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What Can I Leave In My RV Over The Winter?

RV going into storage - what can I leave in my RV over the winter?

What Can I Leave In My RV Over The Winter?

Storing an RV during the winter is a process that most owners have to deal with. Fluctuating temperatures, humidity, and pests can wreak havoc on the contents of an RV, so it’s important to take some things out. However, completely emptying the camper is time-consuming and unnecessary, so this has led many people to ask, “What can I leave in my RV over the winter?”

RVs that are stored over the winter can still safely be stored with all their furniture. Emergency kits can also be kept in RVs during the winter as well as bedding and blankets. If humidity is a concern, these should be stored in vacuum-sealed bags.

There are a lot of items that can be damaged if they are kept in an RV while it’s in storage. To save yourself some time and hassle, check out the lists below to see what should and should not be left in an RV over the winter.

What can I leave in my RV over the winter?

Propane

Many RVs have propane-powered stoves and other appliances. If your RV has a propane tank, you can leave this filled up during the winter. In fact, it’s a good idea to do this in case you need access to an emergency supply at some point.

Propane has a nearly indefinite shelf life and isn’t very affected by shifts in temperature. So if your RV contains propane, you’re clear to leave it until the next season.

Waterproof clothing

Some clothing can be affected by humidity inside an RV. Mold and a musty smell are common side effects of winter storage. Most people don’t want their clothes to smell like this, but if you have waterproof clothing like raincoats, windbreakers, etc. then these can be left over the winter.

If you’re willing to deal with a musty smell and commit to a few washes, you can also store other clothes as well. Just be aware that they may become slightly damp during their time in storage, especially if you live in a humid area.

Blankets and bedding

Blankets and other RV bedding can also be left in an RV. These are bulky items that can take up a lot of space in your home or garage, so it’s easier to just leave them all winter. However, like clothing, they may be prone to getting slightly damp and musty if they aren’t stored properly.

Sealing these items inside a waterproof vacuum bag is the best way to keep them fresh and clean. If you don’t do this, make sure you wash all the bedding once the RV is taken out of storage.

Kitchen utensils

If you’re wondering, “What can I leave in my RV over the winter?”, then kitchen utensils are high on the list! These are usually made of metal, wood, plastic, or rubber. All of these materials are resistant to the temperature fluctuations and humidity that a stored RV faces.

Plates, bowls, cups, pots, pans, cutlery, and other utensils are perfectly safe to store for long periods of time. Some of them may just need a quick rinse at the start of the season in case any dust has built up.

TV

Many people worry about leaving a TV in an RV over the winter, but it’s safe to do so! RV TVs can remain functional as long as the temperature inside doesn’t dip below -20 degrees F. This is a relief to most owners because it would be a real hassle to dismantle and re-install a TV every year.

Furniture

It would be a major pain in the neck to have to remove furniture in your RV every year! Luckily, furniture is included on the list of what can I leave in my RV over the winter. These items are designed to hold up against many different conditions and many of them are made with water-resistant covers and materials. Dinettes, sofas, beds, and other furniture items can be safely left behind.

Emergency kit

Another good item to leave in your RV is an emergency kit. Sometimes RVs can serve as good temporary shelter and all vehicles should have an emergency kit just in case you crash or get stranded. These kits should include things like warm clothing, flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food. Just make sure the food is well-sealed and not easily accessible to pests!

What to remove from my RV over the winter

All food

One of the most important things to remove from a stored RV is food! Fresh food will quickly rot, especially because refrigerators and freezers are usually inoperable during this time. Even food in jars, cans, or bags are at risk. Humidity can spoil some of them, while others will attract pests.

If the RV undergoes extreme temperature changes, canned food can expand and burst, which will create a huge mess. If you must store some food for your emergency kit, try to stick with dried foods that are well-sealed.

All water

Water must also be drained and replaced with antifreeze during the winter. If standing water is left behind, it can burst pipes and raise the humidity of the whole unit. This leads to mold, water damage, and a slew of other nasty problems.

Batteries (from RV and appliances)

Batteries can be damaged by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. The batteries of your RV should be removed and stored in a temperature-regulated setting while the vehicle is in storage. This will prolong their lifespan and help you avoid dead batteries in the upcoming season.

Smaller batteries should also be removed from appliances inside the camper. If they are left unused, they can easily die out. This just wastes money and causes problems down the road. Look for batteries in things like the smoke detector, TV remotes, and kitchen appliances.

Read more about Protecting Your RV Battery In Winter Storage

Toiletries and cleaning supplies

Toiletries should also be removed and replaced during seasonal storage. This is for hygiene purposes, and also to prevent any leaks or bursting containers. Many cleaners are liquid, so they can freeze and create cracks in the containers.

Remove items like hand soap, face wash, toilet cleaners, toothpaste, and any other liquid or semi-liquid items that could cause problems.

Valuable items

Finally, don’t leave anything valuable inside your RV while it sits unused. Jewelry, money, sensitive documents, and electronic devices can all be damaged or stolen during winter storage. It’s better to bring these items inside so you can keep an eye on them.

Hopefully, this guide has helped to answer the question of, “What can I leave in my RV over the winter?”


RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.

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