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Bucars says: You don’t want to winterize your RV…..Yet! A video mini-series
So why doesn’t Bucars RV want you to winterize quite yet? Because fall is the BEST time to go camping! The hiking is great with the cooler temperatures and beautiful changing leaves, the campgrounds are less populated – you can actually get a spot, the weather is still decent and the number one reason to go camping in the fall? There are no bugs to bug YOU when you’re trying to camp with your family. This truly is the best time to go camping! In this video mini-series, JC is going to teach you all the little things you can do before you go camping this time of year to make sure it’s the best experience possible.
Know before you go:
JC: Before you go to a destination, understand what their fall usage is like. That campground that you go to all summer that the kids love and all your friends go to – a lot of those close after the September long weekend but a lot do stay open. So before you just head out, make sure to research ahead, make sure they are open. The same goes for back country, there are some areas of back country that are closed down once September/October hits. Make sure to research before your road trip to make sure the area you are going to is open. Some other things to consider: if you have small children, going out West into the bush may not be the best time to go as that is sometimes hunting season. So understanding if it is hunting season or not, understanding if there are events going on and understanding whether or not the place is actually open becomes a little more important in the fall season. Know before you go.
JC: Obviously in the fall, weather is going to be a deciding factor on your fun weekend away. When you are looking at the weather forecast and it shows the lows are getting down to that -5, that’s still a great time to go camping especially here in Western Canada as we are going to warm up during the day and it’s going to be quite comfortable. Us RVers do spend most of our time outside of the RV, we just have to be comfortable at night. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast is something you’re going to pay more attention to in the fall. If you have a forecast snowstorm coming in, it’s probably not going to be away camping with the kids if they are locked inside the RV colouring all weekend. They’re going to be bored and you are going to want them outside. If you are going out west or you are wanting to go back country camping, watching the weather is going to be really important because if you pull off on the side to go camping and then get a foot of snow, you aren’t getting out. So keep an eye on the weather forecast. Don’t just watch the highs, you need to care about the lows because those lows are going to dictate whether you are running with your system or not. Always always look at the long term forecast because here in Canada, we love our forecasters but we know they are not even close to right a lot of the times. So definitely look at the long range because a lot of that weather can come sooner. Know what you are doing before you go.
JC: Heat. Really something you need to think about when you are camping in the fall. Now your RV, let’s be honest, you are not in a tent so going camping in the fall can be very comfortable. But, you need to understand the heat in your RV. A lot of RVs have what is called a heat strip or a heat pump built into the air conditioner. Those are really good for milder temperatures but for those to work in cooler temperatures, below that 10 degrees Celsius, they are not efficient and are not going to work well for you. That’s where you are going to need to rely on your propane heat. The propane is really efficient and works well, providing heat quickly. However it has some drawbacks, that you need to think about. Number one is the power consumption. If you go dry camping in the middle of nowhere and want propane heat for a full weekend of fall camping, your one battery isn’t going to get you through the weekend comfortably. You definitely want more than one battery to provide you with enough power to that fan motor so that you can have heat all weekend. Please keep in mind, the heat you are going to have in your RV does not need to be the Sahara Desert, we are not looking to have you dance around in your speedo while camping. Keep it a little bit cooler, you don’t need need to have it super warm like you do at your house – make sure you have a sweater. If you run it down, you’re going to notice that furnace isn’t kicking in as often. The power is one thing you need to think about, the other is the propane itself. A lot of RVers fill their propane once or twice a year and that is more than enough. But, if you are fall camping you are going to burn a bunch more. Every time you are hearing the furnace kicking on, that’s burning propane. Usually when I’m camping, my two 20lb tanks are both full before going away for the weekend. Those two 20lb tanks, depending on the weather, may be enough for the weekend and that’s it – definitely know your propane. Now, the problem with propane heat is that it’s going too create moisture. Everyone goes RVing and sees drips on the roof, the condensation when they wake up and start to panic because they think their RV has a leak. It’s not a leak, that’s you breathing, that’s your family breathing inside your RV. It creates a very humid heat so you are going to find a lot of condensation and will need to find a way to knock that moisture down. If you are at a powered site, a plug in dehumidifier is best but if you don’t have access to that, crack a window, you’re going to have to get the moisture out. The other thing you are going to have to look at, a lot of the foam mattresses today that we are seeing come from the Manufacturers, will wick all of the moisture in the fall and when laid on, will squeeze all of the moisture back out. If you do have a foam mattress, you will need to get it up a little bit so that there is a cushion of air beneath it or make sure you dry it out during the day by propping it up and letting it air out. So for heat, stick to propane. It’s proven, it works. You know you will be comfortable and your family will to.
Keeping the heat in:
JC: Keeping the heat inside your RV is crucial. No matter how well made your RV is, it’s never going to be as insulated as your home. We made sure to get double glazed windows, we make sure the walls in our slides have lots of insulation in them. But what our RVs have that people don’t think about are these holes in the roof with the vents. Those vents are just a thin piece of plastic so make sure, if you are going to be late fall or winter camping, we have a vent pillow that we stuff in our vent that keeps all the heat inside the RV. The other thing that happens, if you are parked out in the wide open, you’re going to find a lot of wind that is going to blow under your RV and that grabs so much heat. So, when I am looking for a site when I am fall or winter camping, I am looking for something that is going to be in the sunshine for most of the day but that will be tucked away from the wind. Some people like to go as far as sealing their windows up with those winter seal kits for your home, some people like to tape around their slides and put skirting in. If you were sitting in one place and actually living in it through the winter, that’s something you would want to look at but just for the average weekender going camping don’t bother with all that. You are already going to have moisture issues, you don’t want to seal ever hole you have in the RV because then the moisture is trapped inside and then you’re gonna have other issues. So let your vents (through the vent pillow) and your windows, that sort of stuff still breath. However make sure wherever you have wind blowing through or where you may have a very thin protective barrier, cover it and protect it, that’s going to keep your heat inside and make your weekend way more enjoyable.
JC: Power, when you are camping in the fall, becomes very crucial. Your furnace draws a lot of power, your lights will be on more because the sun goes down a lot sooner and what you’re going to find, especially if you’ve relied on solar panels in the past, it isn’t like the Canadian summers where we get 10-11 hours of sunshine, in the winter and fall, we are going to be pushing to maybe that 8-9 hours of sunshine. So your solar isn’t going to recover that power as well. A lot of our fall campers will either bring a generator or have very large battery banks to make sure they have enough power. You do need to think about it a little bit more when you are going back country because obviously you have no plug ins. That currant bush doesn’t actually produce current. A lot of our fall campers will start to look at powered sites a little bit more because running an electric heater vs running the propane heater means you get a lot less moisture in the air as it is a drier heat. And you may as use their power instead of burning your dollars from all the propane. Talk to us, see what you want to do power-wise, it’s just something you want to think about a little bit more before you go fall camping.
JC: When using your RV in the winter, the number one thing you should really be concerned with is your water system. When camping in the fall, we really don’t see the drastic freezing temperatures that really concern us with the water systems. But, we do still need to keep an eye on it because things can get below zero and freeze. I generally have my water system still wet this time of year because I am doing a lot of camping. With my water system, I know how to winterize it very quickly so I’ll push the season into October by keeping my system wet. Now, I don’t suggest everyone does that unless you are really comfortable winterizing your RV. Winterizing your RV can be a straight forward system for you to figure out but each unit is different so make sure you know yours. Now, the water systems, keeping them wet yes, is a little bit of a gamble this time of year and no, Bucars is not going to pay for your cracked toilet fitting when you freeze – do keep an eye on the weather. Usually if it’s going to get down close to zero and you’re getting a little bit of frost on the puddles outside, that doesn’t scare me, what really scares me is when water freezes solid. When it freezes solid, that is when you are going to have all your plumbing issues. Now, in between camping trips, I will actually blow out my water system with air just to make sure I don’t have water sitting there and then right before I go, that is when I will fill up my tanks. For winter camping, or if you are going to go camping and you know it is going to freeze, please winterize your RV. That’s what I do. I still use my toilet, but the kids know, they need to flush with antifreeze. Then we have a big 5 gal jug of water on the counter just to supply all of our cooking, cleaning and teeth brushing needs. So, if you are camping in the fall and winter, respect your water system and know how to winterize it if you need. Click here for a water system winterizing guide.
Come Talk to the Cold Weather RV Camping Experts at Bucars RV!
That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed our video mini-series. If you’re looking for an awesome RV for your fall and winter camping adventures, the cold weather RV camping experts at Bucars RV can help you find the best RV for you and your family. Whether you’re looking for a travel trailer, fifth-wheel trailer, a motorhome, or even just some cold weather RV camping tips, we have you covered. Our expert RV sales staff can help you find the perfect new or used RV to suit your needs.
If you’re not in the market for a new RV, but you’re trying to get your current RV ready for fall and winter camping, the experts in our parts department can give you any cold weather camping tips you need! They’ll point you in the right direction of the parts and accessories for your cold-weather RV camping needs.
Don’t get left out in the cold. Pay a trip to Bucars RV dealership just north of Calgary for all of your fall and winter RV camping needs today. Our team has a ton of cold weather camping experience for any RVing tips you need and all the parts and accessories you need to help you make camping memories with your family that will last a lifetime.