Baby, It’s Cold Out There! Tips for Winter Fun in the RV

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Here we are just starting the holiday season and the weather in Utah has finally taken its turn. This gets me excited. James and I, as different as we are in most things, both agree on this. RVing is the best in colder weather.

Camp chairs in winter fit rv

Most of you don’t agree with this, that’s pretty obvious, since campgrounds we visit in cold weather tend to be deserted. We love finding abandoned campsites in national or state forest lands, and staking our claim, at least for a night or two. It’s our own little oasis, whole campgrounds all to ourselves.

Fit RV Lance Travato Winter Camping

While that’s a huge part of the appeal of winter camping for us, there’s more to it than that. There’s a special joy in being the only ones around as the snowflakes start falling outside the RV, and to being the first ones to make fresh footsteps in the snow. Everything’s so quiet and peaceful and still, at least until James’ neurotic gene shows itself, “STEF! You’re tracking snow all over the RV!” or, “STEF! You light a campfire with exactly 5 little sticks, not 6!” Ah, the serenity of RVing with the one you love…

James Stefany Adinaro RV Camping

Yet still, we love winter camping together. But don’t think we’re sitting inside the RV all day twiddling our thumbs when the weather gets cold, far from it. We’d go nuts (actually James would drive me nuts). Instead, our winter camping trips tend to revolve around outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, bickering (wait, I meant biking), etc.

James snowshoes rv camping winter

And since we’re doing all these things while the weather’s cold, there are a lot of safety considerations and smart cold weather practices that come into play. Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way.

Pay Extra Attention to Your Extremities:

Don’t skimp when it comes to keeping your extremities warm. Mittens are warmer than gloves, though not always convenient. Since cold and wet feet lose warmth quicker than cold and dry feet, make sure you do everything possible to keep your feet dry.

Stef and James Adinaro The Fit RV

Water conducts heat away from the body. Make sure to pack waterproof footwear and socks that wick sweat for your outdoor adventures.  Same principles apply for your headwear. You want it warm, sweat-wicking, and with good coverage. We travel with face masks, and I especially find them useful on windy days.

Choosing Your Layers:

A good rule to remember for outdoor physical activity is to layer your clothes as if it’s 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it is, so that you’ll be slightly cool when you start. If you’re going to be physically active, you want to be careful about overdressing. If you have too many layers on, you might start sweating. This is bad!

Stef James Adinaro Ski Trip

Sweat leaves your clothes wet, which will pull your body heat away, leaving you shivering once the activity level declines. Shivering is one of the first signs of hypothermia, and you should always avoid getting to that point.

The Wind:

I can handle being physically active in the cold. It’s the WIND that’s the real Murderer-of-Outdoor-Fun. Try to plan your cold weather activities so that you’re starting into the wind. That way, you won’t get caught out miles from your campsite with a fierce headwind piercing through all your well-intentioned layers. Also, you know that burny feeling you get in your face after being out in the wind for a long time? Coconut oil is your best friend. If it’s a windy day, I always slather copious amounts of the stuff all over my face, and then sunscreen over that. The oil helps protect your exposed skin from the wind and helps with the chapped burning dryness that’s an inevitable annoyance and price we pay for our outdoor fun.

Right When You’re Back Inside:

I love this part! After a day playing in the cold, you finally come in. You’re exhilarated from the hours of fun, you’re the good kind of exhausted, and you’re looking forward to a little downtime. It’s important to change clothes right away. You might not even realize how sweaty you are under your millions of layers, and it’s important to get yourself dry as soon as you can. A hot drink also helps your body begin the process of temperature regulation, so get the tea kettle boiling.

Lance Travato Winnebago Winter RV Camping

Once James and I are back inside, we tend to last a good 30 minutes. We change, we drink hot drinks, and we bask in whatever fun outdoorsy things we did that day. And then, it never fails. We twiddle our thumbs, we start getting antsy, and we look out the RV windows. It usually goes something like this:

“Hey! Let’s go light a campfire!”

“OK, but I’m doing it this time, you use way too many sticks.”

“Oh really. Because it won’t light with a few extra sticks?”

“Why do you always have to thwart my perfectly-tuned firestarting system?”

As I dart for the lighter and bolt out the door: “Because I’m your anti-system!” And laugh evilly.

And so the evening’s beautiful blissful bickering begins…

So yeah, that’s winter camping with my crazy best friend.

And sometimes, loved ones join us:

Winter campfire family

Winter camping rocks. You should try it.

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    9 thoughts on “Baby, It’s Cold Out There! Tips for Winter Fun in the RV

    1. Gordon

      Just ordered a class b and hope to do some winter trips. Reommendatiions for winter tires? We live on the west coast of Canada, so for local trips rare to have heavy snow, but light snow a few times a year and just below freezing not uncommon. Considering ‘all weather’ tires, as they handle snow as long as light and could likely deal with trips to Whister for a weekend. Vehicle is also FWD so that helps too. What do you use on the Travoto?

      1. James

        We live in Salt Lake City – so we get snow.
        In the winter, we switch out our all-season tires for snow tires… every year.
        We currently have Bridgestone Blizzaks, and have been happy with them. No reason for us to change. And I wouldn’t want to go through a winter on all-season tires.

        1. Gordon

          Hadn’t realized you were in Salt Lake, snow tires make sense! All seasons are referred to out here more as 3 season. Winter tires are either snow tires or all weather which are similar to snow, but not for full time snow and can be used all year as long as you don’t live where it is too warm as they would wear out too soon.

    2. @KyleKesterson on Instagram

      Any tips on keeping inside the RV warm, especially waking up in the am? Are you just setting your thermostat and letting propane work throughout the night, or do you have an inverter and able to pull from batteries? Any issues with freezing pipes or tanks?

      Just got my Travato a month ago, currently in SoCal, but headed to Telluride soon for my first winter in it. My 59K has windows all around, so moderating temperature isn’t great.

      PS – Love the blog, already picking up some useful tips!

      1. James

        Hi Kyle! –
        With a Travato 59k, you’ve got the Truma Combi, which is what we have. I’d recommend just putting it on propane, setting the thermostat, and letting it do its thing. That’s what we do, and it’s pretty efficient on the propane.
        Even with our batteries, electric heating is a bit too energy hungry, so we don’t use that unless we’re plugged in.
        (And if you are plugged in, just run the Truma on electric – it’ll keep up fine.)
        I’ve heavily winterized our rig (check out The Winterproof Travato for details), so no, we haven’t had any issues besides what I describe in that post.
        Welcome aboard!

    3. Vickey

      Care to tell us more about those nifty looking “mantis”-style camp chairs? I’m guessing James picks things out with his careful engineer’s eye(s), so would expect they’d be pretty well-made. What brand are they? (I couldn’t quite make it out when I enlarged the image.)

      Nice post, thanks!


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