Ryan Robinson takes you for a ride in the passenger seat of his RV, off the grid, deep among the dramatic rock formations of the Utah Desert. Robinson and friends chill by the fire, tell stories, and of course, rig a one of a kind highline over the Looking Glass Arch in Moab, UT.
After you’ve returned from your final camping trip of the season, it’s time to start thinking about how, and where, you’ll store your RV for the winter. While there are several ways to approach this seasonal task, there are a few things you’ll need to do before bidding your camper farewell until next year. From choosing where you’ll store your rig to prepping the interior for frigid temps and protecting it from pests—here’s how to ensure your RV is safely stored for the winter months.
Types of RV winter storage locations
The first step to storing your RV for the winter is deciding where to park it. Your options primarily include either an indoor or outdoor storage facility or your own home. Your budget, facility availability, and even homeowner’s association laws can all play a role in choosing the best location for your RV.
Here are a few things to consider with each of these storage options:
Residential storage: The easiest, and most budget-friendly option, is storing your RV at your own home. Depending on the size of your RV, some owners opt to store their rigs inside their garage. This option provides full protection from the elements and gives you easy access to check on your RV throughout the winter. One downside to this choice is sacrificing garage space for other vehicles and storage.
If your garage is too small, you can also store your RV on your driveway or yard. If you go this route, you’ll want to take all the proper steps to cover and protect your RV from the elements, avoid parking it under trees, and you’ll need to ensure that there aren’t any city or homeowner’s association regulations that ban RVs from being stored on residential property.
Indoor storage facility: While this is often the most expensive place to store your RV, indoor storage facilities offer a safe, secure shelter for your rig. Some indoor facilities are even temperature-controlled, adding an extra layer of protection from extreme heat and cold. This is usually considered the second-best option, next to storing your RV in your own garage. However, pricing and space availability play major roles when choosing this storage route.
Besides the storage fees, you’ll need to reserve a spot for your rig several weeks to months in advance, since these facilities can book fast. Another downside to storing your RV away from your home is not having access to your rig at a moment’s notice.
Outdoor storage facility: Ranging from open storage bays with awnings to fields, campgrounds, and parking lots—outdoor storage facilities are popular options for many RV owners. These properties are less expensive than indoor storage facilities and are often easier to reserve. Regular checks are a must, especially if you live in an area where snowfall can pile up on the roof of your RV.
How to store your RV for winter
Once you know where you’ll store your RV, you can begin prepping it for its winter hibernation. After you’ve thoroughly winterizedyour RV, inside and out, you can begin the storage process. This includes removing batteries, propane tanks, food, and other items from your rig, and periodically running your generator if you own a motorhome.
Items to remove before storage: Check your cabinets, refrigerator, and bathroom for food, liquids, and other items that can perish, freeze, or attract unwanted pests. You should also remove clothing and other valuables that you wouldn’t want to sit unattended over winter.
Store batteries and propane tanks: You should remove your rig’s batteries and propane tanks for safekeeping while your RV is in storage. Your batteries should be kept in a warm location and your propane tanks should be kept in a well-ventilated area.
Generator use: For motorhomes, it’s important to periodically run your RV’s built-in generator to keep it from sitting idle for months at a time. Not exercising your generator can cause fuel deterioration and prevent its components from performing as usual come next camping season.
Cover your RV: Unless you’re parking your rig in a temperature-controlled indoor facility, you’ll likely cover it during storage. This is especially important if you’re storing your RV outdoors. You should use a waterproof, UV-resistant cover that properly fits your RV.
How to keep your RV safe during storage
From bugs and rodents to vandals and snowfall, there are a few measures you can take to protect your RV from the unexpected while it's resting in storage. Here are a few precautionary steps to save you from costly damages and hassle.
Pest protection: Moth balls, rodent and bug deterrents, and traps can all be used to keep bugs, mice, chipmunks, and other pests away from your RV. You should also fill any cracks or holes under and around your RV to seal off any area where pests can enter your rig.
Securing your RV: Vandalism and theft can also be a concern for RV owners. Try to find a property that is well-lit and monitored by security cameras. Make sure your RV is always locked and that you’ve removed valuable items that could entice intruders.
Regular checks: RV owners should regularly check on and inspect their rigs while in storage. This means removing snowfall and debris from the roof if it’s stored outside, checking the interior, and ensuring your cover is always secured in place on your RV.
Gear for storing your RV
If storing your RV for the winter is in your near future, this gear can help keep your rig safe and in place until it’s time to camp again.
RV cover: Whether you’re driving a motorhome or towing a travel trailer, a cover is your first line of defense from harsh weather, pests, and debris. This should be designed to fit the size and shape of your RV and withstand exposure to rain, snow, freezing temps, and other elements.
RV wheel chocks: Wheel chocks should be used to keep your RV in place while in storage. These can be especially important if your rig is parked on a slanted driveway or yard.
RV jack pads: If you’re storing your RV outside on a soft surface, consider using jack pads to prevent your RV from sinking into the ground where it can become unlevel.
RV skirting: Some RV owners opt to skirt their rigs during storage to provide added insulation and protection from freezing temperatures and winter weather. Skirting can also help deter pests from sneaking into the underbelly of your rig.