Where to Store Your RV for the Winter
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If you want to store your camper for the winter, you've got a few options, from simple and cheap to surprisingly pricey.
After an adventure-filled summer of travel, the time has come to store your RV for the winter off-season. Besides winterizing your camper, choosing the right storage location can mean the difference between effortlessly returning to travel next spring or spending time and money repairing winter weather damage.
Why Store Your Camper?
Storing your camper during the winter will protect it from rain, snow and freezing temperatures that can cause extensive damage to the inside and outside of your RV. There are two main options: a private residence or a commercial facility. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the one that’s best for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
Storing Your Camper At a Private Residence
Storing your camper at your home is the simplest, most convenient and most affordable option.
First, check with your city and county zoning offices, along with your homeowners association (HOA) if applicable, to see if they impose any restrictions on storing an RV at home. Some areas may prohibit storing it on your property. Others may allow it in certain areas, like your backyard, while restricting it in others, like your driveway.
Depending on local regulations, the size of your camper and the space required, you can store your RV:
In your garage: This is the best way to protect it from the elements, and it avoids any local restrictions on outdoor storage. The main disadvantage is that your camper will take up a huge amount of storage space in your garage.
In your driveway: Your driveway is a convenient solution if you lack garage space. The main downside is also space — it might prevent you from parking your primary vehicle there. It also leaves your RV exposed to the elements, so it’s best to invest in a carport or camper cover to keep it protected. Also, driveway storage is the most likely to be restricted by cities, counties and HOAs.
In your backyard: Not everyone’s backyard is large or accessible enough to accommodate a camper, but yours could offer a free storage solution if the above two aren’t available. Like driveway storage, backyard storage leaves your RV exposed to the elements, so it will need additional protection. A camper in your backyard can also be an eyesore while taking up lots of space.
If none of these options are possible (or desirable), you can ask a close friend or family member if you can store your camper at their home. You can offer to pay them, and hopefully agree on a rate that’s less than a commercial rental space. Failing that, renting a storage space is probably your best choice.
Storing Your Camper at a Storage Space
RV storage facilities are located all over the country, with options to accommodate a wide range of storage needs and budgets. Storage facilities offer heightened security features and options for indoor heating, periodic inspections and maintenance.
The downsides? You have to pay a sometimes steep monthly fee; accessing and inspecting your camper will be less convenient than home storage options; and your camper could be hit by other vehicles at the facility.
The risk of collision damage is greater with certain types of storage spaces (like uncovered outdoor), so consider maintaining comprehensive insurance on your camper for uncovered and unprotected spaces. Although some facilities offer limited liability coverage for an additional fee, most don’t insure against damage that occurs on site.
Some insurance providers offer affordable storage-only insurance that covers weather damage and vandalism, but not collisions. That can be a good alternative to comprehensive coverage for campers stored in covered spaces.
Keeping these factors in mind, your options for storage include:
Outdoor storage: This is the cheapest, typically ranging between $30 to $100+ a month depending on your RV’s size and whether the space is covered or uncovered. Unsurprisingly, uncovered storage is cheaper than covered, but covered storage reduces the risk of weather and collision damage. It’s pretty easy to find outdoor spaces for any size RV.
Indoor storage: The next step up is indoor storage. This option offers the highest level of security and protection from collision and weather damage, but at a price. Indoor storage costs between $50 and $500 a month. Unheated storage space is less expensive than heated and there may be a limited selection of spaces for a large RV.