How to Keep Mice Out of your RV

Avoid a mouse problem in the first place! Here’s how to keep mice out of your RV for good.

Mice may be small and cute but they can cause big damage and an ugly mess.

I have heard horror stories through the years of how mice chewed through wires, insulation, and walls. Not to mention the nests they build that can clog vents and wreak havoc on your appliances and engine. And NOW I have my own direct experience with this—more on that in a moment.

Even a dead mouse can cause a stink-up! Anyone who has returned to their RV after storing it for winter months only to be confronted with a terrible smell knows what I’m talking about.

So, whether you have a rodent problem or want to avoid one in the first place, here are some tried and true tips to keep them away from your RV.

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Preventative measures to keep mice out of your RV

The best way to prevent a mouse infestation is to keep them from getting into your RV at all. That means blocking off any potential entry points a mouse might use to infiltrate your rig.

There are several methods to do this. Chances are you’ll need to use more than one depending on the type of holes and entry points you’re dealing with.

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1. Know how mice get in

You’ll see in the next section that the first step to preventing mice from getting into your RV is to search for entry points. But that means you need to know what to look for!

When searching, remember that mice have collapsible rib cages. Why is that important? Because that means if their head can fit into a hole, so can the rest of their body. A good rule of thumb: if a pencil can fit, a mouse can fit.

When looking for potential entry points, you have to look for even the smallest holes and cracks that a flexible mouse can take advantage of.

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2. Scour the exterior of your RV for possible entry points

Now that you know what to look for, the first step is to scour the exterior of your RV for any small cracks or small openings.

Use a flashlight and brightly colored tape to help you find and mark every possible entry point. Then you can determine what materials you need to cover or fill the openings.

Since mice most often enter your RV from the ground, you’ll need to crawl under your RV to search there as well. Or employ someone else to do the job—even if that someone is a grandkid. (By the way, I say most often because I’ve heard of mice dropping down from tree branches to RVs).

If using jacks or jack stands to search under your RV follow every safety measure and use backup safety measures so the RV can’t crush you! Unlike mice, you don’t have a collapsible rib cage!

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3. Seal all holes and cracks

The easiest way to seal off openings is to use spray foam, RV sealant caulk, or steel wool—or a combination of the three. You simply fill or cover the small holes with these materials to make sure mice can’t get in.

It’s a good idea to carry a rag with you and wear gloves since these materials can get messy (or scratchy in the case of steel wool). The last thing you want to do is make a mess of yourself and your RV when you’re trying to improve it.

Note that steel wool is a good choice if you want to remove it easily later on. For instance, you might want to use it while your RV is in storage and then remove it before your next camping trip. Just be sure to mark these areas with brightly colored tape so you remember to remove the steel wool.

As a bonus, ultra-fine steel wool is also great for cleaning, polishing, and buffing. You can use it to clean your RV’s windshield and much more.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Use mouse deterrents

Another effective way to keep mice away from your RV is to make it unattractive to them. You might wonder what in the world can deter creatures that revel in garbage but there are quite a few options.

Granted, there is debate on how effective some of these are but there’s not always a perfect tried and true method. Individual mice have their preferences (and detractions), I suppose. But the following are supposed to help deter the majority of these little critters.

Here are some mouse repellents and deterrents some people swear by:

  • Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil
  • Peppermint oil spray (apparently, mice don’t like peppermint!)
  • Dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets)
  • Mothballs
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent

There’s a long-standing old wives tale that bars of Irish Spring soap will deter mice but it seems that myth has been busted. From my experience, they actually relish gnawing away at the green stuff.

Note that any deterrent that uses strong smells or essential oils will lose effectiveness over time. You’ll need to replace these fragranced repellents regularly.

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5. Burn all bridges

Mice can jump quite high (13 inches) but they prefer to climb. So, you need to make sure there aren’t any bridges that give easy access from the ground to your RV. This includes any tubes hanging down and your tires.

While you can keep any tubes from hanging down, what in the world are you supposed to do about your tires?!

In short, you wrap sheet metal around your tires. Mice can’t climb up the slippery surface.

Our recent experience with mice…

Last winter we bagged three mice with glue traps only after a little critter disabled our toad by gnawing the fuel line. It was a costly repair that necessitated the need for a tow and rental car.

Also, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Mice Out of an RV.

Worth Pondering…

I have a very bad relationship with mice.

—Casey Affleck

RV Winterizing Tips: 11 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Winterizing your RV? Keep your rig protected all winter long by avoiding these common mistakes.

Along with the beautiful colors of fall comes the closure of a wonderful camping season and the need to prep your RV for storage. While it may not be a fun task, winterizing your rig is imperative to keeping it maintained and preventing damage from freezing temps.

There are a few ways to approach winterizing your RV: You can do it yourself, use a mobile RV maintenance company, or take your rig to a service center. This can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 depending on location and what services are included.

Whether this will be your first year prepping your RV for winter or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s useful to go over the most common mistakes. This way, you won’t be the one making them.

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Winterizing mistake #1: Not removing your house batteries

When preparing your RV for winter, don’t forget to pay attention to your house batteries. A dead battery consists mostly of water which can freeze and cause broken connections, bent plates, and shorten the battery’s lifespan. 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.

If you store them in a heated garage or basement be sure to put them up on something appropriate. Flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries CAN freeze when they aren’t being charged, so plan accordingly.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #2: Not draining and flushing all water lines

It’s important to always double- and triple-check that you haven’t forgotten any of your water lines including your ice maker and washing machine lines.

One common mistake in blowing out the lines is not dialing down the air pressure before starting—you don’t want to put more than 100 psi into your water system. Remember, it’s the volume of air, not the pressure that will push the remaining water out. Read your owner’s manual to verify what the maximum pressure can be before you start. Most city water lines are in the 40 to 50 psi range. Always pull your water filters off and install the filter bypass kits before flushing your lines. 

Check your owner’s manuals for specific instructions on winterizing your dishwasher, ice maker, and washing machine. These are all important to protect but will require a different procedure for each.

Winterizing your outdoor shower © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #3: Forgetting about your outdoor shower 

This can be one of those out-of-sight out-of-mind mistakes. Every time you’re hooked up to city water the outside shower is ready for use—even if you don’t use it.

A common mistake that many people make is to forget to winterize their outside shower. This is an important RV winterizing tip because the outside shower is easy to forget. However, if you fail to winterize your outside shower plastic fittings and valves will almost certainly crack and the pipes that route out to the outside shower could burst.

So, if you have your winterizing steps recorded somewhere, be sure to add a note saying, “Don’t forget the outside shower!” You’ll simply need to run the shower until the water turns pink (as with your sinks and your inside shower) or if you winterize by blowing out your plumbing lines with an air compressor, make sure to blow out your outside shower… both the cold and hot water lines!

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Winterizing mistake #4: Not closing low point drains 

After draining your low-point drains ensure they are completely closed before filling the water system with RV antifreeze. 

Winterizing mistake #5: Skipping important steps with your water heater  

Bypass and completely drain your water heater before adding antifreeze to the water system. If you have an electric water heater always turn off the switch or breaker before starting this task to prevent damage to the heating element. It’s important not to forget the drain plugs or anode rods if these are features that are a part of your unit. 

Not all RVs are equipped with a water heater bypass kit. Make sure your RV has one installed and you understand how to use it. Aftermarket kits can be purchased and installed if your RV does not have one.

Winterizing mistake #6 – Forgetting to winterize the sinks

Many RV owners forget to pour antifreeze down their kitchen and bathroom sinks which means any water remaining in the p-traps (the curved section of piping underneath the sinks) can freeze and cause problems.

Winterizing mistake #7: Waiting too long to purchase antifreeze and ‘trusting the weather’ 

Don’t let early winter storms or freezing temperatures catch you off guard. Buy your antifreeze early and be prepared if the temperature takes a sudden drop. 

Several factors play into how fast a problem can occur in freezing temperatures. It’s best to take precautions anytime the temps will get below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temps are dipping down to freezing and you haven’t been able to winterize—don’t panic, just run the heater on low that night. Yes, it will cost you money in propane but you will save your pipes and tanks.

Winterize your RV before the start of winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #8: Leaving items in your cabinets 

Open all of the cabinets and outside storage compartments to remove maintenance supplies, food items, soaps, toiletries, and anything else with liquid in it. It’s easy to forget about those items in the back of the cabinets and if you do you’ll come back to some sticky situations.

Winterizing mistake #9: Leaving fluids in your RV

Change your diesel fuel (summer blend) to winter diesel (winter blend) or get a winter additive before you store your RV. If forgotten, you could end up with gelled fuel. Also, change your windshield fluid to a winter blend to avoid a cracked reservoir or pump. 

Winterizing mistake #10: Mouse-proof your RV

This is part of the mouse patrol preparation but worth mentioning as a separate RV winterizing tip. Use steel, brass, or copper wool to fill any openings that could allow the little devils into your rig. This is important even if you use your RV in the winter.

Mice, squirrels, and other little critters are looking for warmth and food all winter long. If you’ve got either to offer you can bet they’ll find their way to your winter palace and then tell all their friends where the party is. Do everything possible to keep them out.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #11: Not embracing cold weather camping 

Some RVers re-winterize multiple times over the winter so they can enjoy winter camping. Make a quick checklist from your owner’s manual and keep it handy. It makes running through all the steps easier without worrying about skipping anything. If you don’t feel like winterizing your fresh lines multiple times you can go on camping trips using only your black tank and bringing water with you. 

You can camp in a winterized unit and just not use water. A Thetford Porta Potti is a great bathroom alternative in a winterized RV.

Whatever you do, don’t let winterization and freezing temps hinder your traveling experience.

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

7 Tips on Maintaining Your RV Tires during Storage

RV tires are vital to a safe, smooth trip, yet they are often the most overlooked parts of an RV

Traveling the country in your RV is an amazing experience but during the off-season, it’s crucial to make sure you’re keeping your investment properly stored.

Class A motorhome tires are one of the most important components of your RV which means you’ll want to ensure that they’re kept in storage the right way to keep them protected from damage.

Read on for a list of seven helpful tips you can use to maintain and store your tires so you’ll be ready to hit the road once again.

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1. Keep them clean

Proper care of your RV tires revolves around keeping them clean and dry so that the natural lubricants in the rubber compound that protect your tires won’t erode over time. Road oil and dirt will also suck the life out of your tires so it’s important to keep your tires clean. Oil will deteriorate the rubber and dirt will act as a sponge and hold any contaminants next to the tire. Use a soft brush and mild soap to clean your tires.

Once they are clean you can use a tire dressing to protect your tires from aging but be very careful. Many of these treatments do more harm than good. Never use a dressing that contains petroleum products, alcohol, or silicone because they will cause sidewall cracking and accelerate the aging process. If you find a good tire dressing that does not contain these products, yet offers a UV barrier, your tires will benefit from it. I use 303 Protectant.

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2. Cover your RV tires

Two other factors that dry out tire sidewalls are sunlight and ozone. Ozone eats rubber, so don’t park your RV in an area where welding is being done or near electrical generators or transformers as ozone is created by high electrical use. Sunlight contains harmful UV rays that dry out rubber so if you are going to be parking in a sunny area for a while it’s a good idea to cover your tires.

Look for a high-quality tire cover that’s UV-resistant since sunlight can quickly cause tires to wear down and potentially rot.

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3. Rotate your tires

If you’re in a smaller RV, you may need to rotate your tires occasionally. In larger RVs, on the other hand, rotating your tires is a very difficult process. Due to wheel configurations, Class A motorhomes require wheels to be remounted when taken off and that’s a task that should ideally be performed by a service center to ensure it’s done correctly. Additionally, Newmar coaches install different-sized tires on the front and rear axles, making it dangerous to rotate from front to back or vice versa. Should the tires on your Class A coach require rotating, your preferred service center will be sure to tell you.

When your RV weight is unevenly distributed, it causes the tire tread to wear down which can result in a flat or a dangerous blowout. Try to keep even weight distribution throughout your coach to reduce the wear on your tires.

You’ll want to know How to Survive an RV Tire Blowout.

Not the way to treat your motorhome tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Check the air pressure

Too much or too little air pressure can wreak havoc on your tires even while in storage. Check to make sure that your tires are properly inflated before you store the RV for the off-season. Some manufacturers recommend you inflate them 25 percent more than normal while in storage.

Use an inflation gauge to check the pressure and look for an angled dual-foot pressure gauge if you want to test multiple tires. Always inflate them according to your specific RV’s manufacturer instructions which can be found in your owner’s manual or on the certification tag. While your RV is in storage, check the PSI levels monthly and reflate each tire as needed for the best results.

I have more on checking air pressure:

Cover the tires! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Lighten your load

A Class A motorhome is designed to withstand thousands of pounds of weight while you travel. From camping equipment to cooking appliances, all of that heaviness rests on your tires.

Before you store your RV for the off-season lighten the load as much as you can. Remove anything that doesn’t need to be inside so that it reduces the total weight and relieves some of the pressure that your tires will have to bear. The lighter the load, the lower the chances are that you’ll end up with an unwanted flat.

6. Age is more than a number

You might wonder what the motorhome tire life expectancy is. While each brand and each specific RV tire may have a different lifespan, it’s best to replace any tires that are older than six years of age.

Even if you take immaculate care of your tires, the standard maximum tire age for most RVs is around six years. As they age, there could be hidden damage you can’t see with the naked eye. The last thing you need is to head out on your adventure and end up dealing with a flat on the side of the road.

Read: When to Replace RV Tires

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7. Perform regular inspections

When it’s time to put your RV in storage, you should thoroughly inspect your tires first. Take a close look at the tread and make sure that each tire is evenly worn. Replace any tires that show signs of dry rot, extreme wear, or bulges.

Check the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for your RV and make sure that your tire tread has reasonable depth according to this information. With regular check-ups, you’ll feel good about the health of your tires so you can hit the road in confidence.

Take good care of your tires

With a little bit of effort, your RV tires should be able to handle anything that comes their way. Always check for things like air pressure and tread health before you put everything away in storage.

Cover your tires to protect them from the elements and to prolong their lifespan. Cleaning and rotating your tires will also ensure that they serve you well for many road trips to come.

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

—Burma Shave sign

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.
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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. 
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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

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Mice Out of an RV

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Related: Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your RV

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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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Related: Raise Your RV IQ with These Tips

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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!

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preventative measures

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.

Related: How to Reduce Moisture and Condensation in Your RV

I’m also not a big fan of using mouse poison or any of those other chemicals.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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:

  • Mint
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Mothballs
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar
  • Dryer sheets
  • Tea bags (peppermint is best)
Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Related: Top 10 RV Travel Tips of All Time

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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Worth Pondering…

I have a very bad relationship with mice.

—Casey Affleck

Winter is Here: What to Do with Your RV?

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.

Wintering at Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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?

Some RV parks offer covered parking/storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Some RV parks offer covered parking/storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Some RV parks offer covered parking/storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Some RV parks offer covered parking/storage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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!

Wintering at Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Related: The Best States for Snowbird Camping

Winter in Florida (Myakka River State Park) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Wintering in Yuma © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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).

Winter in Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Wintering in Laughlin © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

White Sands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

South Padre Island Birding Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

The Alamo © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Mobile © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Bay St. Louis © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plenty of RV resorts, ranging from southern Cali to Florida, offer a variety of activities, attractions, and beautiful scenery spaced throughout the southern border.

Related: A Dozen Spectacular RV Parks for Winter Camping

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

RVing in a northern winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

RVing in a northern winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Related: Handling Cold Weather in Your RV

Using space heaters can save on propane.

RVing in a northern winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Now your RV sparkles © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Related: A Dozen Amazing Spots to Visit with your RV during Winter

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.

Now your RV sparkles © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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!

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