Closing up the Vintage Travel Trailer for the winter hits me hard every year. Summers last a millisecond in Colorado. Winter arrives in late October hanging around sometimes through April. Forgetting to Winterize your Vintage Travel Trailer in this harsh climate is a big mistake! (Be sure to click here for gifts for the vintage camper lover in your life.)
Nope! You surely don’t want a crack in your water tank!
Let’s Winterize Your Vintage Travel Trailer!
Clean the Camper Completely
You never want to come home to a dirty house after a vacation, neither do you want to open up a dirty camper in the spring. Before you close up the camper for the winter make sure to:
Remove all food!
I even remove canned food to keep it from freezing and expanding or exploding. Look for granola bars stuffed between the seats, spices, oils, gum–all this stuff can attract critters over the fall and winter.
I still believe in bleach for some jobs. I look for sticky spills in the cabinets, wipe down the counters, clean all the pots, pans, dishes and silverware that will be left in the camper. Running everything through the dishwasher with vinegar is a good way to get rid of food smells.
In a vintage travel trailer, I am unable to plug all the entry points for mice and bugs so I just take away the probable habitat and store the cushions in the basement. The curtains have not proven to be a problem so I do leave them. Blankets, towels, pillows all get tossed into a sealed plastic tub or brought inside.
We run on battery power, electricity and gas. To save the energy and possible repairs, go through and unplug or disconnect everything that it is possible to unplug. Bringing the battery inside is also helpful in prolonging its life.
UGGGH- That is what the ugly first picture is all about. Drain your water tanks, and your gray and black tanks, if you have them. There is a non-toxic anti-freeze you can use for condensation and the little bit of water that gets left in there. Here is a more detailed checklist from KOA for that. Again, if you are like us and have the basic vintage camper, you may not have all of this; just be sure to drain the tank!!
Turn it off!!
Store or Trap the Roof
Lots of sunlight, rain, and snow wears the roof. Especially if it is already 40 + years old. Give the old girl a hand! Store under a covered garage or at the least, trap the roof. Most campers in the High Rocky Mountains sit for 6 months with 2 feet of snow on top. Hot sun, ice, snow, wind–all of these conditions decrease the lifespan of your vintage trailer’s roof. $100 bucks for a tarp is a cheap way to button up the travel trailer for the winter and ward off this kind of damage. Tire covers are great to protect against wear and tear for the same reason.
Plan Your Trips and Save for Repairs over the Winter
Planning trips over the winter helps me thwart cabin fever. We pull out the Atlas and gaze at all the National Forests available for camping. Here is a post about camping for free.
Repairs, repairs, repairs! We plan on updates and repairs every spring. Two years ago the old girl needed her whole undercarriage redone. The mechanic said she is now good for another 40 years! Pricey but worth every penny. Spring 2018 I plan to finish the paint job we started in 2014.
Leave a comment below about the trips you plan to take or the repairs you will make. We love to see pictures of where you have been! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them posted on the blog!