Winter RV Camping: What You Need to Know

The winter camping season is upon us and it’s time to get prepared for the freezing cold temperatures

Winter RV camping is more accessible than ever with improvements in RV technology. That’s why more people are seeking out winter destinations for RV getaways and living in RVs full-time during all four seasons. 

If you camp in the cold you’ll need to prepare for it. If you plan on camping in cold temperatures this winter here’s what you need to know to keep your RV and yourself healthy and happy.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Getting water for winter RV camping

Maintaining the health of your RV’s water system is arguably the most important factor of winter RV camping. When outside temperatures drop below freezing, water can freeze in your pipes and your freshwater hose. Frozen water expands and that alone can cause your pipes to burst. Even if your pipes don’t freeze over a frozen section of pipe can increase water pressure enough to stress pipes joints to the point of bursting.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hooking up to city water

If you’re hooking up to city water you’ll need a heated hose that plugs into an AC outlet at your campsite pedestal. A heated hose keeps water from freezing at the source and while it’s flowing into your RV. Some people add additional insulation to their heated hoses if they expect extreme temperatures. This can be done by wrapping the entire length of the hose in foil wrap insulation tape. Be sure to check the recommendations and read through the entire manual that came with your heated hose before attempting to add additional insulation. 

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Filling your freshwater tank

If you don’t have a heated hose you can also fill your freshwater tank instead of connecting to city water. Most modern RVs designed for winter camping feature heated holding tank compartments to prevent water from freezing in the tanks. As a rule of thumb only connect your water hose when you need to fill your freshwater tank. Disconnect it when you’re finished and drain all water out of the hose before storing it. This will prolong the life of the hose while preventing potential freezing.

Heated water hose and faucet protector© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keeping you (and your RV) warm

Winter RV camping should be enjoyable but we all know that’s tough if you are perpetually cold. The following tips will help you keep your living space warm and cozy throughout the winter. 

Insulating the Floor

The laws of thermodynamics state that warm air rises and cold air sinks which means that your floor will often feel extra chilly, especially first thing in the morning. There are several ways to insulate under your feet including area rugs and runners.

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Windows and doors

The next two obvious places for heat loss are your RV windows and doors. An RV with dual-pane windows is the best for winter camping but there are numerous ways you can insulate single-pane windows. Whether your RV has single or dual-pane windows you can add foil insulation to select windows and doors to reduce heat loss. If you don’t like the appearance of foil insulation, you can also upgrade to thicker window shades. 

If you’re unable to find window and door covers and a front window reflective sunshade that fit the exact dimensions you may need to cut an insulation roll to the desired dimensions for each application. You don’t want to cover ALL of the RV windows so that you can still get some natural light and heat from the sun throughout the winter. 

In addition to adding insulation check the weather stripping around your RV doors. If it’s partially detached or missing altogether, replace it to keep cold and moisture out of your rig. 

Roof vents

You can also lose considerable heat through the RV roof vents. You can insulate your roof vent openings with vent cushions to reduce heat loss. Vent cushions can also be used during the warmer months to trap the cool air from your AC inside your RV. The good news about these cushions is that they can be installed or removed in seconds. 

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heat sources

As for an actual heat source, there are five heater options to consider.

Furnace: The first is your RV propane furnace. Before your winter camping trip take the time to make sure your furnace is in good working order and check to see if it’s time to replace your furnace filter (if applicable). Use compressed air and a soft brush to remove any dirt, dust, and debris from the furnace. Make sure all vents are clean and unblocked.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hydronic heat: As an alternative to the propane furnace, hydronic heat comes standard in many luxury coaches and is offered as an upgrade in several others. These systems use a boiler to circulate hot antifreeze through a series of heat exchangers found throughout the motorhome. The advanced technology nearly eliminates the fumes normally associated with propane or diesel use and is quiet, as well. The system evenly heats your coach’s interior with multiple heat zones. As the temperature of a zone drops below your thermostat setting, a heat exchanger begins circulating heat not only from the floor to the ceiling, but also side to side. Plus, it acts as the hot water heater as well. In fact, water pumped through the boiler is instantly heated meaning that you won’t run out of hot water until you actually run out of water.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electric space heater: Your second option is a portable electric space heater. Ceramic convection heaters are the most popular type of portable space heaters for good reason. Not only are they affordable (you can get a good one for under $50) but they are also efficient and quickly take the chill out of the air. Ceramic heaters work by heating the air and circulating it around the room.

Infrared radiant heater: Infrared radiant heaters produce mild consistent heat to maintain the temperature of a room. They are designed to heat the objects around them (including you) rather than heating the air. Infrared radiant heaters are optimal in areas where you are sitting close to them rather than moving around the room. They are also best used to maintain the temperature of a room rather than providing a quick blast of heat.

Propane space heaters: Portable space heaters that run on propane are great for those situations when you don’t have access to electric power. If you enjoy boondocking or dry camping but still want a source of heat this is the perfect solution. Just check to make sure the unit is safe for indoor use and stock up on extra propane tanks if you want this to be a reliable heat source for winter camping. 

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Protect your RV exterior

Winter camping also takes a toll on the exterior of your RV. From getting snow off the roof to ensuring your stabilizing jacks don’t freeze to the ground there are some important steps you’ll need to take to protect your RV’s exterior on winter adventures. 

Underneath your RV

Since I just mentioned stabilizing jacks, let’s start there. To keep them from freezing to the ground us stabilizing jack pads beneath them. If you store any recreation items underneath your RV place them on a tarp or in a sealed bin to avoid water damage. 

Using an RV skirt is another way to keep cold air from getting underneath your RV. An added benefit of skirting around the base of your RV is protected exterior storage. If you have kayaks or bikes that don’t have anywhere else to go you can slide them under your RV before skirting to keep them out of the elements and protected from critters seeking a warm winter home. 

Exterior steps © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exterior steps

Exterior steps can quickly turn into a slippery hazard when you encounter freezing and snowy conditions. You can add grip to your RV steps by installing a wrap-around step rug. You can also consider installing an external step with a handrail if you’re looking for something with a little more safety and stability for winter RV camping. 

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roof, AC, slideouts, and awnings

If you have slides, you may need to clear snow and ice regularly. Avoid snow and ice accumulation on top of your RV. If possible push the snow off after each storm. Use care not to damage your roof or awnings. Climbing up your RV ladder can be the most dangerous part of this effort. Shoes with soft rubber soles are best for handling slippery surfaces. It’s also a good idea to apply sprayable antifreeze to slide components if you plan on moving them in and out throughout the winter.

It is best to leave your RV awning closed when winter RV camping. Weight from snow and ice as well as the potential for high winds makes the risk for awning damage high in the winter. 

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion

Camping in the winter can be an exciting adventure and allow you the chance to enjoy all the fun that snowy destinations have to offer. If you take the time to prepare as you should, you and your RV should have no trouble weathering those frosty winter storms.

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

Thanksgiving RV Trip: How to Enjoy the Holiday on the Road

Why not shake it up this year with a new tradition? Instead of the usual family gathering, jump in the RV and hit the road for a holiday you can be truly thankful for.

The classic vision of Thanksgiving typically involves a giant stuffed turkey with multiple side dishes and pies, all covering a long dining table surrounded by family and friends. 

However, as RV travel continues to grow in popularity and more and more people adopt non-traditional lifestyles such as digital nomads and full-time RVing, the entire concept of holidays is rapidly changing. They can still be spent making memories and connecting with loved ones but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending several days in meal planning and prepping or even staying home. 

This year, why not consider a Thanksgiving RV trip? Whether you go to a favorite place or a new one, head out solo, bring your whole family along, cook up a quintessential Thanksgiving feast or skip a traditional meal altogether, hitting the road is a fun and memorable way to spend the holiday.

Enjoying Thanksgiving at Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort, Clermont, Florida

Reasons to take a Thanksgiving RV trip

  • Experience national parks and other popular destinations during the shoulder season when there are few other visitors—enjoy less-crowded viewpoints and trails, little to no traffic, and your pick of campsites
  • A Thanksgiving RV trip creates a new tradition with your significant other or family
  • Minimal cleanup as compared to a kitchen in a house for Thanksgiving dinner
  • If you’re not a full-timer, a Thanksgiving trip can extend your camping season and let you enjoy one more adventure before storing your rig for winter
Spending Thanksgiving in Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ideas for your Thanksgiving RV trip

The sky is really the limit when it comes to places you can spend Thanksgiving in your RV but here are some unique ideas. 

Camping at Arches National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National parks

Even the parks that close individual entrances or most roads for winter have at least one campground open all year. Planning a Thanksgiving RV trip is a wonderful way to experience some of the country’s most popular parks in a unique way without the crowds and in a much quieter setting. Most national park campgrounds are dry camping with no utilities.

Related article: 49 Million Americans Will Road Trip This Thanksgiving, 15 Million by RV

Best of all, some national parks even host special Thanksgiving programs. For example, restaurants in Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park host elaborate Thanksgiving spreads.

Camping at Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

State parks

A quieter alternative to national parks, many state parks are open year-round and are very accessible. Choose one close to home, look for one that will still have fall foliage late in the season, or pick one that offers a warm climate. State park campgrounds offer a variety of sites including no services, electricity, and water only, and full-service camping. It’s a design-your-own-Thanksgiving-RV-trip.

Camping at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traditional RV parks

Camping in an RV park or resort over Thanksgiving can give you access to full hookups, scheduled activities, clubhouse and pool, fire pit, outdoor seating, and table space, and perhaps even shared kitchen facilities. Some parks may even host Thanksgiving events where you can meet other travelers. 

Boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking

If you want to try something different and completely unplug over the holiday, consider boondocking. You’ll need to do some advance planning in terms of grocery shopping and meal prepping plus decide how you’ll make Thanksgiving dinner but can be a fantastic, memorable way to create new traditions.

Related article: Top 8 Tips for Planning a Road Trip this Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday Season

Potential downsides of a Thanksgiving RV trip (and how to deal with them)

Carrots for a colorful Thanksgiving dinner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Being away from family and friends 

If you’re used to spending the holiday with a large group of friends and family, this can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to take a Thanksgiving RV trip. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones. Consider scheduling a FaceTime or Zoom call at some point during the day so everyone can say hello. 

You can also plan a traditional Thanksgiving meal when you’re all together in person even if it’s nowhere near the actual holiday. Who knows, this could become a new favorite tradition.

Thanksgiving dinner? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wanting to prep a traditional meal but not having enough space

Whipping up a Thanksgiving meal can be challenging even in a single-family home so there’s no denying it’s difficult in an RV. However, it’s not at all impossible.

Pie for Thanksgiving dinner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Think about what you realistically have fridge and oven space for and come up with creative ways to prepare and cook everything else. For example, maybe you purchase a pie from a local bakery or you cook some dishes over the fire pit or grill. 

And if table/counter space is an issue make use of any surfaces you have outside the RV. There’s no rule saying you can’t decorate a picnic table or folding chairs for Thanksgiving.

Be prepared in case bad weather © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bad weather

Late November can be dicey weather-wise, no matter where you are. Plan ahead and have some day-of backup plans in case inclement weather forces you to stay inside. Do your Thanksgiving grocery shopping in advance to eliminate the possibility that you’re short one or two key ingredients and if you’re planning to dine outside have an indoor layout in mind so there’s plenty of space to accommodate everyone. 

Related article: Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle: Giving Thanks

Do something different this Thanksgiving, Go RVing! Take your family off the Wi-Fi craze for a few days and enjoy a nearly work-free meal prep and enjoyable conversation with the whole family. It will be an experience you never forget!

Worth Pondering…

Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.

—Catherine Pulsifer

Winter RV Camping Must-Have: Portable Space Heater

The winter camping season is upon us and it’s time to get prepared for the freezing cold temperatures. One of the best things you can invest in for winter camping adventures is a portable space heater.

The cold hard fact is that RVs and winter weather are not ideal companions. With little insulation and plenty of opportunities for chilly air to leak in, it can be difficult to keep an RV comfortably warm when the temperatures drop. That’s where portable electric space heaters come in handy.

No matter how many times you vow to follow the warm weather while RVing, the truth is that you’re going to run into cold weather eventually.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Downsides of the RV furnace

Whatever the reason, chances are good that if you spend any time traveling by RV you’re eventually going to need a source of heat. The first line of defense against cold is the built-in RV furnace. A typical RV furnace uses propane to create hot air and electric power to blow the air through a series of vents distributed around the RV.

There are a few problems with the RV furnace. First of all, they are gigantic energy hogs that use a tremendous amount of both propane and electricity. Second, the electric fan blowers can be very loud. Since they only come on when the thermostat dips below the set temperature if you’re having a cold night the blower could drive you crazy as it cycles on and off.

Finally, not every RV has a built-in furnace. Many older motorhomes, small trailers, and van conversions don’t have a furnace which leaves owners either out in the cold or searching for an alternate solution.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Portable space heaters to the rescue

This is when portable space heaters save the day. These small, efficient heaters are a safe, quiet method for keeping your RV cozy and warm. There are three different types, each with its own strengths and uses. Let’s start with the most popular.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ceramic convection heaters

Ceramic convection heaters are the most popular type of portable space heaters for good reason. Not only are they affordable (you can get a good one for under $50) but they are also efficient and quickly take the chill out of the air. Ceramic heaters work by heating the air and circulating it around the room. Some of the benefits of ceramic heaters are:

  • Warms up small spaces very fast
  • Considered a safe source of heat as they don’t contain hot coils or emit dangerous gasses
  • Small, lightweight, and easy to move around the RV
  • No smells
Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Infrared radiant heaters

Infrared radiant heaters produce mild consistent heat to maintain the temperature of a room. They are designed to heat the objects around them (including you) rather than heating the air.

Infrared radiant heaters are optimal in areas where you are sitting close to them rather than moving around the room. They are also best used to maintain the temperature of a room rather than providing a quick blast of heat. A few of their best features include:

  • Stays cool to the touch making them safe in a small space
  • Emits no noise
  • Unlike heaters that blow hot air around, the infrared radiant heater warms the room temperature without drying the air
  • Provides even, consistent heat
Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Propane space heaters

Portable space heaters that run on propane are great for those situations when you don’t have access to electric power. If you enjoy boondocking or dry camping but still want a source of heat this is the perfect solution.

  • Newer models are safe for indoor or outdoor use
  • Emits no noise or odors
  • Doesn’t require electricity
  • Quickly warms up small spaces
Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV space heater safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, always follow these safety tips when you purchase and run your space heater:

  • Purchase a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic
  • Never block an exit
  • Keep children away from the space heater
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

Winter RV Camping Must-Have: Heated Water Hose

The winter camping season is upon us and it’s time to get prepared for the freezing cold temperatures. One of the best things you can invest in for winter camping adventures is a heated RV water hose.

I hate that first hard freeze of winter. If I’m lucky enough to get a warning, I fill my freshwater tank and disconnect from the RV park water connection. It’s such a hassle! But I can avoid it and stay warm inside with a heated RV water hose. This is a winter RV camping must-have for any RVer.

A heated RV water hose will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. These hoses cost over $100 depending mostly on length but will save you a lot in frozen pipes and related issues.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A heated water hose has a heat strip along the side of the hose that heats up when plugged into a 110-volt electrical connection. Made with food-grade materials, a heated RV water hose comes in several lengths. Rated for use in temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, plug it into a 110-volt outlet at the utility pedestal. It stays on to prevent a frozen water hose. The material remains flexible down to -20 degrees, making it easy to coil and store. A 25-foot hose typically uses about 2.5 kWh of electricity daily and will cost about 25¢ daily to keep water flowing to your RV in the coldest of temperatures.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How heated RV water hoses work

Heated water hoses have long heat strips that run along their length. These prevent water from freezing when it travels through the tube. These hoses need to be plugged into electrical outlets to function and they have a variety of sizes and energy requirements.

Heated water hoses are an essential piece of gear for anyone who plans to use their RV in cold areas. You always need to be sure that your sinks, showers, and toilets are working when you’re living in an RV.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important things to know about heated water hoses

When you’re looking at buying a heated hose for your RV there are a few things you should know. Overall these hoses are pretty simple pieces of equipment but there are a couple of little quirks and tips you should know before you look into getting one for yourself.

Before I get to anything else, it’s important to recognize that these hoses aren’t an unnecessary product or something that only luxury rigs need. Frozen hoses and pipes can cause serious damage to RVs that can affect them in the long and short term.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Certainly, it’s won’t be fun if your water supply freezes. You won’t be able to use water for the kitchen or bathroom and you can forget about having a hot shower. But much worse damage can happen if you don’t have the right equipment and properly maintain it.

If the pipes, holding tanks, or hoses in your RV freeze with water inside them, the ice can expand and cause permanent damage to the infrastructure of your RV. Burst pipes, flooding, and leaking are nothing to take lightly and they are not easy to fix.

But if you’re careful and choose a quality heated water hose you can prevent these problems before they start. Let’s look at some of the requirements for heated hoses and what you can do to keep them in good shape.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make outlets available

First of all, you will need an electrical outlet to use a heated water hose. They run on electricity after all, so they won’t be able to do their jobs if they’re not connected to a power source. There is a range of different heated water hoses but they require access to a standard-issue 110-volt electrical connection.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choose the appropriate hose length

I mentioned earlier that heated hoses come in a variety of lengths. This range of options can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the camping areas you visit. A hose that’s too long can be awkward to set up and maneuver. They’re also more likely to get tangled in knots or get in the way at your campsite.

On the other hand, hoses that are too short can be dangerous to mess with. If you have to stretch your hose out to reach the water outlet, you’ll be putting a strain on it that can damage the hose material and heat strips. Leaks are much more likely to pop up if you’re using a hose that’s too short. Further, your water hose may not reach the utility box, period.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To resolve this, it’s sometimes best to buy more than one length of heated hose. Having a couple of options will help you choose the best one for your situation plus you’ll have a backup if one of them becomes non-functional. If you are winter camping in one site for the entire season it may be best to delay the purchase of a heated hose until you arrive at your camping site. This way you will be certain of the hose length you require.

Be aware that having a heated hose does not ensure that the rest of your water system will be safe from subzero temperatures. You may need to take additional precautions to prevent freezing and damage in the other parts of your water system.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The water tap and metal connections on either end of the water hose are often vulnerable as are the holding tanks for your freshwater and wastewater. If the RV has an enclosed underbelly with a heating system, that will prevent freezing in most cases. You can also apply heat tape to the vulnerable areas to keep them protected and warm.

Your entire water system has to stay in a liquid form to do its job. Heated hoses are great but they still can’t do everything. Help them out by adding protection to all the pieces of your winter waterworks.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Store your heated hose when not in use

Heated hoses are vital parts of the winter kit in your RV. As such, you need to keep them in good condition and maintain them throughout the year. So when the weather starts to warm up, don’t just pitch the hose into a storage bay.

Most heated hoses come with packaging and storage cases for when they’re not in use. Carefully coil the hose when spring arrives and store it in its case. If you take good care of your heated water hose you’ll be able to use it for many more winters.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

October 2022 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 16 Recalls Involving 11 RV Manufactures

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable risk to safety or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 16 recall notices during October 2022. These recalls involved 11 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (3 recalls), Keystone (2 recalls), Newmar (2 recalls), Jayco, (2 recalls), KZRV (1 recall), Riverside (1 recall), Starcraft (1 recall), Highland Ridge (1 recall), Thor Motor Coach (1 recall), Winnebago (1 recall), and Sunset Park (1 recall).

Wright’s Beach Campground, Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Salem, Wildwood, and Ozark travel trailers. The fresh water tank may dislodge from the vehicle and fall to the ground when full or overfilled.

Dealers will inspect the fresh water tank for straps. and install straps as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 9, 2022. Owners may contact at Forest River Customer Service at 1-574-534-3167. Forest River’s number for this recall is 72-1559.

Arizona Oasis RV Park, Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022-2023 Coachmen Beyond, Galleria, and Nova recreational vehicles, equipped with certain Multiplex Electronic Control Modules (ECM). The ECM software may cause the awning to unintentionally extend or retract when the vehicle is parked.

Dealers will update the Electronic Control Module (ECM), free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a schedule for recall notification. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-4995; Firefly customer service at 1-574-825-4600; or Coachmen customer service at 1-574-825-6319 or 574-825-6225. Forest River’s number for this recall is 225-1538.

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023 Prime Time Avenger AVT32BHS travel trailers. The supporting brackets for the rear bunkroom flip-up bunks may not be installed properly, which can cause the bunk to fail.

Dealers will reinstall the brackets, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 16, 2022. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-862-1025. Forest River’s number for this recall is 50-1566.

Clerbrook RV Park, Clermont, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Crossroads Redwood, Dutchmen Voltage, and Yukon trailers. The U-bolts on the axles may have been improperly tightened, causing the bolts to loosen and the axle to slide.

Dealers will tighten the axle spring U-bolts, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 17, 2022. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 22-436. This recall expands NHTSA recall number 21V-015.

Coastal Georgia RV Park, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2021-2023 Alpine, Avalanche, 2020-2023 Fuzion and Impact travel trailers. The hydraulic leveling leg foot pads may become loose and separate from the vehicle.

Dealers will inspect the mounting bolt and reinstall with thread locking adhesive, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 22, 2022. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 22-437.

Terre Haute Campground, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2020-2023 Super Star motorhomes. The Federal Certification label may indicate the incorrect tire size information for the rear tires. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 120, “Wheels and Rims-Other Than Passenger Cars.”

Newmar will provide new labels, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 6, 2022. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar

Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain 2023 Dutch Star motorhomes. The adjustable brake pedal may come into contact with the dash panel, resulting in unintentional brake engagement, which can cause the brakes to overheat and fail.

Dealers will trim the dash panel to add more clearance at the brake pedal and dash panel, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on December 6, 2022. Owners may contact Newmar’s customer service at 1-800-731-8300.

Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2023 Seismic and Seismic Luxury trailers. Fuel cap does not fit properly on the filler fuel neck for the cargo fuel tank.

Dealers will inspect and replace filler fuel neck as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 14, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number to this recall is 9901581.

Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Jayco Jay Feather, Jay Flight, and Jay Flight SLX travel trailers. The cooktop flame may invert when the stove and furnace are operated at the same time.

Dealers will install sealant and plywood panels to seal the area, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 21, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901582.

Lackawanna State Park, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

KZRV

KZRV, L.P. (KZRV) is recalling certain 2023 Durango travel trailers. The living room slide out window may be missing the emergency exit.

Remedy

Dealers will inspect and install an emergency exit as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 8, 2022. Owners may contact KZRV customer service at 1-800-768-4016 ext. 154 or 153. KZRV’s number for this recall is KZ-2022-05.

Spartanburg Northeast/Gaffney KOA, Gaffney, South Carolina, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Riverside

Riverside RV (Riverside) is recalling certain 2023 Riverside Retro, Intrepid and Xplorer travel trailers. The electric retractable awning has a welded seam on the fabric that may separate, potentially allowing the awning to drop beyond normal operation.

Dealers will repair or replace the awnings, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed in October 2022. Owners may contact Riverside customer service at 1-260-499-4511.

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Starcraft

Starcraft RV (Starcraft) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Autumn Ridge Outfitter travel trailers. The cooktop flame may invert when the stove and furnace are operated at the same time.

Dealers will install sealant and plywood panels to seal the area, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 21, 2022. Owners may contact Starcraft RV customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Starcraft’s number for this recall is 9902582.

Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Highland Ridge

Highland Ridge RV (Highland Ridge) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Highland Ridge Olympia, Olympia Sport, Open Range and Open Range Lite travel trailers. The cooktop flame may invert when the stove and furnace are operated at the same time.

Dealers will install sealant and plywood panels to seal the area, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 21, 2022. Owners may contact Highland Ridge customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Highland Ridge’s number for this recall is 9904582.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Motor Coach

Thor Motor Coach (TMC) is recalling certain 2023 Magnitude and Omni vehicles. The Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (OCCC) Label states the incorrect number of seat belts indicating that there are more seat belts available than there actually are. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 120, “Wheels and Rims – Other Than Passenger Cars.”

Dealers will replace the label, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 10, 2022. Owners may contact TMC customer service at 1-877-855-2867. TMC’s number for this recall is RC000281.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2020-2023 View and Navion vehicles. The LP fuel line is routed near the rear wheel well, which may allow the fuel line to contact the tire and become damaged, resulting in a gas leak.

Dealers will secure the LP line with secondary cable ties, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed December 2, 2022. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885. Winnebago’s number for this recall is 170.

Tucson/Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sunset Park

Sunset Park & RV Inc. (Sunset Park) is recalling certain 2022 Sunset Park & RV Sun Lite and Rush travel trailers. The welded seam on the fabric may separate, allowing the awning to drop beyond normal operation.

Dealers will inspect and repair, or replace the awning, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 17, 2022. Owners may contact Sunset Park at (260)-214-4557. Sunset Park’s number for this recall is 22E-055.

Please Note: This is the 45th in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

RV Parking and Storage Tips

In the blink of an eye, summer ends. Then just as quickly autumn disappears. What will you do with your RV at that point? Will you be storing your RV for the winter? A lucky few live in climates that permit them to drive their RVs year-round. As for everyone else, we don’t have that luxury. Having a plan for where you’re going to store your RV until spring returns is crucial. Many RV owners elect to store theirs on a campground or storage facility. You might be interested in storing your RV at home over the winter.

Falling leaves and temperatures mean it’s time to pack your RV away for the off-season—unless you’re a four-season camper. While it’s never fun parking your rig for winter hibernation these RV storage tips will ensure that your rig is ready to go when spring returns once again. 

Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When should you start lining up your RV storage options? 

Arrange your RV storage options as early as possible. If you need offsite storage options may be limited or full by late summer. The recent surge in RV sales means there’s more competition for existing facilities. 

Winterize your RV before storing for winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What should I consider when storing my RV?

Consider these six elements when selecting a storage spot:

Security: If storing away from home does the facility provide a gated entrance, guards or attendants, and security cameras?

Protection from the elements: Will your rig be indoors or outdoors? If outdoors, will it have a covered roof? If indoors, are the temperature and humidity controlled?

Location: How far is the location from your house? Is it easy to access if you need to check your RV? If you store it at home, do you have a large, protected space?

Access: If you wish to take your rig out for a winter trip are you able to remove your RV from the facility? Note that some locations park rigs for months at a time without the ability to remove them. 

Amenities: Some storage facilities offer onsite electric and water hookups and sewer dumps which may be useful as you prepare for and return from trips.

Budget: How much can you spend on monthly storage fees?

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s the best way to store an RV?

There’s no single best way to store an RV. Instead, you need to consider the pros and cons of each option and decide which choice works best for your situation and budget.

Storing your RV at home

Pros

  • You’ll have easy access and can keep an eye on your rig. Plus, it’s free.

Cons

  • You’ll need to find a good location to park your RV. It may be in your way through the winter.

Storing your RV at an indoor self-storage facility

Pros

  • Parking your RV indoors is the best protection from winter temperatures and precipitation. Indoor self-storage also offers good security.

Cons

  • This is the priciest option. Also, you may have limited locations near you and it may not be convenient to check on your rig.
Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Storing your RV at an outdoor storage facility

Pros

  • You may find extra layers of security. Also, some outdoor facilities have covered parking which keeps snow and ice from accumulating on your roof.

Cons

  • Outdoor storage offers little to no protection from the elements.
Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Additional storage options

If none of the options above work for you, don’t despair. You may have friends or family with farmland, a convenient parking spot, or a lot in town. These options may not offer security or protection from the weather but they can be less pricey—possibly free. Finally, research other nearby options like fairgrounds, campgrounds, or marinas which may offer storage in their offseason. 

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Long-term versus short-term storage

Short-term options provide parking for 3 to 6 months spanning the winter season. Long-term storage may cost slightly less per month than short-term storage but you’re paying for more months out of the year. 

Cost of RV storage

The cost of storing an RV varies greatly. The price depends on these factors:

  • Location: The cost varies depending on your location including rural vs. urban.
  • Size of space: How big is your RV? You will pay more to store a 40-foot Class A motorhome than a small travel trailer. 
Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How do you store an RV outside?

If you’re storing your RV outside, decide if you want to use a cover. Covers can cost a considerable amount and take time to properly apply. However, they help protect your RV from the elements. 

If you decide to purchase a cover, buy the proper size for your rig and follow the directions for securely fastening it. Tarps are not recommended since they don’t allow for proper air flow and can trap in moisture. 

Don’t wait for the first snowfall before making winter storage plans © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tips for storing your RV for the winter

Before locking up your rig for the off-season, follow these tips:

  • Winterize your water lines and tanks.
  • Thoroughly clean out anything that could attract bugs and rodents as well as anything that could be damaged by freezing temperatures. 
  • Be sure to check the fridge and freezer to ensure no food is left stored inside. Prop doors open to prevent mold.
  • Check your roof and window seals to prevent leaks and ensure all windows and vents are closed.
  • Remove the batteries from your RV and store them in a temperature-controlled area through the winter but be sure not to store them on a concrete floor. It’s also recommended that you use a battery charger so they’re ready to go when you are.
  • Cover the tires to reduce exposure to direct sunlight.

Whether you’re parking your rig at home or offsite utilize multiple layers of security including wheel locks and/or hitch locks to prevent theft.

Covered storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With your RV securely tucked away for winter, spend the winter months making plans for next spring and summer. Just remember to check in on your rig every few weeks.

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

How to Travel Safely with a Big Rig

Big RVs are packed with amenities and camping comfort but they also call for added planning and a bit of flexibility when you’re on the road

Traveling in a large RV offers perks beyond just added floor space. Big rigs host large fresh water and holding tanks, residential refrigerators, roof space for solar panel setups, and power generators—allowing for extended stays in dispersed and non-serviced locations. Bonus amenities such as washers and dryers, full-sized showers, king-size beds, multiple living spaces, and extra storage capacity can typically be found in RVs that are longer than 35 feet. 

Big rig driving Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you’re a weekend traveler, a part-time RVer, a snowbird, or live in your rig full-time, navigating roads and campgrounds in a big rig often entails a bit of extra planning.

RVs are long, wide, and difficult to maneuver. But, don’t forget—RVs are tall, too. This means when it comes to overhangs, bridges, canopies, and power lines, you have to be careful; RVs and low clearances don’t play well together. Here’s what you can do about it as an RV driver starting with knowing the exact height of your rig.

Overpass on Colonial Parkway in Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not how tall the owner’s manual says it is but how tall it really is? You simply have to go out and measure it yourself. This way you know for sure and that helps you better plan your traveling route without worrying about losing your satellite dish under a lower-than-expected bridge or underpass. The highest clearance is typically found toward the center of an underpass.

Always check the weather forecast when you’re driving or towing your big rig. The flexibility to leave a location early or late depending on wind or precipitation conditions could save you from a frightening driving experience or serious accident.

Consider weather conditions © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s especially prudent to consider weather conditions when planning to traverse a route with numerous sharp curves or steep grades. Big rig engines are subject to overheating when pushing or pulling up long grades. When the outdoor temperature is high, the risk of engine overheating rises. If you don’t have a substantial braking system on board or the weather is not optimal, routing around long or steep downgrades may be worth the added time and fuel. 

Related article: 5 Tips for Safe RV Travel

Big rig driving Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The taller and longer the RV, the more susceptible it is to strong crosswinds. The National Weather Service says that winds of 30 miles per hour will make it difficult to drive high-profile vehicles. If wind speeds are any higher, namely higher than 40 miles per hour, it’s best not to drive big rigs. A crosswind that strong can easily knock over these taller vehicles.

Before you set out on a trip, be sure to check wind advisories along the route. If you know where and when there will be inclement weather you can modify your route, postpone the trip, or find a safe place to hunker down and wait out the weather.

Big rig driving north on US 89 to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider commuting with empty holding tanks. Not only do full tanks decrease fuel efficiency and tax an engine, but added liquid weight can decrease braking efficiency. 

RVs have advanced in both design and size but not all campgrounds were built or have been upgraded to accommodate large or heavy rigs. Confirm that a campsite can accommodate a big rig by verifying that both the campsite you’ve selected and the access roads to that camping space can support your rig’s overall length, width, weight, and ride height.

Big rig camping at Canyon de Chelly National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If the campsite pad is dirt or grass, make sure you have the correct tools to level your rig. Heavy rigs and their levelers are known to sink into soft pads—including asphalt. Wet weather can further impact a site’s ability to support larger rigs.

Related article: Yes, YOU Can Drive an RV: What YOU Need to Know

When researching, consider the campsite’s stated length and width. Look out for any mentions regarding vegetation overgrowth or low-hanging tree branches. Be prepared to respect the boundaries of established campsites. It’s necessary to choose another option if you suspect or realize your rig might negatively impact campsite conservation. 

Covered bridges and big rigs don’t mix © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep reports of a campsite’s grade in mind. Most refrigerators need to be level to function properly but RVs with longer wheelbases (especially Class A motorhomes) can be difficult to level in a site with a moderate grade or more. 

Check out the campground’s official website, read reviews left by previous travelers, utilize satellite-based mapping tools, and/or contact the RV park to confirm the accuracy of the information. 

Not a good camping site for a big rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you arrive at the entrance to your destination and are concerned about accessibility, scout the area. While this practice is typical for RVers with big rigs exploring dispersed camping areas, it’s also good practice when pulling up to any campground with dubitable access. Unhooking a towed vehicle, dropping your tow-behind RV, or walking the route may seem like a hassle but it can save you stress, time, and money.

Driving fatigue besets many big rig drivers more quickly than when driving an automobile. Also, big rig-accessible rest stop locations aren’t as readily available, especially on secondary highways. Planning possible break locations ahead of time at rest areas, truck stops, or big box store parking lots makes for a more enjoyable and safe journey.

Be aware of overhanging trees when selecting a camping site for a big rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Big box stores and grocery chains typically feature large lots with ample, big rig-friendly parking options during local operating hours and are often within walking distance of restaurants and coffee shops.

Related article: I Did What My GPS Told Me

It’s in everyone’s best interest that large RV operators move slowly and methodically even if that means holding up traffic. When the opportunity to allow more agile vehicles to pass arises, it’s courteous to permit that.

Oops! This could have been a disaster! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Careful research when traveling with your large rig will lead to an enjoyable and safe adventure. Equip yourself with a plan, a backup plan, and flexibility for all your big rig travels.

Related article: What’s so Different about Driving a motorhome?

Worth Pondering…

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

—Mark Twain (1835-1910)

The Ultimate Guide to Winterizing Your RV

In this post I’ll explain how to winterize your RV step-by-step

Winter is right around the corner which means it’s time to think about storing your RV. Many RV owners neglect some of the important tasks that should be done before putting their RV into storage which can lead to costly repairs (not to mention a major headache). 

It’s necessary to winterize your RV before putting it into storage or if you’re not going to be using your RV for a long period. These winterizing procedures are necessary for all of your RV’s systems and components to ensure they all continue to work properly.

It’s important to winterize your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why it’s important to winterize your RV

The number one most critical tip for storing an RV is to have it properly winterized. I can’t emphasize this enough. RVs are expensive. So, why not take care of your rig even when you’re not using it?

If you will be storing your RV where the temperatures will be below freezing you need to take special precautions to prevent certain components and parts from breaking and cracking that can result in costly repairs. Winterizing your RV is an inexpensive way to prevent significant repair costs, since it:

  • Protects your water lines
  • Protects your battery
  • Takes care of your tires
  • Stops rodents and pests
Winterize your RV for storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to winterize your RV for storage

Winterizing your RV water system

First, you need to prepare your RV’s water system for freezing temperatures. If you do not winterize your RV plumbing properly it could result in damage not only to the water system, lines, and tanks but also to the RV.

The last thing you want is to pull your RV out of storage only to discover interior water damage, cracked tanks, or split connections and hoses because you didn’t take the proper precautions.

It’s best to winterize your RV while you’re at a full hookup site so you can utilize the sewer, water, and electricity during the winterization process.

Winterize your RV BEFORE winter arrives © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step 1: Always read your owner’s manual for RV and model specific winterizing guidelines.

Step 2: Disconnect your RV water hose from outside water source.

Step 3: Disconnect and remove all inline water filters including water filters under the sink and your residential refrigerator.

Step 4: Drain your fresh water holding tank. 

Step 5: Flush gray and black tanks throughly and empty completely.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step 6: Open the kitchen hot water faucet to evacuate the hot water and pressure from the hot water system. You should allow the hot water tank to cool before draining the water heater to avoid injury.

Step 7: Make sure you open the pressure relief valve and remove the drain plug. Drain the water heater. 

Step 8: Turn on all faucets (both hot and cold), showers (inside and outside), and toilet valves. Open the low-point drain lines under your RV to empty all water lines. Using your RV water pump will help evacuate most of the water out of your water system. However, don’t allow your pump to run dry. Immediately turn off the water pump once all water is completely evacuated from the lines. Then, close all faucets and cap off all drains.

Hook up to sewer outlet to winterize your rig © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step 9: Before putting RV antifreeze into your water system you’ll need to bypass the water heater. Otherwise, you’re just going to waste your antifreeze. You can do one of two things: Either disconnect the water intake line coming from your freshwater holding tank and connect one end of the tube to the water pump inlet and the other end into the jug of RV antifreeze. Or, you can install a water pump converter kit.

Step 10: Add the prescribed amount of RV/Marine antifreeze according to your RV owner’s manual. Typically, it will take at least 2-3 gallons depending on the size of your RV.

Step 11: Turn on your water pump to pressurize the water system and cycle the antifreeze through the lines. You should begin with the faucets closest to the water pump. Then, open both hot and cold faucets until the antifreeze comes out of the faucet. Do this with every faucet, shower, and toilet.

Connected to city water © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Step 12: Pour at least a pint of anti-freeze into all sink and shower drains. Also, pour the same into toilets and flush to keep any residual water from freezing and cracking your tanks. Make certain all faucets and valves are closed.

Step 13: Secure your water heater if it has an electrical heating element. This will help alleviate the damage if your RV is plugged into electricity in storage.

If you do not want to use antifreeze, you can evacuate the air from all water and sewer lines. This will prevent water hoses, connections, and components from expanding, freezing, cracking, or breaking. Be aware that this is not the preferred method.

Dump station © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

CAUTION!! ONLY USE the PINK or ORANGE RV ANTIFREEZE! Never use automobile antifreeze (green; ethylene glycol) in your RV water system or any RV holding tanks. Also, never carelessly dump auto antifreeze down any drain (even storm drains) or allow it to dump into the ground.

Winterizing your RV Electrical System and Batteries

Protecting your RV’s electrical system for storage is just as important as your other RV components. It’s wise to unplug any appliances while they’re not in use. Your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel batteries are subject to freezing temperatures. Batteries are expensive and their life can be greatly extended through proper care and maintenance.

Step 1: Turn the battery switches to OFF. Also, turn the inverter OFF if your RV is equipped with one.

Step 2: Remove all batteries from your RV.

Step 3: Store batteries in a warm, dry area on a battery charger and maintainer. 

If your RV will be stored in a climate-controlled warmer environment, you can just keep your batteries on a battery tender also known as a trickle charge.

Winterize your RV BEFORE winter arrives © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterize Lead-Acid Batteries

Step 1: Check the fluid level before putting your camper in storage.

Step 2: Top off your lead acid batteries with distilled water only. This will ensure the batteries are fresh and ready to reinstall for the next RV camping season.

Step 3:  Put your lead acid RV batteries on a trickle charge.

Winterize Lithium Batteries

Step 1: Ensure you secure all switches before disconnecting power to your lithium batteries. Make certain that they are truly disconnected from stereo, CO2 sensor, and any other emergency sensors.

Step 2: Disconnect the main positive and negative wires that supply your lithium batteries. Even after bringing your RV out of storage, you should have plenty of charge in the batteries.

For both, lead acid and lithium, it’s imperative to unplug and remove your batteries if your RV will be stored outside below freezing temperatures. You’ll need to store your batteries in a heated garage, basement, or room but away from heat sources and moisture.

Clean the RV interior

RV interior

Now it’s time to thoroughly clean your RV. Personally, if you’re putting your RV into storage or kept outdoors, I would remove all bedding, pillows, and anything that could be torn apart and used as nesting material for rodents.

Windows, fans, and screens

Remove and clean all window and fantastic fan screens. Clean fan blades and mechanisms using a detailing kit.

Vacuum and scrub out window mechanisms and sliding window troughs. Lubricate mechanisms. Clean windows using an acrylic window cleaner and scratch-free, soft microfiber cloth.

Finally, you’ll want to close your window blinds or pull down the window shades. This will help keep the sun’s UV rays from degrading the inside of your RV; the wood finishes, furniture fabrics, curtains, and carpet.

Clean the refrigerator and microwave © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Refrigerator

Discard all food and contents from your refrigerator and turn the refrigerator off.

Drain and purge the ice maker water line (residential refrigerator). Disconnect the water line to prevent mold growth in the tube.

Remove refrigerator filter. Unplug refrigerator if possible.

Scrub all surfaces, drawers, and racks with mild soap and water. Dry the interior thoroughly. Place two or three charcoal desi packs on refrigerator racks to absorb moisture and odors.

Leave refrigerator cracked open to allow ventilation.

Clean the overhead cabinets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cabin and closets

Through use, the inside of your RV (cabin) becomes dirty from everyday use, cooking, and outdoor elements. So, part of winterizing your RV is cleaning the cabin thoroughly before putting it into storage.

Wipe down all walls and doors, countertops, and surfaces using a damp rag (not wet!) with a hot soapy water solution. Use the same solution for inside cabinets and drawers. Allow them to dry thoroughly.

Place a moisture absorber pack in each drawer and cabinet. 

Clean the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Flooring

Remove all the grit and grime that may have accumulated throughout the camping season in every crack, crevice, and corner including those hard-to-reach places. Vacuum and/or sweep all bare floors and carpets thoroughly. This includes the insides of closets, bathrooms, laundry area, and entry landing. Don’t forget to pull out and/or get underneath all furniture if possible.

Follow up with a damp mop and hot water soapy solution allowing the areas to dry thoroughly.

Sprinkle baking soda on the carpets to absorb odors. Place charcoal air purifying packs in corners to keep moisture and odors minimal.

Clean the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pest intrusion prevention

The last thing you want is to open your RV next camping season to find spiders, bugs, and anything bigger (live and/or remnants) that used your RV for party central. So, it’s important to prevent pests from entering.

Inspect all locations where pests (insects, spiders, mice, squirrels, snakes, etc.) can enter and plug them completely.

Also, remove anything that pests may see as a food source or anything they can nest in such as paper products.

Place anti-pest devices in all spaces including the basement and behind the basement wall to keep bugs, mice, ants, etc. from having an ongoing party in your RV over the winter or while it’s in storage. 

Moisture, mold, and mildew prevention

To help eliminate moisture that would promote mold and mildew, place desiccant packs in each drawer, cabinet, and closed compartment. For larger contained spaces, put in multiple desi packs. You can also use damp rid moisture absorbers to help mitigate moisture issues.

Cleaning the exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV exterior care

After you’ve cleaned the inside of your RV, it’s time to clean, dry, inspect, and protect your RV exterior and components.

Wash, dry, and protect

Part of winterizing your RV should include giving your motorhome or camping trailer a good bath. Wet wash your RV completely using baby shampoo or quality RV detergent and clean water. Pay particular attention to dirt streaks originating from your roof, slide tops, lights, and windows.

Clean your roof thoroughly using the same RV soap. Clean, inspect, and repair any components on your RV roof, vents, air conditioner, caulking, and the seals around all exterior doors and windows.

Clean your awnings and slide toppers and allow them to dry before retracting. While they’re deployed, inspect for rips or tears. You can repair them while you winterize your RV or put it on your list when you de-winterize your RV or bring it out of storage.

Clean the exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect all exterior surfaces for cracks, chips, or blemishes. It’s also a good time to check all seals, gaskets, and caulk and apply as needed. Protect and lube all RV seals and gaskets using a UV protectant.

Clean your tires using an RV wash and a soft bristle brush. I recommend not using the brush that you use on your RV roof or fiberglass. Then, go over your tires with a good quality tire protectant such as 303 Protectant.

Clean your RV windows inside and out. If your RV has acrylic windows instead of glass make certain you use the correct window cleaner and good quality scratch-free cloth so you don’t scratch your windows.

Lastly, wax your RV exterior using a quality product such as Meguiar’s.

Hooked up to utilities © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cover your vents

Every year, water damage occurs due to RV vent covers breaking under the weight of snow and ice (or due to deterioration from UV rays).

Anyone storing an RV should cover their vents. I suggest installing the economical Camco RV Roof Vent covers. They are made from UV stabilized resin and allow air to keep moving and protect the vent opening from water leaking in.

Do NOT use tarps

Many RV owners are unaware that tarps do not breathe and create condensation on the areas you are trying to keep dry. Unfortunately, the freeze-thaw cycles make the situation worse leading to water damage (even when large snow packs are eliminated).

Lubricate

Before putting your RV in storage, lubricate each moving part with spray silicone. Lube all door locks and the legs of your hydraulic level-up system and electric stabilizers.

Winterize BEFORE winter arrives © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing your generator

It’s important to run your generator at least one hour under load monthly anyways. But when you’re winterizing your RV, it’s important to give it one last exercise before putting your RV to bed for the season.

Step 1: Run your generator for an hour under full load.

Step 2: Drain the old oil, replace filter, and add in new oil.

Step 3: Run new oil for another ten minutes under full load to check for leaks and pressurize.

Step 4: Check hoses and connections around the tank and pump for leaks and weeping fluid.

A final inspection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Final inspection after winterizing your RV

After you’ve completed winterizing your RV, now is the time to conduct a final RV inspection before buttoning your camper up for hibernation.

Ensure the propane tank valves are CLOSED.

Cover the tires of the RV to prevent damage from UV rays and to mitigate degradation and dry rot.

Latch and lock every cargo or basement door.

Make sure no tree branches or overhead wires are touching or have the potential of rubbing the roof of your RV.

Ensure your TV antenna is properly secured.

And lastly, you must park your RV safely. Be sure to stabilize your RV so it doesn’t move. Use leveling blocks to take pressure off your tires and wheel chocks to keep your tires from rolling.

Now your RV is ready for winter storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Final thoughts on how to winterize your RV

Your RV is now ready for storage. Be aware, these RV winterizing tips are not all-encompassing. There may be other tasks specific to your RV manufacturer, model, setup, or personalization that needs attention. So, it’s important to read your RV owner’s manual for details pertinent to your specific motorhome or towable.

Once you finish winterizing your RV, you can now relax and start marking off the days until you can pull your camper out again for the spring and de-winterize your RV.

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

September 2022 RV Manufacturer Recalls: 13 Recalls Involving 8 RV Manufactures

A manufacturer recall can create a safety risk if not repaired

Your recreational vehicle may be involved in a safety recall and may create a safety risk for you or your passengers. Safety defects must be repaired by a certified dealer at no cost to you. However, if left unrepaired, a potential safety defect in your vehicle could lead to injury or even death.

What is a recall?

When a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a recreational vehicle or item of RV equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, the manufacturer is required to fix that vehicle or equipment at no cost to the consumer.

NHTSA releases its most recent list of recalls each Monday.

It should be noted that RV recalls are related to vehicle safety and not product quality. NHTSA has no interest in an air conditioner failing to cool or slide out failing to extend or retract—unless they can be directly attributed to product safety.

NHTSA announced 13 recall notices in September 2022. These recalls involved 8 recreational vehicle manufacturers—Forest River (3 recalls), Jayco (3 recalls), Winnebago (2 recalls), DRV (1 recall), Wayfarer (1 recall), Roadtrek (1 recall), REV (1 recall), and Keystone (1 recall).

Pechanga Casino RV Park, Temecula, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2023 Rockwood and Flagstaff fifth wheels. The Federal Placard states an axle rating of 5,200 lbs when the correct axle rating is 5,000 lbs.

Dealers will replace the Federal Placards, free of charge. Dealers were notified on August 26, 2022. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-642-8943. Forest River’s number for this recall is 10-1549.

Terra Haute KOA, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022-2023 Forest River Inc. Impression Fifth Wheel recreational vehicles. These vehicles were manufactured without a secondary emergency exit.

Dealers will inspect and install an egress window, as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 12, 2022. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-4995. Forest River’s number for this recall is 83-1554.

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Forest River

Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is recalling certain 2022-2023 Coachmen Freelander, Leprechaun, and 2023 Coachmen Prism motorhomes. The auxiliary LPG quick disconnect may be improperly tightened, causing a gas leak.

Dealers will inspect the quick disconnect, and tighten it if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 26, 2022. Owners may contact Forest River customer service at 1-574-825-8602. Forest River’s number for this recall is 210-1556.

Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Entegra Qwest, Jayco Melbourne, and Melbourne Prestige motorhomes. The shim on the torsion bar was incorrectly installed between the nut and the torsion bar, rather than between the ball stud and the torsion bar.

Dealers will replace the torsion bar linkage and correct the position of the shim, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 3, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is MB 22V-131.

Spartanburg Northeast-Gaffney KOA, Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2021-2023 Entegra Anthem, Aspire, Cornerstone, Reatta, Reatta XL, and Jayco Embark motorhomes. The engine air intake box may not have a water drain installed, which can cause water to build up inside the air intake box.

Dealers will inspect and install a drain if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 3, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9903580.

Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jayco

Jayco, Inc. (Jayco) is recalling certain 2022-2023 White Hawk travel trailers. The refrigerator LP gas line may have been improperly routed and concealed in the underbelly of the trailer.

Dealers will reroute the refrigerator LP gas line, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 30, 2022. Owners may contact Jayco customer service at 1-800-283-8267. Jayco’s number for this recall is 9901579.

Seawind RV Resort, Riviera Beach, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2022-2023 Winnebago View, Era, and Itasca Navion motorhomes. The retractable awning may extend unintentionally during transit.

The remedy is currently under development. Owners’ notification letters are expected to be mailed on November 11, 2022. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885.

Meaher State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winnebago

Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago) is recalling certain 2019-2023 Winnebago Travato motorhomes. The retractable awning may extend unintentionally during transit.

The remedy is currently under development. Owners’ notification letters are expected to be mailed on November 11, 2022. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-641-585-6939 or 1-800-537-1885.

Sundance 1 RV Resort, Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

DRV

DRV Suites (DRV) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Mobile Suites’ fifth wheels. The tail, stop, and turn lights may have been incorrectly placed, with the top portion of the lights above 72 inches high. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Dealers will inspect the light heights, and install additional lights as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed October 26, 2022. Owners may contact DRV customer service at 1-260-562-3500.

Peace Arch RV Park, Surrey, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wayfarer

Wayfarer (Wayfarer) is recalling certain 2017-2020 Tiffin Wayfarer motorhomes. During the recall repair for recall number 21V-514, the wheel lug nuts may not have been properly tightened, which can cause the wheels to come loose.

Dealers will check the lugs, and tighten them to specification, if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 28, 2022. Owners may contact Wayfarer customer service at 1-256-356-8661. Wayfarer’s number for this recall is WAY-104.

Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadtrek

Roadtrek Inc. (Roadtrek) is recalling certain 2022 Zion, Zion SRT, Chase, and Zion Slumber motorhomes. The front seat mounting bolts may be improperly tightened. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 207, “Seating Systems.”

Dealers will inspect the bolts, and tighten them if necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on September 6, 2022. Owners may contact Roadtrek customer service at 1-888-762-3873. Roadtrek’s number for this recall is 2022-05.

Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

REV

REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Fleetwood Jamboree, 2020-2023 Fleetwood Southwind, Bounder, Flair, Fortis, Holiday Rambler Admiral, Invicta, Vacationer, 2021-2023 Fleetwood Discovery, Discovery LXE, Holiday Rambler Navigator, Armada, Nautica, 2023 Fleetwood Flex, Holiday Rambler Eclipse, 2021 Fleetwood Pace Arrow LXE, 2018 Holiday Rambler Vesta, 2022-2023 Fleetwood Frontier, 2021-2022 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, Holiday Rambler Endeavor, and 2019 Holiday Rambler Augusta motorhomes. The hydraulic lines may have been improperly routed, secured, or protected, which can result in a hydraulic fluid leak.

Dealers will inspect the hydraulic hoses for chafing or heat damage, and install hose protection, or replace them as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 28, 2022. Owners may contact REV customer service at 1-800-509-3417.

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keystone

Keystone RV Company (Keystone) is recalling certain 2023 Dutchmen Aspen Trail, Coleman, and Kodiak travel trailers. The switch for the electric stabilizer jacks may not be waterproof from the back side of the switch, which can result in an electrical short.

Dealers will replace the jack switch, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on October 25, 2022. Owners may contact Keystone customer service at 1-866-425-4369. Keystone’s number for this recall is 22-435.

Please Note: This is the 44th in a series of posts relating to RV Manufacturers Recalls

Worth Pondering…

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.

—Martin Van Buren

Why and How to Use Dawn Dish Soap in RV Black Tanks?

The benefits of using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks as well as proper tank cleaning procedures and some other cleaners to consider

Keeping up with RV maintenance and cleaning is just part of RV life! One aspect that is necessary but not very glamorous is emptying and cleaning the black and grey water tanks. This can seem like a complex problem but many products and solutions can help make this a lot easier.

Sewer hose connected to dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One common remedy involves the use of Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks. It is a detergent and grease cutter that will not harm your tanks and is eco-friendly and biodegradable. It is not corrosive and will not damage your plumbing. It has no phosphates so is a green product that is considered environmentally friendly.

Whether it’s a store-bought cleaner or a homemade recipe, there are numerous ways to clean your black tanks and keep them functional. Below, I’ll explore some of the uses and benefits of Dawn dish soap as well as proper cleaning tank procedures, and some other effective cleaners to consider.

Sewer hose connected to dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why use Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks?

Dawn dish soap is one of the most popular household cleaners and its uses are nearly limitless. Obviously, it can be used to clean dishes (it’s right in the name) but this soap can also be used as a pest remover, drain cleaner, stain remover, or just as an easy way to make a bubble mixture for kids.

It’s important to properly clean your RV water tanks so you’ll want to make sure that Dawn is a good choice before you start using it. Many people have incorporated it into their maintenance routines and some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Eco-friendly: One of the best parts about using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks is that it’s an environment-friendly soap. It doesn’t contain phosphates and can be broken down by bacteria. This means that it’s a safe and biodegradable soap to use even if you’re cleaning/dumping your tank in a strict or natural environment.
  • Cheap: Another great bonus is that Dawn dish soap is quite affordable! If you use high-end cleaners that are specifically engineered for tank cleaning, that price can add up fast. On the other hand, Dawn is cheap and it won’t make a dent in your wallet. In addition, you only need to use ¼ to ⅓ cups of Dawn dish soap at a time so the average large bottle will last you for multiple months.
  • Non-corrosive: Dawn is also a gentle and non-corrosive soap. It’s effective at breaking down grease, eliminating odors, and softening blockages but it won’t eat into the material of your tank. Other effective cleaners exist (such as bleach) but they can be harmful to your tank and the surrounding pieces. You can use Dawn with peace of mind and won’t have to worry about the long-term effects it will have on the integrity of your plumbing system.
  • Easy to buy in bulk: Finally, Dawn is widely available in stores and online and easy to buy in large quantities. If you clean out your tank regularly you may just want to get a large container and work your way through it. If this is the case, Dawn is a fantastic option. You can find it at pretty much any grocery store and might even be able to find it in gas stations or small mini-marts along your journey. Loading up in large quantities is easy and affordable.
Approved dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to clean an RV black tank

Now we know that you can use Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks but that knowledge won’t do you any good unless you follow proper tank-cleaning procedures. It’s important to do a deep clean of your tanks at least twice a year but you’ll probably want to do it even more frequently than that if you live in the RV full-time.

Your black and grey water tanks should be dumped frequently so that odors and blockages don’t become a problem. Generally, the rule of thumb is that it’s time to empty them once they are about 2/3 full.

RV connections for dumping and flushing tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many of us just don’t like to think about it until we have to but cleaning out RV tanks is quite simple. Here’s what you need to do:

Use disposable plastic gloves to wear when performing the deed. You’ll eliminate any chance of spreading bacteria if you toss the gloves before going into your RV.

Drain the tanks by connecting the sewer hose and emptying the contents into an approved dumping site. Drain the black tank first. Always! Once drained, close the black tank valve. Then open the gray water valve to empty it. The reason for this is to clean the hose attached to your wastewater tanks. The residue will go into the septic system at the campground.

Clean out buildup by using a tank rinser, flush valve, or macerator. This will help prevent blockages in the future. When finished, close both black and gray waste tank valves.

Add 4-5 quarts of fresh water to the tanks to provide a good base for future use. The system needs a certain amount of water to operate so never leave it completely dry. Finally add ¼ to ⅓ cup of Dawn dish soap to your tanks and you’re ready to go.

Approved dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other cleaners for RV black tanks

Using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks is certainly an effective method but it’s not your only choice. There are numerous other tank treatments that have been used over the years and some of them might work better for you depending on your preference and the availability of certain products in your area.

While you can always use store-bought water treatments there are a number of homemade tank cleaners you can try as well. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Citric acid: This is a mild, naturally occurring acid that can break down build-ups and improve the smell of your holding tanks. It can be combined with Borax, water, and baking soda to strengthen its cleaning ability.
  • Fabric softener: Fabric softener is another good way to break down buildups in your tank and improve the smell. This is a mild and pleasant cleaner that has proven to be effective.
  • Yeast: Believe it or not, kitchen yeast is a good RV tank cleaner too. Yeast is an active culture that feeds off the bacteria and waste in a tank. It might take a few days to become effective so some people combine it with hydrogen peroxide to make it stronger.
  • Water and more water: Surprisingly enough, some people get by just fine without using any kind of special add-in. As long as you use plenty of water to flush out your tanks, you may not need to add a chemical cleaner. However, if you’re having problems with blockages and smells, one of the previous options can be helpful.

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Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts