Winter Camping RVing Tips
Can I dry camp or do I need services? >>
Yes. Dry camping is off the grid with no services other than the ones that you have with your RV. While RVing you will use battery power and a generator to run your interior lights, the on board water pump and the furnace fan to push heat around. Other 110 volt items will not run unless you hook up to a campground’s 15, 30 or 50 amp electricity supply. When dry camping the battery can be recharged by a generator (gas or diesel) or some people install solar panels to trickle charge.
How do I use the furnace to keep warm? >>
Most RV’s have a propane thermostatically controlled furnace that you can set to your desired temperature and comfort setting. Turn on the propane tank and set the thermostat. The furnace fan operates off the battery or plug into 110V power or use a generator. The RV batteries are independent of the engine battery and are 12 volt. Many RVs have more than one independent battery.
Are any campgrounds open during the winter in BC? >>
Yes. A large number of privately operated campgrounds and BC Parks are open to serve winter campers. The Camping and RVing BC Coalition have compiled a list of those campgrounds that is updated annually. You can search for open campgrounds by clicking on the Winter Camping landing page.
What tires do I need to travel in winter and/or do I need chains? >>
In British Columbia vehicles need to have snow tires or All-Season tires rated for mud and snow from October 1 to April 30 to travel over mountain highways. You do not need to carry chains with these tires. The main roads or highways are kept ploughed and salted during the winter so are drivable. However, on rare occasions extreme weather conditions occur and chains are an asset for travel on main roads and access roads to campgrounds and ski hills. Some mountain roads leading to ski hills require chains to be carried. Always check the weather forecast and road conditions before you travel.
What are the winter statutory holidays? >>
- Remembrance Day – November 11th
- Christmas Day – December 25th
- Boxing Day – December 26th
- New Year’s Day – January 1st
- Family Day – The Third Monday in February
Can I rent a winterized RV? >>
Yes. Motorhomes that are built for Canadian winter conditions are available for rent from major rental agencies such as Canadream, Fraserway, Meridian, Cruise Canada and Best Time. Make sure that the RV has double pane windows; a high efficiency furnace; interior winter cab blanket and comes with insulated and heated water and waste holding tanks.
What wildlife might I encounter in the winter? >>
Here’s what you might see in wintertime from November to March:
- Birds such as bald eagles, water birds (such as geese and ducks), herons, peregrine falcons, and snowy owls.
- Mammals such as coyotes, lynx, cougars, wolves, racoons, squirrels, deer, moose, elk and even bears come out of hibernation from time to time.
- Ocean animals such as otters, orcas and other whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, or harbour and elephant seals.
What should I do if I encounter wildlife while camping? >>
Stay safe, remember they are wild. Always exercise caution. When camping keep your food locked away and do not leave food scraps behind – pack out what you pack in.
Don’t feed animals or get too close. Moose can be aggressive, and all animals can be unpredictable. Make sure you are informed, prepared, and aware at all times. Stay alert, and move slowly and quietly.