Tips for Staying Warm in Winter Living Full Time in an RV or Van


Queen Tasha

1/22/20243 min read

white and black van near green palm tree during daytime
white and black van near green palm tree during daytime

Winter can be a challenging time for those living full-time in an RV or van, especially when it comes to staying warm. Obviously, the best option is to travel to a place that is rarely or not cold at all during the winter months. But, whether you're boondocking without electricity or enjoying full hook-up camping with all the amenities, here are some tips to help you stay cozy during the colder months.

1. Invest in a Buddy Heater and Adapter: One of the best ways to keep warm in your RV or van is by using a Buddy Heater. These portable propane heaters are efficient and can provide a significant amount of heat. To avoid constantly changing small propane tanks, consider getting an adapter hose to connect your heater to a larger propane tank. This way, you won't have to worry about running out of fuel in the middle of a cold night.

2. Get Good Slippers: When the temperature drops, the floor of your RV or van can become quite cold. Invest in a pair of warm and comfortable slippers to keep your feet cozy. Look for slippers with a good grip, so you can move around safely inside your vehicle.

3. Layer Up with Warm Clothes: Dressing in layers is essential for staying warm in winter. Opt for thermal or woolen undergarments, followed by sweaters or fleece jackets. Layering allows you to adjust your clothing according to the temperature, keeping you comfortable throughout the day.

4. Embrace Warm Blankets: Having warm blankets is a must for winter living in an RV or van. Choose blankets made of materials like fleece or wool, as they provide excellent insulation. Consider investing in an electric blanket for those extra chilly nights when you have access to electricity.

5. Hot Water Bottles and Hand/Foot Warmers: Hot water bottles are a simple yet effective way to warm up your bed or keep you cozy while sitting on the couch. Fill them up with hot water and place them under your blankets for long-lasting warmth. Additionally, hand and foot warmers are perfect for providing instant heat when you're feeling particularly cold.

6. Cook Warming Meals: Cooking meals that warm you from the inside out is not only comforting but also helps to raise the temperature inside your RV or van. Prepare dishes like soups, stews, or casseroles that require longer cooking times. The steam and aromas will create a cozy atmosphere while keeping you warm.

7. Utilize the Greenhouse Effect: Take advantage of sunny days by utilizing the greenhouse effect. Open your curtains during the day to allow sunlight to enter, which will naturally heat up your living space. As the sun goes down, close the curtains to trap the heat inside.

8. Warm Beverages: There's nothing quite like a hot cup of tea or coffee to warm you up from the inside. Enjoying a warm beverage not only provides comfort but also helps to raise your body temperature. Keep a kettle or coffee maker handy for quick and easy access to hot drinks.

9. Maintenance Matters: Ensuring that your RV or van is well-maintained is crucial for staying warm in winter. Check for any drafts or leaks and seal them properly. Inspect windows and doors for gaps and use weather stripping or caulk to prevent cold air from seeping in. Regularly clean and maintain your heating system to ensure it's functioning efficiently.

10. Insulate with Blackout Curtains or Reflectix: To further insulate your living space, consider using blackout curtains or Reflectix. Blackout curtains are designed to block out light, but they also provide an extra layer of insulation. Reflectix is a reflective insulation material that can be cut to fit your windows, providing added warmth and privacy.

11. Consider Roof and Underneath Insulation: If you're willing to make a more significant investment, insulating the roof and underneath your vehicle can greatly improve heat retention. Henry Topi Cool is a popular roof coating that helps regulate the temperature inside your RV or van. Spray foam insulation underneath your vehicle can also prevent cold air from entering and keep the heat trapped inside.

Staying warm in winter while living full-time in an RV or van requires some planning and preparation. By following these tips, you can create a cozy and comfortable living space, no matter the outside temperature. Stay warm and enjoy your winter adventures on the road!