Let’s talk Heated Water RV Hoses for Winter Use – A Camco Heated RV Water Hose Review

Let’s face it, MOST of our nation is north of the “frost line” – an imaginary line that impacted where people chose to live when I resided in South Florida. So…if you’re living or spending significant time in an RV camper in most of our nation between December and March, you’re in a location that is likely, at least at night to experience subfreezing temperatures.

Just a few hours of sub-freezing temperatures in an RV camper can be costly – unless…

Where I spend much of my time in my camper, the temperature begins to slip below freezing as early as late September. In morning walks through campgrounds, I’ve observed on these frosty mornings, regular water hoses destroyed as water froze overnight and expanded inside the hose. Sometimes, in an unexpected cold snap, the damage is more extensive (and expensive.)

A big key to successful winter RV camping is having a heated water hose

I’ve been “on the road” now for 8 years – all that time in a 5th wheel. Early in my “rv camping career” I created a “do-it-yourself” heated water hose. I purchased heat tape (electrical wire meant to be wrapped around a water hose), made sure it wasn’t heat tape for metal pipes (that type will melt a regular water hose), and then proceeded to wrap and insulate the entire mess.

At best the results were mixed – lots of time invested, bulky, awkward, and I rarely made it through an entire season without some type of failure!


I really didn’t save much over the cost of a professionally designed heated RV water hose

After a couple of years of “do-it-yourself”, I “broke-down” (I’m cheap by nature) and purchased my first professionally designed heated hose. I looked at all the major manufacturers and chose a Camco – it had the best reviews and a solid warranty. After 3 seasons of great performance, my first hose did fail and Camco demonstrated to me they stand behind their products and replaced it.

UPDATE November 2022: I still like the Camco heated water hoses, but if you want the BEST (and it IS more expensive), there’s another company I discovered called (appropriately) the No Freeze Water Hose – you can see it HERE and use code: rvacrossamerica to save a few bucks when you buy one.

Winter RV Camping in Victor, Idaho – a place where you REALLY need a good heated RV water hose!

As I enter my 8th winter – staying in places “not for the faint of heart”, I knew I’d be making good use of my heated hose again – UNTIL – I discovered I was going to be in a campsite with an unusually distant water hydrant.

My trusty 25 foot Camco heated water hose wasn’t going to do it. So… I knew I needed a 50 footer. As I performed my due diligence, I discovered that all heated hose RV manufacturers were having some issues with their 50-foot models.

This prompted me to pick up the phone and speak with a Camco engineer. In my research, I had noted two primary complaints: thermostat failure and leaking at the connections. Our conversation regarding thermostat failure made perfect sense to me as the end-user (that’s YOU and ME) has to ensure that the thermostat is NOT placed in a protected area! If it can’t “sense the cold”, it won’t tell the hose to turn on! So, we quickly moved on from this “issue” to one that had frankly more validity – leaks at the connections.

The Camco heated hose with an insulated sleeve (provided) is connected to the hydrant. The wire you see coming off the connection is the thermostat.
The thermostat (small white tipped component) must remain OUTSIDE the bucket which houses the Camco heated hose (connected to the hydrant) and a wealth of “pink panther” type insulation. Keeping the thermostat outside insures its sensing the ambient air temperature.

The Camco engineer advised me they had, in fact, had some issues in this area but had recently re-designed the connectors. I offered to evaluate their new product and he shipped me a hose – this article reports my findings.

The hose has now been in use for about a week. The coldest night was in the low-teens and there have been ZERO issues – either with the hose failing to keep water liquid from the hydrant to my camper OR with any leaking.

Leaks in the winter can be a real issue as ice will quickly build up and create a giant mess!

My initial findings: Camco makes a superior product in their RV heated water hose

While it is still early – and I DO promise to post an update later in the winter, at this time, I’d give their hose 5 STARS as it was easy to hookup, showed NO signs of leaking (I did use plumbers tape to connect at the hydrant), and thus far has performed flawlessly.

The hose I evaluated is the 50 ft. model, guaranteed to -20oF. As I note in my video, while I do live in an area that *may* see temperatures below that level, on those nights for the FEW hours the temperature sinks below -20F, I will run the water on a drip to insure that the flowing water prevents a freezeup. They do make a model guaranteed to -40oF, however few locations in the USA would truly need this product. (It also costs twice as much!)

The best price you are likely to find on the -20oF model is right here… (once you land on the Amazon page below, you can select your needed length and choose either model

Two additional components I elected to use in my setup include a water pressure regulator and a 90 degree “elbow” to ease the connection process at my camper.

Note the heated hose connecting to the water pressure regulator and then the 90 degree elbow. All products are Camco – a manufacturer whom I have solid respect for in the RV industry.
In this image and the image above, you can see how a well built 4-season camper designs its wet-compartment: It is behind an insulated door AND has a heat-duct pumping warm air directly into the compartment where the heated water hose and the brass fittings are located.

Peace of Mind!

That’s what a good heated water hose means to me. It’s one LESS thing I have to keep in mind as I camp in one of the most challenging environments one can choose for winter RV camping! Why do I do it? Simple, I LOVE it! I’m a ski instructor at one of the best ski areas in the nation and enjoy being outside all winter – even in sub-zero cold.

Camco heated hose leading into “insulated” bucket at the hydrant. Note the small white tipped thermostat is exposed to the outside air and is NOT enclosed within the bucket.

On a related note… I’ve updated my Recommended RV Accessories page to make it easier for you to see what I personally use and have found to stand the “test of time.” These accessories can be classified as “best buys.”

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22 thoughts on “Let’s talk Heated Water RV Hoses for Winter Use – A Camco Heated RV Water Hose Review”

  1. I’ve been using a 50′ hose since last winter with no issues but now it’s started to trip the GFIC breaker. Any ideas as to what might be causing this?

  2. I am working on my fifth camco hose every hose has leaked and when you return ito get a new one theres a 44 dollar for a new replacement it laeks at the ends i can put on a garden hose and all good no leaks but it gets cold in colo thats why i went with camco heated hose but it leaks every time not a happy camper

    • Craig,

      Clearly you’re not a happy camper! I (of course) can’t speak for Camco and their return policies, and I do not know the particulars of your purchase; but – I can offer this – if it were me, I’d call Camco and ask for a supervisor, explain the situation to them and express that you’re (thus far) not impressed. If they do what I’d expect, they’ll do what it takes to “make it right.” Al

  3. I purchased Camco hoses to fill potable storage barrels for emergency use. My main issues were the lead and plastic style. I coupled the hose with Camco 40043 TastePURE filter and positioned the filter on the exiting finish of the hose. The link for the filter is below. I flushed the hose and filter for concerning twenty minutes by exploiting it to run the mechanical device on the yard. I then crammed a glass with it and took a taste. I couldn’t discover any plastic or dangerous taste at all. subsequently, I filled my fifty-five-gallon barrels as planned. we tend to attempt to purchase a travel trailer next summer and this dance band is used for filling the water tanks therein as well.

  4. I have 100 ft and 15 connected together havem together 100 ft just makes under the rig had buy extra one i have nights down the 20 no issue, but been using different ones fo past 8 years no issues i have water and hot water i got a 3 way splitter under coach power plug both hoses and has wifi on it so set time power goes on and off so turn off if it warm and over freezing the plug has wifi so i set any where with shirting around

  5. Wanted to know if you had any issue with the use of the extension cord ? I have a truck camper and will have to use an extension cord. They tell you not to use an extension cord .

    • No issue. I believe their concern is you’ll use a junky extension cord. I used a high quality “as short as possible” cord and ensured it was plugged in tightly. Al (that said – do as you see fit, I’m not telling you to ignore the manufacturers warning!!)

  6. Thank you! Your comments and suggestion are much appreciated. I guess I complicate this further by residing in Canada where shipping costs are higher. gw

  7. Glad you had better luck than I did with the fittings not leaking. A big disappointment for me was getting out on a freezing night trying to stop the hose from leaking – no such luck!

    Is it worth the cost and effort to return the hose if a replacement has a good chance of leaking also?

    • Camco is really good about addressing issues – especially known issues. If it were me, I’d call them, tell them you’re aware that its a “known issue” with these hoses and you’re hoping if they replace it, you’ll get one without leak issues BUT you want to be “made whole” – which means they ship the replacement to you on their dime and IF they want the old one back, Camco should pay the shipping fee. I don’t work for them, so I can’t arrange this, but I’ve found them to be very responsible when it comes to standing behind what they manufacture.

  8. It is never a bad idea to see how others hook up for the winter. We are winter campers as well and have seen operator error when using heated hoses as well. Love our Camco hose! We also have a Glacier Peak and disliked the large access hole to the water bay. We took a hole saw and drilled the center of the large round cover out so it was large enough for the hose to fit through and to keep heat in. Works awesome and all our connections stay toasty warm now. Happy camping!!


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