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First Time RVing In Winter – What To Know About Renting An RV

Canadream RV at a campsite in the winter
RVing in a campsite winter wonderland!

My husband’s family lived in the Arctic Circle before he was born, and his formative years were spent in Manitoba. So it should come as no surprise that he wants to go camping … in the winter.

I, on the other hand,  don’t really “do winter”. I’m more of a rainforest girl. But I love to camp and miss it all winter long.

Enter the perfect solution, or so we hope … a winter RV trip. All the adventure of camping, all the chill of winter, but with the comforts of home.

This winter we’re going to rent an RV from the good folks at CanaDream and take a short trip.  I have to admit I’m totally out of my element so step one: book the RV.

In order to feel better prepared for the RV experience, I posed some questions to the representative at CanaDream, who was extremely helpful. Here’s our conversation, which has some good procedural advice for any first-time RVer as well as stuff specific to winter use.

Photo courtesy of CanaDream RV

1. Can we leave our car with you when we pick the RV up?

Yes! Our pick-up location is about half an hour outside of Vancouver and we have a gated lot where you can leave your car.

2. What else happens at pick-up?

Please call us that morning and you’ll be informed of your specific pick up time. Pick- ups start at 1pm and run throughout the afternoon, don’t just show up or you might have a bit of a wait.  Check in online before pick up, so you have reviewed the contract and important information.

On arrival  you will sign the rental agreement and be oriented to your RV, watch a demo video and receive a Guest Guide with lots of information on how to manage the RV resources. If there are any items or add-ons which you need, the Guest service agents will be on hand to help.

3. Your Maxi Motorhome RV is a “winter unit” … what does that mean?

The Maxi Motorhome has been specifically designed and built to enable functioning of the RV in temperatures up to -30 degrees Celsius.  With heated and insulated pipes, use of the RV furnace and generator means you can keep the RV warm and frost free, ensuring full use of the bathroom facilities and kitchen water. Giving you the ultimate winter comfort and convenience on the road, the RV comes kitted out with fleece bed linen, insulated curtains and protective floor carpets to enhance the warmth of the unit.  Don’t get this confused with some rental companies who “winterize” their RVs which means they drain all of the water out of the pipes and tanks to ensure the pipes don’t freeze and cause damage when they thaw.  CanaDream is unique in this respect with their RV having an Arctic pack to assist with the use through harsh Canadian winters.

4. Does the unit come fully stocked?

You can chose to rent a Convenience kit which provides you with all the kitchen equipment, bed linen and towels, or you can bring your own if you want to reduce the cost.  Most people take the Convenience kits.

5. What extra items should we bring?

This depends on what you think you will need and of course you are welcome to bring whatever you like to make your trip more comfortable. We recommend that you pack supplies in soft bags so they can be easily stowed in the storage cupboards. I think it’s nice to bring things that make you feel at home. For instance, a favourite pillow. If you have chosen not to take the Convenience kit, you will need to bring everything you require.

6. Is the RV hard to drive? Is there any way to practice?

No. The beauty of these RVs is that they are very easy to drive and as long as you are confident and use a spotter outside to help you reverse and park, you will soon enjoy driving the RV.  They are all equipped with mud and snow tires, so you will have a lot of grip in the winter. We are also happy to provide snow chains.  With any driving in winter make sure you pay attention to the road conditions and don’t take unnecessary risks.

Photo courtesy of CanaDream RV

7. How far can we take the RV? Would we be able to use it to drive someplace for skiing, for instance?

With an RV the requirement is you have to stay on numbered public roads. You can’t take it off-road, or down a logging road, for instance. Not that you would be tempted to in the winter!

Really, though, you should be able to drive the RV as you would with an ordinary vehicle, and so you could take it on a day trip …  keeping in mind (as you would with any vehicle) that you need to check road conditions where you are going.

Well, it looks like we’re one step closer to this crazy dream. Thanks to CanaDream for being so patient with all my questions. I’m starting to get excited for the trip!

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Want to read about their winter camping trip? Read the blog below.

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

For more on CanaDream’s winter RVing check out their Winter Staycation package.

For places to camp in winter check out the Winter Camping Map

Post your BC winter camping and RVing photos at #CampinBC

Published: December 7th, 2017

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Avatar by vancouvercampingmom

Morgan was raised on camping by her father and maternal grandparents. A life-long Vancouverite, she is a tourism instructor at BCIT and Royal Roads University and a customer service trainer. Morgan lives in East Vancouver with her family and puts a heavy emphasis on family travel as a way to learn, grow, and reconnect.