Winterizing an RV for a Northern Winter

When it comes to a northern winter and surviving its sub-zero temperatures, few things could be as tricky to prepare for as living in a recreational vehicle.

Well it’s that time of year again. (Source:

At a recent event organized at the Williston (North Dakota) Village RV Resort, Mark Petterson from Coates RV offered suggestions on ways to survive in cold temperatures.

Pettersen reviewed a list of the most important ways to ensure that an RV is ready for an onslaught of winter weather but said that skirting and safeguarding against potential hazards are the most important things to remember, reports Williston Herald.

He said there is a lot to remember, especially when it comes to blocking vents, which could asphyxiate anyone inside the camper.

“You want to make sure what you do is not something that you heard from somebody else that’s going to endanger your life,” Pettersen said.

Skirting can be done fairly easily with a kit and must be done well to ensure energy efficiency, he said.

Also key is making sure to choose the right RV Park so that nothing freezes up in the winter, Pettersen said.

Pettersen provided a complete list of tips to the audience gathered under a tent at the new RV park.

The joys of living in a northern climate (Source:

“Many easily accomplished things can be done that will have a significant accumulative effect on your comfort and safety and will dramatically increase your energy efficiency,” according to the guide.

Beginning with skirting and insulation, energy savings can be dramatic. The trickiest thing is if the trailer has a slide-out that must be particularly well insulated, Pettersen said.

Other tips included never bringing an LP tank into the trailer for safety, having an internally heated hose and exposing the thermostat to the ambient temperature, positioning the RV as close as possible to the sewer connection and using heat tape to keep the connection warm enough, having a fully charged battery and using insulated styrofoam panels on the inside of storage compartments and at hatches, according to the guide.

“If you have something that worked last year, don’t necessarily change it,” Pettersen said.

“Although we didn’t have winter last year,” he joked.

For safety reasons, though, an RV owner should be careful to never restrict venting to the furnace, fridge or water heater, Pettersen said.

“That could be deadly,” he said.

“You have to know what you can do and what you can’t do.”

Inside of the RV, residents should be cautious not to use an unlimited number of heaters and other appliances into outlets, which could overload the service, the guide said.

Condensation and resulting mold is also something to be careful of, in the bathroom area especially, Williston Herald reports.

RV residents also should be aware that RV fridges were never designed for freezing temperatures. He said his advice is to replace a fridge hesitantly as in many cases, a new fridge will not fix the problem, he said.

“Don’t let somebody talk you in winter into a new refrigerator,” he said.

Foam board insulating skirting (Source:

The most important thing once again, Pettersen said, is to ensure that venting to a gas fridge is not obstructed.

Vern Haugen, developer of the Williston Village RV Resort, said the workshop aimed at helping make the public aware of ways they can be prepared for winter and said at the new park he has allowed extra space for RVs and aims to do things right.

“We’re trying to keep this thing really nice,” he said.

Attendee Sue Hughes, who said she returned to the Williston area a year ago and lives in an RV outside of town, said she appreciated the tips and hopes for another mild winter.

“It wasn’t winter,” she said of last year. “I hope we’re fortunate.”

Chris and Debbi Shafer said they are also living in an RV in another location and are weighing the option of moving before winter. They said they will take away several points to apply to their RV

“It was actually very informative,” Debbi Shafer said, adding that she hopes she can be ready for what comes.

“I hope I won’t make his life too miserable,” she said with a smile.

Worth Pondering…

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

—Alfred Wainwright

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