Tips to Prepare Your RV for Winter Camping in BC

RV's in a campground during winter

Nk’Mip Campground, Osoyoos in Winter

Imagine waking up surrounded by glistening snow, where the outdoors beckons you to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, maybe ice-fishing, or just a walk in a stunning winter wonderland. Kids can build snowmen, make snow angels and toboggan. And where a cup of hot chocolate never tasted so good.

Just because winter is approaching doesn’t mean that you have to take a hiatus from camping in British Columbia. For instance, did you know that there are some 140 campgrounds including a few BC Parks sites and select private campgrounds/RV parks open year-round? You just have to prepare for your camping trips so you keep warm and cozy and that your RV is prepared for winter conditions.

A friend and newbie to winter camping told me last year, If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! The first morning we woke up to the soft sound of snow tinkling on the roof of the RV. Our bed was toasty as we sank deeper into the flannel sheets, and stared out the window to a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking.”

Riverside Park, Whistler, BC

Riverside Park, Whistler, BC

Does that make it sound like fun?

So here are some tips to help keep you safe and sound.

You do need to ensure that your pipes and holding tanks will not freeze. This is what Canadream RV Rentals had to say about winterizing the RV and how they prepare their rental units.

There are two types of RV you can use in the winter – winterized (no water with all pipes and holding tanks drained) and a winter unit (allows for water usage). If you are going to a destination with electricity hook-up, you can use a winter unit, where an arctic pack will heat exterior tanks so you can have running water. Units also come with a furnace which runs on propane and you will need an electrical heater as well. The temperature inside needs to be kept at a certain level to prevent freezing.

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Ice Fishing in BC | Photo: Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Go RVing also provides some tips for camping in winter including:

  • Always have enough bed quilting and winter clothing around so that everyone can easily live through a furnace failure even if stranded by weather for several days.
  • Park your RV in the sun whenever possible. You’ll be amazed at how much a good winter sun can heat up your RV.
  • Park your RV on support boards. These boards will prevent your RV tires from “sinking” when the ground thaws.
  • If electricity is not a problem, use electric blankets at night to save on propane. Also, using a 1500-watt electric heater or 1500-watt ceramic mini heater will also save on propane and wear and tear of the furnace.

    Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC

    Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC | Kim Campbell-Walker

  • Make sure you insulate your hose and use heat tape that can be crossed over itself, as this will provide the most efficient seal. (Note: you can also buy a heated hose. Here’s one from Amazon.)
  • If you have a motorized RV, check your batteries for water level and periodically start your engine to keep everything in good running order.
  • To keep your RV battery charged, consider getting a solar panel system or an inverter.

Now that you’re all set to experience winter camping this year, here are some blogs and ideas for keeping you camping throughout the fall and winter.

5 Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

Skiing/Riding the Powder Highway in the Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia

First Time RVing in Winter – What to Know about Renting an RV

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

Vancouver Island, BC Off-Season Adventures

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

Go to our Winter Camping Map to find out where you can camp in the winter.

Post your BC travel and camping photos using the hashtag #CampinBC

Published: September 27th, 2018

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Patricia Cashin by Patricia Cashin

Driving the backroads in BC in my 2000 Mazda Miata with the top down is one of my favourite pastimes and incredible fun, plus a great way to see roads less travelled. Made even better when joined by other miata-loving owners. Being officially retired and living in BC is pretty good!

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