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Winter is Coming: How to Prepare Yourself and Your RV For the Cold Weather

Winter typically harkens a slow wind-down of the camping season all across Canada. The upshot of owning an RV, however, is that you can enjoy a comfortable camping experience well into the fall. As the brisk air of autumn takes over, however, you'll want to take additional steps to winterize your vehicle and pack to ensure full comfort throughout the duration of your cold-weather RV adventure. Keep the following suggestions in mind as you prepare for an amazing trip:

Plan Your Itinerary — And Your Location — Carefully

Areas that bustle with activity during the summer months may appear to become ghost towns as the fall chill sets in. Unfortunately, even if you load up on warm clothing and winterize your RV, a lack of regional activity can make for a less-than-remarkable trip.

As you select your destination, determine which options are available for keeping you and your loved ones entertained even when the weather refuses to cooperate. The last thing you want on a cold, rainy day is to be stuck in your RV for hours on end because you're unwilling to hike.

When in doubt, select a location within a short drive of a bustling town or small city; the right setting will make you feel as if you're removed from urban life, while still granting you access to a variety of museums, theaters, and other attractions. Sites such as TripAdvisor can help, as can recommendations from fellow RV enthusiasts.

Opt For Powered Campsites

You may not require power or electricity during the warmest months of summer, but that will quickly change come fall. When in doubt, book a powered campsite, which will allow you to keep your RV's furnace and propane tank in working condition.

Load Up on Blankets And Warm Clothing

When in doubt, always assume it will be far colder than the weather forecast indicates. The more layers available within your RV, the better. In addition to sweatshirts and jackets, you'll want to arrive prepared with mittens and hats. Down blankets will keep you and your companions warm at night. Consider also packing sleeping bags, which, despite being less versatile than conventional blankets, can supply exceptional warmth on frigid nights. Check out our guides on dressing for winter camping and winter must-haves for additional advice. 

Winterize Your RV

Following a successful cold-weather trip, determine whether you intend to go elsewhere before the harsh winter weather sets in. If you're ready to bid adieu to your RV for the season, plan to winterize it as soon as possible. The weather in Ontario can be unfortunately variable — you never know when a nasty storm might strike. Specific steps for winterizing will vary slightly from one RV to the next, but in general, the following are essential:

  • Clear out the pipes — and fill them with antifreeze. The risk of frozen pipes does not merely apply to your house or apartment; your RV is just as vulnerable. Do your part to mitigate the risk by clearing out all RV pipes at the end of the season. Next, fill the pipes with antifreeze. Feel free to also pour antifreeze down any sink drains in your RV.

  • Take out the batteries. Freezing temperatures quickly drain RV batteries. This could spell trouble when the snow finally melts. Instead of leaving the battery in all winter and facing the hassle of jump-starting your vehicle or finding a replacement, simply remove it in advance. Store it in a warm area, where it can easily be retrieved come spring.
  • Park indoors, if possible. Options are available for sealing your vehicle's exterior, but if indoor parking space is available, you'll want to take advantage of it. Not only does this approach this gets you out of a potentially time-consuming winterization effort, it provides the most thorough protection possible. Garages are ideal, of course, but if garage space is unavailable, the combination of a carport and a sealed exterior could also prove helpful.
  • Seal the exterior. If you're unable to park indoors, begin the sealing process by applying a layer of wax to your RV's exterior. This will mitigate a variety of concerns that could eventually lead to leaks. If you notice any cracks or other forms of damage, be sure to seal these as well.

A few simple steps will dramatically increase your enjoyment as you set out in your RV in cold weather — and as you resume RV travel in the spring. Winter might seem long and harsh, but before you know it, you'll be back in your RV, exploring the best of Ontario and beyond.

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