RV Skirting, Living in an RV in the Winter, Winter RV Camping-Living, RV Cold Weather Camping
Winter RV Camping, RV Skirting: I thought I knew what cold was. We are from Missouri. We have endured northern Missouri RV full time winters before. So, for the RV adventure job of our lives, we selected:
Salida Colorado of course, in a Colorado Rocky Mountain Area known for Skiing this winter within minutes of the continental divide! With our Chosen RV park at 7000 feet above sea level on the Arkansas River, this location for winter RV camping has put tests on our creativity for making the deep freeze nights of zero with wind chills in the 20 to 30 below range quite challenging with the high on some days of 5 degrees! This is the banana belt, that does keep this valley relatively dry. It still gets cold, windy, and snow. It might be temperate, but only relative to the mountains of 14o00 feet at the edges of our Chaffee County! The Monarch Ski area boasts an average of 360 inches of snow each winter, whereas we have already had 3 feet in this valley where we are RV Camping this winter! We have hit serious cold temperatures in our RV, so have gone to the next level of insulation, RV Skirting.
Temperatures have plummeted, and worse case for RV Camping, staying there for days at a time. If anything freezes, you must do something to reverse the freeze cycle, or wait for the thaw. The longer your RV remains frozen, the more of a chance that the ice will expand and break something. If you do start to see freezing conditions that persist over any amount of time, we suggest these next steps to insulate your RV underbelly area is to create or acquire RV Skirting.
RV Skirting is the only way to create a temperature barrier to the underside of the RV, Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, as well as Class 1 Motor Coach. No matter what type of RV you are winter RVing in, we suggest The best winter prevention to be RV Skirting.
There are many types of RV skirting that you can choose from, with Velcro and 3m Hook and Loop systems for fasteners as a choice, Snaps can be fastened to the RV, twist lock latching, rails, I am sure there are many more fancy systems for skirting, all the way to custom sewn cloth material for RV Skirting. Cloth has a genuine benefit for reuse, simple storage, and with the available budget, advanced arrangements made with all the right dimensions, and system in place and ready to install, this is the best way to skirt your RV.
We however, are figuring this cold weather area on the fly. We have frozen our pipes three or four times now, and against our best judgments, have left a water drip to wake up at 1 in the morning to find the bathtub half full of water. (Thank goodness we got up at 1 am to use the bathroom!) We again never recommend a drip to prevent a faucet from freezing, but believe more in the insulation advantages with some form of heat applied.
For the skirting, we headed on down to the local Building Supply, and purchased the following for our size of RV. We did measure the RV to the ground and saw it was shy of 2 feet in all areas, so was pleased to see a 4 by 8 sheet of anything would be easily made to handle 16 linear feet with the ability to split the sheets down the middle and end up with two good pieces. This saves a lot!
The material we chose, (and admit we saw it used on a rather nice Class 1 motor home in our park), is a 1/2 inch thick insulation board material with a foil backing to expose to the outside. This material has an R value as insulation sheeting, so we felt the 1/2 inch material was to our advantage. It is also stiff, so worked well for making a insulated structure of sorts, under the RV. This area is terribly windy, so wanted something that would stay rigid.
With a large roll of Foil Tape, and nail spikes to go behind and in front of the panels on the ground for holding in heavy winds, and about $120.00 less in our bank account to pay for these things, we started to put up the foil backed half sheet panels to create our RV Skirting.
We are using Aluminum foil tape.
(Note we do not know how bad this will look come spring, so we avoided panels everywhere we could by taping to door jams and fender wells.
We are running the risk of paint damage this high up, but wanted the insulation. You could try making the panels shorter and taping to the bottom to help prevent paint damage to aluminum or fiberglass siding.) With the foil tape, we attached the panels all the way around the perimeter of the RV.
The spikes run the inside length of the material, about three along the bottom of each 8 foot sheet, and three on the outside. The spikes keep the bottoms from swaying in the wind or getting pushed in or out. It was remarkably rigid when fully installed, all spikes and tape in place, and all sheets taped together.
We kept the height of the panels at the 2 foot height, because if the rv is higher in another location, we have not cut to the exact ground dimensions and the panels would no longer be useful. Sometimes you can be parked on an incline, and the wider panels will help in that case. We are here doing winter seasonal RV work, so will be here until April. We will attempt to bag and keep these panels for re use.
Once it was complete, about a one day project, I went to bed to get pictures in a better light tomorrow. We completed this on a single day of relatively warm weather, finishing by getting a bell shaped drop light and put a 60 watt bulb in it to keep the underbelly warmer than the outside. Bulbs in bell shaped drop lights make a great low impact heater and is frequently used in homes, basements, and buildings to keep pipes from freezing. It helps in an RV too.
We were not a day too soon… We are pleased with the look of the skirting, the aluminum sheeted insulation board with the Aluminum tape and spikes to anchor the bottom. With the 60 watt bulb under the sewer line, we think we will be in good shape to weather whatever extended freezing temperatures we might see. We can always increase the heat underneath with higher wattage bulbs and subsequent heaters, so with this simple and affordable way to Skirt our RV for winter camping, it has become a very reliable harsh weather insulation system to keep the underbelly warmer than freezing. Additional panels can be added on the floor of the bottom, but felt this was not necessary.
Remember as above experienced, don’t leave your water dripping in your RV! Again we experienced it is never a good idea. You can wrap your drain pipe with insulation, and if need be, electric heater tape to keep the pipe warm. We might still need to do this if we find it is required. We do that first in the water supply. For just freezing nights without skirting, you can also view this article on basic cold weather RV camping in the winter.
Good luck with your winter RV camping! Let us know about your tricks! This system will let you add your photos too! Freezing can cause damage. Be aware of that, and do not let freezing conditions exist for any length of time! Use all suggestions at your own risk, as well as where you put your tape! These are only suggestions to share, as we live in our RV in the Winters.
Read our new feature on Water and Sewer Line Freeze prevention, RV in Cold weather, protect your water and sewer lines with heat tape!