Can I Full-Time RV in Illinois During the Winter?

by Jeff
(Monmouth Illinois)

Can I  Full-Time RV in Illinois  During the Winter?

Can I Full-Time RV in Illinois During the Winter?

I would like to downsize and purchase a toy hauler camper in preparation for retirement and a move to a warmer climate.

I currently live in west-central Illinois where it stays pretty cold during winter months. If the toy hauler I purchase has the arctic insulation package with enclosed and heated underbelly and heated tanks. Can I successfully live year-round without freezing up??? I may not move to warmer climate for another 2 years. Your thoughts please. I don't want to create myself problems.

ANSWER: Hi Jeff thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page

Yes, you can RV full-time during the winter in Illinois, but there are some things you need to know before you make that leap. First and foremost you will have to find a campground or RV resort in your area that is open year-round. Obviously Winter RVing is not as popular as Summer RVing so a lot of campgrounds and resorts close down for the winter.

The fact that you are considering buying an RV that has the proper winter insulation and heated compartments will help prevent having problems with freezing pipes, holding tanks, etc. But keep in mind that the compartments are heated by your RV's furnace which uses propane. You are going to use a lot of propane to keep the RV and compartments warm, so you might want to look into renting or buying a larger supplemental propane tank to hook up to your RV's propane system.

If you are planning on keeping your RV hooked up to the fresh water at the RV park, you will need to invest in a heated fresh water hose to prevent the fresh water coming into your RV from freezing. You should not keep your sewer hose hooked up 24/7, you will need to hook it up and dump and then store it again as the moisture
in the sewer hose will freeze and could damage the hose.

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The inside of the RV will also need some attention. Since your RV is sealed up tightly during the winter humidity will become a problem. Cooking, taking a hot shower or even breathing will cause moisture to build up in the RV this moisture will build up on the inside of windows, walls, etc, and in some cases this moisture will freeze on the inside of the RV, so you should invest in a dehumidifier or a couple of dehumidifiers for a larger RV to get the moisture under control.

To save on propane heating expenses you may want to invest in a good heated mattress pad and electric blanket so you can turn the thermostat down at night, but remember you still have to keep the furnace on, so that your pipes and compartments stay above freezing.

Another concern is not letting too much snow accumulate on the roof of the RV as the weight could cause damage. So check the roof frequently and remove excess snow as needed.

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These are some of the major points to keep in mind. Believe it or not there are people who full-time RV in Alaska, so Illinois is quite doable.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Can I Full-Time RV in Illinois During the Winter?

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1 year in a camper
by: Jesse

Buddy Heater

The article pointed out several good options for winter living in a camper/RV. I would suggest a Buddy Heater because they are 99% efficient and can save you some money. I used mine every day without issue and it's far quieter than the furnace. I did use the Buddy Heater through the night, I know some feel this isn’t safe so it's your call. As already listed a Dehumidifier is a must especially if you have a buddy heater. I suggest wrapping every window and add air bubble insulation over windows and thermal curtains. The windows are poorly insulated from the factory, so every little bit helps. Skirt the camper as well and insulate underneath if you can. The underbelly is heated by the furnace ducting not being insulated. This is a BS design as you lose tons of heat (I did consult a HVAC guy about this). If the heater is upfront and the register is in the back, the air coming out will barely be warm on a cold winter day. So, replace the ducting with insulated ducting because it will make a gigantic difference. There is no way the heat off the ducting will keep pex lines from freezing in 10-degree weather. Plan on dry camping because the water lines can be very difficult in cold weather so you may need to bring jugs of water on board. We hit -20 so the water was a no go and I dry camped all winter. I found for myself that one jug with a valve and the rest 1-gallon jugs to fill the main one. I did try 5–7-gallon jugs but they're a pain to store and move around to fill any container.

Full time Camper living
by: Dan Jennings

My wife and I have been doing just that for 4 years now near Galesburg, IL. However we have just learned that the CG is for sale and may loose our place to stay. A dehumidifier is a must. Any information on any camp grounds open all year would be nice.

Also....winter RV'ing
by: Kay

Keeping your vents and exhaust clear of snow and debris also becomes very very important, so do a check after every storm, etc.

Rv Winter Heating
by: Steven Langridge

Try to stay in a RV Park where your 50 amp bill is part of your monthly rent. Try to stay away from open face heaters.

Oil filled electric radiant heaters work perfect for my '97 Vogue V-38. I use one in the wet storage bay and two in the coach.

Don't use the electronic radiant oil filled electric heater; any power glitch will turn them off.

The AquaHot works great but every thirty days or so, I have to move the coach to refill. Lesson learned use all electric in coach and only use diesel or propane in a power outage.

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