Gear for Cold-Weather RVing
Gear for Cold-Weather RVing
10 RV additions this adventurous van life couple made to their Revel!
By: Kelly Laustsen and David Somach
Editor’s note: Winnebago recommends following the winter use guidelines and winterization procedures outlined in your owner’s manual whenever camping in freezing conditions.
Last fall, when people heard our van trip would span 15 months, they would often ask where in the south we were headed for winter. We happily replied that we’d be wintering in the Rockies looking to experience as much snow as possible. We love skiing, snowshoeing, and snowstorms - and require a vehicle that can not only get us to the fresh powder, but keep us comfortable after a long day outside.
Making winter adventures more accessible was a huge reason we picked the Revel. We’ve always eyed RVs in the parking lot of our local ski resort and thought how amazing it would be to sleep slope side so easily. Just a few weeks into winter mode, we are adjusting to winter life in our Revel. There are more things to think about and plan for in the winter, but comfortable cold-weather RVing is achievable.
We’ve compiled a list of ten things any cold-weather RVer should consider for safety and comfort.
Our Favorite Gear for Cold-Weather RVing
1. Dedicated snow tires.
The upgraded tires on the Revel work well in snow, but we opted to get a dedicated set of winter tires to lend even more traction on snowy, icy roads. We also carry a set of chains, just in case extreme conditions should require them. A solid set of snow tires makes us feel much more comfortable in winter conditions, especially on steep mountain roads.
2. Expedition front bumper with added lights and winch.
We were most interested in an expedition bumper to protect our van in the unfortunate event of an animal encounter, given all the time we spend in wilderness areas. However, the extra lights and winch are handy as well. We have a light bar, off-road lights, and yellow fog lights which help us find our way to forested camping spots at night and spot wildlife on the road. The winch gives us peace of mind that if we truly get stuck, we have a way out.
3. Roof-mounted recovery tracks and shovel.
The recovery tracks and shovel have proved invaluable in getting out of deep snow. While the 4x4 system in the Sprinter does well in most conditions, we’ve needed the recovery tracks to gain traction and get us unstuck when in truly deep snow. A shovel is an absolute must in the winter for digging the van out after camping for a night or two.
4. Roof box for carrying skis and snowshoes.
We find it essential to keep our wet, drippy skis outside of our living area. The ladder makes it easy to access the roof box.
5. Warmer bed setup, including a down comforter and mattress pad.
We added a down comforter and thick mattress pad to our bed for the winter, in addition to the wool blanket we used in the summer. This lets us drop the thermostat at night (to between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit) to conserve fuel.
6. Extended snow brush.
Our snow brush is not just for clearing the windshield, but also the solar panels - in order to take advantage of all the winter sun. In addition, it’s important to get all the snow off the roof to prevent it from falling off onto other vehicles while driving.
7. Larger storage bins for ski boots and gear.
For the winter, we replaced our bikes with more storage - including a large bin with a good lid for letting boots drip dry. Having a good setup for gear storage helps us keep the van clean and organized, which is critical when you spend so much time in it.
8. Butane travel stove.
In the summer, our solar panels kept our batteries charged so we never had to think about our energy use. With less solar power in the winter, we are more mindful of energy use and have to keep a close eye on our batteries. Our butane stove provides a nice backup if we aren’t plugged in and want to preserve battery power.
9. Hooks in the bathroom.
The bathroom is an ideal place for drying gear, given the plastic walls and floor drain. Coats and snow pants can be dried in the bathroom using hooks on the wall.
10. WeatherTech floor mat.
This is one of the most valuable buys we’ve made for the van. The raised edges on the floormat hold a surprising amount of water and keep all the winter mess contained, so our living area stays clean and dry. We only enter and exit the van from the front in the winter, keeping wet shoes and boots on the floormat.
Winter travel in the Revel is more accessible than many might think. Winter RVing doesn’t require that you rough it, but does require you to plan ahead and be prepared. We can’t wait to get back to the Revel to make a hot drink and meal after a day skiing or snowshoeing. There is nothing cozier than watching the snow fall while warm inside!
For some of our other favorite all-season Revel mods, check out our previous GoLife article.