7 Tips to Wintering Full-Time in a RV

We have lived in our RV for a little over a year now and are in our second winter living in this RV. It ended up freezing many times while living in here and even snowed a few times too, in fact, we have snow right now! So today I’ve got some great tips for wintering full-time in a RV, taken from our personal experience last year and what we’ve been through this year. We definitely learned this the hard way. Keep in mind that we also have three young children (Little Bear was born last year in October), so our efforts were on keeping this RV as warm as a normal house, as we have children who don’t sleep under blankets or like to wear warm clothes constantly. So here are our top seven tips to wintering full time in a RV.

1.Buy a dehumidifier!

This is hugely important for the health of the family! We live in the Pacific Northwest, where it is moist and humid constantly. Add in the warm interior of the RV, the cold weather outside and poor insulation, lets just say it was dripping constantly inside the RV. We had mold and water damage to books, clothes and even our mattress! Buying this dehumidifier was a game changer! No more do we have water dripping everywhere and damaging our possessions. We are happily water and mold free.

2. Purchase extra propane tanks.

Our RV came with two 7 gallon propane tanks for the RV. While these are great, in the winter, they don’t last long. We ended up having to fill up both tanks twice a week. This quickly gets expensive; we were spending over $200 a month just on propane. I know a lot of full RV couples use a small portable propane heater, saving lots of money, but for us that just doesn’t work. We have toddlers, which means we couldn’t put it on the floor, and no place that was tall enough to be out of reach had the space to hold one. So while we can’t avoid the cost of heating our home with the built-in propane furnace, we can reduce the amount of times we had to go get propane in a week. This is also helpful for when a winter storm comes along; if you keep up on filling the propane tanks, you can usually outlast the storm, rather than needing to go buy propane in the middle of one (not great when it’s snowing and you live up on a steep mountain like we did last year).

3. If you’re leaving for overnight or weekend visit, leave the heat on!

We learned this the hard way! We were spending a night or two away from the RV and decided to turn off the heater. We weren’t going to be there, so why waste the money on all that propane? Big mistake. When we came back, we had no water available (all the water had frozen in the RV pipes) and the kitchen water pump wasn’t working (the water in the pump froze as well). Thankfully, our RV has an enclosed underbelly, so we just fired up the heater in the RV and the next day, everything unfroze. But we learned our lesson, leave the heat on when you leave in the winter! If we didn’t have the enclosed underbelly to our RV, it would have been a nightmare to unfreeze all those pipes and the pump. 

4. Leave water running, disconnect water hose, or purchase heat tape if freezing at night.

This is also very important. The hose that is outside the RV will freeze solid if the weather gets cold enough. So you have three options, leave water running in all the sinks at night, disconnect the water hose and drain it, or buy heat tape. Where we were living last winter was on a private property and whenever the water ran, the people living in their house could hear it. Apparently, it was very loud and obnoxious. So running the water all night was out. Our only other option was that my husband disconnected the water hose from both ends and drained the hose. It was annoying, but necessary, because if we didn’t, the hose would freeze solid and sometimes it took days to unfreeze. At our place this winter, we bought some heat cable, wrapped our water hose with it and it’s working wonderfully. I highly recommend the heat tape if you can!

5. Wear warm clothes!

Now, this may seem silly, as I already have explained that we keep our house pretty warm during the winter. However, whenever I sit on our couch, I can feel a draft. The couch is situated in a slide out, so this makes sense. To cope with it still being cold, even with the heat on, I wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. I also have my couch decorated with two blankets, in case someone gets really cold. The children were always dressed in pants and long sleeve with slippers or socks on as well to combat any drafts on the floor.

6. Keep a tea kettle filled with water on the stove.

Whatever your brand of hot drink, this is one of the quickest ways to warm up when it cold outside. We always keep coffee (instant or using a French press), a wide assortment of tea and hot cocoa on hand. Our tea kettle was used all the time last winter. When I would get an unexplained chill and knew that the heat was warm enough and I was wearing warm clothes, I always turned to a hot drink next. It became one of my favorite things to have on hand.

7. Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook meals. 

With keeping warm so important, I’m reluctant to use our stove for anything other than heating up water. I don’t want to waste propane if I don’t have too. Enter in a slow cooker and/or Instant Pot. I can make warm, comforting and filling meals using electricity rather than the precious propane. I made the majority of our meals last winter using a slow cooker, which made me feel less guilty about using the stove for hot water or the occasional baked good.

So for us, extra propane on hand to keep warm, a few basic tips to keep the water from freezing, warm water for a hot drink, warm clothes to combat drafts and crockpots for warm filling meals completes my collection of winter tips to living in a RV. I hope these tips help you keep warm if you end up living or even just camping in a RV during the winter time. It’s completely doable and makes this full time RV living journey possible.

Would you stay in a RV during the winter?


One Year of Living in a RV – Pros & Cons


The end of August marks the one year anniversary of living full time in our RV. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year! When we went into this, I had two little girls, was pregnant with our son, and we had no idea what we were doing! Now, our girls are 4 and 2, our son is 10 months, and we’ve learned quite a bit about this fun lifestyle. We love living this way and we’ve even managed to inspire other families to live in a RV. 

However, it’s all not rainbow and roses. There have been some snags along the way and some learning curves. So in celebrating our one year anniversary, here are the pros and cons for living full time in a RV.


1. Change of scenery!

I get restless constantly, no matter where I live. I was getting tired of being forced to live in a place for a year minimum. Life was too unpredictable and I didn’t like not having the option of moving. In a RV, our home stays the same, but we’re constantly moving. I love being able to move around whenever we want to. 

2. Less cleaning

I was tired of constantly cleaning our last place, even though it was only 800 sq. Ft. While this place does get dirtier sooner, it also takes way less time to clean. It leaves me more time to actually live life and enjoy time with my family.

3. Cheap traveling

We didn’t travel often in the past, because hotels were just too expensive for us. However, with a RV, we take our home with us and we can find places that are 1/3 to 1/2 cheaper than most hotel rooms (and that’s the cheaper hotel rooms we’re talking about.) It saves us tons of money when we travel that can be used for way more useful or fun things. 

4. Less spending

I used to love to window shop many stores. Now, I no longer do it as much, because where on earth would I store it in this trailer? With 5 people living in 350 sq. Ft., there isn’t much room for decorations. Looking at furniture is out too. Almost all the furniture is already provided, so there’s no point in even looking. Besides, that money needs to go to way more important things, like everyday basics! 

5. Cheaper living

Notice I said cheaper, not cheap.  There are definitely ways to save money while living in a RV. Our rent right now is about $850 a month, which is amazing for this area! So it can be done!


1. Rent can be expensive.

So how is this category be in both pros and cons? If we were paying full price in the Pacific Northwest area, our total “rent” would come out to between $1300-$1700 a month. For that price, I could easily rent a small two or three bedroom apartment or house. However, if you can find the right place, you can get that number lowered significantly (as our $850 a month proves.)

2. Heating costs are ridiculously expensive

Well, for an RV. In the winter time, this RV can get freezing cold. We figured out our average propane cost for the winter months is about $200. In the summer, our propane costs are about $25.

3. No washer and dryer.

There is no washer and dryer in this RV, so this can make the laundry complicated. There’s pretty much two options, hand washing or a laundromat. Hand washing is hard work and I would be doing it constantly for 5 people. The laundromat isn’t cheap. Whatever is your preference works. Doesn’t make is any easier though.

4. The black tank

Having to deal with your own waste is a little gross, but part of the RV lifestyle. Thankfully, the whole system is simple and easy. I’m just glad my husband does it for me! 

5. Plastic sinks

Seriously, this is a no go. The sinks stain like crazy, collect a grimy, dirty layer of scum and require this soft scrub to even clean it. One of the main things I have on my list is switching the sinks (especially the bathroom one) to a much easier material to clean, probably metal for it’s lightness. 

6. Not enough room for my books.

Seriously, not enough room. When we moved, I managed to downsize just about everything. Except books. I could never get rid of my books. However, I do have a majority of them in storage until we find a way to stash more books in this place. Surprisingly, my books aren’t the ones causing trouble. It’s the kid’s books that are overflowing and honestly, its getting really annoying. It’s at the top of our to do list to get this problem fixed! (Mostly so I can raid my books in storage and bring a bunch into the RV. I’ve missed them!)


1. No dishwasher

I’ve found out I actually don’t mind washing dishes by hand. I find it much more efficient for a RV, since unless the dishes are washed consistently (several times a day), we tend to run out of dishes very quickly. 

2. Packing up the whole RV to move

While sometimes this can get annoying, we’ve managed to streamline this process and really, it is necessary to move the RV. So I don’t pay much attention and it has the added bonus of forcing me to keep the place clean and picked up.

So here are the pros, cons and even neutrals about living in a RV for me. However, I’m loving this life and am so grateful that we’ve had this opportunity. I’m looking forward to the next year and seeing what it brings!

Would you live in a RV full time?


8 Tips for Preparing Three Meals a Day in a RV

Living in a RV means your kitchen space is tiny. While I do have a bigger than average kitchen than most RV’s, it’s still really small compared to most kitchens in a house. So how do I cook for a family of five in a tiny RV kitchen? I’ll tell you how!

1.The fridge is bigger than you think!

I was worried about our fridge at first. It seemed so small compared to our previous full-sized fridge. By the end of the first month, I was pleasantly surprised! While space was tight, by careful arranging of the fridge, I was able to store a week’s worth of groceries, which included 2+ gallons of milk, a gallon of water and a gallon of juice.

2. Clean as you go!

With space so limited, there’s just not a lot of room to spread while you’re cooking. Putting away ingredients that have been used and placing the dirty dishes in the sink really helps keep the counter free.

3. Size your meals correctly.

Most meals we had would give us only one container of leftovers. However, we had some meals that drowned us in leftovers. I had to learn how to cut some recipes down, so we weren’t overwhelmed with food. 

4. Take advantage of the nice weather.

During the summer, lots of meals were cooked on our outdoor grill or stove-top in the outdoor kitchen. This gave us extra room to cook and keep the heat out of the RV. Another fun idea (especially with children) is to make a campfire and make hot dogs over the fire and s’mores for dessert!

5. Keep meals simple.

While possible, cooking a five course meal in a RV is not very practical. Why, you’d drown in dishes alone! So keep it simple. One or two dishes is all you need for a good meal.

6. Keep up on your dishes.

There’s not many dishes you can pile in the sink before they overflow. Plus, every meal you make adds more dishes. Getting the dishes cleaned consistently is one of the best tips I can offer. There are many times I haven’t wanted to make dinner because it would just add more dishes to an already huge dirty dish pile. 

7. Buy only what you need.

Buying something “just because” will fill up your pantry/refrigerator space faster than anything else. It can make it difficult to keep your kitchen organized and may keep you out of the kitchen because of how hard everything is to access.

8. Make simple meals from scratch.

One of the biggest space wasters in any kitchen is prepackaged goods, like bread, crackers, chips, etc. I’m not saying get rid of them all together, but try to narrow them down into the ones most used. I’m trying to narrow down my pantry to two types of bread, tortilla chips and crackers for my kids. Everything else is just an ingredient. 

So here are some tips to prepare multiple meals a day in a small RV kitchen. While the space might be tiny, it is definitely possible and even just as enjoyable as a regular kitchen. I hope this has helped you!

What are some tips that you’ve used to cook in a small kitchen?


How to Hand Wash Laundry in a RV

A lot of the fancier RVs these day have a washer/dryer combo installed on them. This makes it fantastically easy to do your laundry while on a trip or living in a RV as long as you have full hookups. However, the travel trailer we live in doesn’t have one of those handy gadgets. So that leaves two options to getting your laundry done: laundromat or hand washing. Neither are my favorite, to be honest. However, we are blessed to live close to my parent’s for now, so when we go to church on Sunday, we bring all our laundry from the week and wash it. If we don’t finish our laundry before we head home, my mom will finish washing and drying the clothes and then put them in garbage bags for us to transfer home. I do all the folding at home before putting them away. 

There are those times when we’re sick and can’t make it on Sunday or we need something washed that day. Packing up three young children to go to the laundromat is a bit excessive in my opinion, especially since I would be there for hours. Even the RV parks that have a coin operated laundry on site do not appeal to me. In the 9+ months that we’ve been living full time in our RV, we’ve only been to a laundromat once and that was a couple weeks ago! (Our son peed all over our bed, so we needed the sheets washed before bed that night). 

So that leaves us with hand washing. The best way to do it is with a bathtub; unfortunately our RV only comes with a shower. So the next best thing is a 5 gallon bucket. I also have a mobile washer (it’s like a plastic toilet plunger with holes in it) that I bought years ago. That’s really all you need besides your dirty laundry and laundry soap.

Washing clothes by hand really isn’t that hard and is easily achieved in just a few steps. The only part that I find difficult is wringing out jeans or pants. You can buy a wringer for that, but they tend to be over $100 for a good quality one that won’t fall apart, so we haven’t gotten one yet. Anyways, here are the basic steps to do your laundry at home.

Step 1: Gather the clothes you need washed. How many pieces you can wash at a time is dependent on your container size. For a five gallon bucket, I usually can fit in a couple pairs of underwear, a couple shirts and a few pieces of my kids clothing. These go about halfway up my bucket. Any more than that and there wont be enough room to fully wash the clothes. Add clothes to your container.

Step 2: Fill bucket 3/4 full with water (I wash with cold water), making sure clothes get fully soaked. (I do all of this in shower, making spills easily go down the drain and easy to drain/fill the bucket.)

Step 3: Add a tiny amount of laundry soap. I use Trader Joe’s laundry soap which is highly concentrated and only put in a tablespoon of soap at the most. 

Step 4: Using mobile plunger, plunge clothes for 5 minutes (or 10 minutes if using bathtub or bigger container). Drain.

Step 5: Fill with water again.

Step 6: Plunge clothing again for 2 minutes. Drain.

Step 7: Pull out each item and wring out as much water as possible. Hang clothes to dry.

I hang the clothes in my bathroom, draped over the shower and cabinet doors. Our shower is a corner shower, so I can’t add a shower bar inside to hang our clothes on that. If your shower doesn’t have that problem, place a spring loaded shower/curtain rod high up in the shower and use hangers to hang the clothes for drying.

The picture above shows when we were living on private property and had permission to hang up a clothesline (really just rope tied around a few trees). All the campgrounds I have looked into and stayed at since then have not allowed this. So using the shower/bath is the perfect solution (also great for wintertime no matter where you live!).

So this is what we do for our clothes. While I haven’t done all our laundry by this method, it’s so useful for when we miss a week of laundry or need something washed right away. My aim is to be able to hand wash everything except our bedding, rather than relying on someone else or the laundromat for our laundry. In our setup, bedding is almost impossible, so while traveling, we will be using a laundromat for those items. 

How do you do your laundry in your RV?



10 Items to Make Full Time RV Living Easier


In this recent post, 10 Necessities for the First Time RV Owner, we covered the basics needed for RV living.

In this one, we will cover the extra things you can buy to make life easier while living in a RV (especially if you full-time). While none of these items are absolutely needed for a good time in a RV, they are definitely helpful. Here are the 10 items we have found helpful for the RV lifestyle

1.Water Splitter

Good for when you want higher water pressure than an outdoor (or indoor!) shower can provide. (Don’t install while someone is trying to use the water in the RV; ends in unhappiness!) 

2. Shower Faucet

Stock shower faucets aren’t great. Up your water pressure and extend your hot water with an upgrade.

3. Cover for Roof Vents

To keep water out so you can have airflow even if it rains.

4. Aftermarket Towel Hanger

Great for when you need to hang more than two towels.

5. Racks for Kitchen Cupboards

Doubles your cabinet space.

6. Storage Containers

We have deep storage areas under our benches in the bunkhouse (we have a dinette that can be converted into a bunk bed). It was not really practical to store anything under them. Two plastic storage bins that fit the space and we’re good to go! Easy access to all we need (we store toys under one and extra kid linens and dress-up clothes in the other).

7. Hangers with Wire Hooks

We originally started with cheap plastic hangers. I was surprised to discover that the hook part was so thick that they barely went over the bars in our little closet. We have since upgraded to coated wire hangers from Ikea. The wire hangers are about twice as thin as the plastic ones were and have made accessing our clothes much easier.

8. Command Velcro Picture Hangers

These have been invaluable for hanging our pictures and artwork around the RV. Nothing has ever shifted in our moves, yet I can still access our picture frames to change our family pictures. Plus, If I ever decide to change something, I can remove the hangings from the wall with no damage.

9. Dehumidifier

During the winter time, water condensation collects like crazy throughout the house. We learned this the hard way. With showers being taken, dishes washed, water boiled, food cooked and no ventilation, we had water collecting everywhere. I was wiping down exterior walls constantly and cleaning up mold and mildew on the underside of the couch, the kitchen cabinets and the window sills. If you’re going to live in a RV during the winter, a dehumidifier is so helpful! We bought this one and we love it!

10. Compact Cleaning Supplies

With no place to store full sized brooms, mops and vacuums, how were we going to keep things clean? This was solved slowly, with lots of research and looking. Most RV supply stores have compact brooms, so that was easy. Next was a vacuum. We finally found a hand vac that also had a head and arm extension to make a tiny vacuum cleaner that you could stand up straight and use. Last was a mop. My goal was to find one with a re-usable cleaning head, as we were mopping often!

In the end, these 10 items are very helpful to living full time in the RV. Each and every things is being used constantly and I’m glad to have them!

What items do you feel are useful to make full time RV living easier?



6 Things to Consider When Buying a RV for Full Time Living

So this is a picture when we first bought our new home in August! When we first started looking into buying a RV, we always knew it would be our new home. We would be living in our new RV full-time. So from the beginning, I had a pretty specific list of things I was looking for, to make full-time living in a RV easier. Most of this was based on extensive research that I had done. While some of my requirements may be a bit unconventional, I was happy to have had this list when we started our hunt. Here is my list of things to consider when buying a RV for full time living.

          1.Future Family Plans – We had been planning on buying a RV since we were expecting our first child. However, we always knew that we wanted more children. I decided early on that the minimum bed space we would accept would be the master bedroom (queen size minimum) and a quad bunkhouse. That way, I can comfortably sleep my husband and I, plus 4-6 children without having to pull out the couch every night. This has served us well, as we have three children and plan on more in the future. As of right now, only one bunk is occupied in the bunkhouse (our two girls are still small enough to share a bed).

          2. Bathroom Placement – Most bathrooms in travel trailers are placed next to the bunkhouse, not the main bedroom. While that would work for vacationing, that was not okay with me. When we bought our trailer, I was seven months pregnant with our third child, meaning I was constantly using the bathroom in the middle of the night. I did not want to be walking to the other end of the RV in the middle of the night, just to use the bathroom. It would have also made showering more complicated. Our bathroom is right next to our bedroom and even has an extra door that leads into the bedroom. Though as a seven month pregnant woman, it was easier to go out the bedroom door and use the main bathroom door. Squeezing between the wall and the bed to access the bathroom was almost impossible those last few months!

         3. Interior Doors – Yes, I just said doors. Most RVs only have pocket doors or curtains that separate rooms. Living with young children, I wanted actual doors that could close and even lock if necessary! In our RV, the main bathroom door, bedroom door and bunkhouse door all have regular house doors (though a bit smaller). The bathroom even has a lock!

         4. Outdoor Living Space – While not a necessity, an outdoor extension of your living space is a wonderful things during the summertime. Our RV has an outdoor kitchen, complete with a mini fridge, gas burners and a sink. On the nice days you can’t imagine being inside, an outdoor kitchen is amazing. As an added bonus, during the winter it double as extra storage. Can’t beat that!

         5. Kitchen Space – When I was looking into the different RVs, I noticed that most RV kitchens are TINY. I couldn’t imagine all my kitchen items fitting in them. Kitchen space was important to me, as I’m home all day and have a family of five to feed. So we found a model that has an island, adding valuable work space, as well as cabinet space, and has a pantry, perfect for all the basic baking supplies and bulk foods I had. We have more than double the space of most RVs. I was even able to fit the majority of my kitchen items!

         6. Storage Space – Last, but definitely not least, the all important storage space. Most RVs these days have an amazing amount of storage space. This was especially important to us, as we live in our RV full time, have multiple young children and are planning on homeschooling our children. Everyone’s needs are different, but storage space is essential.

This was our list of things we considered for living full-time in a RV. In the end, we were able to meet these six goals admirably in our RV. However, your list may look different than mine and that’s awesome!

What are some things you would have to have for full-time RV living?