My 2 1/2 Year Old Wakes Up Too Early RV Living: Winter Camping in Winter Weather

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RV Living: Winter Camping in Winter Weather

When you think of RV living in the winter…don’t you picture snowbirds traveling south in the winter to RV living in the mild weather?

Well, it’s not us – we do things a little differently than the norm – just ask our family!

Our choice of full-time RV living has found us on the banks of the Missouri River, where we currently work as hosts at a private camp and are gearing up for our third year of winter camping in Missouri, where the weather can be mild one day and brutal to the next. .

A lot of people think we’re crazy…crazy for this full-time RV lifestyle, but even crazier for wintering in Missouri when we could be in Arizona or Florida or Texas where the winters are warm and sunny.

Well, we are used to raising eyebrows!

We had those same destinations in mind until the campground owner hired us for year-round work and we fell in love with the beautiful setting along the Missouri River.

We decided that winter camping in the cold and snow would be a new experience to add to our full-time RV adventures.

Maybe it was the challenge of figuring out how to comfortably survive VR living in the winter that drew us in, or maybe the Universe was telling us it was time to change our perception of winter.

(We’re big on complaining about the snow and the cold).

Actually, it was both!

Little did we realize that our first VR experience living in winter would happen during the BLIZZARD of 2011!

Little did we realize how much our perspective would be tried and tested when the winter snow total set a new record for our area… 43 inches to be exact!

Our preparations for RV living in the winter were valuable survival lessons. Our only winter preparations before this one were to have the snow shovel handy and the ice melted on the front door.

We spent hours googling advice from other RVers. It took a bit of digging to find the right information, as most of the advice for winterizing an RV focused on preparing the RV for winter storage, not RV living IN the winter.

We made countless trips to Lowes, Westlakes, and Bass Pro for help with our winter living RV project. (again, raised eyebrows from the employees who tried to help us!)

The most valuable resource of all was found at a local mobile home supplier. It was there that the answers to all our questions were answered by knowledgeable people who knew how and what and where and why to protect our RV for winter living. Their solutions were practical and simple…they were incredibly excited to help the crazy couple who have this notion of RV living in the winter.

For starters, all the pipes, inside and out, that I could get to were wrapped in foam pipe insulation. Empty spaces around pipes and holding tanks were filled with insulation. The interior ceiling vents were covered with plastic to help keep out the cold air. Easy to do: Tasks familiar to any owner…and especially essential for RVers who live in areas where cold and snow and ice assault you for months at a time.

I read several suggestions to cover the windows as well to keep out the cold, but I couldn’t block my view, especially since I can look out the window and see the river; it’s my saving grace as I crouch inside. as the snow flies and the temperatures plummet.

This kind of vision is what makes life in VR worthwhile.

We quickly realized that for RVs living in the winter, it was necessary to protect our water supply and sewer hose from freezing temperatures. With the help of the mobile home store staff, we fashioned a water hose from a small plastic pipe fitted with connections to the camp water pump and our RV. This pipe was wrapped in electrical thermal tape, which was then wrapped in foam pipe insulation.

Our flexible drain hose has been inserted into a larger PVC pipe for added insulation. It took some tinkering to find the right elbows for the pipe, but we did it! The outside hoses were now protected and we had a protected water supply for our first RV living experience with winter camping.

These fixes worked very well to protect our water supply and sewer hose; but, when we unhooked everything for a road trip, we soon realized how “EXACT” our parking lot had to be when we got home. It took several attempts to back off, get a little closer, back off, pull a little more to the right, no, tilt it more to the left…over and over again until the tubes lined up just right to reconnect.

Normally, it’s not a big deal to do, but it was bitterly cold that day. Just another part of the process of learning the art of winter living.

As we began our second season of RV living in the Missouri winter, we looked for other solutions that would help us easily and quickly hook up our hoses. We had to find more flexibility.

Google search is back in action as we research more ways to survive the winter. The following winter, our water hose was wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil, followed by heat tape, followed by foam pipe wrap. We also bought a super heavy duty drain hose that is able to withstand the cold temperatures. Now we had flexibility! No more stiff pipes to reconnect when we get back to camp.

One of the most treasured discoveries in preparing for winter RV living has been the electric heater. These heaters work well as a supplemental heat source in small spaces and stay warm without using a lot of electricity. Because natural convection distributes the heat, there’s no fan to make noise, so they’re incredibly quiet. We didn’t have to run the furnace constantly, we never had to worry about running out of propane in the middle of the night and waking up to a cold RV.

With all those fixes in place, the only major problem we encountered in surviving RV living in the winter was the condensation that built up under our mattress where the cold outside air meets the warm bodies. (Our bed is on top of the truck cab)

The solution?

It creates an air space between the mattress and the floor of the bed. I headed to Lowes with measurements in hand and asked for help figuring out my crazy idea. Fortunately, I was helped by someone who knew exactly what we needed…

boards to use as slats and 1/2 inch foam board to place on top of the slats and under the foam mattress.

Now the air can circulate… and the best part is that the foam board provides additional protection from the cold floor of the bed.

I AM a happy camper… RV living in the winter is a piece of cake!

Two years ago, we were stocking up on food, movies and water because the forecast called for a blizzard! We were looking forward to many new adventures with RV life and winter camping, but a blizzard was something we had never experienced! Nineteen inches of snow fell while we were safely huddled in our RV.

The next day, we were like little children. We couldn’t wait to get out and jog in the deep, deep snow that was several feet deep.

If we decided to take off that winter and settle into an RV living in sunny Florida, we’d miss out on the magical views of snow-covered fields glistening like fairy dust in the light of a full moon, surrounded by stillness.

If we headed south for the winter, sure, we could play on the warm sandy beaches, but we’d miss out on sinking up to our thighs in snow, like we did when we were three years old and ten feet tall!

I would miss that magical January morning when I headed down to the river, wrapped in my sub-zero sleeping bag, camera and coffee in hand…and watched the glorious dance of seagulls swirling with grace and majesty.

Living in full-time VR is our life and our dream.

Give us freedom. It also gives us opportunities to make the most of any situation.

What’s that saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?

Well, to live in an RV during the winter, when life throws you 19 inches of snow, you can be a kid again.

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