Spending an entire winter in the Grand Tetons in a 5th Wheel Trailer in Extreme Cold

Taking Winter RV Life to the EXTREME (COLD)

I’m entering my seventh winter RV’ing in the mountains. Just a few weeks ago, I was traveling across Washington State enjoying some amazing Autumn weather. When folks you encounter find out you’re a “full timer”, they inevitably ask if you head SOUTH for the winter. And I tell them, yep, I head south for the winter – but not the way they’re thinking! Well, technically I do – you see, western Wyoming IS south of Washington, but its also in the Grand Tetons and situated at 6000 ft. elevation.

It’s barely mid-November and winter has most definitely settled in. Yes, days are still edging (barely) above freezing, but several nights (already) have approached 0F and one gentleman today told me he was here a few years ago and experienced -50F IN NOVEMBER!

While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, temperatures dropping to about -30F in the early morning may actually become common in January & February.

The Reward to Spending Winter in a RV in the mountains?

Experiences like no other! Great skiing (I’m right near Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee); cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, and more. In short, YES, you DO adapt to the cold and some say its even GOOD for your health to spend winter in such conditions! And YES, you do spend LOTS of time outside.

Preparation of your RV Trailer / Camper for Extreme Cold is KEY

After six consecutive winters, I have a bit of a routine I follow to prepare for the conditions I’m likely to experience this winter. Each winter however, I modify things “just a bit” to make it even better than last year!

The video below details my preparation for this winter. I’ll have more photos & commentary after –

There’s no doubt, the skirt makes life MUCH easier. I had it attached and staked down in about 2-3 hours. This is far easier than the days when I used blueboard (insulation board.) Its also highly effective. Every time I enter the “spare room” in the front, it is NOTICEABLY warmer than the air outside. To learn more about this skirt and who did it – click HERE.

In the video above, I mention several core “tools” I use to survive (and thrive) in the winter. These include the heated hose, use of reflectix and bubble wrap, heat tape, and more. I created a page HERE where you can see all the equipment I’ve purchased to use for myself. Once you reach the RV Accessories page, you’ll find these items mixed in with other pieces that come in handy at other times of the year. Be sure to scroll the entire page to get to the insulation I use and more.

living in a rv in winter in extreme cold
Preparing for winter in a RV? Good skirting is a GREAT first step!

This morning (11/19) was our first actual “goose-egg”, yep, Jackson airport hit 0F. Woke up, water running, temperature inside was comfortable (I like sleeping with it about 60F inside.) I’m looking at the “sugar coated” mountain from my dining table as the sun reflects off the snow – the same sun that is beginning to warm my camper for the day as we head to a lofty 32F by mid-afternoon!

Winter RV'ing and Skiing - how to survive and thrive
I highly recommend the Camco hose (see link in article), the hydrant is WELL protected as described in the video, and the spare orange electric cord to the right is from my fridge and the light bulb I plan to add.

If you plan to spend winter in the cold – let me know and let me know how you’re doing! You can message me below. You can also join my RV Across America pages & groups on Facebook and MeWe. Just look for my social media links on the site.

In closing, allow me to share this – I’m going to give kudos to SCOTTeVEST, for 2 big reasons…

SCOTTeVEST makes great quality clothing (I recently made my first purchase.) Their garments are HIGHLY functional and even stylish! I purchased one of their vests (and a couple of shirts) – in just a few days of enjoying these garments, I KNOW the vest will be a CORE piece that I’ll wear DAILY on the ski hill and around town! (See link below to see which vest I purchased.)

The second reason? Seeing how their company President stepped up when he became aware of an issue in customer service. Once he was aware, he “owned it” and “made it right.” THAT to me is the mark of a leader who “gets it” and a company that is here for the long term – when combined with the quality of their garments, I’m pleased to share them with you…

The Q.U.E.S.T. Vest for Men has 42-engineered pockets making it the perfect vest for tech lovers and gadget freaks!

scottevest quest vest
This is a phenomenal winter (or chilly season) vest, and no, I haven’t put that must stuff in it! (Click to see it on their website.)

Coming attractions… 

I’m working on an article about surge protectors – they’re not all created equal! I’m also going to focus upon my travels across Washington & Oregon this Autumn and share all kinds of details including where to camp, camper size concerns, costs and more. While you’re here… subscribe to my newsletter – below.



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12 thoughts on “Spending an entire winter in the Grand Tetons in a 5th Wheel Trailer in Extreme Cold”

  1. Al, I love reading about your adventures and advice. In retirement next year, we want to be just like you, however, being newbies to RVing, there is so much to learn. Your suggestions already are invaluable. Thank you and keep living the life!!!

  2. I’m preparing for winter in Tucson with my 28’ Timberridge TT. Using an electric heater to save on propane. The electric heater work well in northern Minnesota for the month of October. We used the rig heater to keep the tanks warm on cold nights- high teens and /or low 20’s.

  3. Al,

    I noticed you have a South Dakota license plate on your rig. I have heard that SD is an RV friendly state. Any thoughts on this?

    • Yep, SD is the way to go. Contact Americas Mailbox (and tell ’em box 3847 sent you) for details on how to do it. Al

  4. When putting the light bulb in the refrigerator compartment out side do you cover the grill with anything. last year when we hit sub zero my refrigerator quit until warmer weather came. Want hints to help out this year. Also do you plastic windows?

    • Kris,

      Covering the rear vents on a propane fridge creates a fire hazard. That said, it can be done but I STRONGLY encourage you to NOT do it unless you have sustained temps below 0F. Run your fridge on PROPANE when temps drop below +10F and use the light bulb. (Take care to insure it does not melt any wiring!!)

      “Do you plastic windows” – I don’t understand your question.


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