How To Keep rv Pipes From Freezing While Camping?

How To Keep rv Pipes From Freezing While Camping

In this guide, I will explain how to keep rv pipes from freezing while camping so read on..

It’s important to know how to keep your RV pipes from freezing while on the road. With all that you have to worry about while on the road, it’s good to know that one of the things you don’t need to worry about is your RV pipes freezing.

I had my RV pipes freeze while on the road so I wanted to share a few personal stories of how I prevented it from happening. This is a little bit of a long story, but it’s worth the read because you too can learn from my mistakes.

Back in 2014, my family and I were camping in Wisconsin for a few weeks in the winter. The temperatures dropped below freezing overnight and everything was covered in frost by morning. We woke up to find that our pipes had also frozen. We turned on all of the RV’s heating vents and used space heaters inside of the RV to try to get them unfrozen.

That didn’t work, so we took turns going outside every hour with a blow dryer trying to melt the ice on the pipes. We had to do this for about eight hours before we were able unfreeze them, but once they started running again, all was good.

At first I thought it was just bad luck that our pipes froze because of some weird coincidence with the weather, but after doing a little research online, I’ve realized this problem is actually pretty common. You can even find videos on YouTube about people trying to unfreeze their RV’s. Freezing pipes are a big problem that many people encounter while camping, but the good news is this is something you can easily prevent.

Both of these products do the same thing! They’re little thermostats that will turn on the heater if the temperature drops below a certain level.

I’ve also read that putting copper elbow connectors around your pipes can help as well. I don’t know too much about this method, but I do know that the electric heaters and thermostats work great, so I recommend using those first.

The bottom line is to do whatever it takes to prevent your pipes from freezing. I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone because of all the time and money you can lose as a result of it. If you want to keep yourself from spending hours blowing up your RV with a hair dryer then these heating options are a great place to start!

It’s also good to know that there are people out there who have experienced this problem before and who know how to prevent it. I hope you found this article helpful and that your pipes never freeze again!

How To Keep rv Pipes From Freezing While Camping?

Camping in the winter is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy nature. However, it can be hard to stay warm when you’re camping because your pipes might freeze. This is especially true if you are living in an RV or trailer that doesn’t have insulation around its pipes.

There are some easy ways to keep your pipes from freezing while camping! Here’s what you need to do…

Here are some tips for preventing this from happening!

Use a heat trace:

A heat trace is a cable which has an electric heating element inside of it. You can find these cables at most hardware stores and they’re usually quite inexpensive; you only need enough cable length for each pipe run in your RV (plus extra).

The cables go underneath or next to your plumbing and will automatically turn on when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and will automatically turn off when the temperature rises to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) or more.

You can also get self-regulating electric heat tape, which is even cheaper than the cables and requires no installation.

Use a reflective shield:  

A reflective shield is just like it sounds; in most cases, these are made from aluminized mylar or heavy-duty aluminum foil.

These shields go over the pipe and reflect the heat back to it, which keeps warm air circulating around the pipe and reduces heat loss through convection.  

They’re normally very inexpensive and can be found at hardware stores or RV stores – sometimes for as little as a few dollars in an RV store.

If you don’t have any material around your RV, you can even make these yourself with a little bit of extra work.

Cut up some aluminum foil or mylar and wind it around the pipe; leave enough space between each layer so that the hot air inside the pipe does not touch another piece of metal when it rises to the top.

Use heat tape:

Heat tape is a special tape which you can use as an alternative to cables or reflective shields.  You can find it at most hardware stores and it’s fairly inexpensive, although it does require installation.  

It is designed to be wrapped around your pipes and will turn on when the temperature drops to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) or less and will turn off when the temperature rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27.5 degrees Celsius).  

Be aware that you cannot use heat tape in extremely high-humidity areas; it can actually drain your battery in these situations and even cause corrosion on your battery terminals.

Use radiant heat:

Radiant heat works in the same way that a light bulb works; it warms objects around it so they emit their own heat.  You can find special radiant heaters specifically designed for RVs at most hardware stores or RV stores, which you can use to warm your pipes when temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

How To Keep rv Pipes From Freezing While Camping

At what temp will pipes freeze in a camper?

The pipes will typically freeze when the temperature outside drops below about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because water expands when it freezes, and if the pipe is running, it will be constantly pumping out the cold water.

Lengthen your hoses or place them in a sheltered location to slow down how quickly your pipes get cold. You can also insulate the outside of your pipes with heat tape, which should keep them from freezing.

If you are parked for an extended period of time without any heat being provided to your RV, then turn off the water supply to prevent the pipes from freezing. But if you leave the water on, run it through a connected hose so that the cold water can still drain. This way, your pipes will not freeze and all of your drains will work once again when you turn the heat back on.

If your pipes do freeze, then you can pour hot water over the frozen section to thaw it out. Once this is done, remember to turn off the water supply and drain any remaining water from the hoses before turning on your heat again.

If you are driving in sub-zero temperatures for more than two or three days, then you should hook up the hose to drain any excess water that is in your pipes. Doing this will slow down how quickly the water freezes. If your pipes do freeze, then turn off the water supply and pour hot water over them to thaw them out.

The best way to prevent your rv pipes from freezing while you are camping is to keep the outside temperature above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s too cold, then drain your pipes or turn off the water supply to stop them from freezing. Insulate your pipes with heat tape for extra protection.

If you do happen to have frozen pipes, then use hot water to thaw them out and remember to turn off the water supply before turning your heat on again.

What to do when camper pipes freeze?

If your camper pipes freeze, you should make sure it’s not a problem with the water supply. Shut off your water and find an alternative heat source. Open up all of the faucets and the hose bib on the outside of your RV to let out as much water as possible. When using a propane heater, be sure to insulate any pipes coming from the unit.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Open drain valves – to release pressure.
  2. Drain the water tank – to remove as much water as possible
  3. Turn off power to water heater, pump, and any other electrical components.
  4. Close gas valve for propane tank – to conserve fuel.
  5. Clean or replace your battery cables, radiator hoses, and other connections that could be causing freezing.
  6. Cover RV pipes.
  7. Insulate pipes – using rags, towels, or old blankets.
  8. Place heat lamps around the water tank and holding tanks to keep them warm if you are close by.
  9. If unable to get home immediately, camp where there is no snow or freezing weather conditions.
  10. If you are able to stay in the same spot for several days, use an electric heater or wood burning fireplace to generate heat inside your RV.


RVs are designed to withstand the cold, but that doesn’t mean they’re impervious. If you want your pipes to stay frozen-free while on the road, take these tips into consideration.

The first thing you should do is make sure it’s not a problem with water supply and shut off any running water inside or outside of your RV. Next drain all the tanks so there’s as little remaining liquid in them as possible.

After this turn off power for anything electric like water heaters or pumps that could be causing freezing then cover up any exposed pipe areas by using rags, towels, blankets etcetera.

Lastly if you can’t get home immediately find somewhere warm where there is no chance of snowing/frozen weather conditions until temperatures rise again.

A lot of times you’ll be able to stay in the same spot for a few days and if that’s the case then use an electric heater or wood burning fireplace inside your RV to generate heat.

These tips will help protect you and your camper from frozen pipes while on the road.


John Oakley

Hi, I am John Oakley- The Guy behind this site. I am an avid hiker and long distance walker. I love to experiment with new gear for hiking and walking and this site is a result of my passion for reviewing and checking the best walking shoes and hiking gear.

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