When you’re inside your home, the weather outside can get extreme, but you usually won’t need to worry. It is a little different when you live on the road in your RV. The weather becomes more important because RVs are not as secure as your home. It is helpful to know how to stay up to date with weather changes and what you can do to keep your RV comfortable in extreme weather.
Depending on where you travel and what season it is, you may end up living in extreme hot or extreme cold conditions for a while.
RVing in the Heat
If you are parked without shade or trees, the inside of the RV can get almost 8 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures. If the exterior color of the RV is dark, then these internal temperatures can become even higher. Traveling in hot climates is more comfortable when you have good insulation, so this should be updated and maintained often.
One of the best ways to keep an RV cool in the heat is with an A/C unit. You will need a generator or electrical hookups to run the A/C efficiently. Given the amount of sun around you, using solar may seem ideal. But, it will take a large amount of solar power to run the A/C for any length of time for effective cooling. Larger RVs may even require two A/C systems to provide enough cooling for extreme outdoor temperatures.
My RV has 2 fantastic fans. Those are great to bring in the outside temperature and keep your RV cooler. I highly suggest investing in at least one fan for smaller rigs.
To help you stay cool inside the RV, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
- Park your RV so that the awning faces the sun, and keep it rolled out to reduce sun exposure.
- If you have a smaller RV or teardrop camper, you can park it under a canopy or set up netting over them to create shade.
- For hot and dry climates, use a vent that blows inward to create a homemade swamp cooler. Get a cloth wet and drape it over the vent to cool the air as it comes in.
- Attach reflective sheets to the windows to reflect heat away from the RV.
RVing in the Cold
While most people think of RVing as a summer trip, there are many people that live the full-time RV lifestyle. This means you end up living in extreme cold sometimes. Most RVs are not designed for all seasons, so if you plan to spend lots of time in extreme weather conditions you will need a better-insulated rig. Along with keeping yourself warm in the cold, it is just as important to keep the RV plumbing from freezing.
Most modern RVs have plastic plumbing to help reduce freezing. There are steps you can take to add additional protection to the plumbing and yourself when the temperatures drop.
- Consider buying a heated hose or heat tape to wrap around your pipes
- Run an incandescent bulb to deliver heat to holding tanks that are enclosed in bays
- For exposed tanks, add skirting around the RV
- Dump tanks when they are half full, so if they do freeze, there is room for expansion, and tanks will not break
- Bubble wrap and reflective sheets taped to the windows can increase insulation
- Invest in heated (or electric) blankets as they use less power than heaters
- Stock up on thermal underwear, blankets, and sleeping bags
As best as you can, try to plan travel around the weather. If certain areas are known to have severe freezes or hurricane seasons, do your best to plan accordingly.
While the weather can change in an instant, planning will minimize the risks of severe storms. Always watch weather reports in your area and pay attention to extreme weather warnings. Invest in weather apps and live radars to help keep you in the know.
- Do not drive in high winds and in bad storms.
- Seek shelter if you cannot avoid a bad storm coming your way.
You also need to keep a fully-stocked emergency kit with first aid, a flashlight, batteries, charging banks, and extra clothes and water. If you are spending a lot of time on the road, it is also worth checking your insurance coverage to get as many scenarios covered as possible. Planning ahead is the best way to prepare for extreme weather, so you can focus on having fun on the road.