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Prepare Your Trailer for Winter Camping in 3 Simple Steps

Camping Trailer

Afraid to tow your camping trailer to beautiful winter vistas, but you enjoy communing with the great outdoors during the colder weather? Don’t be afraid! Winter camping is becoming increasingly popular, as people discover less-crowded campgrounds, towns filled with locals instead of tourists and natural wonders transformed by a dusting of snow.

To make sure you have the best experiences with your RV during the winter months, here are three quick tips intended to help you deal with different camping environments.

1. Weather Seal Everything

Not all camping trailers are designed to handle the cold, which means you will need to take a few extra steps to prevent chilly air from dropping the temperature inside your rig. After verifying the state of your camper’s weather stripping, the easiest and most effective way to insulate your camper from the cold is to install heavy fabric curtains over the windows and doors, which will block drafts without impeding functionality. If you won’t be using any of the pop-up vents in the ceiling, then feel free to seal the vents with a removable silicone weather-stripping material before you head out, as that will also work to prevent air leakage. You can also fill them with vent cushions, cut to size, to prevent rising heat from leaking out through these gaps in the roof.

Winter trailer2. Adjust Your Brakes Accordingly

Towing a camper during the winter means having to deal with ice, snow and slippery roads. Ensure your trailer brakes bite before your tow vehicle’s do, so you don’t end up jackknifing when your truck or SUV locks up ahead of schedule. Dial in your brake controller for a strong but manageable amount of trailer braking, and avoid using an exhaust brake. You don’t want your vehicle to slow down unless what your towing can match its rate.

3. Heat Your Tanks and Pipes

Even if the holding tanks are enclosed in a heated space, they can still use additional help once the mercury drops down to 20° F. Adding auxiliary heaters to your trailer’s tanks provides extra insurance against potential damage and frustration while camping. If you know it’s going to be cold at your camping site, then insulate and heat the pipe elbows and valves and dump antifreeze into the black and gray water tanks.

If you follow these preparation steps, winter camping can be just as fun as summer vacation.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on winterizing your trailer, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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