RVs Made For Four Seasons [11 Top Models For 2023]

What makes an RV suitable for all-weather camping? Is there even such a thing as a four season RV? Taking a look at the parameters that make motorhomes, travel trailers and 5th wheels true four season RV's - along with examples of brands currently available on the market.

RVs Are Made For Four Seasons, although not every model can withstand extreme weather. For comfortable camping year-round, you need a recreational vehicle designed for diverse weather conditions.

Our interest in four-season RVs sparked recently during a chat about future RV trips to colder places. The term, often used by salespeople and on various websites, seemed important yet unclear for our planned trip to Alaska.

In this article, we explain the four-season abilities in RVs, showing you key features needed for cold weather. We've curated a list of the best four-season RV models based on their cold-weather performance and resilience.

We’ve also addressed common queries about RVs crafted for year-round camping to assist you in making a well-informed investment. With the right all-weather recreational vehicle, you can explore nature's beauty in any season!

Assessing Your Year-Round RV Requirements

Planning for year-round RVing means being ready for all kinds of weather. The RV you need depends on the weather at your destination.

The goal is to find an RV that suits your camping style. A four season camper is good for year-round trips, offering comfort and flexibility. If you camp only in warmer months, a regular camper might be better.

The weather your RV faces is affected by the place, the height above sea level (elevation), and the wind. For example, Alaska has very cold winters, so you'd need an RV that's well-insulated.

Some places can get very cold if they're high up, even if they're not usually cold places. Wind can also make a place feel colder, especially in open areas or under bridges.

Evaluating Your Needs Through Scenarios

Thinking through different situations helps you understand what you need:

  • On I-10 in January, temperatures stay above freezing (32°F). A well-insulated RV can help save on propane costs.
  • Camping on the Oregon coast in December can be windy and cold. Using skirting to block the wind helps, but having a strong furnace is key. Full weatherproofing isn’t as crucial here.
  • If you plan on skiing in Colorado in April, you’ll need a true 4 season RV. Without heating underneath, you risk losing utilities and facing damage in the extreme cold.
  • In February, the Alaskan Highway can drop below freezing (0°F). Many RVs aren’t built to handle this kind of cold.

Look at your usual camping spots, how high they are above sea level, wind conditions, and typical temperatures to help choose your RV. You aim to find the right fit.

Features and Cost Considerations for a Four Season RV

The term "Four Season RV" is common, but there's no standard industry definition. Various brands categorize certain models as four season RVs according to their own criteria.

These labels give some insight, but they are not officially regulated. Besides knowing these features, it's key to consider the costs of managing temperature year-round. This is over and above the initial RV purchase price.

Temperature Capabilities

The term "four seasons" hints at resilience against both summer heat and winter cold. However, the focus predominantly veers towards winter resilience. Good insulation is helpful all year.

However, many windows and thin roofs in RVs can let in heat during summer. This makes some Four Season RVs less suitable for hot temperatures.

A typical four season RV can keep you cozy down to 32°F. But it doesn't guarantee warmth below freezing. These RVs outshine others in retaining warmth.

The elite category of "True Four Season" RVs extends the comfort threshold down to 0°F for cold-weather camping.

Cooling Expenses

Cooling costs depend on your A/C's power and the RV's size. While good insulation is a boon, it might fall short in temperatures over 100°F. Running the A/C uses energy, so better insulation can lower summer cooling costs.

Heating Expenses

In winter, insulation retains heat, but generating heat is key. A decent supply of propane can keep most RVs warm above freezing.

However, the rate at which propane is consumed escalates as the RV sheds heat. A four season RV, with its superior insulation, can be a cost-saver, curtailing winter heating expenses.

Four Season RV Essential Features Checklist

To ensure comfort and functionality in your RV throughout all seasons, especially during harsh winter conditions, it's crucial to look for certain features.

1. Wall and Ceiling Insulation

  • Insulation Types: RV insulation effectiveness is measured by the R-value, which indicates its resistance to heat flow. Common insulation types include Fiberglass, Spray Foam, Rigid Foam, and Reflective Foil. Each has its pros and cons concerning cost, installation ease, and effectiveness. (See Table Below)
  • RV Insulation and R-Value: A high R-value indicates better insulation, making it harder for heat to escape the RV during cold weather.

Insulation Type Pros Cons
Fiberglass Affordable, widely available Can sag over time and can be difficult to install
Spray Foam High R-value, good for sealing gaps Expensive, can be difficult to repair
Rigid Foam High R-value, moisture-resistant,
good for preventing air infiltration
Costly, installation may be complex,
may not conform to irregular spaces
Reflective Foil Effective in reflecting heat, durable, moisture resistant Not as effective as other types of insulation in cold climates, can be noisy
Summary Table Of Types Of Insulation In An RV

2. Dual-pane Thermal Windows

  • Thermal or dual-pane windows provide better insulation than single-pane windows, reducing heat loss during cold days.

3. Heated and Enclosed Underbelly (Tanks)

  • Protecting the tanks and pipes from freezing is crucial for winter camping. A heated underbelly keeps the water systems functional even in sub-freezing temperatures.

4. Hatch Covers

  • Replacing vented hatches with firm covers helps in retaining heat. A dark-colored hatch cover can also absorb more sunlight, providing additional warmth.

5. Water and Plumbing

  • Pex pipes are flexible and less likely to rupture if the water inside them freezes, making them a better choice for cold-weather RVing.
  • Make sure that the RV has an insulated water tank, as well as a water heater that is capable of providing hot water even in cold temperatures.

6. Primary Heating Systems

  • Furnace:

    • Description: A standalone unit that warms the air and sends it into the RV through vents.
    • Cost Efficiency: Affordable and easy to install.
    • Performance: Can be noisy and may not distribute heat evenly.
    • Quality: Opt for a robust furnace, preferably with a minimum of 30K BTUs, to keep the space warm during extremely cold conditions.

  • Ducted Heating System:

    • Description: Uses a central unit to warm air and distribute it through ducts in the walls and ceiling.
    • Performance: More efficient and quieter compared to a furnace.
    • Cost: More expensive and potentially more complex to install.
    • Heat Distribution: Ensure effective heat distribution throughout the RV to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

7. Air Conditioning and Beyond

  • Most RVs are equipped with a standard air conditioning system for the warmer months. For colder areas, consider an RV with a heat pump, providing both heating and cooling, ensuring comfort in different climates.

8. Protection Against Elements

  • Battling Extreme Temperatures:

    • Winter’s bitter cold can freeze your RV's pipes and water tanks, causing damage. Some RV models have propane-powered furnaces with fans to spread warmth efficiently, keeping the interior warm and protecting against freezing outdoor temperatures.

  • Weather Packages:

    • RV manufacturers offer specialized weather packages like the Arctic Package or Elemental Protection Package for cold-weather escapades. These may include additional insulation, heated floors, and other amenities. Evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of each package, aligning them with your needs and financial plan.

9. RV Skirting

  • Description: Skirting adds a protective layer around the bottom of your RV to prevent the chill factor of the wind from going underneath the RV floor.
  • Types: Skirting can be more sturdy and permanent for winterizing an RV for storage or more temporary for camping in harsh weather.
  • Installation: Products like the one below allow you to install hooks beforehand and quickly hang the skirting upon reaching your camping site, helping to conserve heat and reduce heating costs.

Click Here To See This RV Skirting On Amazon

Real-World Examples of Four Season RVs

It's important to note that four season RVs are available in almost every category or class. The classification into a four-season RV depends on the manufacturer's investment in the features detailed above.

Some of the top manufacturers of four season RVs include Outdoors RV, Heartland, Northwood, Grand Design, Keystone, and Forest River.

With that in mind, we chose to provide examples categorized by the type of four-season RV. If you are unfamiliar with these categories, refer to our post about the various types of RVs.

Four Season Motorhomes

True four-season motorhomes are rare and typically deemed suitable for three-season camping. Built on a truck or bus chassis, they provide living amenities inside.

Jayco Redhawk RV

They are classified as Class A (largest), Class B (smallest), and Class C (mid-sized). They are more spacious, easier to maneuver, and offer more features than travel trailers.

However, they are pricier, need a special license to drive, and may be less fuel-efficient than travel trailers.

In near-freezing temperatures, owners of Class A, B, and C RVs often seek warmer areas. A common wintering answer for Class A RV owners is "In Florida."

These rigs are not bad at insulation or winter camping. Class A RVs have plumbing and tanks in closed compartments, which makes heating them easy.

The challenge is driving; RVers avoid navigating large Class A coaches on icy roads. Class A owners often tow a small car, or "toad," for campground transport, though it's ill-suited for winter driving.

When compared to towing vehicles of travel trailers and 5th wheels, the drawbacks of winter camping in Class A become clear. Some motorhomes suggested as good Four Seasons rigs are:

1. Jayco Redhawk Class C

The Redhawk boasts good insulation, with bead foam used to create a StrongholdVBL™ roof, floor, and sidewall.

The bead-foam insulation has an R-24 max value for the roof, R-9 max for the floor, and R-5 max for the walls. Additionally, the holding tanks are enclosed and heated.

The Redhawk stands out from other Jayco Class C models due to its 31,000-BTU furnace. It features a 15,000 BTU ducted A/C, a 30,000 BTU auto-ignition furnace, and an electric fireplace (26M).

The Redhawk floor plan offers family-friendly designs with sleeping spaces designed to provide comfort for everyone. It sleeps up to 7 people, with a length ranging from 26' 8" to 32' 6", and prices starting at $151,000.

2. Tiffin Wayfarer Class C

Though there's no official statement on its four-season compatibility, Tiffin has features that suggest it fits in the four season category.

With its 30 k BTU propane ducted furnace, heated mirrors, and 12V pad heaters on black, fresh, & grey tanks, the Wayfarer is suited for cold weather.

It features a 15,000-BTU Air Conditioner, an Elwell Timberline Hydronic Heating System, and heated fresh and holding tanks via tank pads and a heat duct. With multiple floor plans available, the MSRP is $216,000.

3. Winnebago Revel Class B

The Revel, just over 19 ft long, is Winnebago's first 4WD and All-Season Class B RV. It has fresh water and greywater tanks, both insulated for winter camping.

The black water cassette is housed inside the vehicle, accessible through an external door. The Hydronic Heating System provides comfortable, quiet heating controlled by a user-friendly LED touchscreen panel.

Winnebago is a trusted and loved brand, so fans are happy to have a Four Season Class B option from them. The price starts at $210,000.

Four Season 5th Wheel & Travel Trailers

Now, let's move on to the towable options. If you're not sure about the difference between a travel trailer and a 5th wheel, here's a brief explanation:

Travel trailers are towable RVs designed to be hitched to and towed by a truck or SUV. They come in various sizes and styles, ranging from small teardrop trailers to larger models. An advantage of travel trailers is cost-effectiveness.

travel trailer at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Additionally, they offer more flexibility in towing and can be detached from the vehicle, allowing you to use the vehicle for other purposes. However, they can be difficult to maneuver in tight spaces and windy conditions.

A 5th Wheel is hitched directly to the bed of a pickup truck, providing a more stable towing experience. This design makes 5th wheels less prone to swaying in windy conditions and easier to maneuver.

We group them together in this post as many RV manufacturers offer both travel trailers and 5th wheels, sometimes in the same product line. Hence, the descriptions below will often refer to both types of towable RVs.

Let's explore some examples of Four Season 5th Wheel and Travel Trailers:

4. Northwood Arctic Fox

The Northwood Arctic Fox has more than just basic insulation. It also has extra features for winter camping, including heated holding tanks that keep the tanks warm and prevent freezing issues.

An auto-ignition furnace with 1,000 BTUs is a powerful furnace ready to combat the cold at a moment's notice. Multi-layered substrate walls with high-density block foam insulation add an extra layer of insulation to keep the cold at bay.

Thermal pane windows provide an additional shield against cold temperatures. An air ducting system ensures the even distribution of warm air within the RV.

The Arctic Fox starts at around $82,000. With good insulation and heating, it's made for year-round camping.

Lance Camper (Four Seasons Comfort Package)

Lance Camper ensures comfort in cooler weather with its Four Seasons Comfort Package, which comes standard on all models except the 650.

The package includes features like a ducted heating system that directs warmth into insulated tanks, safeguarding plumbing valves and lines against cold.

When paired with a powerful 30,000 BTU furnace and 14,800 BTU AC, climate control is well-managed. The walls and roof are insulated with Azdel to provide a robust insulation strategy.

Insulated hatch covers and dual pane windows act as an extra shield against cold temperatures. Before buying, explore the features of different models to find one that fits your cold-weather needs.

5. Forest River Cherokee Arctic Wolf

The Cherokee Arctic Wolf stands out with a potent 35,000 BTU furnace, ensuring the interior stays toasty. The robust insulation covering the walls, flooring, and underbelly retains warmth effectively.

An optional fireplace can add an additional 5,200 BTUs, making the interiors snug. Powerful roof vents ensure steady air circulation. A 15,000 BTU A/C unit keeps the interior cool during the summer heat.

Thermo windows prevent heat loss while offering clear views. The Arctic Wolf has upgrades like a weatherproof roof, insulated Upper Deck, laminated foam walls, and enhanced fiberglass high gloss sidewalls. The Arctic Wolf handles cold climates well and starts around $70,000.

6. Heartland Bighorn

Heartland maintains a modest marketing approach, not mentioning four seasons as a standout feature, but the RV features reflect a commitment to excellence.

The Bighorn 5th wheel handles cold climates with its weatherproof roof, R-9 laminated walls, and R-11 ceiling insulation. Powerful vents circulate air to prevent moisture buildup.

The optional 5,200 BTU propane fireplace and 15,000 BTU A/C add interior comfort. Thermo R-5 windows retain heat while allowing views. This $90,000 5th wheel works for three-season camping plus mild winters down to around 20°F.

Upgrades like heated holding tanks allow off-grid winter camping. Heartland balances cold weather resilience with family-friendly amenities.

7. Outdoors RV

Outdoors RV makes sturdy four-season 5th wheels and trailers for year-round use, even in very cold weather.

Outdoors RV models have Mountain Extreme Thermal Windows to retain heat. The Mountain Series features reflective insulation on the slide-out, underbelly and tanks. R-7 fiberglass insulation in the roof provides cold protection.

The bedroom ceiling vent is also insulated, and the XL furnace shows Outdoors RV's commitment to ample heating even in extreme cold. A 2-inch aluminum frame and fiberglass cap on all walls of the RV provide durability.

Additionally, it has fiberglass hard wall panels on all sides to protect against weather. These well-insulated models start around $70,000 MSRP.

8. Jayco Eagle

With its durable build and climate features, the Jayco Eagle ensures comfort in any season and starts at around $60,900.

It has a sturdy aluminum StrongholdVBL frame, vacuum-bonded walls, and a 20-year Magnum Truss roof. The Climate Shield technology is rigorously zero-degree tested.

A heated, ducted underbelly and 35,000 BTU furnace fight the winter chill. Extra insulation throughout retains warmth. The Helix Cooling System has insulated, directional A/C vents.

Large return vents with user-accessible filters provide fresh, cool summer air. Solar reflective windows reduce heat gain, keeping the interior comfortable on sunny days. PEX plumbing withstands freezing for reliable water.

9. Oliver Legacy Elite

The compact Oliver Legacy Elite starts at $73,500 and strongly protects against harsh weather for year-round adventure.

It has an EZ Winterizing System and MaxxFan to circulate interior warmth from the LP furnace. The 6-gallon water heater provides hot water even when freezing. An 11,000 BTU Dometic A/C and thermostat fight the summer heat.

A quieter Truma A/C is also available. It comes with 20-lb propane tanks standard, upgradable to 30-lb. Overall, the well-designed Legacy Elite enables enjoyable year-round outdoor living.

10. Keystone Montana

Starting around $90,000, the Keystone Montana withstands diverse conditions. It has R-44 insulation and a heated underbelly to maintain warmth down to zero degrees. Triple pane windows and weatherproofing prevent drafts.

A large furnace and tankless water heater provide cold climate comfort. Tanks are heated and insulated to avoid freezing. Dual propane tanks ensure ample winter fuel.

Add solar panels and lithium batteries for off-grid use. A 50-amp AC unit keeps you cool in summer. With luxury amenities and true all-weather performance, the Montana excels for four-season travel.

11. Airstream Classic

The Airstream Classic’s robust features make it a reliable companion on chilly winter nights or hot summer days. The Silent Hydronic Heating System lies at the core of its climate control.

This quiet but strong system warms the RV. The RV's QuietStream A/C and heat pump keep inside temperatures comfy all year. An electronic thermostat smoothly controls the temperature.

A built-in winterization kit readies the RV for cold weather. The thermal barrier protects the inside from extreme outdoor temps. Multiple insulation layers come standard, boosting the RV's ability to keep a cozy indoor climate.

The aluminum walls and ceiling enhance the insulation. An internally routed A/C line directs moisture to the wheel well, preventing cold weather issues. The Airstream Classic starts at $188,000.

Lightweight Travel Trailers For Four Seasons

If you're looking for a lightweight 4 season travel trailer, some good options include:

These trailers are lightweight and easy to tow. They have the necessary insulation, heating, and cooling systems for all-season camping.

Beyond the Basics: 3 Advanced Four-Season RV Considerations

This section explores more specialized aspects of four-season RVs for those with particular needs or interests — used units, Class A luxury, or boondocking.

1. Used Four Season RVs

When looking for a used four-season RV, careful inspection of the heating systems is a must. Also, ensure the RV insulation has no gaps or damage. Examine the plumbing system for signs of freeze damage.

Test appliances and features to ensure all is working correctly. A pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic is highly recommended.

While used RVs come at a lower price point, be ready to invest in repairs and upgrades to get your secondhand four-season RV ready for harsh weather. If you're looking for a used 4-season camper, some good options to consider include:

  • Airstream Classic - These hold their value well and are built to last.
  • Lance - Lance is known for quality four season models.
  • Arctic Fox - Made by Northwood with excellent features.
  • Keystone Montana - A popular 5th wheel with lots of floorplan options.
  • .Forest River Ultra Lite - Lightweight but made for cold conditions.

You should also research the RV's maintenance history and ask the seller for maintenance records to understand how well the previous owner cared for it.

2. Class A Motorhomes

While less common, a handful of Class A motorhome manufacturers offer four season-capable luxury models.

The Tiffin Wayfarer and Newmar King Aire have robust heating, insulated walls, heated storage, and weather-resistant chassis. Class A motorhomes' higher clearance and storage can be advantageous in winter.

Just be mindful of the length for navigating icy roads. Proper winter tires are also a must. Overall, a four-season Class A allows luxury winter RVing.

3. Off-Grid Winter Camping

Specific four-season rigs are well-suited for RVers camping off-grid in remote winter locations. Brands like EarthRoamer and Outdoors RV build rugged, well-insulated trailers and 5th wheels designed specifically for off-grid use.

These brands boast large solar arrays, ample battery banks, diesel appliances, and high clearance. These RVs allow you to camp anywhere, regardless of weather, and far from electrical hookups, with smart energy use and preparation.

Prepping/Maintaining Your RV for All Seasons

Routine maintenance prepares your RV for comfortable camping in any weather. Follow these tips:

Seasonal Maintenance

  • Inspect and seal the roof to prevent leaks.
  • Check tire pressure and tread. Rotate tires to distribute wear.
  • Inspect batteries and propane. Ensure appliances work.
  • Flush plumbing to prevent freezing.
  • Remove food and perishables before storage.

Annual Upkeep

  • Have appliances serviced by a professional.
  • Reseal the roof to avoid leaks.
  • Replace the battery for reliable power.
  • Service brakes and generator for safety.

RVing Expert Tips

  • Use LED lights and solar panels to conserve energy.
  • Maximize storage with organizers.
  • Research reliable manufacturers.

With regular maintenance, your RV will be set for comfortable camping in any season. Seek help from professionals when needed.

FAQs About Year-Round RVing

Transitioning to full-time RVing across all seasons can raise many questions for those new to the lifestyle. This FAQ guide addresses common questions about year-round RV living.

FAQ #1: How can I prepare my RV for year-round use?

Prepare your RV by focusing on weatherproofing, winterizing systems, installing insulation, and upgrading heating and cooling units.

Also, research mobile connectivity, create camping checklists, stock up on supplies, and organize your storage. Perform maintenance checks before each trip.

FAQ #2: How can I find accessible campsites and hookups year-round?

Boondocking is an option when sites with full amenities are scarce. It's a practice where RVers camp without hookups like water and electricity. It's popular among those who prefer off-grid and self-sufficient camping experiences.

Examples of boondocking include camping in remote wilderness areas or at designated sites on Bureau of Land Management lands. For fully equipped campsites, research the seasonal openings of parks, private RV parks, and peak camping times in different regions.

Join RV clubs, use apps like AllStays, and check state tourism sites for valuable information. Plan your campsite reservations 6-12 months in advance to secure spots with the necessary hookups.

FAQ #3: Can I make the RV I already have ready for four seasons?

To prepare your current RV for year-round use, focus on enhancements to weatherproofing, heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Adding extra insulation, upgrading to dual-pane windows, and liberally applying sealant will help protect against drafts and temperature extremes.

Investing in a more powerful furnace, efficient A/C unit, heated hoses, and pipe insulation provides better climate control. Enclosing and insulating the underbelly, along with installing protective skirting, prevents freezing issues.

Upgrading the battery and implementing strategic storage solutions also helps optimize limited space. Performing thorough maintenance checks before each trip ensures all systems are functioning properly for the conditions.

With the right modifications and proactive care, your RV can handle the demands of all-season adventures.

FAQ #4: Should I winterize certain RV systems when not in use?

Absolutely. It's crucial to winterize specific systems in your RV to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Plumbing System and Fixtures: Use non-toxic RV antifreeze to protect the water lines and tanks from freezing. Make sure to follow the antifreeze manufacturer’s guidelines for best results.
  2. Water Heater: Drain the water heater and set it to bypass mode to prevent any damage. You may also want to insulate it for added protection.
  3. Generator: Run the generator regularly to keep it in working order, and consider using a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh.
  4. RV Appliances: Some appliances may require winterizing steps like cleaning and covering to prevent damage from cold or pests.
  5. Consult the Owner’s Manual: Your RV’s owner's manual is a valuable resource. It provides specific winterizing instructions for your particular model. Following these instructions will help ensure you’re taking the correct steps to protect your RV during colder months.
  6. Professional Inspection: If unsure about winterizing your RV, consider a professional inspection to ensure all systems are ready for winter.

By taking the time to winterize your RV properly, you can significantly extend the lifespan of its systems and ensure it's ready for use when you hit the road again.

Hit the Road No Matter the Weather

With a well-equipped RV, you can explore the great outdoors in any season. An all-weather recreational vehicle gives you the comfort, protection, and convenience you need to camp all year round.

Research to find an RV that matches your needs and budget. Seek quality insulation, heating, and weather protection features.

Join RV communities to obtain maintenance tips and travel advice from experienced travelers. And don't forget regular maintenance and upkeep to keep your RV in prime condition.

With adequate preparation, you'll be ready to travel in any weather. The adventures await - it's time to get out there and explore!

Suggested Reading

Thinking of buying a rig? You may find these posts on our blog helpful too -

19 Top Tips For Buying an RV for the First Time

Buying A Used RV Guide (Including Helpful Tips And A Full Checklist)

What’s The Best RV For A Family Of Four? (With 13 Examples)

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RV parked on the road while raining, Which RVs Are Truly Four Season? (Including 11 Examples)

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  1. I know you didn’t necessary intend to have an all-inclusive list but the Highland Ridge Open Range series are true four season trailers and similar to the Montana, Bighorn and other four-season Heartland lines have true four season features and have been “zero tested”. They also have travel trailers and fifth wheels with similar floorplans. Some people say that Highland Ridge has better build quality than Heartland. We simply like the Open Range floorplans better – they have better bunkhouse options for kids.

  2. Hi thank you for your thorough explanation on heat transfer. What are your suggestions on the the best 4 season truck campers, other than the popular arctic fox. Also My concern is for extreme heat, are your picks different in that case?

    • Hi Tracy,
      For extreme heat, I think the basics are the same, i.e. good insulation combined with a way to adjust the temperature inside (in this case, air-conditioning). I have asked RV’ers about this and the bottom line seems to be to either choose places that aren’t too hot, or get full-hookups and run your a/c as necessary. Again, in addition to having good insulation.
      Great question about the truck campers. We’d have to properly research the topic before giving any recommendations. Probably a good topic for another post!

  3. You’re absolutely wrong about the Jayco Greyhawk not having a furnace. Where did you get that info? The Jayco Redhawk does not have enclosed tanks, they are simply heat pads on them. The Redhawk is an entry level Also The Big Horn R values and most stated RV R Values are purely marketing. Unrealistic. Jayco at least takes their fifth wheels to Dometic for cold and heat chamber testing. Most brands don’t.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Brian! I’ll ask the writer to take a look and either correct this or add a link to the source on Jayco’s site.

  4. One thing I disagree with is cold weather camping in a class A MotorCoach. Driving in cold weather conditions can be hazardous for ALL RVs, not just Class A’s. Also, many mid-upper price point Class A diesel pushers (DPs), have traction control systems AND hydronic heating systems of 60,000 btu’s and above. These systems burn diesel fuel sparingly for hot water and moist heat. Add to that three 15,000 btu a/c-heat pumps with good air distribution systems and reasonable, but not extreme levels of insulation and you have a workable/livable RV.
    We use our 45′ DP year round from our current UT base, (no snowbirding!) and at temps down to the low teens. We have experienced 50 degree changes in both winter and summer travels. Yes, it can be very challenging, but some, not all, DPs can take it, esp. those with good a/c’s and hydronic systems.

  5. The wind Chill factor (windchill) is the lowering of body temperature due to the flow of lower temperature air. The wind will not lower the temperature of inanimate objects like a rock, fence, vehicle, bridge or RV, below the temperature of the air. Bridges and RVs loose heat faster because they are not in contact with the ground which provides heat and the exposed bottom allows for faster heat loss.

  6. Okay, I read your information on 4 season Rv’s, but I still don’t have a direction for my needs. I am looking to purchase a Class B, preferably on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. I will barely use the unit in the warm months, as we have a seasonal boardwalk business. From about October 1 through April 30 is when we will use the unit. During this time we currently travel to visit family in Wyoming, Wisconsin and upstate New Your; hence the need for a “true four season”. Any suggestions of what will effectively work for these parameters?
    Thanks in advance for any assistance.

    • Hi Steven,
      Wyoming/Wisconsin winter conditions is a real challenge. Have you looked into the Winnebago Class B units? They’re high-end and may be good for your needs. Maybe something like this one. Though for the harsh conditions you’re talking about, I would at the very least call them to discuss their suitability. You should also try RV forums to hear from people who have lived through such winter conditions in a Class B. Good luck!

  7. Thanks for the analysis. I do drive the Alcan in November every year and have some experience with cold weather travel. The best unit we’ve had was a General Coach Citation with a polar package, a Canadian brand that has since gone out of business. Had a wooden structure, an attic air space and great insulation that added up to super R factors. Our last unit was the Outdoors RV and it has good features, but misses the mark with it’s aluminum frame that conducts cold. Although the walls and ceiling have “good R values” that does not include areas where the frame structure is. It becomes especially troublesome in closets where there are more corners thus more aluminum and condensation and ice build-up become a problem. The Citation trailer I mentioned had Hehr thermopane windows which are far superior to the ones used in the Outdoors RV. Also, they have placed the floor vents so that they are under the slides when pulled in. That means while traveling or when the slides are pulled in to save the awnings in wind storms you can’t keep the place warm. We winterize the water system when it gets below Zero consistently – no RV will keep the water flowing unless it is skirted at those temps. The coldest we’ve experienced was -43 below and the biggest problem there was the propane. It liquifies at those temps and the furnace won’t operate properly. A blanket and a hair dryer can provide tempory help but at those temps it’s time to get home and park the trailer..

  8. Jerry, you’re right that the wind can’t lower temperatures below the ambient temperature of the air (neglecting evaporative heat loss) but it has nothing to do with whether an object is animate or inanimate. Once you’re at the same temperature as the cold outside air, you can’t get any colder than that, BUT, wind will make you reach equilibrium temp with your cold surroundings much much faster. It doesn’t matter if you’re a human trying to generate body heat from the calories you eat, or an RV using a furnace to generate heat from propane, as long as you’re just a little bit warmer than your surroundings, the wind is going to speed up your rate of heat loss. You can add insulation to try to reduce the impact, but it’s a thermodynamic fact that cold wind will always cool you off quicker than no wind at the same temp.

  9. My RV is a traveling for business investment and is used in all climates and seasons. I’ve been the Jayco Class C and Roadtrek ClassB routes without much satisfaction. After much looking I have now have ordered an Embassy ClassB. Gasoline aircraft type heater – no propane. All plumbing inside with cartridge or compost toilet – no black tank. Fresh and grey water tanks inside. R values in the 40 range all around. Hot water heated from engine when driving and gasoline when stopped. Off grid system with lithium batteries inside cabin, solar optional. 12-volt airconditioning runs off batteries – no need for outside power unless parked for extended times. Superior floor plans. Choice of Ford, Mercedes, or Dodge chassis. My advice: Stay away from Mercedes.

  10. Re: cold weather camping. We were camping in 26 degrees F conditions in a new fifth wheel. We could not get the living room/ kitchen area over 55 degrees. Later the dealer checked furnace, ductwork and said everything was ok. The dealer also informed us that RV industry standards require that manufacturers only build to keep rvs 10 degrees warmer inside than the outside temperature. This seems quite unreasonable to us. During a recent trip at 30 degrees we supplemented with an electric heater that helped. We would appreciate your comments. Bob

    • Hi Bob,
      Sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve never heard of such an industry-standard myself. Maybe this specific RV model isn’t a 4-season RV? It if was sold to you as such, I would contact the manufacturer directly, rather than the dealership. You could also try looking for owners of the same model in RV forums, maybe they can provide some insight. Good luck!

  11. Just came back from 4 days of skiing in Idaho with temps ranging between 18°F and 32°F in our 2000 Bigfoot 24′ motorhome. We keep the cab closed off with blankets since it is uninsulated. The furnace had no problem keeping us toasty. The tanks and plumbing are all within the insulated sub-floor where the furnace piping runs so we always use the furnace and not an electric heater even when we are plugged in. The windows are double-paned. We ate our meals in the motorhome using the propane for cooking. Including 2 days of driving and the 4 days of skiing, and keeping the motorhome warm while skiing so our dog was comfy, we used about a half tank of propane over the 6 days. I believe the tank is a 90lbs (of propane) tank. Significantly colder temperatures would definitely use up the propane much more quickly. Sadly, Bigfoot no longer makes motorhomes but they do make trailers and campers. We are wanting to replace the old Bigfoot with a newer class B or C but it seems that nobody makes anything quite as cold-temperature focused. We may just try to find the newest Bigfoot motorhome available (2008).

  12. Hi, I am strongly thinking of living full time (single) in a four seasons type of travel trailer as opposed to an apartment. Can’t find one under 5000 lbs for my 2006 Silverado 1500 5.3 to tow (max 6900 lbs). Caretaking 91 year-old dad after mom passed in 2018 and need a used trailer (maybe have to get bigger truck first?). Max cash to my name = $18000 plus maybe $4000 for my truck. Will sleep in bunk and convert Queen bedroom into music studio and recording soundproof vocal/instrument booth (or convert the bunk area to music studio). Any 26 foot bunkhouse is over 5000 lbs dry weight. Is there a “true” four-seasons which would have a bunk and a bedroom under 5000 lbs dry weight? Mostly Georgia and Tennessee travel with possible trips to Las Vegas area visiting musician friends. Please advise…I may end up soon without a roof over my head and want to be prepared.

    • We appreciate the comment. If none of the examples we provided in the post will meet your needs, we suggest taking a look at some different models from reputable RV manufacturers. If you’re on a tight budget, try looking around at some used models. Make note of the qualities mentioned in the post that make an RV “four-season,” and evaluate the RVs you find to determine which would be suitable for your needs. Hope this helps, and good luck!

  13. We drive a couple of times between Fl and Co during the winter. Sometimes we experience temp at 20 F day and night for several days in a row. Our class A was an entry level 34 ft Diesel pusher. Even with the two (noisy) furnaces on we were miserable and could feel the arctic blast come in. Single pane windows left and right from the bed had to be covered with pillows. Fresh water tank froze despite heated underbelly. One day we were surprised by a freezing rain, the whole rig and toad started to move sideways. When the windshield froze on, one of us had to hold a hair dryer to keep an open spot for the driver to look through. Finally got rid of it and bought an Arctic fox fifth wheel 27-5 and Ford 4×4 pick up. Now we enjoy life again even with temps in the mid-teens! More driving comfort, windshield stays clean, cozy in the RV with better insulation, heated recliners, double pane windows. So much more comfort!! A no brainer should have done it way sooner.

  14. There is lots of good advice in this article!

    One to NOT consider: Dutchmen Kodiak Cub

    “All Season” “Heated and Enclosed Underbelly”
    A pipe through the belly froze in about 2 hours when outside temperature dropped from 38 F to 28 F. 40 gal water tank took about 3 days to freeze in 40 F to 24 F.

    It has a plastic cover on the belly. It is not sealed to the frame bottom, It is also not sealed between frame and cabin floor. It has a 2 inch duct from furnace to floor. A whiff of heat passes through.
    The cabin is warm enough in 18 F, but you will have no plumbing available.

    After the sale and after complaining about frozen plumbing, the service hot line pointed out one paragraph in the owner’s manual that specified winterizing for temperatures below 32 F.

    Read the manual carefully before you commit. Don’t even consider accepting marketing literature without independent verification.

    I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!

  15. Yes, many times they say it’s 4 seasons just to ask for more money but when you really need it you realize it it isn’t. It’s hard to keep an RV warm, but there is a big difference between Arizona winter and Oregon winter. I always pick Arizona winter when I RV. 🙂

  16. I have had several “certified 4-season” rigs over the years, 5th wheel and travel trailers. All need additional modifications and habits like a willingness to leave lower cabinet doors open in the cold season, and even then we’re talking “true” 4-season as the southern half of the US and not in the mountains. If you think you’re going to take a ski trip to Canada and your rig is going to be fine at -15F or lower sitting in the parking lot, think again. The highest high-end, custom rigs—sure. You could equip them for that. But brands like Arctic Fox? Forget it. They have uninsulated aluminum frames! The inside wall and outside wall are laminated directly to a tube of aluminum without a stitch of any thermal barrier between them. Your inside wall can be striped with frost in the pattern of the frame! Other nominal manufacturers use the same kinds of very poor thermal construction. There is an interview with a building-envelope engineer about this at a blog called Ask the RV Engineer. The RV industry has a lot of problems, including making a lot of false claims. In the north, “true 4-season” means 3-season most of the time, and not always in the mountains. Nothing more.

  17. 2014 Dynamax DX3 Super C. Camped with full hookups in April and May at Bryce Canyon Natl Park. Froze water line first night at 3 degrees F because I didn’t properly close my heated hatch and the CG water pipe froze. Fixed wet bay issue and put heat trace around CG water pipe. No freezing after that, with similar temps through April. It’s 8000 ft elevation. DX3 has heated tanks, ducted AC and propane heat. With my mods, I’ve made it a 4 season rig.

  18. This is a fantastic idea, especially for new readers. Thank you for sharing this information, which is brief but quite precise. A must-read article!

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