Is There Such a Thing as a Four-Season RV?


Posted on: January 12, 2022
Written by: Peggy Dent


Some RVers Choose to Camp in the Snow

For many RVers the question of whether there is such a thing as a four-season RV is irrelevant. These people just put their RVs in storage at the first sign of winter and wait for spring, but there are some intrepid cold weather RVers who enthusiastically embrace the cold winter weather so they can enjoy their favorite snow sports, like cross country skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. They impatiently wait all summer for the temperatures to drop and the snow to fall, daydreaming about gliding through pristine expanses of fresh powder. They have favorite winter play areas where they park their RVs knowing that their four-season camper will provide plenty of comfort and protection when they’re done playing in the snow, at the end of the day.

the front of a Forest River fifth wheel

Forest River fifth wheels may be outfitted with an all weather upgrade

Four-Season RV Features

Whether you prefer a camper, trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome you’ll need your RV to be specially equipped for cold weather camping.  Some of the extreme weather features are:

  • heated water and holding tanks
  • extra insulation in the floor, roof, slides, and end caps
  • a high output furnace
  • insulated water lines
  • roof vent insulation
  • a special heated and enclosed under-belly
  • double pane windows
  • straight line foam core heating ducts
  • and heated pad under the mattress

mountain covered in snow

Snow play is great fun but your RV needs to be properly equipped to handle the freezing temperatures and accumulation of snow.

Extreme Weather Features May Require an RV Upgrade

A few RVs are sold with many of these features installed as standard equipment, but most brands offer extreme weather “Yeti packages” that can be added to any of their models.  If you know you’ll likely be camping in extremely cold climates, the time to get these features installed on your RV is when you buy it because trying to retro-fit an RV with extra insulation, heated tanks, and other four season features would be very expensive.  Additionally, some all-weather features may not be available after the RV is fully assembled. For example, the heated and enclosed under-belly that protects the pipes, holding tanks, and insulates the floor of your RV would need to be installed during the manufacturing process, as would the extra thick insulation that is installed between the outer skin and interior sidewalls of the RV.

a mission outside Tucson

Four-season RV upgrades protects you and your RV in both extreme cold and extreme hot environments.

Four-Season RVs Provide Year Around Benefits

Even if you don’t think you’ll ever camp in the snow or freezing weather these extreme weather features are just as important in hot climates, and it’s one of the reasons these trailers and campers are described as four-season RVs. Many of the features you’d rely on to keep you warm in the winter will also keep you cool in the summer.  Extra insulation, an enclosed under-belly, double pane windows, and roof vent insulation, will all help to keep the cool air in your RV and the hot air out.  If you can afford to purchase the four-season package on your next RV it would be a great investment.  You’ll use less propane, have a more pleasant living environment year around, and your RV will have a better trade-in value when you get ready to sell it or upgrade.

Alpha Wolf trailer equipped for freezing temperatures

Travel trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes, and truck campers can all be upgraded for extreme weather camping

RV Brands Recognized for Four Season Camping

A few of the brands that are well recognized for their all-weather packages are listed below in no particular order, but you’ll need to do your own due diligence to determine which features will best fit your camping objectives, and which brands have the best combination of those features.

  • Lance
  • Keystone
  • Forest River
  • Bighorn (by Heartland)
  • Arctic Fox
  • Oliver
  • Dutchmen
  • Newmar King Aire
  • Jayco Eagle

 

Air Skirts installed around the base of an RV
Under RV air bladders called AirSkirts  protect the underside of an RV to prevent freezing pipes and tanks. Photo compliments of AirSkirt.com

Four-Season After-Market Accessories

Additionally, there are aftermarket products that could help you manage extreme weather if you already have an RV and are looking for ways to mitigate the impact of harsh weather conditions. There are under the RV inflatable bladders, called AirSkirts  that are easy to inflate and install around the bottom of your RV.  These bladders replace the fully enclosed, insulated, and heated under-belly feature of the Yeti package by creating an RV skirt to block wind and snow from blowing under your RV.  There are also many after-market window and vent insulation products to keep the warm interior air in and the cold air out. Additionally, a heated water hose or hose insulation will help keep your water flowing in freezing weather.

If you already have an RV then after-market accessories can greatly improve your comfort level but the best option, if you plan to spend extended time in extreme weather, is to purchase an RV that is equipped for these conditions.

a class A motorhome camped in the snow
If the weather is too extreme for your comfort then follow the snow birds and head south in the winter and north in the summer.

Use Your RV Wheels to Find Better Year Around Climates

Finally, if the weather is just too hot or too cold for your camping pleasure then take advantage of the single more defining feature found in every RV, the mobility of your camper or motorhome. After all, it’s a living space on wheels.  If extreme weather is hindering your camping enjoyment, then move to a different environment.  If you’re in the southern states, in late spring  and the days are getting too hot for you to enjoy being outdoors, take your RV and head north to cooler climates.  Or if the snow is starting to accumulate and you’re just not enjoying the cold weather, there’s probably warmer weather available further south. But if you prefer to camp in the snow, so you can go snowboarding or skiing then you are certainly going to need a four-season camper to keep you safe, warm, and comfortable.

About the Author:

Peggy is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at  www.APenInYourHand.com