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.
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.
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?
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
You’ll have easy access and can keep an eye on your rig. Plus, it’s free.
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
Parking your RV indoors is the best protection from winter temperatures and precipitation. Indoor self-storage also offers good security.
This is the priciest option. Also, you may have limited locations near you and it may not be convenient to check on your rig.
Storing your RV at an outdoor storage facility
You may find extra layers of security. Also, some outdoor facilities have covered parking which keeps snow and ice from accumulating on your roof.
Outdoor storage offers little to no protection from the elements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t know about you, but I really do not like mice. I guess the mice in the cartoons are okay, but all other mice are not welcome anywhere near me.
Mice can wreak havoc on your RV and nobody likes to have little pests living in their walls or cabinets. They can also chew through your electrical wiring and leave droppings all over the vehicle.
Imagine relaxing in your RV for a good night’s rest after a long day of outdoor adventures and hearing a bump somewhere in the RV, a scratching against a wall, or a tiny squeak. You don’t know where it came from or what it is, so you check it out. You get out of bed, turn on your flashlight and you see it: a pair of beady, little rodent eyes reflecting back at you. You scream, and it scurries away.
There are other ways to tell if mice are in your RV and some ways are more obvious than others. However, as we all know, mice are elusive and very shy rodents. Many of them manage to go unseen and so we are often left to depend on other ways to detect their presence. The best way to detect them without physically seeing them is to look for proof of mouse activity and there are several ways to do that.
Mouse droppings go wherever mice go. So, if you have mice in your RV, you will also have mouse droppings. While mice do a pretty good job of hiding themselves from us, they aren’t as careful with their poop. Their droppings are typically about a quarter-inch in length. You can tell if they are fresh by the color: newer droppings are darker and shinier while older droppings look dusty and dry. Mice also tend to leave their droppings in larger concentrations in areas closer to their nest.
If you have mice, you probably have a mouse nest, too. Mice build their nests with whatever small, lightweight materials that they can get their little hands on. They typically shred and gnaw on paper, fabrics, insulation, electric wires, small plastics, other household materials, and really just about anything that a mouse can use to make their nest. Look around the inside of your RV for evidence of shredded or gnawed on materials. Also, be sure to check your pantry, cabinets, closets, and drawers for any proof.
In case you’re wondering, mice like to multiply once they find a nice place to stay and they do it pretty fast. One day, you’ll have just one mouse, and the next week, you’ll have a dozen.
Don’t let this be your reality. Here is some important information to know about keeping the mice out of your adventures.
Mice can be kept out of an RV by using preventative measures such as sealing any holes under your RV, in your door/window frame, and keeping a clean space. Other methods help with mice removals, such as spring-trap mousetraps, mouse bait block, box traps, mint essential oil, and glue traps.
What attracts mice to your RV
Most often, mice are drawn to warm places because the outdoors is cold and damp. That warm air drifting out of the RV is a big invitation to the mice to come and join the party. That is the last thing that I want!
These mice are not the cute, friendly ones you see in the cartoons; they will invade, multiply, and destroy your space.
Mice also are attracted by food whether that means crumbs, leftover scents, or even things that smell like food but are inedible. Think of the mouse in 2007 computer-animated comedy film, Ratatouille; he lifted his nose up into the air to sniff out the scent, smelled some food that was a block away, and then chased it down.
They might not have the same culinary skills as the mouse in the movie, but mice do have the same senses. They will smell that food you left out the night before, the crumbs left on the table, or the food that hasn’t been stored away properly. And they will come for it if they’re desperate enough and chances are they are always desperate enough.
Any small hole in an RV can be a possible entrance for mice. Common entry point areas are the underbelly, the shore power cord compartment, sewer hose, and openings above the wheels. Keep in mind that mice don’t require much room to wiggle through. A quarter-inch diameter hole is large enough for them to squeeze through.
Once the mice have snuck their way through an opening to the inside of your RV or a heated basement storage area, the one thing that offers them a nice stay is any form of loose materials laying around. As soon as they have their nest and have found good sources of food and warmth in your RV, they’re all set and ready to stay.
Inspect your RV for any entryways for mice
One of the greatest skills of an average mouse is being able to fit through tight spaces. They might not be able to fit through every tiny crack you might have in your RV but they will chew through most anything they can’t fit their bodies into.
The reason why this is so important to know is that those holes and cracks in your RV let out streams of warmth or scents of food. This is all a mouse needs to be interested enough in the space to check it out.
Don’t think you have any cracks or holes in your RV? Have you checked underneath your RV? The easiest ways for mice to get into your RV are typically through any sort of gaps around the sewage, electrical, and water lines at the entry points of your RV. Take a very close look at the underside of the RV, and make sure you don’t have any of these gaps.
If you do have a few gaps, have no fear, spray foam is here! You can use the foam that will harden itself to fill the gaps and keep the pesky mice out. You can also use steel wool to stuff inside other holes because it tends to be too difficult for the mice to chew through.
Now that you have inspected the RV from the outside for any cracks and holes that could be serving as secret entryways for mice, you need to inspect the inside as well.
Inspect the RV interior for signs of mice or possible attractions
Are there crumbs lying around on the counter or floor? Is there food sitting out that should have been put away? Are there loose papers randomly scattered throughout? Is there a bunch of dirty socks or dirty laundry lying on the floor instead of being stored somewhere?
Don’t be embarrassed if this is what the inside of your RV looks like. This isn’t a clean-check or cleanliness contest. I’m just asking because these are all things that could be attracting the mice or serve as great nesting materials for the mice.
Believe it or not, a clean RV is boring and unattractive to mice and they’re more likely to leave it alone because there’s nothing left for them to snack on or nest in. Sounds like something a mom would tell a messy little kid to convince them to clean up their room, right? Except, in this case, it’s true!
If you have any open food on counters or tables you should place the food in storage containers to keep the scents out of your RV and away from those little mousy noses.
You can also ensure that mice won’t be making a nest out of your favorite shirts and socks by using scented detergent and freshening spray. Mice can’t handle strong perfume scents and tend to stay away from them. This also comes in handy because you can use the scented dryer sheets to put into some of the questionable holes inside your RV.
I’m also not a big fan of using mouse poison or any of those other chemicals.
Like I already said, mice aren’t big fans of fresh scents. Mice have good senses of smell and there are some scents that they tend to avoid. You can try spraying or placing these scents around your RV (especially around entrances). Some deterrents to try include:
Tea bags (peppermint is best)
Soak cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them in the mice-infested area. Be sure to refresh often. And you could try using a mint-scented cleaner for your RV or just drop a bit of mint essential oil into your cleaner and not only will it keep your RV smelling fresh, but it will help to keep the mice away.
These may have varying degrees of success, especially if they sit for a long time and begin to lose potency.
And then, of course, there are cats, but I don’t think we need to get into that at this time.
Any of these natural solutions may work as mouse repellent and should help to keep the mice away or scare them away if they are already inside your RV.
So you read through my list of natural solutions for evicting or repelling mice, and you’re not a firm believer in the all-natural? It’s okay. I’m not offended. I understand, and I’ll even give you some other ways how to kill off those pesky mice.
There are a wide variety of natural scents and products that are at the very least rumored to get rid of mice (see above). However, once you have a bona fide mouse problem underway, these might not be strong enough to deal with the problem quickly and effectively.
That said, it’s never a bad idea to add some peppermint oil or mothballs to your cabinet to help prevent future visits from more mousey friends. But in the meantime, you may need to amp up your game and turn to actual mousetraps to get the job done. There are a variety of different types of mousetraps available on the market.
Box traps work by luring the mouse in with bait and then trapping the mouse inside the box with no way to exit. Once the mouse goes into the box, it closes and traps the mouse inside. This is probably one of the easier ways to kill off your mice because you don’t have to go searching for them once they die because they cannot escape. In theory, you could collect box traps with still-living mice inside them and release them outdoors (but, why would you?) though most people usually simply dispose of the boxes once they’re full.
Glue traps are simple but effective: you place these sticky sheets in areas where mice are likely to travel and when the mouse steps on the trap, its feet get stuck and it can’t move. Glue traps are affordable, easy to use, and small enough to fit in areas that may not be usable with larger traps, such as below your windows along the kitchen counter.
Old-fashioned spring traps are the type you remember from Saturday morning cartoons and they work just as advertised. These are probably self-explanatory but basically, you put some sort of bait like cheese or peanut butter on the tip, the mouse creeps up, and…SNAP! Pretty basic, and you need to watch your fingers when setting it, but they get the job done. They can be a really effective way to kill off the mice you have which, combined with targeted cleaning efforts, can lead to a pest-free area.
Finally, you can try using an ultrasonic sound device as part of your efforts into how to mouse-proof an RV. These are small electronic devices that emit an ultrasonic pitch that humans can’t hear. Mice have sensitive ears and will want to avoid anything that is loud or distressing.
The downside of this tactic is that dogs and other pets may be affected by it as well and may become distressed and irritated by the noise. If you don’t have pets though, this can be a good method to try.
So far this winter I’ve bagged three mice with glue traps.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to figure out what to do with your RV this winter
Summertime is a great time for being outdoors with clear, sunny skies and warm temps that provide fun RV outings. Trips to the lake, the Grand Canyon, and state parks resonate heavily with RVers during this season.
Now that the days of summer sunny skies and warm temps have been replaced with fallen leaves and falling temps, you might be wondering what that means for the open-road trips in your RV.
Winter is here and may put a damper on outdoor fun. But don’t pack away the sunscreen just yet! Winter months don’t automatically mean the fun under the sun has to end.
Many people believe there is really only one option when it comes to RVs and wintertime, but that isn’t actually the case. Yes, the most common option of storing the rig is one choice, and it’s the right choice for many. That said, there are a few other options to consider and there might be a better one for you.
Below I’ve outlined four ways RV owners handle their rigs in the winter months, as well as some tips for each option. Each choice has its pros and cons and in this article, I’ll help you sort out the issues and answer the question: Winter is here; now what?
Store Your RV
As mentioned above, the first and most obvious option is to store your RV for winter. This is a great option if you’re happy with your current RV set up, plan to RV next summer, and/or have access to a place to store the rig. That said, there is some work involved, and for some, storing for the winter can be a relatively large financial investment.
To store your RV for the winter, you will need to winterize the unit. This involves draining the water out of the holding tanks and draining and flushing the water heater and then bypassing it before introducing RV antifreeze, which are a few requirements to winterize your RV.
Investing the time and work into prepping your RV will offset challenges caused by cold temps. If you are unsure of how to winterize, a local RV dealership likely offers a winterization service.
Storage options include storing on your land, a friend’s land, or paying for an indoor or outdoor storage spot. There are pros and cons to each and all should be considered.
If storing outdoors, using an RV cover is recommended. Some even choose to build an RV shelter.
It’s always best to store your rig as close to home as possible. Unexpected circumstances can always arrive. That’s why it’s a good practice to regularly check up on your RV throughout the winter. It’s best to check on your RV on a weekly basis but if you can’t manage check-ups that frequently, a once-a-month check-in is an absolute must!
Take Your RV South
The next option is to take your rig south to keep on camping and avoid the cold weather altogether. Obviously, this is a great option if you are retired or able to work remotely. That said, if you are in a position to head south for the winter, it can be an awesome option, especially if you aren’t a fan of cold weather.
Some RV owners live in their RV year-round discovering America, one destination at a time.
While most think of Florida as the ultimate snowbird location, numerous other warm, sunny destinations await this winter season. Keep that summer fun alive during the colder months by traveling to the U.S. Sunbelt.
Consider spending a winter month in sunny Arizona and taking in the warm desert scene. With the sun shining 360 days a year, Yuma is known to be the sunniest place on Earth, averaging more than 4,000 hours of sun per year (out of 4,456 possible).
One of the most popular snowbird destinations is Quartzsite. Not far from the Colorado River, this dusty Arizona outpost expands to hundreds of thousands as RV folks arrive every winter for the largest rock hound exposition in the United States and free camping.
You don’t have to be lucky to find great RV parks during snowbird season in Nevada. While Las Vegas attracts legions of travelers every winter, the surrounding region deserves just as much attention. Pick a spot in Laughlin, Pahrump, or Boulder and ride out the winter in style.
RV snowbirds who visit New Mexico can marvel at historic pueblos and centuries-old buildings that date back to the Spanish Colonial era. After visiting the cities, explore spectacular landscapes at places like White Sands National Park.
During the winter, the seasonal warmth visitors enjoy from both the sun and the southern hospitality makes Texas the place to be when looking to escape the cold. With the Texas winter temperatures averaging in the mid-70s, visitors enjoy the sandy beaches of South Padre Island which is also the longest stretch of an undeveloped barrier island in the world.
Of course, when thinking of Texas, one can’t forget The Alamo. The 300-year-old Spanish Mission is located in San Antonio where the Battle of San Jacinto took place on April 21, 1836. Visitors also enjoy the miles of dining, shopping, and museums along San Antonio’s well-known Riverwalk.
RV snowbirds will feel welcome in ‘Bama. Cheer a classic college football game or take a stroll on sugar sands on the Gulf of Mexico. The cities of Mobile and Montgomery will show you new aspects of Southern cuisine and culture.
From Waveland to Pascagoula, the Mississippi Gulf Coast offers up winter fun for snowbirds. Enjoy the sunshine, surf, and turf at Bay St. Louis, where charming Old Town is filled with upscale restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. Pass Christian’s quiet beaches will entice you to stay for a while.
Spicy gumbo and sizzling jambalaya aren’t the only things keeping RV snowbirds warm during winters in the Pelican State. Take a spin through festive towns like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, then venture in the bayous and lakes for sightseeing, angling, and hunting.
Plenty of RV resorts, ranging from southern Cali to Florida, offer a variety of activities, attractions, and beautiful scenery spaced throughout the southern border.
For the non-snowbirds, plenty of colder-weather locales beckon. Take in a tender Tennessee Christmas, a snow-filled Vermont vacation, or spend some time in the Pacific Northwest.
These trips will be just as much fun as the sunny-sky trips, but your RV will require a bit more work for these destinations prior to arrival. Prepping your rig for colder temps is an important process to prevent damage. One of the best things you can invest in for winter camping adventures is a heated RV water hose. A heated RV water hose will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. Some brands are rated to keep water flowing at minus 40 degrees.
Embrace the Winter Weather and Go RVing
Cold weather doesn’t mean you can’t use your RV, it just means you’ll have to be more prepared than you’d usually be. If you love camping and don’t want to stop for the winter, then don’t! Instead, make the proper preparations and get out there and enjoy the RV life.
Depending on how cold your area gets, you may need to winterize the water system and camp without running water for the coldest months.
Make sure you always have full propane tanks when you head out.
Moisture absorbers such as DampRid will help reduce damaging condensation. Applications for RVs include disposable absorbers (10.5-ounce tub), refillable absorbers (10.5-ounce tub), hi-capacity absorbers (4-pound tub), and hanging absorbers (14-ounce hanging bag).
DampRid’s crystals absorb excess moisture in the air to create and maintain the optimal humidity level in your RV.
Sell Your RV
There may never have been a hotter time to sell an RV, as so many people are still looking to buy. One option is to sell while there is a large market and buy a newer model in the spring.
There are plenty of buyers looking for used RVs.
Before you sell your RV, you can prepare your RV to ensure you get top dollar for the sale.
A bucket of household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease can transform your RV’s appearance from “worn down” to “like-new” in less than a day’s time. A coach that sparkles and shines both inside and out can have a significant positive impact on its trade-in or resale value.
Ensure all important documents and paperwork is available, including the deed, transferable warranty, mileage and year, service and maintenance records, purchase receipts (tires, wiper blades, batteries, aftermarket items), documented changes that you’ve made to the RV over time, and any other documents you’ve accrued during the ownership of the RV.
Other key documents include your RV owner’s manual; paperwork or instruction booklets associated with appliances, electronics, and aftermarket items; and current registration.
Selling your RV might feel like the end of something, but it is also the beginning of your search for a new RV!
Now that you know your options for dealing with upcoming winter weather, you can begin making spring travel plans!
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.