Here’s How to Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping

How to Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping - featured

Once you start camping in winter, you’ll find it hard to stop. The beautiful snow, warm bonfires, and gorgeous winter sky make winter camping an enthralling experience. Thankfully, owning an RV makes it possible to camp year-round. However, frozen RV pipes can be one of the most significant disadvantages of winter camping.

Not only do frozen pipes dampen the experience of winter camping, but they can often be dangerous. Frozen RV pipes could burst and potentially damage your RV.

While burst pipes are repairable, it’s best to avoid the problem altogether. This article will tell you how to keep RV pipes from freezing while camping.

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Ways to Prevent Your RV’s Pipes from Freezing

The rate at which your RV’s pipes freeze depends on your region’s climate. Sometimes, your pipes can freeze in only a few hours if the temperature is consistently cold. On the other hand, it could take several days for your pipes to freeze. As a general rule of thumb, the colder the temperature outside, the faster your RV’s pipes may freeze. On average, average-quality RV pipes begin freezing at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are several ways to prepare your RV for winter camping, although a few of these methods require an investment on your part. However, these small investments could save you time, trouble, and money in the long run. They will also ensure that your RV can support you on camping trips, even if the weather is bad.

How to Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping - Camper in snow

Keep the Temperature Warm

The first way to keep the plumbing in your RV from freezing is probably the most obvious. Keep your RV warm inside. This is especially true if you’re camping in a harsh winter climate. Remember, the colder it is outside, the faster your pipes could freeze. Keeping your RV warm will help fight off some of this cold and may keep your plumbing from freezing.

Place Your Water Pipes Wisely

While the previous method is effective, it can result in hot, sweaty sleeping situations for those who don’t want to keep the temperature up at all times. Moreover, constantly heating your RV could generate a high heating bill. Another problem with the previous method is that it won’t be as effective if your RV’s pipes sit on the underside of your RV. In this position, they’re more exposed to the cold.

As a result, it is preferable to have your plumbing pipes and tank inside the RV’s floor or walls. The floor or the walls will serve as an extra layer of insulation for the pipes.

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Use the Physics of Running Water

Running water is likely to freeze slower than still water. One of the key principles of physics is that slow-flowing water at cooler temperatures freezes faster. It would be best if you kept the water running overnight to keep it from freezing. However, this should be your last resort since your RV might have a limited water supply.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the night ahead. If temperatures are expected to drop significantly, consider leaving your water running overnight. The constant water movement through your pipes will prevent them from freezing solid.

How to Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping - pipes and plumbing

Use Heat Tape or Tank Heaters

Attaching heat tape to your RV’s plumbing system can keep your pipes from freezing while camping. Heat tape, despite the name, is not a kind of tape. Rather, heat tape is electrical cabling. When using heat tape, you can apply it to the underside of your pipes. Heat tape generates small amounts of heat, warming the water that passes through it. Thus, the heat tape prevents the water inside the pipes from freezing.

Another option is tank heaters. As the name suggests, tank heaters are designed to heat your RV’s water tank. The most common type of tank heater is a heating pad. While most tank heating pads are placed outside the tank using adhesive, some can be installed inside the tank.

Both of these options require electrical connections. However, most modern appliances come with a variety of power sources. Some heating pads have dual power sources and can work without electricity for long periods. These options require a small investment, but they are incredibly convenient.

Insulate Your Pipes

Another great precaution to take before going on a winter camping trip is insulating your RV pipes. Heat tape is a form of external electric insulation. However, there are several other options to insulate your water pipes. You can also protect your pipes with heat sleeves and fiberglass wraps. Moreover, some experts suggest adding a layer of insulating foam.

You should note that non-electric insulators are a low-level defense. While they’re less expensive, they may not be your best choice if you plan to camp somewhere with extremely cold temperatures.

Use Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a liquid solution you can add to water to lower its freezing point. People generally hire experts to do the job. However, you can learn to do it yourself if you want to save a few bucks. The most vital step of the process is selecting the correct liquid. Some antifreeze solutions are toxic and aren’t safe to add to your water source. So, make sure to select a non-toxic and biodegradable product. You can find several online guides to learn how to use antifreeze properly.

How to Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping - RV on the beach


Winter camping trips can be thrilling. However, it’s essential to be prepared for the cold weather. When camping in your RV during the winter, your RV’s pipes can freeze. Thus, it’s best to prepare your RV’s pipes before that happens.

This article discusses various ways to prevent your RV pipes from freezing for an ideal camping experience. You can insulate your pipes, use antifreeze, heat tape, or tank heaters, or keep your RV warm. While some of these options may require an investment, they will save you money in the long run.

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