Winterising Your Campervan
Author: Your RV Good Guide Date Posted: 23 July 2021
It’s that time of year when many motorhome users consider winterising their camper.
Unlike other frostier places in the world such as Europe or Canada, Kiwi campervan owners don’t have to go to the extremes of draining water tanks and shutting off water lines, but there are a few things we recommend you tackle before winter hits!
In this blog, we will cover what winterising means, who needs to do it, and our best tips on how to get it done!
What does winterising a motorhome mean?
Winterising a motorhome is about preparing your camper for the cold season, whether you are going to be driving it or not!
For those travelling in the cold season, you may want to look at doing some essential camper preparation like stocking up on supplies, making the RV as cosy as possible, or making sure it's in good working order before heading away.
Anyone who plans to tuck the camper away for the winter season can winterise their camper by making sure it's clean and ready for the next time it comes out of hibernation!
Do I need to winterise my motorhome?
The simple answer is yes!
If you are planning a winter road trip in New Zealand there are a number of things you should consider doing to not only make your trip more comfortable but also to help ensure your motorhome runs well. With weather conditions being slightly more challenging in winter, it’s a good idea to ensure your camper is safe for travel too.
For those hitting pause on travel for winter, getting stuck in with a few jobs before storing the camper can help to ensure you don’t end up with expensive bills down the track.
If your motorhome is sitting for a long period of time, issues can develop without you knowing it, and that can be an unwelcome shock the next time you decide to take it out. Aside from extra bills, a lack of maintenance can cause your camper to wear faster. Plus, isn’t it so much nicer to come back to a clean campervan?
How do you winterise a motorhome?
Depending on how you use your motorhome over winter, your needs might be slightly different when it comes to winterizing.
Winterizing before storing your campervan
This involves giving your motorhome a clear out, removing all perishable foods, and sealing up anything that might be attractive to rodents of all types who seem to be able to find their way in no matter what!
It’s also a good opportunity to give appliances like the fridge and microwave oven a clean so you don’t get too much build up causing mould and odours. The same goes for emptying the toilet cassette, no one wants to come back to a smelly camper!
Get on top of maintenance
It’s not a bad idea to do an inspection of both the interior and exterior, making a list of any little maintenance jobs that might require attention before you next use the camper.
This could include checking window seals to ensure moisture doesn’t get inside or attending to any broken fixtures so your next trip isn’t delayed by repairs. You should also check for things like water leaks so you can catch the problem early before any major damage is done.
If you aren’t going to be driving your RV for an extended period, it’s a good idea to switch off anything that might drain it. We don’t recommend removing your 12V house battery, instead ensure you have a suitable multi-stage charger connected so your camper stays charged.
Drain the lines and tanks
Although you shouldn’t need to worry about water freezing in RV tanks in New Zealand, it’s still a good idea to drain, clean and flush the lines and tank before storing your camper to help keep mould and bugs away. Check out our range of RV cleaning products such as bathroom cleaners and water treatments to make light work of this task.
You should also leave the drains and taps open, to allow airflow.
Air the camper out
To help with preventing condensation and mould inside the camper, it’s a good idea to ensure you allow some airflow. If you have a covered spot for the camper like a garage, consider leaving windows open a touch, otherwise an occasional visit to air it out is a good idea. Moisture Absorbers are another great way to keep your camper dry.
Store your bedding and linen well
If you have bedding and linen that remain in the camper, it's a good idea to make sure it doesn’t get musty or mouldy whilst being stored. Things like vacuum storage bags work well for a season. You can also leave storage cupboards open for airflow or store linens and bedding inside for the winter.
Top tip: Sending your blankets and linens to the drycleaners before storing will ensure they are fresh for next season.
Don’t forget to prep the outside of your RV too. Brush down and clean awnings and consider buying a vehicle cover to protect your RV from the elements. Check out our handy guide on preparing your RV for winter storage for more tips.
Winterising the motorhome for cold season travel
Make sure the camper is road safe
Though a camper is your home on wheels, it is still a vehicle and needs to be safety checked, especially before winter travel in New Zealand as the roads can be covered in ice or snow.
Book your RV in for a service and get your vehicle thoroughly checked, including engine and tyres. Having good tyre pressure and ample tread is particularly important to allow for good grip in winter conditions.
Check your certificate of fitness and registration are up to date so you don’t end up with any unwelcome tickets while on your winter holiday.
Stock up on essentials
Having a few extra comforts on a winter trip can make all the difference. Make sure to pack extra blankets, wet and cold weather gear, torches, hot water bottles and extra layers of clothing. Our sheepskin seat covers are incredibly popular and add a touch of warmth and luxury for the journey.
As for the camper itself, make sure you have snow chains and know-how to install them. It’s also a good idea to have decent gloves to keep your hands warm during installation.
Packing a windscreen shield can help with keeping overnight frost away, so you can get back on the road faster. Check out the Milenco Universal blind set, an essential accessory for all-weather travel.
Cold conditions can affect the campervan battery condition, so make sure yours are in good shape before you hit the road..
Get your tech sorted
If you are planning to spend some time cosying up inside the camper during winter travel, it’s a good idea to get your tech sorted so you can load up those movies and stay in contact with family.
Things like making sure the pre-paid phone account is loaded up and ensuring those niggly laptop issues have been sorted is a good idea.
How do you modernise a motorhome
Modernising your motorhome is a great way to make your camper even better for winter travel. A couple of small changes can make a big difference, so why not tackle a few jobs before you head away, or as a wintertime project if you are staying home.
Replace the curtains
Thermal lined blinds and curtains can help with keeping the cold out, so this is a great upgrade for winter and is something you can easily do yourself. Over time, curtains can also be prone to mould and dust build-up, so changing them out is also a great way to keep a healthy environment for the family.
Just the same as curtains, the fabric on seats can become tatty and unclean over time, so changing out the fabric will give your camper a new lease on life!
Upgrade your tech
Adding a few bits of tech to your motorhome means you can have your creature comforts even on the road.
Why not grab a Bluetooth speaker to listen to some tunes whilst doing some winter stargazing?
For those that like to search up a storm for travel inspiration on the road, take a look at portable internet options like laptop connection sticks.
Navigation has never been so easy with the addition of travel apps with maps you can use offline!
Update your storage
Do away with plastic bags and tatty boxes, and upgrade to reusable bags and savvy storage options.
Tidy hanging compartments or stackable storage containers can be a great way to better utilize your camper storage and keep everything much tidier.
Add luxury items
Picture it now, a cold winter's morning, sitting by a stunning New Zealand landscape, espresso in hand! Adding luxury items to a camper like a compact coffee machine can really take your adventures to the next level!
Chat to the team at RV Super Centre about accessories, modifications and refurbishments for your vehicle.
Can you live in a motorhome in winter
If you plan well enough, there is no reason you can’t live in a campervan in winter.
Sure, it can be colder, but there are so many great reasons for travelling in a motorhome in New Zealand winter, from stunning views through to special cold season events and the freedom to be flexible with fewer people on the road.
Making sure you prepare your camper and pack well is key, so you can spend more time enjoying your travels, and less time worrying. If you are living away for an extended amount of time, prepping well in advance will help to ensure you don’t leave any essentials behind.
Planning your camper routes in winter is important as it will help to ensure you stay on the safest paths and can access charging stations and waste disposal spots when needed. Use a travel itinerary to make planning easy!
Get started with RV Super Centre
Whether you plan on hitting the road this winter or storing your campervan for warmer days, the good guys at RV Super Centre are here to help. Head into your local RVSC branch to stock up on accessories, parts and gear or shop our huge range online now.