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RV Wintering

winter RV

I’m still learning things about RV living—the right things to do, the right words to use… Like the difference between “winterizing” an RV (getting it ready for winter storage when you’re not using it) and actually WINTERING in an RV.

Cliffs Notes version: Everything changes with the weather!

We’ve had snow for weeks, and now the temperatures are heading down from “mere” single digits to -10F overnight. It’s a test of all the winter-prep we’ve done, and we’re still figuring some things out.

Jon climbing to the roof to brush off the solar charger.

Right now  it’s sounding like Santa arrived late, but it’s just Jon up on the roof with a broom and a windshield-scraper, pushing snow off the roof and brushing it off our solar charger.

Before winter hit, we enclosed the underbelly with foam board and wrapped our hydrant and hoses with heat-tape and foam insulation. When temps hit single-digits we added a box around the hydrant with a lightbulb to keep it heated, kind of like the one I used to keep in Christian’s chicken-house.

We enclosed our bedroom slide-out with foam-board (we never opened those window-shades anyway), and our electric blanket heats the sheets before we hit the hay… We have my favorite luxury-touches of a heater under the floors, and of course the timed coffee-pot that wakes us up to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee every morning.

RV repair
You might be an RV-er if… home repairs make you look like the wicked witch’s squished sister! Adding insulation…

This summer when our toilet flooded, we had to drop the underbelly to dry things out, so we added some serious extra insulation while we were under there. And because our electricity is a flat-fee charge, we have some good little electric heaters throughout the rig, not to mention our lovely electric fire.

People keep asking me what it’s like, living in an RV in this kind of weather. Contrary to most people’s expectations, we’re cozy instead of cold.

Our challenges lie in other directions, like keeping that solar panel clear, keeping ice off the steep front steps, and keeping melting snow off the floors. We don’t exactly have an entryway for footwear, so we’ve added a couple towels by the rug at the front door.

RV fireplace and dog
my friend Teresa’s dog Walter, enjoying our fireplace

I do miss our outdoor dining-space… Most of the year we’ve used the patio as our dining room, and I loved the feeling of living half-outdoors, enjoying BBQ in the Boise summer evenings.

On the flip side, there are some conveniences too. We don’t bother to heat the garage portion of the rig, so it serves as a handy extra fridge! The enclosed portion under the nose of the fifth wheel has become a “storage shed,” where we’ve stashed our summer patio chairs, bikes, and some outdoor gear. And just as we didn’t have to mow or weed a yard this summer, we don’t have to shovel walks or driveway now.

I won’t lie—this kind of weather makes us think about pulling up stakes and heading somewhere warmer (something we can do easily enough when we actually decide to take that plunge)…  But in the meantime… We’re blessed with a warm home—and as winter challenges go, this is stuff we can live with!

our park at sunset…


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

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