Can you store a travel trailer outside in winter?

Many RV owners wonder if it’s safe to store their travel trailer outside during winter. There are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding where to store your RV in the colder months.

Quick Answer

It is possible to store a travel trailer outside in the winter, but extra precautions need to be taken. The cold temperatures, moisture, and rodents can damage the trailer if it is not properly prepared and maintained.

What are the risks of storing a travel trailer outside in winter?

There are a few key risks to be aware of if storing your travel trailer outdoors in winter:

  • Damage from moisture – The cold temperatures can lead to condensation buildup inside the trailer. This moisture can cause mold, mildew, and rot if not properly ventilated.
  • Freezing pipes and tanks – Water lines and tanks can freeze and crack if not fully drained and winterized before storing.
  • Rodent infestation – Mice and other rodents may seek shelter inside the unused trailer and cause damage by chewing on wires or insulation.
  • UV damage – Long-term exposure to sun and weather can fade exterior paint and graphics.
  • Tire dry rot – Tires left stationary on cold, wet ground for too long are prone to dry rot.

How can you prepare a travel trailer for winter storage?

Proper preparation is key to safely storing your trailer outside in cold conditions. Here are some tips:

  • Thoroughly clean the interior – Vacuum, wipe down surfaces, and sanitize to prevent mold growth.
  • Winterize plumbing – Drain fresh water tanks, lines, and pumps. Flush toilets and add RV antifreeze.
  • Drain appliance pipes – Empty water heaters, ice makers, and washing machine hoses.
  • Close windows and vents – Prevent moisture and pests from entering but allow for some ventilation.
  • Turn off 12-volt power – Shut down battery disconnect switches to avoid parasitic power drain.
  • Disconnect and store batteries – Fully charge batteries first, then store in a place protected from freezing.
  • Cover tires – Block sunlight to minimize dry rotting. Avoid laying directly on cold, wet ground.
  • Secure entry points – Seal any openings like doors, windows, vents to block rodents.
  • Use moisture absorbers – Place containers of desiccants inside to control condensation.
  • Cover exterior – Use breathable, water-resistant RV covers to protect from weathering.

What maintenance is needed when storing a trailer outside?

Storing your RV outdoors exposes it to the elements, so periodic maintenance checks are a must:

  • Remove snow – Heavy accumulations can damage the roof. Use a soft-bristle broom.
  • Inspect seals and skirting – Replace any that are cracked or missing to block drafts.
  • Check under trailer – Ensure moisture isn’t pooling under the floor where it can cause rust or rot.
  • Monitor propane tanks – Read levels monthly since cold affects pressure. Replace as needed.
  • Recharge batteries – Fully recharge at least once a month to avoid sulfation damage.
  • Inspect roof and windows – Clear any debris,leaves, dirt that can lead to water pooling and damage.
  • Check tire pressure – Inflate to manufacturer’s recommended pressure if tires look low.
  • Start and run appliances – Briefly running the refrigerator, furnace, and hot water heater can keep seals lubricated.
  • Watch for leaks – Look for any signs of water damage inside that may indicate a leak from snowmelt or rain.
  • Check for pests – Inspect for droppings, nests, or chew marks indicating mice, ants, spiders, or other pests.

What are some tips for storing a trailer outside in winter?

  • Choose your parking spot carefully – Look for a level, well-draining area, protected from the wind and snowdrifts.
  • Use skirting around the base – This blocks wind and retains heat under the trailer.
  • Insulate vulnerable components – Wrap exposed pipes and tanks prone to freezing.
  • Consider temporary heat sources – Some use portable space heaters on low temporarily when checking the trailer.
  • Park away from trees and falling debris – Overhanging limbs and leaves can damage the roof.
  • Disconnect batteries – Separate and store batteries where they won’t freeze. This prevents drain.
  • Avoid parking in flood zones – Heavy rains or snow can lead to flooding under and inside the trailer.
  • Invest in a good cover – Covers that are waterproof yet breathable will protect your investment.
  • Use humidity controlling products – Place ventilated containers of calcium chloride inside to absorb moisture.
  • Seal food products – Take them home or store in airtight, pest-resistant containers.

What are the benefits of storing a trailer outside in winter?

Although it poses some extra risks, outdoor storage can be a practical choice for travel trailer owners. Some potential benefits include:

  • Avoids indoor storage fees – Outdoor parking at your home or on rented land is often cheaper.
  • Convenient access – You can still get to your RV easily for maintenance checks and winterizing.
  • Better rodent protection – RVs left idle indoors are also vulnerable to mice and pests.
  • Less temperature fluctuation – Outdoor temperatures remain more stable compared to indoor units, which can experience wide temperature swings.
  • Open layout flexibility – You don’t have to worry about narrow indoor storage spacing constraints.
  • Lack of indoor options – For owners without space to store an RV on their property, outdoor storage may be the only choice.

Should you use a storage facility instead?

Using an indoor RV storage facility can reduce some of the risks that come with outdoor winter storage. Here are some pros of choosing professional storage:

  • Controlled environment – Facilities are temperature regulated and usually have dehumidifiers.
  • Extra protection – Avoid damage from severe weather, falling debris, flooding.
  • Reduced pest access -Secured buildings help keep out rodents and bugs.
  • Electrical hookups – Keep batteries charged and run appliances to prevent mold.
  • Peace of mind – Staff can provide an extra set of eyes to check on your RV.
  • Amenities – Some offer washing bays, dump stations, security cameras, etc.

However, there are some downsides to weigh as well:

  • Higher cost – Indoor storage usually comes with a monthly or seasonal fee.
  • Limited access – Retrieving your RV may require advance notice and staff assistance.
  • Tight spacing – Your trailer may be packed closely next to other RVs.
  • Risk of damage – Minor scratches and dents can happen moving units in and out.
  • Lease terms – You may need to commit to longer rental terms.
  • Lack of availability – Demand for covered storage often exceeds supply.


Storing travel trailers outdoors in winter does require some special preparation and maintenance to prevent moisture, temperature, pest, and other damage. With proper precautions, outdoor storage can be an affordable and convenient option for RV owners without indoor space. Checking on the trailer regularly and taking preventative measures is key to making sure your investment stays protected throughout the colder months.

Many owners successfully store their RVs outdoors with minimal hassle by following best practices. But indoor heated storage may provide additional security and protection from the elements for those willing to pay the premium cost. Assess your own needs, location, and budget when deciding between outdoor and indoor winter storage if you don’t plan to use your RV.


Is it bad to store an RV outside in winter?

Storing an RV outside in winter isn’t necessarily bad if proper preparations are made. It mainly puts the RV more at risk of certain types of damage. If the trailer is properly winterized, has the right cover, and is secured from pests, outdoor winter storage can be a viable option.

What is the best way to store an RV in winter?

The best practice for winter RV storage is in a secured indoor facility. This provides protection from the elements and pests, hookups to maintain systems, and regular monitoring. Short of indoor storage, thoroughly preparing the RV by cleaning, winterizing, covering, and maintaining it as outlined above helps keep it safe outdoors.

Will rodents get into an RV that is stored outside?

Rodents can definitely get into RVs stored outside if any openings exist. Sealing up all vents, doors, underbelly openings, and any cracks will help deter them. It’s also smart to set bait stations and traps outside to prevent infestations inside.

Where is the best place to store an RV in winter?

The best place to store an RV in winter is an indoor heated facility. This provides the full protection RVs need when stored for long periods in cold weather. If outdoor storage is the only option, look for a location that is high and dry, away from trees and flooding risks.

Can you store an RV outside on grass?

It’s usually not recommended to store an RV directly on grass long-term. The moisture and shifting ground can lead to microbial growth and oxidation on the underbelly. Gravel, pavement, dirt, sand, or another solid base is better if storing outside.

Key Takeaways

  • Storing travel trailers outside in winter poses risks of damage from moisture, pests, weather, and freezing temperatures.
  • Prepping the RV by winterizing systems, sealing openings, covering tires, and addressing condensation is required.
  • Outdoor storage needs regular inspection and maintenance to clear snow, check seals, and monitor propane.
  • Indoor heated storage facilities provide maximum protection but cost more than outdoor options.
  • Assess your budget, location, and storage needs when deciding between indoor vs outdoor winter RV storage.

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