A Complete Guide to Planning a Winter Camping Trip in Your Campervan

Campervan and travel experts at Classic Vans present everything you need to know to have the ultimate winter camping experience

Camping in the winter can be a thrilling and serene experience. With little worry for traffic jams and overbooked campsites, you really have the ability to pick your favorite campervan or RV spot. The air is crisp, the atmosphere is usually quite peaceful, and best of all, NO BUGS! The days are shorter and the temperatures are chillier, but if you plan it right there is no reason why your trip should be anything but cozy and memorable.

Use this guide to avoid any potential cold-weather mishaps and have the ultimate winter camping experience in your class B motorhome:

Holding Tanks:

In order to protect your dump valves from freezing, empty out your holding tanks prior to take off. Add about a quart of pink RV antifreeze (not the green kind used for normal cars). If possible, insulate the pipes draining into the tanks with a special foam pipe insulator. If you will be camping in below-freezing temperature and have an electric hook-up or generator, consider installing electric pipe heaters. Wrap your sewer hose with insulation or heat tape. This will prevent any splits if disconnecting it.

Water Pump:

If your water pump is located in an exterior storage area that isn’t insulated, a small space heater can prevent it from freezing.

Ceiling Vents:

Seal off any roof vents or skylights. These are places where your heat can leak out. Using RV vent cushions to securely fit a standard size vent or making your own with padding from a fabric store will due.

Fresh Water Hose:

A heated water hose can be a handy purchase if you have a fresh water hook-up. This heated hose can prevent bursting or freeze-ups. Keep all hoses and cables out of snow and off the ground.


Re-caulking window seals may be a good idea if your RV or motorhome is a little older. A careful examination of weather stripping on the base of entry and access panels can help keep drafts out. If you want to get fancy, you can go to your local hardware store and cut insulating foam boards to place between your vehicle’s frame and the ground. This can help tanks, water lines and filters from freezing up.


Give the furnace a good test before you go. Using compressed air, clean the area so that it’s free of dust, debris and spider webs. If your motorhome or RV has a heat pump as opposed to a furnace, consider bringing portable, electric space heaters. These can be extremely helpful when the temperature hits below 40 degrees. When running any type of space heater, make sure a window is cracked just a bit for ventilation.


Very important: If you don’t have double pane windows, installing a curtain to insulate heat could be a lifesaver! Be sure to keep them closed at night to trap in all the warm air. Covering your windows with foil-backed foam insulation is a low-cost option. This is another hardware store project, but will be well worth the effort.

Stabilizing Jacks:

Placing blocks of wood under stabilizing jacks can help prevent them from freezing to concrete or paved pads.


If you use propane to heat your rig, it will only last a few days in the extreme cold. Bring a few extra tanks or make sure you are close to a propane refuel station.

Engine Block Heater:

In extremely cold temperatures, an engine block heater can be a big help. Turn it on three hours before you start your engine.

Emergency Kit Items:

  • Extra warm clothing
  • Tire chains
  • Extra blankets
  • 5 gallons of drinking water in a heated storage space
  • Emergency GPS
  • Extra cash for an emergency
  • Extra propane tanks
  • Extra food
  • Sleeping bags fit for cold temperature
  • Blow dryer for defrosting pipes
  • Solar charging panels
  • “White Gas” camping stove (Does Not Require Propane)
  • Gasoline powered generator

It may seem like an overwhelming list, but if properly prepared, you will be ready to enjoy the peace, beauty and serenity of winter camping.

Looking for a used or new class B motorhome for your trip? Check out our inventory of campervans for sale. With a quality selection of road-trip vehicles for any adventure, you will not be disappointed! Contact the experts at (866) 370-8222 and ask about low-cost nationwide van delivery.

Additional tips and suggestions for traveling in a campervan can be found in our knowledge center and blog.