RV Basics: Winter RVing for Beginners!

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Welcome back for the 4th episode in our “RV Basics” series, where I try to give you the talks I wish I had gotten when we started RVing!

These videos are not technical, and are geared towards new RVers.  And in this one, we’re tackling an area where even seasoned RVers sometimes fear to tread: Winter RVing!  As I mention in the video, winter RVing is 10% about the RV, and 90% about the decisions YOU make with it – so this is one area where knowledge definitely is power.


This series of videos is sponsored by Winnebago, and we’re proud to be partnered with them to bring this to you. I hope it’s all easy enough for anyone to follow, but if it isn’t, let me know!



I (naturally) won’t know much about your particular rig, but if you have questions or comments or any extra tips to share, sound off below!


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    17 thoughts on “RV Basics: Winter RVing for Beginners!

    1. Tim Talevich

      Great video … thanks for all the tips. We hope to snowshoe and ski out of our 2023 Solis NPF edition ASAP. Q for you: Winnebago brands the NPF Solis as a 4-season rig. Your thoughts? Does this mean the piping is minimally exposed, etc. I wonder just how 4 season our van is in terms of avoiding freezing issues.

      1. James - Post author

        I believe all the water lines should be inside the heated space on the Solis. Depending on how cold you’re talking, you might want to look for places where the water lines run right against the exterior skin of the van – those could be trouble spots. Also (and I’m just going from memory here) I think the grey tank and drainage lines are heated with electric heating pads. You’ll want to make sure you have adequate battery capacity to run them if you’re going to be out in the cold for a while and not plugged in. If you’re plugged in (or running a generator) then you should be fine to run those heat pads.

    2. Don Kane

      Hi you all!

      (We were just in TN.)

      Nice video of yous that I watched for fun. We have been winter RVing for many many many years, going back to van #2 in the 80s, where we really didn’t have water systems in our primitive 1978 E150. Just a cooler that kept the water from freezing. (Current van is #4)

      The one thing for newbies to remember, is that when you go to sleep in your feather or down duvet, you need to not drop the heat in the van too much. In our case if we drop the inside night temp below 10C and the outside temp is -15C, the pipes in the garage (which is in principle, inside) might freeze. So you need a forecast, and you need to deal with it by raising the night temp.

      What we have done, and it has worked 100%, is to blow air back there using a 12V computer cooling fan. I think that uses less electric than heater tape.

      Back to your rule, know thy rig!

    3. Sophie

      Hello, we keep the dieselheater on all winter (7*celsius) so we don’t have to warry about freezing and can camp anytime we want to.

      1. James - Post author

        I’ve often wondered about those. Do they tilt in multiple directions?
        If they only tilt in one direction, it seems like they would require you to always park facing east (or west) so that the tilt mechanism lined up parallel with the sun’s path.
        For boondocking, that might work, but in an improved campground, you can’t always park in the direction you prefer.

        Or am I missing something obvious here? (I feel like I might be…)

        1. Bill Phillip

          They only tilt in one direction so yes you have to consider parking direction. I considered tilting the drivers and passenger sides in opposite directions but finally just tilt them all the same way. Even if the panels don’t tilt to the south you can still get some benefit from either the morning or afternoon sun.
          He’s working on some that track the sun. A few years ago he had them ready but they were more than I wanted to spend. I just checked his website and he now says they are still in development.

    4. Mark

      James have you done a winterization video for the EKKO with air only? I’ve not seen a good compressed air run down. Just attempted and forgot to pull the water heater plug so I hope I didn’t damage the unit! Keep em coming. Thanks

      1. James - Post author

        I’m hesitant to do a winterization video for the EKKO, because there are a lot of very strong opinions out there about the right way to do it.
        Also – my own personal need to winterize is rather minimal, due to where we live. So even if I were to show folks what I do, I don’t have very good data around it.
        I will tell you though, that the procedure I use is derived from the owner’s manual.


          As mentioned above and also in your excellent video, one can damage the Truma heater with compressed air. How is the best way to prevent that and what are the limits of pressure I should aim for?

        2. James - Post author

          When I winterize. I have the air pressure set to 35 psi, and I never allow it to pressurize the Truma.
          (I keep the yellow drain lever open for the duration of my winterization, so I can’t mess it up.)

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