February 7, 2022

Are you planning to rent a motorhome to go on a winter RV trip? Are you wondering what to pack for winter RVing? We have the answers for you ... read on.

We tend to see a huge increase in road traffic during the summer months. Schools are out, the weather is nice, and everybody is ready to head to the beach or the lake or another scenic location.

But, of course, there are people out there who enjoy traveling no matter what season it is. Canadian winters, depending on where you are, can be brutal or mild. The one constant might be that you never really know what kind of weather to expect.

If RVing is for you, and you want to see the Canadian wilderness in all its winter glory, you may pause to consider whether heading out on the road in the winter months is safe at all. Here at Canadream, we believe that the safety of any vacation lies in how you prepare beforehand.

In this case, we don’t want the winter season to delay your travel plans, so here's some suggestions from us on what to pack for your winter RV trip. If you leave prepared, you will never be caught off-guard, no matter what freezing temperatures and nature throws at you.

Once you feel confident enough to head out on the road, choose the right RV or camper rental for you to stay warm and comfortable on your wintry journey!

Friends roasting weiners over a campfire in winter

Winter Camping Essential Gear Checklist

If camping during any season is like bringing a miniature version of your house with you, then camping during the winter is an intensified version of that. That’s because, in winter, you need to bring items that you may or may not need at all, depending on the weather you get. From the comfort of your own home, you may tend to take all these basic items for granted. That means it’s easy to forget about them when it comes time to pack up your RV and head out into the snow.

Let’s review a bunch of those items to help rack your brain.

We’ll break these items down by category, starting with those that run on electricity.

Small Space Heater
If you are camping in a winter RV, you'll enjoy the comfort of the furnace but there may be times when you need an additional heat source and packing a small space heater should be top of the electrical list.  Bear in mind thought that you'll need to be hooked up to an outside power source or using your generator for the space heater to work.

Portable Lights
The winter season obviously brings us much shorter days than we get in spring and summer. So, when you’re RV camping in the winter, you have to be prepared for extended periods of darkness, as well as gray, cloudy conditions during the day. Therefore, it is important to bring multiple strong flashlights along with you on your trip. These can help you find your way in the dark of a forest if you get lost toward dusk, or to see the area around your RV if you need to go outside for any reason at night. Of course, the other benefit of flashlights will become apparent inside the RV if the power ever goes out. You never want to be fumbling around in the dark in the middle of the night because your lights won’t turn on. And, by the way, don’t forget batteries, too!

As long as we are discussing electricity, remember that chargers will also be vital to bring with you on a winter RV trip or really any camping trip. You will need to charge devices such as cell phones, laptops, music players, headphones, and others probably every day. It can be a small catastrophe if you were to forget chargers for these devices at home, and your electronics died within a few days. Check two or three times for your chargers before you leave the house.

Extension Cords
It is also worthwhile to mention briefly that you may also need extension cords for your trip. Let’s say you experience a mild day on your winter RV vacation and want to sit outside for a bit. You may need an extension cord for your powerful electric space heater to reach the little rock alcove where you have chosen to rest. There’s really no telling how many ways extension cords might come in handy, so be sure to bring a few with you, and make sure they’re long enough!

Food Preparation
We now move into the food-preparation section of this checklist. Obviously, this will be one of the most important areas for you to focus on when packing for your winter trip, so let’s get into it.

Coffee pot over a winter campfire

Lighter/Fire Starter
No matter how cold it is, we have a feeling that, if you’re out camping, you will want to cook food over an open fire at some point. If that is the case for you, and you don't wish to strike flint or rub sticks together, then you should remember to bring a lighter or other fire starter with you, and perhaps some lighter fluid. There’s nothing like blackened hot dogs to warm you up on a cold winter day. While you’re at it, remember to bring firewood with you, as well. You can certainly go out and find your own wood if that appeals to you, but if this is a vacation you’re on, why not take it easy on yourself and have chopped wood with you already?

Kitchen Items
The subject of kitchenry encompasses many items, but you know what they are. You also know how easy it can be to forget some of this, since thinking about these basics tends not to occur to us in daily life. If your RV rental doesn't come equipped with them, don’t forget to bring along plates, cups/glasses, utensils, pots and pans, small appliances such as blenders and juicers, and other miscellaneous items such as cutting boards, cutting and steak knives, apple corers, corkscrews, and can openers.

Food will be one of the most essential categories of items to bring with you on the road. Yes, you can stop for food anywhere that’s available, but if you want to stay out in the wilderness--or if your chosen destination is extremely remote--then you will need an ample supply of food. 

And your food will have to be the right kind of food, as in, dry food that will not go bad, or fresh food that you can preserve in the refrigerator or freezer. A decent combination of both types should be enough to keep you going throughout your trip.

For example, your breakfast foods might consist of cereal, yogurt, milk, bread, butter, jelly, bagels, muffins, eggs, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, fruit, and granola. Lunch, meanwhile, could include lunch meat sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, cheese, chips and crackers, and vegetables. Finally, dinners should be more substantial and include items such as chili and cornbread, fresh or frozen meats such as chicken breasts, steak, pork, or fish. Don’t forget the classic camping foods of hamburgers and hot dogs, either. Those are staples that will just make your camping trip what it should be.

But don’t forget about desserts. You don’t have to go crazy here, but s’mores seem like a good idea, as do pies or cobblers. The baked items you can refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready for them.

Festive socks and winter scene

Bathroom Items
Another essential category of camping things to pack for your RV adventure is bathroom items. It should be relatively easy to think of everything you use in the bathroom, since the room tends not to be that large. Everyone uses the same basic items, so don’t forget to bring: toilet paper, tissues, hand soap, bar soap, shampoo, shaving cream and razors, deodorant, and any beauty items you use such as moisturizers or conditioners.

Outdoor Items
We would be remiss if we did not mention some of the outdoor items you might want to have along with you on this RV trip. Depending on the weather you encounter, your winter trek could be mild and pleasant or frigid, snowy, and difficult. You should bring foldable chairs for sitting outside (or rent them with your RV), sufficientl warm clothing, sunscreen (you can get sunburned in winter), bug spray (just in case), hiking equipment such as strong boots and a walking stick, and fishing gear. If you like to fish, your opportunities will be somewhat determined by the weather in your area. If you rent a camper near Vancouver, you know the winters are relatively mild. Perhaps somewhere up northeast, however, the land will be covered by layers of snow and ice, and you may be able to get in some ice fishing.

Couple snowshoeing in winter scene

Odds and Ends
This last group of items contains a mix of things, but don’t let that fool you: these items are just as essential as anything on this checklist. First, don’t forget paper maps or a GPS. It never hurts to have some backup if your sense of direction fails you. Also, as we mentioned earlier, if the power ever goes out and you can’t charge a phone or GPS unit, paper maps can save the day, so don’t count them out as old-fashioned.

Next, be sure to bring some form of spending units with you, meaning cash or credit cards. Depending on where you are going, this may come in handy if you need to purchase something you forgot. Lastly, don’t forget entertainment! Sometimes, you might just want to relax inside the RV. For those times, have some cards or board games along for the ride. They can really save a boring day.

Professional RV Rentals in Canada

There may be other items you think to bring with you on your winter RV trip, but these listed here will cover most of the basic areas. You can probably tell how excited we get talking about RV’ing throughout Canada. We are all about setting up our customers with the right RVs or campers to suit their needs. We are also happy to help our customers figure out some sensible routes to take and places to see. You can use our Canada itinerary planner to get some great ideas!

Join some of young travellers from Quebec in our video below as they discover the joys of an Alberta road trip in winter.

Contact us here at Canadream with any questions on your RV rental or to get recommendations on winter trips to take. We look forward to serving you!

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