Can you go camping in the winter? Absolutely! But it does take a little bit of extra preparation and precaution. After all, being hot in the summer time is uncomfortable and all… but sub-freezing temperatures can literally kill you. Not to worry, though! So long as you bring lots of warm clothes, plenty of extra cozy blankets, and maybe a space heater or two — and, of course, you make sure to fully winterize your RV — a family winter camping trip is totally possible. In fact, winter is one of our favorite times to camp! After all, when else can you follow up a snowball fight with a cuddle session on your RV’s cozy couch?
Extreme Winter CampingNow, if you’re a little more extreme, you may be thinking about cold weather camping in tents, not motorhomes. This can be a little trickier. You’ll definitely want to invest in one of the warmest sleeping bags out there, made specifically for serious low-temperatures, such as the KingCamp Adult Mummy-Style sleeping bag rated for temperatures down to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also four-season, cold weather camping tents with extra insulation to help shield you from the chilly elements, as well as winter camping tent heaters to up the ante even more. Sub-freezing temperatures are no joke, so it’s best not to take any chances if you’re going to try to sleep under the winter stars.
Best RV for Winter CampingObviously, however, the best way to stay warm during winter camping — and our favorite, if we’re being honest — is to camp in a motorhome or travel trailer. It certainly is nice to have a real bed to curl up into when the weather outside is just a little bit frightful! Now, when it comes to the best campers and travel trailers for winter camping, it’s true that anything with four walls is going to be warmer than a tent — even a good tent. But in order to ensure your RV’s systems stay in good, working order throughout your venture, it’s important to choose an RV designed for four-season weather. Four-season recreational vehicles have extra insulation not just in the cabin walls, but also around the sensitive machinery in their underbellies. that will help keep vital components from freezing and breaking when temperatures get seriously low. Of course, even in the best-insulated rigs, it’s a good idea to take some extra precautions just to be sure, such as winterizing your RV’s water system with RV antifreeze.
Winter Camping LocationsNow that you know a little bit more about how to prepare for your camping trip, let’s backtrack a little bit… where are you planning to go? Whether you’re looking to experience a full-on whitewashed winter landscape or you’re planning to drive through some wintery climes on your way to a warmer destination, there’s no shortage of amazing places to go and things to see during the coldest months of the year. Your Rand McNally Road Atlas is always a prime resource, of course, as is the National Park Service, which keeps each park’s website updated as to accessibility and weather-related restrictions. If you’re looking for some more specific advice, we’ve compiled a few lists to help get your wheels turning — literally!
Best Winter Camping GearOnce you’ve got a destination in mind, your route all mapped out, and you’ve called ahead to ensure there are campgrounds open to accept you and your rig at all the stops along the way, the only thing left to do is to ensure you’ve packed your rig accordingly. There are certain pieces of winter camping gear you definitely don’t want to leave home without! For instance, a winterized emergency kit with cold-weather extras like thermal blankets and a windshield ice scraper can transform a full-on crisis into just a bump in the road. You also want to make sure you always have plenty of extra nonperishable food and drinking water on board. Even the most prepared camper and cautious camper might find herself stuck in winter, and keeping warm and energized are key to escaping the situation unscathed! Finally, always remember that when you’re driving and camping your RV in the winter, you’re adding additional safety risks into the equation. Nothing in life is without risk, of course, and by proceeding with caution and stocking your rig with all the things you need, you can make winter camping almost as safe as your summer trip. Always be sure to drive slowly and cautiously, obeying any local laws about tire chains or other cold-weather vehicular add-ons. Finally, don’t forget: if you don’t feel comfortable, you can always pull over and stop! In winter as at all other times, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Enjoy your winter camping trip, RVers! Where are you headed?
Written by Megan Buemi, for RVShare.