Handling Cold Weather While RVing

A major benefit of the RV lifestyle is the ability to follow good weather.

We hide out in the south during the winter and cool off up the north in the summer. We also enjoy spring and fall for several months as we move in between.

A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But sometimes we get caught in cold weather due to an early winter or an unexpected circumstance.

Our latest introduction to winter resulted from a delay in taking delivery of our new factory-ordered 2019 Dutch Star 3717 diesel pusher.

The typical recreational vehicle is not designed for use in the snowy, cold, and icy northern climates. Even with the cold weather limitations of most RVs, there are things we do to reduce heat loss and stay warm.

Upon arrival at our destination, we try to select a site that will receive sun exposure throughout the day, and also offer some type of wind break.

Since windows are a major heat loss in RVs, we lock our windows. That extra latch helps close the seals in the window. We close the blinds/curtains when we don’t need them open for the view or the warming sunshine.

A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A goose down duvet is an investment with high returns that’s realized every time you cozily cuddle in bed. A duvet cover is typically purchased separately.

Down is a great natural insulator. It is the very first undercoating of goose feathers. The clusters of down are made of plenty of soft fibers that directly radiate out from the central core of the feather. The structure of down is perfectly created to trap air. For this peculiar characteristic, goose down duvets keeps you suitably warm. It still allows the moisture to escape and is a great product to keep snug yet dry. Goose down duvets is amazingly soft and light.

A snow and cold weather encounter at Pony Express RV Resort in Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A snow and cold weather encounter at Pony Express RV Resort in Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The quality of down duvets is measured by its insulation abilities. The best quality down duvets have larger clusters of down. Best quality down is able to acclimatize according to warmer or cooler atmospheric temperatures. If the thick, fluffy and breathable down can keep the goose so cozy out in the cold, it definitely is a sure winner for you.

We don’t need spare blankets for the bed with our down duvet but they add another layer in insulation during our waking hours.

It’s best to use a combination of heating methods when dealing with extreme cold weather while RVing.

A snow and cold weather encounter at Pony Express RV Resort in Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A snow and cold weather encounter at Pony Express RV Resort in Salt Lake City, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A word of caution: Be very aware of the dangers associated with each heating method and take proper safety precautions to avoid an RV fire, asphyxiation, carbon monoxide poisoning, or even death.

Make absolutely certain you have carbon monoxide, smoke, and LP gas detectors in good working condition. We change the batteries annually.

Never use your oven to heat the RV.

Space heaters are cheap and can help in reducing your heating costs if you’re NOT on a metered site. We use ours during the day while in our rig and the furnace at night on a low setting (between 50 and 55 degrees) and in the mornings to take off the chill.

Today’s portable heater models offer a variety of safety features that include tip-over and overheat protection Check for these safety features when purchasing a new heater.

As a safety precaution, shut off and unplug for the night and when you’re away from the RV.

Once we have our rig insulated and warm, the next consideration is how to get the moisture out so dreaded condensation inside the RV does not occur. Left unchecked the condensation can quickly build up on all the windows and some walls and lead to mold.

We use the stove vent and fan when cooking, especially when boiling vegetables on the burner top. The quicker you can get the moisture out the better.

A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A snow and cold weather encounter at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We also use absorbent cloths for removing moisture. Wipe down the shower stall and any condensation that builds up on the windows.

There are numerous small portable, dehumidifiers on the market that are suitable for use in your RV. We place one near the shower and in various locations inside the RV and in basement compartments.

RVs aren’t designed for cold, but you can survive!

But the best advice of all is “The RV has wheels, Go South! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.
But the best advice of all is “The RV has wheels, Go South! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

But the best advice of all is “The RV has wheels, Go South!

Worth Pondering…

I’ve never gotten used to winter and never will.

—Jamaica Kincaid

The New Generation of Vogel Talks RVing

I’m back!

Vogel Talks RVing is back!

On the road again in our new motorhome and overnighting at Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
On the road again in our new motorhome and overnighting at Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Several weeks ago my site was hacked resulting in all 4,000+ posts NO MORE—gone FOREVER with only blank pages to show for over eight and one-half years of posting.

This all begs the question, what lessons did I learn—or relearn.

Here, then is the lesson I learned—and you should too:

Back up your photos and then back them up again. I first learned this lesson over 10 years ago and I learned it the hard way when my laptop crashed with no back up.

Lesson learned—or so, I thought.

I don't do snow... © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
I don’t do snow… © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since that untimely event, the external drive I used for backing up my photos and Word files crashed. I got lucky this time since my recently retired laptop still had most of the files lost in the crash. Lesson relearned. I now have all files backed up in two separate locations: my 4T Seagate external drive and in the clouds with Carbonite.

If you’re snapping away without a backup plan for your photos, beware: In an instant, you could lose them all, FOREVER.

Cleaning the new rig at Las Vegas RV Resort. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cleaning the new rig at Las Vegas RV Resort. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Also be aware that if you upload an image to Facebook or other social media sites, you are not really backing up that photo since in most instances it will be digitally compressed. Since these sites are not designed to truly store photos, you want to carefully choose a backup solution, online and external hard drive.

Unfortunately, preserving the original photo isn’t the only issue you’ll face when backing up your images. You also need to know that there’s no completely foolproof method. There’s always risk. Store images on a hard drive connected to your computer, and, as I earlier noted, it can fail.

Upload images to an online backup service and you face a different problem: You might think using a cloud service from an established company—like Apple, Google, or Amazon—would be safe. Yet, consider Kodak, which for decades functioned as a powerful photography company. In 2001, it created an impressive photo-sharing and photo-storage site, called the Kodak Gallery. Yet, despite its heritage the company declared bankruptcy in 2012, shutting down its entire operation, including the Kodak Gallery, where many photographers had images stored.

Vista del Sol RV Resort, a snowbird destination park in Bullhead City, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Vista del Sol RV Resort, a snowbird destination park in Bullhead City, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The important takeaway here is that you should consider using a combination of services and solutions to safely back up photos. Ideally, store them both online and on two external hard drives—stored in different locations. However, at the very least, use an online backup and external drive.

As the name implies external hard drives which range in price from $40 (one TB) to $390 and up (12 TB), are like the storage that’s built into your computers except they’re connected externally. Most hook up via a USB connection, although there are other methods.

Consciously back up every day until the action becomes an automatic habit and second nature. According to a study at the University College London, it takes an average of 66 days to create a habit—more than six weeks longer than the conventional wisdom of 21 days as postulated in the 1960s by Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon.

O.K., now what?

Vista del Sol RV Resort, a snowbird destination park in Bullhead City, Arizona. An early morning view out the front window of our motor coach. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Vista del Sol RV Resort, a snowbird destination park in Bullhead City, Arizona. An early morning view out the front window of our motor coach. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As indicated previously, my 4,000+ posts are NO MORE—they’re gone FOREVER. With copies of the text and backups of most photos (original and resized), this post is the first of the new generation of Vogel Talks RVing. Following a review of previously posted articles, some will be updated and reposted on the new site. And I will continue to write new material on RVs and Living the RV lifestyle including our snowbird travels.

Oh, yes. And, I will continue to back up my files both online and on my external hard drive.

Worth Pondering…

Life happens while you’re making plans—especially when RVing.