Winter Is Coming: How to Insulate A Camper Trailer

You might not have had the funds to purchase a four-season RV, but that doesn’t have to stop you from camping in colder weather. Let’s take a look at how to insulate a camper trailer so you can extend your travel season.

Inside the Camper

In general, having a smaller travel trailer means you'll be warmer. Having an RV that meets your family’s spacial needs but doesn’t go overboard is a good idea. You can check the specs before you buy when looking for RVs for sale using an RV finder search. If you already have a camper that works for you, here are several things you can do to insulate your camper inside.

Windows

Windows are often the weakest point for insulation. Most campers have single-pane windows, although larger A or C class RVs might have double or even triple-pane glass. Single-pane windows are not in any way conducive to keeping the cold out or heat in.

Replacing the windows might seem like a good, but a pricey solution. The problem with that is that double and triple pane windows might not hold up when traveling because of road vibrations.

There are some ways you can improve the insulation of the windows you already have. Shrink or bubble wrap can be used to cover the glass which can be attached with Velcro or double-sided tape. You’ll find this solution cuts down on the drafts drastically while still allowing in light.

Check the caulking around your windows and replace any damaged weather stripping around the windows. Changing out your window dressings for insulated or solar curtains is another way to keep the interior warmer. Attaching the curtains to the walls with Velcro will help as well.

Doors

If you notice a draft from the door and have already checked the weather stripping, it might be best to replace it with one that has an energy-efficient label. A less expensive option is to hang a thermal curtain in front of the door and using a door snake to help with drafts.

Baggage doors and storage compartments can be sealed with weather stripping and insulated with Relectix. The back of cabinets and closets that are on an exterior wall can also be lined with insulation.

Ceiling and Floor

Hot air can rise right out of the top of your camper if you don’t take the proper precautions. The vent in your roof can be insulated with a vent cover.

Bear in mind that you should remove any blockage when cooking, especially if you are using propane or tend to char your meals a bit. Install a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and propane or natural gas alarm in your RV for safety reasons.

 

You could also cover your camper with an insulated tarp. Again, make sure your camper still has adequate ventilation. Covering the roof and vent might cause condensation to accumulate in your living space, which could cause mold. A dehumidifier will keep the moisture level down.

Skirting around the bottom of your camper will reduce updrafts. Using rugs in uncarpeted areas will also go a long way in retaining heat. Slippers or slipper socks will give you one more barrier between the hard, cold floor and your feet.

Walls

If your camper has slide outs, they probably have less insulation than the permanent camper walls. Therefore, don’t use the slide outs on very cold days. If you do, you could attach foam board to the bottom of the slides. Just remember to remove the foam board before retracting the slides.

Most campers and RVs have fiberglass or foam insulated walls. Insulation is measured by R-value, which is the term used for thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the more thermal resistant the walls in your RV are.

Fiberglass insulation is the best insulation for consistent temperature maintenance. However, you may want to add some additional insulation to your walls. Note that adding insulation might void your camper warranty, so be sure to check that before proceeding.

Spray foam is an easy and inexpensive way to plug any leaks in your walls where pipes and wires have been cut. Adding a new layer of fiberglass insulation is more complicated and may require the skill of a trained professional. Check with local RV manufacturers for handyman recommendations.

Under Your Camper

It’s important to remember not to neglect the underside of your camper. Here are some ways how to insulate a camper trailer from below.

Skirting

Skirting your camper is just what it sounds like, attaching material around the bottom of your RV, forming a “skirt.” You can sometimes buy skirting specialized designed for your camper’s make and model. If not, you can order customizable skirting or make your own.

Skirting can be attached through a channel system that sticks to the side of your RV. The top of the skirt slides right in the channel. This method is easy to install and remove and creates an airtight lock around the bottom of your trailer.

You can attach skirting using the button and t-snap method. Using button and t-snap is easy to install. On the downside, it could leave gaps, which increases the heat loss you are trying to reduce with the skirting.

You also need to attach the skirting to the ground somehow. Make sure the skirting has an extra eight to 12 inches at the bottom for this. Skirting can be insulated by having insulation sown into the skirt. You can also place foam board insulation behind the skirting under the camper.

Water and Septic Pipes

The water and sewer pipes under your camper are subject to cold weather too. Although skirting provides some protection, you should take additional measures to safeguard your pipes.

To keep your freshwater hose from freezing, wrap standard 110v heat tape in a spiral then cover it with found foam insulation. Wrap the faucet where it connects to your camper as well. You might want to consider a heated hose if you will be camping in icy conditions.

Consider insulating your water heater too. Doing so you could reduce heat loss by 25% to 45%.

If there’s a chance your sewer system might freeze, using a PVC pipe for your sewer hose will reduce the likelihood of it freezing. If you are connected to the sewer system, make sure there is a continuous downward slope which will prevent an ice plug forming.

If the holding tanks are exposed, insulate them. A simple insulation box can be constructed with fiberglass insulation and plywood. You can also purchase heating pads or heater blanket designed specifically for RV holding tanks.

If you use propane, an electric propane tank blanket will provide enough insulation and heat to keep the propane from freezing.

Other Ways to Keep Warm

You’ll need to know how to insulate a camper trailer for cold weather camping.

There might be occasions when you don’t want to spend the money on adding insulation to an RV, like if you are renting one.

Baking is a delightful cold-weather activity. Pizza, cookies, and pot roast are just a few of the things you can throw in your oven. The heat from the stove will heat your camper. Just make sure you open the air vent, especially if you are using a gas stove.

Portable space heaters are inexpensive and a great addition to your heating system. Again, exercise precaution and have enough ventilation and a carbon monoxide detector. If your RV has a furnace, keeping it maintained regularly will go a long way in cold weather.

You can insulate your bedding as well. Adding foam board insulation under your mattress and a memory foam topper will heat your nights. Down comforters, electric blankets, and thermal sleeping bags will keep you all tucked up and cozy too.

There you have it! With these simple insulation tips, you’ll be enjoying year-round camping before you know it.

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