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How To Winterize A Camper: 10 Best & Top Tips To Prepare Your Campervan For Winter

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Want to know how to winterize a camper? In this comprehensive post we cover all the most important tips and information you need to help prepare your Camper for winter! 

In recent years Campervan and RV life has increased in popularity with the US alone seeing around 31% increase in camping in recent years!

It’s easy to see why the appeal of campervanning has taken hold of so many adventurers and outdoor lovers. As a nature enthusiast, whether you want to explore some of the best National Parks on the East or West Coast, or want to discover some of the best hikes in Colorado Springs, living it up in a camper gives you the true flexibility to travel and embrace adventure at your own pace. 

Depending on where you live, winter may be just around the corner, and with it, the promise of snow-covered landscapes, crackling fires, and cozy evenings. 

However, if you’re a Campervan enthusiast, you know that the drop in temperature also means it’s time to prepare your van for the chilly months ahead. 

Winterizing your Campervan is essential to ensure your vehicle remains functional and in good shape throughout the cold season. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps to winterize your Campervan and have it ready for your next adventure.

Marco Santos | Travel-Boo | Portugal Travel Blogger

Summary: How to Winterize A Camper – 10 Steps

Here is a quick summary of the 10 steps to help you winterize your camper, read our post for more detailed instructions:

1. Drain and Clean Water Systems

2. Inspect Seals and Openings

3. Insulate the Campervan

4. Protect Your Batteries

5. Prepare the Engine

6. Keep Rodents Out

7. Take Care of Tires

8. Interior Preparations

9. Store Perishables

10. Regular Checks

Why It’s Important To Winterize an RV or Camper

Winter tire © Image Courtesy of Savushkin from Getty Images Signature by Canva
Winter tire © Image Courtesy of Savushkin from Getty Images Signature by Canva

When the autumn leaves start to fall, and there’s a crispness in the air signaling the approach of winter, Campervan owners should start thinking about winterization. But why is this process so crucial? 

Let’s delve into the significant reasons why winterizing your Campervan is an essential ritual for every RV and Camper enthusiast.

1. Preservation of Vehicle Integrity:

Water expands when it freezes. If any water remains in your van’s plumbing system, the expansion could cause pipes to burst, tanks to crack, or fixtures to break. The repair costs for these damages can be substantial, not to mention the inconvenience it causes if you’re caught unawares on a winter trip. 

By thoroughly draining and protecting your water system, you’re safeguarding against costly repairs and ensuring the longevity of your Campervan’s integral systems.

2. Protecting Your Investment:

A Campervan is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally. Many owners put a lot of time, money, and effort into customizing their vans, making them comfortable, functional, and reflective of their personal style. 

Failing to prepare the van for winter can lead to preventable wear and tear, diminishing the value and performance of your cherished vehicle. Winterizing is a small cost to pay to protect such a valuable asset that will no doubt lead you to many more happy adventures.

3. Ensuring Safety and Comfort:

A well-insulated Campervan not only retains heat more efficiently but also reduces the risk of internal condensation, which can lead to mold and mildew. These fungi can be harmful to health and challenging to eradicate. 

Properly sealing windows, doors, and other openings also keeps cold drafts at bay, ensuring a comfortable and safe environment if you’re using the van during the colder months.

4. Prolonging Battery Life:

Cold temperatures are notorious for zapping away battery strength. A drained battery in the heart of winter can leave you stranded or without power. 

Winterizing measures, such as disconnecting and storing batteries in warmer places or ensuring they remain adequately charged, can prolong battery life and ensure they remain functional when you need them most.

5. Preventing Unwanted Guests:

As temperatures drop, little critters often seek warmer shelters. A Campervan can be a prime target for rodents, who might find their way into your vehicle, causing damage to wiring, upholstery, and other components. 

By sealing potential entry points and taking precautionary measures, you’re ensuring your Campervan doesn’t unwittingly become a winter sanctuary for pests.

6. Preparing for Spontaneous Adventures:

Many Campervan owners cherish the freedom their vehicles offer – the ability to hit the road spontaneously. If your Campervan is winterized and ready to face the colder months, you’re always prepared for that sudden urge to embark on a winter adventure. 

Whether it’s a ski trip, a winter festival, or just a change of scenery, a well-maintained, winter-ready Campervan ensures you can heed the call of the open road at a moment’s notice.

When Should You Winterize A Camper

Camper in snow © Image Courtesy of claudio.arnese from Getty Images Signature by Canva
Camper in snow © Image Courtesy of claudio.arnese from Getty Images Signature by Canva

Timing is everything, and when it comes to winterizing your campervan, picking the right moment can be the difference between smooth winter travels and avoidable frustrations. So, when is the perfect time to get your van winter-ready?

Monitor the Weather:

Begin by keeping a close watch on the weather forecasts. As soon as nighttime temperatures consistently dip close to the freezing mark (32°F or 0°C), it’s a clear signal to start the winterizing process. Even if the days remain warm, those chilly nights can pose a risk to your campervan’s systems.

Seasonal Cues to Winterize a Camper

If you live in an area with distinct seasons, the transition from summer to fall can be your cue. As leaves start to change color and fall, and there’s a palpable nip in the air, it’s an excellent time to consider winterizing. In many regions, this might mean aiming for early to mid-fall.

Before Long-term Storage:

If you’re planning to store your campervan for the winter and not use it until spring, it’s wise to winterize it before putting it into storage. Even if it’s early in the season and winter seems far away, remember, it’s always better to be proactive than to be caught off guard by an early frost.

Based on Your Travel Plans:

For those who chase milder climates in their campervan, monitor your route’s projected temperatures. If you’re venturing into cooler regions or higher altitudes where freezing temperatures are more likely, ensure your vehicle is winterized in advance.

In essence, the right time to winterize your campervan isn’t strictly tied to a specific calendar date. 

Instead, it’s about vigilance and anticipating the temperature trends in your area or your travel destination. By staying ahead of the cold, you ensure your vehicle is always ready for the next adventure, irrespective of how low the mercury dips.

10 Top Tips To Help Winterize A Campervan

Campervan in winter © Image Courtesy of Alkalyne from Getty Images Signature by Canva
Campervan in winter © Image Courtesy of Alkalyne from Getty Images Signature by Canva

So now you know why and when to winterize your camper, let’s delve into the nitty gritty of how to winterize an RV or Camper. Here are 10 essential steps to ensuring your camper is winter-ready in no time at all! 

1. Drain and Clean Water Systems

Empty Tanks: Start by draining your fresh, gray, and black water tanks. Any water left inside can freeze and cause damage to your plumbing system.

Water Heater: Turn off the water heater, let it cool, then drain.

Pipes: Blow out the pipes using an air compressor to ensure no water remains. Afterward, fill the system with RV antifreeze. This pink solution ensures that any remaining water doesn’t freeze and crack your pipes.

2. Inspect Seals and Openings

Check doors, windows, and other openings to ensure seals are tight. The cold air can quickly reduce the temperature inside if there’s a draft. Replace worn-out seals and consider adding weatherstripping for extra protection against the cold.

3. Insulate the Campervan

Windows: Use thermal curtains or bubble wrap insulation on windows to retain heat.

Roof Vents: Cover roof vents with insulating foam board.

Floor: Place carpets or rugs on the floor for added insulation.

4. Protect Your Batteries

Cold temperatures can deplete batteries quickly. Disconnect, fully charge, and store them in a warm, dry place if you’re not using the Campervan. 

If you’re living in the van, ensure you have a reliable battery monitor and maintain a proper charge.

5. Prepare the Engine

Check Antifreeze: Ensure the engine’s antifreeze is appropriate for the winter temperatures you expect to encounter.

Fuel Stabilizer: If you’re storing your Campervan, add fuel stabilizer to prevent gasoline from deteriorating.

Engine Block Heater: Consider using an engine block heater on extremely cold nights to ensure your engine starts smoothly the next day.

6. Keep Rodents Out

Rodents seek shelter in colder months. Seal any potential entry points, avoid leaving food out, and consider using natural deterrents like peppermint oil to keep them at bay.

7. Take Care of Tires

If you’re parking for an extended period, inflate your tires to the recommended PSI and consider using tire covers to protect against UV rays. For those venturing into snowy terrains, invest in snow chains or winter tires.

8. Interior Preparations

Dehumidify: Moisture build-up can be an issue in cold temperatures. Use a dehumidifier or moisture absorbers to prevent mold and mildew.

Heating: Portable heaters are excellent and a must-have campervan accessory, but ensure they’re safe for indoor use. Always have a carbon monoxide detector inside when using any heating device.

9. Store Perishables

If you’re storing your Campervan for the winter, remove all perishables. Clean and defrost the refrigerator, leaving the door slightly open to prevent mold growth.

10. Regular Checks

If your Campervan is parked for long durations, make periodic checks. Look for any signs of leaks, pests, or issues with the cover (if you’re using one). Turn the engine on occasionally and move the van a little to prevent tire spots.

How Much Will It Cost To Winterize A Campervan

How to Winterize a Camper © Image Courtesy of Maridav by Canva
How to Winterize a Camper © Image Courtesy of Maridav by Canva

Winterizing your campervan is a small investment compared to the potential costs of neglecting this essential task. 

Having said that, the total expenses can vary based on several factors including the size of your vehicle, the complexity of its systems, whether you choose a DIY approach, and regional pricing differences. 

Here’s a breakdown of the potential costs associated with winterizing your campervan:

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vs. Professional Service:


When you winterize a camper, the cost of materials and products, which might include RV antifreeze, sealants, insulation materials, moisture absorbers, and other supplies, can range from $50 to $150, depending on the quality and quantity of products you choose.

Professional Service: 

Hiring a professional to winterize your campervan can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the complexity of the job and the rates of the service provider.


RV antifreeze is essential to protect your water system from freezing. Depending on the size of your camper and the amount needed, you might spend between $4 to $15 per gallon. Typically, 2-3 gallons are sufficient for most campervans.


Window Insulation: Thermal curtains or window insulation kits might cost between $20 to $100.

Vent Insulation: Insulating foam board or vent cushions for roof vents range from $10 to $40 each.

Floor Insulation: Carpets or rugs can vary widely in price, from $30 to several hundred dollars, based on size and quality.

Seals and Weatherstripping:

RV Sealants to fix potential leaks or gaps can cost between $5 to $30, depending on the type and brand. Weatherstripping for doors and windows can be another $10 to $50.

Battery Maintenance:

If you opt for a battery maintainer or a trickle charger to keep your battery in top condition over the winter, you might spend between $20 to $100.

Pest Prevention:

Natural deterrents like peppermint oil or rodent repellent might set you back $5 to $20.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Dehumidifiers: A small dehumidifier can range from $40 to $200.

Tire Covers: These can cost between $20 to $100 for a set, depending on the quality.

Overall, on the lower end, if you choose a DIY approach and only require basic supplies, you might spend as little as $100 to $200. On the higher end, particularly if you opt for professional services and high-quality products, you could be looking at $500 or more. 

While there’s a cost associated with winterizing a camper, it’s crucial to view it as an investment. Protecting your campervan from potential winter damage can save you significant amounts in repair costs in the long run and ensure your vehicle remains in prime condition for all your adventures.

Conclusion – Winterize Camper

Winterizing a Campervan might seem like a daunting task for those taking on the challenge for the first time, but it really should be a breeze. Proper winterization not only ensures that your Campervan remains in excellent condition but also guarantees a warm and comfortable living space if you’re on the road during the colder months. 

Winterizing an RV or Campervan isn’t just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive. 

By taking the time to prepare your vehicle for the colder months, you’re not only saving money in potential repair costs but also ensuring that your Campervan remains a reliable, comfortable, and safe haven for all your travel escapades, regardless of the season. Remember, adventures don’t stop when the temperature drops; they just require a bit more preparation.

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