This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Whether you have plans to take camping trips in the winter or you plan to store your camper over the winter, you might be wondering when to winterize your camper.

It can be hard to determine at what temperature your camper needs to be winterized or if you are in an area that is deemed cold enough to winterize.

Winterize your camper if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and below 30 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Winterizing can be done with antifreeze for storage and you can winterize for camping by skirting and heating the underside of your camper or heating the water hose.

Winterizing your camper is a key part of camper maintenance and is important to do if you are storing your camper in an area with cold temperatures or planning to camp in freezing temperatures so you do not risk damage to your camper’s plumbing system.

The process of winterizing your camper can save you a lot of money by completing the process at the right time. The information provided in this guide has been reviewed by industry experts in order to ensure that you properly winterize your camper.



What Is Winterizing Your Camper?

Winterizing your camper means that you are preparing it for the colder temperatures. Just like a house, a camper can have major issues in the winter if the pipes freeze. It is important to winterize your camper regardless if you plan to travel through the winter months or just store your camper until the weather warms up.

The process of winterizing means that you drain the pipes in the camper to protect it against damage during the colder winter months. The last thing you want in the winter is for the pipes to freeze and burst in your camper. This can lead to damage and costly repairs.

When Should You Winterize Your Camper?

Whether you plan to camp in the winter or are going to store your camper for the winter months, you should begin the process of winterizing your camper when temperatures reach daytime highs of 35 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and if the evening temperatures are dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and you do not have heated tanks.

How to Winterize Your Camper

Although you can pay someone to winterize your camper for you, it is a fairly simple process that can be done by yourself at home.


You can winterize your camper using antifreeze that can be purchased at many major stores as well as online. The other items you need are listed below.

  • Non-toxic RV or camper antifreeze
  • If your camper does not have one then you will need a water heater bypass kit
  • Basic hand tools
  • Converter kit for the water pump

1. Drain Water

The first step in the process is to drain all water from your camper. You will also want to shut off the water pump so no water is flowing through the system.

2. Empty Gray and Black Water

While being connected to a sewer dump, you will water to drain and flush your gray and black water tanks. This is important if you are storing your camper for the winter. These tanks need to be completely empty and flushed out.

3. Drain Hot Water Heater

Turn off the hot water heater at least 5 hours prior to draining it. Several gallons of water will come out when you drain it so it is important to be sure the water will not be scalding hot when you release the plug.

Prior to draining, you want to ensure that the system is not pressurized. You can do this by disconnecting it from any water source, turning the water pump off, and turning on a hot water faucet prior to draining.

4. Drain Interior Water Line

While your gray tank valves are open, you can turn on all faucets inside the camper to drain any remaining water that is flowing through the interior lines.

You will need to utilize a water pump to remove any water that remains out of the lines. Do not use the water pump for longer than necessary.

5. Bypass Water Heater

A majority of RVs and campers will have a bypass system installed for the water heater, but if yours is older and does not then you will need to use the bypass kit. You need to bypass the water heater so that when you run the antifreeze through your water lines, you do not fill your water heater with antifreeze.

6. Bypass Fresh Water Tank

Check to see if your camper has a valve that will be used to winterize your RV or camper. Some newer models will have this valve so that you can automatically bypass your fresh water tank when winterizing.

If yours does not, you can use the converter kit to bypass the fresh water tank before beginning the actual winterizing process. This will ensure that the antifreeze goes directly from the jug into your water lines.

7. Run Antifreeze Through The Line

At this point, you will want to run the antifreeze through the water lines. The water pump inlet tube should be directly in the antifreeze jug so you can turn on the water pump to pressurize the system.

You will want to be sure that every faucet is open and let it run until you see the antifreeze come through the lines. It is important to be sure that the antifreeze is running through both hot and cold lines, toilet flush, as well as interior and exterior shower lines.

8. Pour Antifreeze Into The Drains

The last step is to pour antifreeze into each drain. You can use approximately one cup per drain.

You can also pour approximately two cups of antifreeze into the toilet and flush it in order to catch any remaining water. After you flush the toilet, pour another two cups into the toilet to sit.

Winterizing for Camping

If you are planning to go camping in cold temperatures, you can winterize your camper as you would for storage, but you will not be able to use your freshwater or water heater tanks.

There are steps that you can take while camping to ensure that your pipes will not freeze without going through the whole process of winterizing with antifreeze. Skirting your camper will cover the space between the bottom of the camper and the ground. You can buy skirts online and place a small heater inside the skirt to keep the temperature above freezing.

If you have the option, you can leave the water slightly running overnight. Keeping a constant flow of water within the pipes will keep them from freezing and bursting.

When camping at a campsite with a freshwater connection, you can buy or create a heated water hose. It is easy to find a heated water hose online, but heated tape is also an option for keeping the connection point warm.