How Cold is Too Cold for an RV?

Who doesn’t like going to mountainside or hilltop destinations in winter, and having some peaceful time with their close ones? The serenity is just too beautiful to ignore, with everything covered in a white blanket and sunshine portraying remarkable sceneries.

While planning and ideas are great, the real challenge begins when you actually set out on a journey in winter, and your RV starts showing its limitations. Unlike any other trip, RVing in winter is totally different and your motorhome ought to be well-equipped and well prepared for harsh weather conditions.

How cold is too cold for an RV? How many drops in mercury can it sustain and keep you going? And how can you prepare yourself and your RV for a cold weather trip? Let’s answer all these questions in detail and make those winter RV trips successful and memorable for you.

How Cold is Too Cold for an RV Camping Trip?

You cannot answer this question in a single word, and every RV is designed differently to cope with varying situations. But if you’re wondering, how cold is too cold for a trip in an RV? You should keep in mind the figure of – 20-30o F, as this is the temperature around which water starts freezing, metal contracts too much, and your battery starts showing signs of exhaustion.

There are different factors that define the feasibility and success of cold weather camping trip in an RV. You must keep a watchful eye and be well prepared to face these challenges to ace a brilliant trip in snow-covered mountains.

Water Freezing in Pipes
RV is like a mini home and it has every amenity that you get at your place. There is a network of pipes running through the RV that supply water through the holding tanks located under the RV.

If the temperature goes sub-freezing, water in the pipes and tanks could freeze. Not only could it damage the plumbing and lead to corrosion of the metal parts, but it could also deprive you of the basic necessity of water.
Draining Batteries
The starter and main battery of the RV drain too quickly when the temperature drops below zero, making it difficult to keep up with the charging situation. If you do not have a backup solution and are relying on the RV for charging the batteries, you could be left stranded and unable to use any appliance or feature onboard.
Crystallization of Fuel
Diesel is also a fluid and like any other liquid, it undergoes considerable changes in properties and consistency when the temperature becomes freezing. If the fuel in your RV’s tank is not in a perfect state, you could face serious problems with your engine’s performance or it could even seize.

Running into trouble out there in the wilderness, and that too on snow-covered roads could become a real headache.
Health Issues
What good is a camping trip in an RV if you keep shivering, looking for hot water, or spend all your time-fighting frostbite? Not only are the freezing temperatures bad for your RV, but they could also become dangerous for your health as well, and instead of enjoying it, you could waste all your time fighting the weather.

Do RVs Come Equipped to Handle Cold Weather?

Modern RVs are designed to be all-weather warriors and come equipped with plenty of features to keep you going, whether it’s freezing cold in winter or the unbearable scorching heat of summer.

Manufacturers equip their RVs with certain accessories and equipment, so you don’t have to reschedule or make new plans.

  • Heated water tanks, especially the fresh and grey water tank keep you running with warm water all the time and prevent the pipes from bursting or cracking.
  • The majority of the manufacturers also add anti-freeze in the coolant, as well as the black water tank, so it doesn’t freeze and plumbing remains protected, especially in cold weather.
  • On-board heaters and kitchen, so you don’t have to bring ready-to-eat meals or keep rubbing your hands to stay warm.
  • Propane tanks, in case you need your portable heaters for extra warmth.
  • Well-insulated water and fuel tanks to prevent them from freezing.

How Can You Prepare Your RV for a Cold Weather Trip?

There are a few steps you could take to prepare your RV for a cold weather trip, and save yourself from any kind of trouble. They include:

Get rid of water from all the tanks and pipes before leaving your RV to sit, this protects it from corrosion and prevents water from freezing and clogging the pipes.
Charge the batteries overnight through slow charging and do carry a set of extra batteries as well.
Get the engine serviced and all the fluids replaced.
More importantly, add anti-freeze to the coolant and black water tank.
If not done already, get the fuel and water tanks insulated. It is also advisable to cover all the pipes with insulation tape to prevent the water from freezing inside.
Must get the floor of your RV carpeted, not just for a soothing touch but for insulation as well.
It would be ideal to carry portable solar panels, so you don’t have to worry about power backup.
Must pack one or two portable heaters to keep you warm.


  • Insulating all the pipes and small inlets.
  • Cover the windows and doors with blankets when not used.
  • Use carpet on the floor to prevent the cold from hitting the underbelly.

  • Charge the slowly overnight using the slow-charging method.
  • Don’t leave any appliance running when not being used, and switch it off instead of stand-by.
  • Keep the batteries in a warm, insulated place to slow down the discharging process.
  • Use portable solar panels for charging, instead of running the engine for that.

Final Thoughts

RVing is always fun, no matter how harsh the weather is or how tough the survival is going to be. Having said that, it is also crucial that you plan and act wisely, and instead of just jumping in your RV and driving off to a hillside, prepare your RV for cold weather.

Keep our winter RVing tips in mind when you plan your next trip and do hit us up if you have any questions in mind. Prep your RV and have a blasting trip out there!

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Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by travel. I inherited this passion from my parents. Since my college years and to this day, I have had a passion for traveling in a motorhome. I am here to share my experiences with you.

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