or tank can spell disaster for your camping trip. So, take the time and effort to make sure you cover all your bases for complete weatherproofing. Windows and Doors Don’t forget to give your windows and doors some weatherproofing love. Proper seals, caulking, double or triple-paned windows, and curtains will all go a long way to keep you comfortable in all weather conditions.It can be a tough decision to insulate or not, but we hope this article helped you decide when the investment is worth it. Think about your destinations and seasons as well as your preferred activities, and if you choose to weatherproof, make sure you’re thorough and don’t skimp!When you’re all insulated and ready to tackle the cold, don’t forget to check out our guide to winterizing your RV.Read Article
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