Camperland of Oklahoma Blog
- 0 0Published on Jan 09, 2016
Sixty degree days in the winter months do it to all of us... they give us a tiny taste of spring and make us want to GO CAMPING! But, it's winter - and it's Oklahoma - so you know as soon as you start to head out the door, the weather is going to change.
Oklahoma weather is historically unpredictable. Among the 50 most populous cities in the US, Oklahoma City falls second with hardest-to-predict weather. That makes it hard to plan your camping trip any time of the year, but in winter it seems almost impossible. But you can enjoy winter camping in Oklahoma if you follow the wise old adage: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Here are our top ten tips for cold-weather camping in your RV.
1. Safety First
Driving on slick road is hazardous. It doesn't matter how good of a driver you are or how much experience you have, there is always something unpredictable. Adding a travel trailer or fifth wheel to the mix just makes it that much more dangerous. So, first things first, if the roads are bad or you are not comfortable traveling for any reason, just stay home! Safety always needs to come first!
2. Know the Limits of Your RV
Some RVs are all-season ready, but many need special preparation before they are good-to-go in freezing temperatures. Know the precautions you need to take with your RV. Frozen water lines and tanks are the most common problems of cold weather camping, so if your RV doesn't have a enclosed, heated underbelly, you are going to need tank pads and insulating tape for the water lines.
3. Water Hose Woes
No matter how well your trailer water lines are heated, the water hose outside can still freeze. To avoid issues, use a heated water hose. Or, fill your tank and then immediately unhook and store the hose.
4. Alternative Heat Maybe Not a Good Idea?
Electric fireplaces are pretty and create cozy warmth, but in freezing temps they can cause problems. How? If you have an enclosed and heated underbelly, it is your furnace that does the heating. If you are keeping warm with your fireplace, your furnace probably isn't running enough to keep your water lines and tanks from freezing. So use your electric fireplace with caution in freezing weather!
Space heaters create the same problem as fireplaces - they don't heat the underbelly, but they can provide heat in areas that don't get much. If your water pump is located in a non-heated storage area, you can use a small space heater to keep it from freezing. But wherever you use a space heater, use caution! Electric heaters are one of the leading causes of RV fires. Read and follow all safety precautions!
5. Speaking of Fires
Make sure your smoke detector, as well as your propane detector and CO detector have fresh batteries and are in good working order. It is a good idea to replace the batteries in your detectors at the same time you replace the ones in your house, and the Internatation Fire Chiefs Association recommends doing that every fall when you set your clocks back at the end of Daylight Savings Time. Also, you need to replace the detectors every ten years. How old is your trailer? Is it time to change the detectors?
6. Windows and Vents
There are many ways to help your windows and vents be more heat-efficient. A common way is to use foil-covered foam board to cover the windows and vents in the winter. This insulating foam can be found in large sheets at most home improvement stores and is easily cut to size with a utility knife. There are specially design cushioned vent covers available at our parts department that are super easy to install and work really well. Heavy curtains also help keep heat in and cold out. And in motorhomes, you can heat less area (saving fuel and money) if you close off the cab with a heavy privacy curtain.
Stabilizing jacks can freeze to campsite pads. To help with this, use a wood block to insulate your stablizer jacks. Hydraulic jacks are awesome in warmer weather, but can freeze and not work when it is colder. There are fluids that are approved for cold-weather use, but you need to check with your RV manufacturer before using them since it can void the warranty or cause other problems.
8. Propane Refills
You will no doubt use more propane in colder weather. Make sure you know where to get refills so you can avoid nights without heat!
9. Are You Sure You Have a Place to Camp?
Many campgrounds and state and national parks are closed during the winter season. Make sure you call ahead to be sure you'll have a place to stay.
10. Talk to an Expert
This list includes the top things we tell people when they are preparing to cold-weather camp. There are some things that aren't covered, so it is always a good idea to come in and talk to our service guys about camping in your specific RV. We are always glad to help!
Go on, Enjoy!
If the forecast says it will be mild and warm for the weekend, go ahead and plan your trip. If you are prepared, you will be able to enjoy your camping trip... no matter if the weather man knows what he is talking about or not!