RV Living Boondocking Winnemucca Nevada

How I Insulate My RV on the Fly to Not Freeze in Cold Weather

Life is an adventure… at least mine is- and that’s very much by design!

I was recently driving through the high desert in Nevada, on my way south, after spending Thanksgiving with my friend Bob (Bob Wells, CheapRVLiving.com –  I know many of you know him) and his family in Medford, Oregon. Since I don’t have family, Bob was kind enough to invite me to spend the holiday with his sister, mother, son and him. It was a nice visit. His family is exactly what you would expect: warm, welcoming and kind!

dogs in the snow
Capone and Cody having fun in the snow!

Bob and I have formed the kind of easy and relaxed friendship that has been rare in my life. We’re like old friends, despite having met just a few months ago. We quickly fell into a comfortable and easy friendship and I’ve enjoyed him as a traveling companion. He’s as fiercely independent as I am and we respect each other’s privacy.  This has allowed us to travel together, float in and out of each other’s lives and become good friends.

Since Bob and I were both heading south (he to Quartzsite – and me, to wherever I end up) – we traveled to NV together, stopping along the way near Winnemucca, NV. He probably would have driven straight through to the southern desert, but I wanted to lolly-gag, so he lolly-gagged with me. I’m not sure if he regrets or not.  It was COLD! The nights dipped into the twenties and the days were barely above freezing. But we both had to catch up on work after spending time with his family and driving for a couple of days, so we decided to stay put a full day to get caught up.

That’s when I realized I needed to find a way to insulate the inside of my RV from the cold air that seeps through the many gaping drafts.  On the spur of the moment I decided to shoot a video of the steps I took to insulate my RV with what I had on hand.

High desert snow, Austin, NV
Austin, NV city view

Here is how I kept the inside of my RV at 50 degrees or above when it was 20 degrees outside (I added Amazon affiliate links so you can see the products I mention. If you choose to buy, it helps me out and it costs you nothing! – thank you!)

  1. Closed all my blinds and curtains and then covered all the windows with heavy blankets.
  2. Put a windshield cover on the windshield and one over the back emergency window at the head of my bead.
  3. Closed all my vents
  4. Sealed off the door with a thermal curtain and then stuffed dog beds and pillows into the step – that door is very drafty!
  5. Draped a heavy blanket between the cab of the truck and the RV living space to keep the cold from the truck out and the warmth of the living space in
  6. Used thermal curtains to close off the cab-over. They drape all the way to the floor, so it’s extra insulation from the cold truck cockpit.

    Camping Winnemuccca in the snow
    Boondocking near Winnemucca in the snow
  7. When I’m in the dining/seating area of the RV I open my bathroom door, blocking the bedroom off – that raises the temperature about 10 degrees.
  8. Put throw rugs on the floor to cover the drafts and insulate the floors (I have laminate floors)

Other Tips to Stay Warm in Your RV in the Winter.

  1. Bake! Do all your baking at night and/or in the morning. The oven adds a lot of heat
  2. Insulate the underside of your RV with spray expandable foam
  3. Use Velcro to seal the blankets or curtains around your windows.
  4. Use Reflectix to cover your windows and vents (some suggest bubble wrap so you can still let light in).
  5. Use clear caulk in the gaps in your floors or walls where air is coming through.
  6. Insulate your cupboards and closets with bubble wrap or insulating foam.

To learn how I heat the inside of my RV without my furnace and what I do to prevent the pipes from freezing you can watch the video below.

I hope you’re all staying warm and cozy out there and enjoying the holiday season!
In case you missed the video, here it is!

16 comments

  1. I am glad you and Bob met each other… I know what its like to be alone all the time and have no one in your life… I got Divorced a couple years ago.. I get lonely now… So its time to meet a lady…. I am 66. so if you know of a lady who would like to meet a nice man… here I am. I full time in my 41ft DP Motorhome. also take my Harley on the back of my pickup and tow that
    Henk

    1. Henk – I will certainly keep my eye out for you! LOL. It is nice to have someone to travel with from time to time – . I hope you’re able to find someone! ARe you coming to the RTR?
      -Carolyn

  2. I was thinking have of it, like going. but then I have been in yuma for the last few years when you had one…. I am in a resort… I dont have solar… I have a huge 41ft motorhome and dont know how it would be to drive into the Desert there
    I

  3. I was wondering if you’ve considered a wood stove for your RV?

    I’ve been planning my great adventure to full time RV living for a while now and one of the things I’m pretty set on is finding a way to have a wood stove. I bought this one for my home, but also with the intention of putting it in my RV in the future. It weighs under 60 pounds and has very low clearance 6 inches. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri6SY9zqiao There are other small ones, too like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RnVRKe63JQ&t=180s. Have you ran into any other rv’ers who are using a wood stove?

  4. Hi Carolyn! My husband and I are currently in Colorado and having problems with condensation and frost on the inside of our windows in the mornings. We have full hookups, so mostly use electric heat, but sometimes supplement with propane when it gets down in the teens and below. We know the major ‘enemy’ to an RV is water damage and to keep the water from running down the walls we dry the windows every morning and open the blinds because it’s usually sunny here during the day. Have you ever had this problem? Thanks!

    1. Deborah – Yes, I do get ice and condensation on the windows in cold temps. I’ve heard double paned windows are the answer.. So far it hasn’t been much of an issue for me. Good luck and ty for reading – C

      1. Patricia, my next home will have all that too!! 🙂 I don’t live in the cold weather so a dehumidifier isn’t necessary. I”m in the desert! 🙂
        thank you!

  5. Carolyn I have a 99 Chevy Astro van that I’m converting to a mini RV. I’m getting it road worthy. Doing all the inside work mysel

  6. After two knee surgeries later I (w/comp) I am going into full time rv-ing. Will be nice to have some freinds out there. Name is Bill and am in Oklahoma,originally from Medford.oregon.

  7. You bake! So many people don’t as they don’t get the results they’re used to from a sticks and bricks oven. Maybe you could do a baking video and show them how it’s done.

    I’m assuming you don’t burn everything. LOL.

    I want to use the oven when I get an RV and have done some research on how to get it to work. Some people put a pizza stone (not oiled) on the bottom (it usually cracks, but does still work). Some people just put a tin foil pie plate or bread pan over the burner to equalize the heat.

    Please show us what you do.

    Jon

    1. Jonathan, I don’t do anything differently than I did in a regular house.. Just turn it on and bake my stuff. LOL.. Not sure what I could show… thanks for the idea though! and good luck – Carolyn

  8. Carolyn
    Try bok.trash bags or Wal mart plastic bags for insulation,it’s GREAT.my 15 yr. Old grand daughter taught me this a few years back.good for around floors,doors and window s .I also used foam in can but a little
    Expensive.helps with heat ,and cool air
    Dee

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