RV Tips

Storing your RV

Where to store your RV unit, and what should be done before you do

Be sure to store your RV in a safe, secure location.
Be sure to store your RV in a safe, secure location. — Photo courtesy SteelMaster Buildings/Flickr Creative Commons

Now that you have acquired your dream RV, you need to protect your investment in the off-season, even if it is only for a few weeks before you head south. Safe storage is equal parts preparation and selecting a secure site. While you search for secure storage, here is what you should do to prep your trailer for storage:

1. Drain the fresh water tank and wastewater tanks.

2. Winterize the water system by draining the water tank and filling the lines and drains with food safe antifreeze. Follow your manufacturer's recommendation and process. (Remember the outdoor shower and city water intakes.)

3. Remove the batteries to dry and warm storage.

4. Remove every spec of food from your trailer and wash down counters, cupboards and drawers.

Your goal is to remove every whiff of food that might attract a rodent.

5. Make your trailer rodent proof by closing gaps with foam and steel wool.

Make your unit rodent-proof

A winter of undisturbed mice nesting in your comfortable RV can pretty much ruin it. A friend of mine had a mouse infestation in his tent trailer the year before last and it was a complete write-off. The tough thing about rodent infestation is there is no insurance coverage for that risk. The onus is on owners to prevent infestation.

My recommendation is come down hard on prevention, add some poison if you are comfortable with that and some bait-less mouse traps. Before I took my RV to storage, I crawled under the belly of my trailer and sprayed rodent proof insulating foam into every nook and cranny. There were not many. I cut stainless steel pot scrubber with scissors and carefully stuffed this into the spaces around water pipes and drain pipes where there were holes in the floor. I filled a couple of spots under the wheel wells that had small openings where a mouse could crawl in.

Before I locked the door, I spread Bounce dryer sheets around every entrance and potential travel corridor. They say this helps keep mice out because the scent of dryer sheets overpowers their own scent. I have no way to prove this, but last year we had no mice.

I set mouse traps, the kind that they can just walk in and not walk out. And I hid poison in in the storage cabinet, behind the bathroom sink and under the kitchen sink. I checked last week and nothing had been touched. There is an argument against using bait – why would you add an attractant where you are trying to keep rodents out? I use them anyway.

Jason Thompson of Parkview RV says: “for slides that have rails that go into a hole in the chassis it is a good idea to seal the gap around the rail with some steel wool as it is not an area that can be permanently sealed to prevent rodent entry.” Thompson says, “a few units we have seen where squirrels have actually chewed through the underbelly to gain access and filled them with pine cones.”

Maybe look for storage away from long grass and trees where squirrels make their home? I put a note in may calendar to check my trailer every month until the snow is so deep I can’t get there.

Secure storage

The perfect storage scenario would be a fenced enclosure with controlled locked gate access. If the caretaker lives on site, even better. It is worth searching for good storage at the crossroads of annual costs, easy access, and security features that make sense to you. I found more than thirty storage facilities within half hour drive of Edmonton by internet search, ranging in monthly price for a 30-foot unit from $33 for basic gravelled and fenced storage to $120 per month with paved parking and video monitored storage right in town.

Catherine Cake, branch manager of St. Albert Drayden Insurance says, “secured storage for RV’s is best, and in fact some insurance companies offer a discount for RV’s when stored securely.” Search your area for convenient access to storage. Ask your fellow RVers where they store their trailers.

Some storage sites have card-key controlled access 24 hours a day. Others have keyed padlocked access.

Putting your RV away rodent-proofed will ensure you have no surprises in at the start of the next camping season. Storing your trailer at a secure facility will ensure your RV is there right where you left it.

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