The autumn months are upon us, so it’s time to get out there and make the most of fall RV camping. Winter will be here before you know it, but from mid-September to late October there’s still time for a few more trips before the snow arrives. Fall is the perfect time to visit national parks, admire the changing fall foliage, take hikes in the crisp weather, enjoy seasonal festivals and attractions!
What are the Most Critical Things to Know About RV Camping in Fall?
Fall signals a change in the weather, and all RVers need to be ready for the transition from summer to winter camping temperatures. Is your vehicle ready for colder temperatures and unexpected weather conditions? Are you? Winterizing your RV is a topic for another day, but there are a few things you can do now to prepare for fall RV camping.
Check out the list of suggestions below. We cover everything you need to do to stay safe, comfortable, and having fun during a fall camping trip. Follow the tips below and a phenomenal camping season is practically guaranteed!
1. Check your RV insulation and caulking
Insulation is one of the most important things for any RVer, regardless of the season. But when temperatures start to drop, you need to ensure that your RV is properly sealed so that it doesn’t develop drafts or leaks. There are plenty of ways to improve your insulation such as covering your windows, adding an RV skirt, or placing rugs on the floor.
To begin, thoroughly inspect your RV to check for any gaps or cracks. Your windows, doors, and vents are some of the most vulnerable areas, so pay close attention to them. Use caulk or another sealant to cover any gaps that you might find! This is also a good time to check or replace your door’s weather strip. It can become damaged over time and you need a proper seal to keep the cool fall air out of your RV!
2. Service your heating/AC system
Next up, take a close look at your heating and cooling systems. The temperatures in autumn can fluctuate wildly throughout the day. That’s what makes for great fall color! You might have days where the highs are in the 90s, and nights when the temperature drops to 30 degrees or lower. You’ll need a great heater and AC unit to keep up with these changes!
You should inspect your HVAC system at least once per year anyway and fall is a great season to do this task. Clean and replace your air filters and check for any leaks or damage in the ducts. If something is malfunctioning, visit a repair center as soon as possible. You don’t want to be in an RV park and trying to heat an RV without propane heat.
3. Inspect your RV water heater
Hot water is another necessity for most RVers. You need it for showering, cleaning dishes, washing your hands, and much more! Most water heaters can get by with minimal maintenance, but it’s a good idea to inspect your water heater before you head out on a fall RV camping trip.
One of the key things to check is the anode rod. These degrade over time and they can eventually produce a sulfuric/rotten egg smell. Check your anode rod this fall and replace it if it’s more than halfway gone. If you want a rod that won’t create these foul smells, you could also swap it out for an aluminum alternative.
4. Upgrade your RV tires
Putting new tires on your RV isn’t a necessity, but it’s still a good idea if you plan to take fall trips to Acadia National Park, or Rocky Mountain National Park, and other leaf peeping getaways. You never know when the first snowfall of the season might arrive! Even if there’s no snow on the ground, you can still run into patches of frost or ice on the road. Are your RV tires good enough to keep you safe?
Tires made for winter conditions like the Michelin Mud and Snow Defender LTX line will improve your traction and control on the roads. RV tires are fairly easy to swap out and the benefits are considerable! So if you’re in a part of the country where you expect to run into potential snow, consider upgrading your RV tires.
5. Top off your RV batteries
Most RV batteries will be able to last for a few years, so you don’t need to replace them very often. But it’s still a good idea to inspect and service them at least once a year. Test its capacity and time limits to see how well it holds a charge. If necessary, clean the connection points and remove any buildup.
Finally, this might be a good chance to top off the water in your flooded batteries. But be sure to only use distilled water. Also, don’t overfill it! You can remove the battery if you plan to store your RV for the winter, but fall is a great time to check this important item.
6. Bring alternative RV heating options
Next up, it’s time to prepare for cooler weather! Your built-in heater should be able to keep you comfortable, but this system can also drain your RV’s power supplies. That’s why it’s a good idea to travel with a few alternative heating options.
For instance, space heaters are compact and are perfect for heating small, enclosed spaces. You could also try to install a wood stove in your RV, bring a propane heater, or just stock up on chemical hand warmers and hot water bottles! Anything that keeps you warm on fall adventures will do the trick.
7. Switch to warmer clothing and bedding
Speaking of staying warm, let’s talk about clothes and bedding in late October. Now is the season for long sleeves, flannel, and beanies! Apart from being fashionable, these will keep you nice and warm as the season progresses. Be sure to bring plenty of layering options including thermal undergarments, moisture-wicking layers, and insulated jackets.
You also may want to switch out the bedding in your RV. Flannel sheets are a great way to retain heat. You can also add thicker comforters and extra blankets.
8. Verify your chosen campgrounds are still open
Next, it’s time to plan your autumn RV trips! Fall RV camping is fantastic because there are fewer people at state park campgrounds, mild temperatures, and gorgeous scenery. But unfortunately, not all campgrounds or RV resorts are open year-round. That goes the same for national forest camping areas. Plenty of parks close down amenities in early October, and shut the gates completely by early November at the latest.
With this in mind, you’ll need to do your homework while you plan your trip. Make RV campsite reservations ahead of time and search for RV campgrounds that will be open during your travel window. Don’t assume that you’ll always be able to find a spot!
9. Find Fun Fall RV Camping Activities
There are lots of important tasks you need to do to enjoy fall RV camping, but you need to enjoy yourself too. Fall is the perfect season for fun activities, so be sure to work some of these bonus fall RV camping tips into your next trip.
Whether you’re camping in Tennessee, Montana, North Carolina, or other popular fall RV destinations, throughout your North America RV road trip you’re likely to find fun activities like:
10. Don’t Forget to Decorate the RV!
Last, but not least, get in the spirit of autumn by decorating your RV with fall touches. There are so many fun seasonal decorations that can make your camper feel warm and cozy. You might light seasonal candles, make some fun crafts, carve a pumpkin, or set out a few decorative pillows. Even small touches can really change the mood of your living space.
- 12 Fall Drives (including Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and Kancamagus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire)
- 10 Best RV Campgrounds To See Fall Foliage (including Kebler Corner, Colorado)
- 5 Scenic Towns To Take Your RV This Fall (including Leavenworth, Washington)
- 15 Fall RV Activities You’ll Enjoy
- How To Winterize An RV in 9 Easy Steps