Getting into your travel trailer and setting out for a winter trip is an unforgettable experience. It is a great chance to avoid the summer crowds at RV parks and see the beautiful snowy vistas along the way. To fully enjoy your vacation, it is crucial to prepare your truck camper for cold weather.
The process of getting a vehicle ready to withstand freezing conditions is called “winterization.” One of the most common issues that you may encounter during your first winter RV trip is the freezing of pipes.
To winterize your RV’s plumbing system, you will need the following supplies:
Tools for the installation and removal of drain plugs
Specialized non-toxic RV antifreeze
A tank cleaning wand for the black water tank and a way to flush it
A water heater bypass kit
A water pump converter kit
You can easily find all this equipment in any store selling RV parts. Remember to check the manual of your camper, as some vehicles have pre-installed winterizing controls.
Winterizing the Plumbing System
To prevent the water system of the camper from freezing when at the RV park:
Take away all the inline water filters. You may also need a bypass hose for a sink faucet if you have a filter in it as well. To do this, drain the grey, black, water heater, and freshwater tanks.
Dump all the water by flushing the toilets and opening the faucets in your trailer, using a 12V pump. Also, open the low point water drain lines for both cold and hot water.
If your camper does not have a bypass in the water heater, install one. This will ensure that the heater will not fill with antifreeze liquid.
To introduce the antifreeze into the system, install a water pump converter.
To pressure the antifreeze through the pipes, switch the 12V pump on and let the liquid go through. Open the faucet and let the antifreeze leak out. Repeat the same process, from the faucet closest to the pump, to the furthest.
Flush the toilet and wait until you see the antifreeze appear. Add some more antifreeze liquid and flush it again, so that the water in the tank does not freeze.
Finally, make sure to pour a cup of antifreeze liquid into every drain.
When at the Campsite
When you reach the campsite, keep in mind that:
If your water tanks are not heated, you should not completely fill them, and you should leave space for expansion.
Keeping the inside of the trailer warm with an electric heater and additional insulation helps to keep the pipes from reaching the freezing point.
If icicles build up in dump valves, you can use a hairdryer or heat gun to defrost them.
You can wrap the water hoses with heat tape to insulate them and maintain warmth.
Winter camping may seem to be a challenge at first, but with a bit of preparation, it becomes an exciting and picturesque adventure. Plus, you don’t have to take a rolling cooler with you! Follow these guidelines to be ready for the cold season and avoid frozen trailer pipes.
By Sofia Muñoz
I'm a traveler, photographer, writer and adventure lover. I like to bike, swim and prepare food a lot. When I'm not doing all this stuff, I write about my adventures and thoughts.