How to Keep RV Pipes from Freezing While Camping

how to keep rv pipes from freezing while camping

Camping with your RV is a great luxury. You could enjoy the beautiful comforts of your RV without missing out on the mesmerizing landscaped and sceneries. This fantastic experience can easily turn into a nightmare if your RV pipes froze.

Here is how to keep your RV pipes from freezing while camping. 

How To Keep RV Pipes From Freezing While Camping 

Many ways would prevent your RV pipes from freezing over.

1)- Winterize Your RV

This is an easy and most effective precautionary measure against the freezing temperatures, which might affect your RV pipes. That can be broken down into a few easy steps.

  • Removing Inline Water Filters

This is one of the most basic ways which you can use to prepare against freezing temperatures. If your RV has a sink faucet with an inline water filter, you should remove it instead of installing a bypass hose.

  • Release All The Water From The System 

You should completely drain the water system in your RV—all the tanks and toilets, even the shower. You should open the low point drain lines in your RV to drain it completely. You could use the aid of your 12v pump to help drain out the water as well.  

  • Bypass Water Heater 

Installing a water bypass heater is of utmost importance as, without it, the heater would be filled with antifreeze, which could waster 7-9 gallons. If your RV does not have one installed already, you should consider getting it installed from your nearest installation facility for your next camping trip. 

  • Install Water Pump 

Installing a water pump is detrimental in your RV’s winterizing process, as it would be the one introducing antifreeze to the water system of your RV. 

  • Pressurize The System 

Now you need to use your water pump to transmit antifreeze to all the faucets. You can do this by closing all the faucets except the one closest to the water pump. Start the water pump and keep it running until you see antifreeze come out from the faucet. 

Repeat this process for all the faucets in your RV while choosing a faucet further each time. 

  • Flush Until Antifreeze Appears 

Now you would need to keep on flushing the toilet until the antifreeze appears. You should pour a cup of it down every drain as well as down the toilet.

2)- Insulating The Water Valves

Insulating your water valves is an excellent way to keep your RV warm and the water system in optimum conditions. This could be done by using several different methods. 

  • Using A Skirting 

Using a skirting is an excellent way to keep your RV sealed away, preventing the cold air from outside to steal away the comforts of the RV.

You can apply a skirting on the outer layers of your RV. The harsh winter could freeze your RV pipes from underneath, so using a skirting would shield your pipes and insulate the RV. The trick over here is to apply it as tightly as possible and get it to a perfect fit, for the best results. 

  • Heating Lamp 

 These should be carried in the RV at all times if you are traveling to cold regions. As in most RV’s the water tanks are located at the exterior of the RV. This makes them more susceptible to freezing.  

Carrying a small space heater could melt any ice forming on the tanks or any of the pipes. This could also be used just keep the tanks warm as well. However, these should not be left switched on unsupervised.

  • Dumping Only Full Tanks

As half tanks are more likely to freeze than full tanks, you should only dump tanks when they are full. You should make sure to save about 1/4th of the tank when you are dumping. This would prevent freezing as well.  

  • Tank Heater 

Tank heaters could be an excellent solution to prevent it from freezing. There are many designs of tank heater which would shield your tank even in freezing temperatures. However, the most practical one is an electric blanket that would get wrapped around your tank to prevent it from freezing.

3)- Insulating Your RV

Insulating your RV would also act as a protective shield for your water tanks. If the RV could stay warm, it would easily protect the pipes attached to the cold as well. You can accomplish by starting with the windows.

You should start by identifying any faults in the sealing of the windows or the doors. You would probably not notice these things in the summer, but they are crucial to identify in winter. If there any breakages, you should seal them up or replace them 

Next, you should use the power of reflective insulation. The amount of heat lost through glass is immensely valuable while camping. You should line up your RV windows with a reflective foil of window film to provide top-notch insulation. This is exceptionally cost-effective, as well.

Another great technique to make your RV properly insulated is using foam boards. These are some of the best materials to lay your floor with. As the foam is a very light and comfortable material, it would be perfect for carrying on your next camping trip. An alternative to foam boards could be heavy carpets, preferably made out of wool.

4)- Recovering A Frozen Hose 

In a scenario where all your efforts still could not keep out the cold and led to your hose being frozen might seem like an impossible situation to get out from. However, you can avoid this completely by following these easy steps:

  • Using A Heat Gun 

First, you would require a heat gun’s assistance to melt all the excessive amounts of ice on the hose. You need to be very careful as you do not want to damage the hose in this process. A substitute for a heat gun is a hairdryer.

  • Disconnect The Hose 

After you have successfully melted the ice, you would need to disconnect the hose from the main system. 

  • Warm The Hose 

As now the hose is disconnected, you should warm it by bringing it inside the RV to heat it. You could leave it in the shower as well, for it drains out all its contents.

  • Reinstall The Hose

After you are confident that it has completely unfrozen, you should attach it back to the main water system. This should be done after checking that it has not been damaged at all. 

You should prepare for the worst, so you should never let your tank get full, because if water freezes, it would heavily damage the tank. This is because water expands after it has been frozen. 


There are many precautions you would need to take before taking your RV to a camping trip in freezing temperatures. That is the true cost of enjoying the luxuries which come with the RV. I hope this has been informative enough for you to know how to keep RV pipes from freezing while camping. 

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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