A travel trailer snowed in with a foot of accumulation on the top in the mountains.

How to Properly Store Your Camper

If you love camping but you don’t camp all year long, there comes a time when you have to store your RV. What do you do with it during the winter? Or maybe you’re planning a month-long trip to Europe — where can you store your RV so it’s protected and safe?

You’ve spent a lot of money on your camper, so you certainly want to choose wisely. You also want to store it properly so you don’t return to unexpected damage or a mess of rodent droppings to clean up.

Let’s learn more about this process.

A travel trailer snowed in with a foot of accumulation on the top in the mountains.

What Are Your Options for RV Storage?

When you’re not using your camper, it’s important to know your storage options. You need to protect your RV from the weather, thieves, vandals, rodents, and more. So ensuring its safety is one of the top priorities.

RV Storage Lots

Many storage unit facilities will allow RVers to rent a space to store their RV. Most of the time, you’ll keep it in an enclosed space. Usually, it will have some kind of security.

Some campgrounds also offer RV storage in the rear of the campground in a fenced-in field. This is very convenient if you use one campground throughout the year and can store your RV in the same location.

Indoor Climate Controlled Spaces

One of the best options is storing your camper in an indoor climate-controlled unit. These facilities will also cost the most. However, your RV will have complete protection from the weather, rodents, and bugs.

These facilities usually have 24/7 security as well. But, sometimes the nearest location isn’t very close to where you live.

You might have to drive a couple of hours to pick up your RV. This can be inconvenient if you want to do some maintenance work on it during the off-season.

A three door garage meant for RV and boat storage.

Garage Storage

If you have a small camper, you could store it in your garage at home. Like an indoor storage unit, this protects your RV from the weather and offers more protection from rodents and bugs than if you store it outside.

Plus, it’s nearby. You can easily access it if you want to do some repairs, replace old cabinetry, do some painting, etc. However, storing it in your garage means you probably can’t keep much else in there.

Driveway/Yard

If you have a larger camper that won’t fit in your garage or if you prefer to park your cars there, you may have the option to store your RV in your driveway or yard. However, check with any local regulations or HOA rules to ensure this is permitted.

Some neighborhoods and cities have ordinances that don’t allow RVs on your property or parked on the street. If you can store your camper at your house, you can keep an eye on it and work on it as needed.

How to Properly Store Your Camper

Once you’ve decided where to keep your camper, you must store it properly. This means ensuring it’ll have protection from the weather, critters, and thieves. Whether you store it indoors or outside, you’ll still want to follow these tips.

Clean Out Everything

You don’t want to leave any valuables in your RV, especially when stored for a long time. Remove all clothes, dishes, toys, books, tools, camping gear, etc. If you don’t want to put everything inside your house, use tubs to store away the items you don’t need.

You’ll want to find your camping gear easily once the season begins. Safely keeping things outside your rig also prevents theft. If criminals can’t see anything worth breaking into your RV for, they’ll likely leave it alone.

Remove All Food

In addition to cleaning out everything, ensure you remove all food. You must remove dry food in the pantry, cold food from the fridge, and frozen food from the freezer.

If not, you’ll find bugs, rats, and other critters inside your RV when you return. Plus, depending on the weather, the food could spoil before you hit the road again.

Open Cabinets, Doors, Fridge

To reduce odors, it’s a good idea to open all cabinets and doors to allow air movement. If you keep the pantry door shut, you might be greeted with a less-than-pleasant smell when you open it up three months later.

The stale and damp air will create a musty scent even if you remove all the food. You also want to open the fridge and freezer to reduce mildew buildup and odors.

Consider hanging up DampRid Bags or use other types of dehumidifiers to eliminate moisture while your RV sits in storage.

Always Cover the Rig

The sun’s UV rays can harm the exterior and interior of your camper. Furniture will fade, and the roof and paint will wear. Plus, the sun will quickly heat the inside of your rig. Rain, snow, and other weather conditions will also wear out the exterior of your camper or cause damage.

Therefore, you always want to cover it. This is why an indoor climate-controlled unit is one of the best storage solutions. But if you can’t afford that option or don’t have one nearby, cover your rig with a fabric cover or store it underneath a shed.

A carport with a concrete pad outside of a suburban home.

Always Cover Tires

Just as the sun can damage your camper, it can also damage your tires. UV rays will shorten the life of your RV tires.

Premature drying and cracking commonly happen when tires sit uncovered for long periods. Quality RV tires are expensive, so you want to protect them just like the rest of your camper.

Winterize If Necessary

If you put away your camper for winter, make sure to winterize the rig. You can do this in two different ways. You can blow out the lines by using an air compressor to push air through the pipes until no water remains.

Or you can run antifreeze through your pipes to protect them from freezing. Returning to find your lines busted in the spring can ruin the start of the camping season.

How Much Does RV Storage Cost?

The cost of RV storage will vary from location to location. Storage in New York may cost more than in Oklahoma. The most expensive option is an indoor climate-controlled unit.

You could spend anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per month. RV storage at a campground or storage facility will cost much less. Usually, those rates will run anywhere from $50 to $100 per month.

Are RV Storage Lots Safe?

It’s important to check out the location before signing a contract. Does it appear safe? Does the area around the RV storage have a high crime rate? Is there 24/7 security or a gate with a code?

Pay attention to the location’s security because you want your RV protected from thieves. In general, RV storage lots have taken precautions to ensure the safety of the on-site units, but you always want to do your due diligence.

An RV storage lot in a grassy field behind a home.

Protect Your RV and Store It Properly When Not in Use

When you decide to store your RV for a couple of months, you must do so properly. Otherwise, you’ll have to do repairs or fill out a police report when you return instead of planning your next camping trip.

Depending on your budget and location, you may not have a lot of options, so choose what works best for you. But make sure to follow these tips to protect the interior and exterior of your unit.

Have you ever stored your RV? Did you come back to find surprises?

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