14 Must-Have Winter RV Survival Gear
Winter RV camping can be amazing when you are prepared for colder temperatures and potentially snowy conditions. After all, most RVs have everything you need to have your own little cozy cabin on wheels. However, winter camping in your RV can also become a nightmare if you aren’t properly prepared. Many winter RVing problems can be avoided by having a good plan but also preparing for disaster.
For example, winter is hard on any vehicle. RVs are no exception to this. Propane, electrical, water, and mechanical systems can all stop working in cold weather. You may need to do an emergency repair on one or more of your RV’s systems while having the means to keep warm. It’s always a good idea to have backup systems in place wherever possible. If you have an electric heater to use just in case your furnace stops working, then having a broken furnace won’t seem like such a big deal.
RV system failures aren’t the only thing you need to be prepared for when you’re camping in the winter. Road conditions can change quickly in the winter months. The possibility of getting snowed in is very real in some places. Winter roads can go from bare to icy in a matter of hours too. It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re headed, especially in winter conditions. You should also bring a cell phone along in case you need help. Here are 14 must-have items that you should have in your winter RV emergency kit, just in case an emergency happens.
What You Should Have in Your Winter RV Emergency Kit
There are a lot of items you should always have in your RV in case of emergency. In winter, there are 14 more items you should have in your emergency kit. Having all of these items may seem to be overkill, but it won’t seem that way when you need one of them.
1. Blow Dryer or Heat Gun
It’s hard to enjoy winter camping when your pipes and/or holding tanks freeze. Installing heat tape on pipes and heating pads on holding tanks can help you to avoid this situation when you’re winter RV camping. If your pipes happen to freeze, a blow dryer or heat gun is really handy to have. You can use it to carefully thaw frozen pipes., directing it at the affected pipe and working your way along from the tank. Important note: When using a heat gun on an RV, it is important to exercise caution to avoid damage to the RV and potential injury to yourself.
2. Alternate Heat Source
Properly maintained propane furnaces tend to be very reliable. However, Murphy’s law implies that if your RV furnace stops working, it will be right when you need it. If you have a small electric heater, you’ll be able to keep warm while you get it up and running again.
3. Heated Throw for Winter RV Camping
A heated throw is nice to have for taking the chill off of winter nights. However, you can also use it to warm up a propane cylinder that is starting to “freeze” when your propane supply becomes sluggish due to cold temperatures. Propane needs temperatures above its boiling point at -42º C to maintain its useful, gaseous state. If you are expecting temperatures to drop below -42º, you can use a heated throw to keep your propane tank from freezing.
4. Bring at Least 72 Hours of “Extra” Food on WInter RV Camping Trips
If you are camping anywhere where you could be trapped by being snowed in or by hazardous road conditions, you should always bring more food than you think you’ll need for your planned camping trip. Food that doesn’t require water to prepare is the best choice since you’ll want to conserve water if you get stuck. And don’t forget to bring more food and treats than you need for your 4-legged camping companions too!
5. Keep “Extra” Potable Water in Your Winter RV Emergency Kit
Water is essential to life. Bringing along plenty of extra potable water in the event of an emergency is a good plan. As a general rule, bring at least 3 gallons per person per day. Don’t count on being able to get enough water from melted snow. While melting snow can provide water as a last resort, you have to melt a surprising amount of snow to produce just a little water.
6. Hand And Body Warmer Packs
Hand and body warmers are small packets that create heat when you shake them. They are perfect for winter RV camping because you can put them inside jackets or in gloves or mittens to create just the perfect amount of warmth. Hand and body warmers are great in winter emergencies and any situation requiring first aid to help treat shock.
7. Waterproof Headlamp or Flashlight
Each member of your camping party should have their own waterproof headlamp or flashlight. A flashlight (or headlamp) can provide light in a power outage or outdoors. A powerful LED headlap is easily packed into a pocket and can become an emergency beacon should someone become lost.
8. Rechargeable Lantern
It’s nice to have a rechargeable lantern when you’re winter camping and you want to conserve power or the power goes out. The Tough Light is a rechargeable lantern with a two-year warranty. It has a USB port that can make it into a charger for your electronic devices should you need it.
9. Folding Snow Shovel
A folding snow shovel stores neatly away, out of sight and out of mind, ready to be deployed when you need it. Having a snow shovel allows you to dig yourself out when you need to.
10. Anti-Slip Tire Traction Treads
Tire traction treads are lightweight and don’t take up much room. They can sure be handy when your wheels are spinning on snow and ice. Traction treads give you enough traction to get the momentum you need to get going.
11. Snow Chains
If you are camping in winter conditions, you should always have snow chains and the knowledge to put them on your tires. You can find snow chains to fit your wheels at tire stores and automotive supply stores.
12. Emergency Thermal Blankets
Emergency thermal blankets look deceptively thin. You’d never guess they can trap and retain an amazing amount of body heat. But they do. Mylar thermal blankets are also very lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to pack into a pocket to take wherever you go. Emergency thermal blankets are definitely a must for your winter RV camping emergency kit.
13. Emergency GPS Beacon and Flares
AN emergency GPS beacon and flare kit might seem like overkill to have in your RV winter camping emergency kit, but a GPS beacon is really handy to have in the event you get lost or stuck indefinitely due to hazardous winter roads.
14. Merino Wool Socks
Having a few pairs of wool socks stashed away in your winter RV camping emergency kit will help keep your feet warm and toasty, even if you forget to pack them.
What are other items you keep handy in your personal Winter RV Emergency Kit? Share in the comments below!
Lynne Fedorick is a freelance writer with 35 years of RVing experience. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RV life, great destinations for RVers, RV organization, RV News, RV tech, and dog behavior/training.