Good morning! I enjoy the fall camping season! I just wish trying to decide when to winterize the camper was not part of fall camping. I love hot coffee made over a morning campfire, and I enjoy a large bonfire-type fire on a cold, cold evening. I always want to extend the camping season as long as we can. Last year, we went camping in November for the first time. It was cold, but fun!
Just like deciding when to tap the maple trees, deciding when to winterize the camper can be hard. Watching the weather and trying to guess what will happen is difficult, I hate to miss camping days just as much as I hate to miss days of running sap. This year, I messed up. The weather was blustery and cold last Friday. The forecast was high 20’s at night, and I was afraid it would stay that way! Then, the camper pipes would freeze and possibly break. So I convinced the husband to winterize the camper. He wanted to run heaters for a few nights, to keep the water pipes warm enough to not freeze on the coldest nights. Since he is always right, I should have listened to him.
Of course, the weather did not stay blustery and below freezing for long! Because we had winterized the camper when I wanted to, we lost at least 2 or 3 good camping weekends. It is very hard to camp when the pipes are drained and have rv antifreeze in them, especially when the campground bathrooms are closed for the season. Maybe someday, I will listen to the husband.
There are many different ways to winterize a camper; we drain the pipes and use rv antifreeze. We do it ourselves, so it is frugal. The other things we do, to get the camper ready for the winter, are very easy.
I have friends who put dryer sheets in the camper to discourage mice. It might work, but we only had mice in the camper once, over the winter. That was the year we stored it in the machine shed, so now we just store it outside.
We do cover the tires to protect them from sun damage. The tire covers were a great Christmas present for the husband, and I even managed to guess the right size of covers to get!
I also bring in all items with batteries: remotes, flashlights, remotes, a small vacuum and more remotes. This year, I am going to try again to write a note and leave it where the remotes live in the camper. It will tell me where in the house I put the remotes. It was such a good idea last year. Maybe, I will actually read the note in the spring and find the remotes before we go camping for the first time. Instead of thinking I have lost the remote and buying a new one. Not frugal at all.
I bring in all the can goods, mason jar mixes and food that stayed in the camper over the season. Then, I double check all the kitchen cupboards. Definitely don’t need a random bag of potatoes staying in the camper all winter. That would spoil and smell nasty- trust me, you really want to double check all the kitchen cupboards.
All the items that could freeze also come in the house. Things like toothpaste, liquid soap,suntan lotion and shampoo come inside in a basket. This year, I am going to put them with the remotes and not on my already crowded bathroom shelves. I just hope I remember to read the note and find everything in the spring.
Since most of the camper clothes are extras, I check to see if there is anything I might use during the winter. Then, the rest of the clothes, towels, pillows and sheets stay in the camper. In the spring, I will sort through the clothes and wash them.
I love to bring in some of the games and all of the cookbooks from the camper at the end of the season! I keep hoping someone will play cards with me during the winter. But, I love to look through the cookbooks. Every year, I say I’m going to try new cast iron recipes in the winter to get ready for camping. Maybe it will happen this year. Maybe.
The last thing I do when winterizing the camper, is to pile a few things near the door. That gives me easy access to larger things I may need during the winter. Storing the large igloo, extra silverware, electric griddle and large coffee pot near the door of the camper is easier than finding a spot for them in the house. They would probably just get lost in my sewing room, anyway. And since I don’t always use them, it saves trips in the spring when repacking the camper for the new season. The less I have to haul to and from the house, the better! These older (but not yet extinct) elbows appreciate anything that makes camping easier.
One caution about storing items in the camper: sometimes the door lock will ice and freeze shut. So when I really need something, I get it as soon as I think of it. You never know when it will be snowy and icy!
While I hate the end of the camping season, I’m glad it is easy to winterize the camper. Some of the ways even make spring cleaning, and getting ready to go again next year, easy. I am always sad about the end of the camping season, at least this year I have fun camping things to share with you! Sharing ideas, trips, recipes and pictures about camping is almost as fun as camping. If only I could have a campfire too!
Happy Camping (or sadly winterizing the camper)