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RV Skirting For Winter – Stay Warm In the Cold!

RV Skirting For Winter – Stay Warm In the Cold!

If you RV in the winter, and especially if you’re parked at one location for a long period of time in colder climates, you may have considered RV skirting. In today’s post, we’re looking at RV skirting for winter to see how effective it is, how much it costs, and whether it’s worth doing.

What Is RV Skirting?

RV skirting can actually take many forms. The term “RV skirting” refers to an enclosure built all the way around the base of an RV, preventing the cold and wind from getting in under the rig, and preventing heat from leaving the underside of the RV. RV skirting basically insulates around the bottom of the rig, blocking the outside elements.

RV skirting can be anything from strong vinyl material (that’s specifically intended to serve as skirting), to foam insulation, bales of hay, or anything else that might provide an effective barrier around the perimeter of the bottom of the RV.

Does RV Skirting Help In the Winter?

While we don’t tend to use (or need) RV skirting (it’s usually plenty warm and snow-free in the desert southwest), anyone who has spent any amount of time in their RV in wintry climates will tell you that even a “four season” RV isn’t as well insulated as a traditional house. Drafts are common… and the fact that all RVs are raised up above the ground allows the cold to sap heat from the underside/basement.

Our friends Tom & Cait Morton (Mortons on the Move) have used Custom Skirting LLC’s vinyl skirting channel system with their fifth wheel, and they speak very highly of it, noting that when they’ve used it, it made an incredible difference for them in a very cold climate. In particular, they noted that the floors in their fifth wheel stayed noticeably warmer, and the furnace was better able to keep the temperature more stable & comfortable.

Here’s a photo of Tom & Cait’s rig with the vinyl skirting installed:

Our friends' 5th wheel with RV skirting installed

Our friends Tom & Cait Morton have used RV skirting by Custom Skirting LLC, and they’ve been blown away by how much warmer their rig is in the winter. (Photo credit: Tom & Caitlin Morton, Mortons on the Move.)

Not only does RV skirting keep the RV warmer by keeping the wind and cold from penetrating the rig and keeping the underside cold, it also protects the RV’s plumbing and electrical system by keeping them warmer, too.

By keeping the RV warmer, RV skirting is also likely to save propane because you’re not losing as much heat as you would be without the skirting.

So, the short answer is yes – RV skirting does help keey you warmer in the winter!

How Do You Skirt an RV In the Winter?

There are a number of ways to skirt an RV in the winter, in addition to a custom-designed system like Tom & Cait have. Again, the overall object of skirting an RV is to block the wind and cold and keep the underside of the RV as warm as possible.

So anything that creates a strong barrier to the wind and cold, preferably without gaps, can serve as RV skirting. The chosen material is wrapped or positioned tightly around the perimeter of the RV, completely enclosing the underside of the rig.

RV skirting installed on a 5th wheel by Custom Skirting

Many different materials and items can serve as RV skirting. The objective is to keep the elements from penetrating the area under the RV. RV skirting can really make all the difference for RVs that are static in cold climates. (Photo credit: Custom Skirting LLC)

What Can Be Used for RV Skirting?

RV skirting can be anything from vinyl material, to canvas, to foam insulation, to plywood, to bales of hay, to plastic sheeting, to large compact mounds of snow.

Yes, that’s right… in a pinch (and, obviously, in a location where there’s enough continual snow on the ground) you can use mounds of snow formed around the perimeter of your RV as a form of skirting. By acting as a windbreak and helping to trap the air beneath your rig, even snow can help to keep you warmer!

How Much Does It Cost to Skirt an RV?

That depends entirely on what you choose to use for skirting. Custom skirting, professionally installed, is going to be the most expensive option. Depending on the size of the RV and the number of slides the rig has, estimates are generally somewhere between $1000-3000 for this option.

If you choose to use foam insulation, you’ll need enough foam board to completely surround your RV. A 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1 ½” rigid foam board is around $33 at your local big box hardware store. (You can pay a little more or a little less depending on thickness.) In addition, you’ll need something like this extreme weather foil tape to hold your skirting together. A 50’ roll runs around $15.

Sale
Nashua Aluminum Extreme Weather Foil Tape, 3.5 mil Thick, 46m Length, 72 mm Width
  • Conformable to fit corners and joints
  • UV, moisture and mold resistant

If you choose to use plywood, you’ll be looking at similar expenses, but there are other considerations at hand. If you’re stationary for all four seasons, plywood might be a fair option to consider. But if you travel in warmer months and only need to skirt your RV in the winter, where will you store all of that plywood when you’re traveling? In addition, it’s a lot of work to skirt an RV with plywood. Tools are required, and depending on how mobile you are, it may not be the most reasonable option.

Bales of hay can not only be expensive, but there are some very serious downsides to using them for your RV skirting. First of all, they’re highly flammable. A spark could set off a bale of hay and send your RV up in flames in no time flat. A secondary concern is that hay bales tend to attract mice and other critters, none of which you want to entertain as guests in your RV.

Is RV Skirting Worth It?

The answer to this question really depends on how you use your RV. If you tend to winter in a stationary location where the weather is cold, RV skirting may be well worth the effort and expense for you. As well, if you’re stationary year-round, RV skirting will not only protect your RV from the elements in winter, but can be left in place all year long and can help to keep your rig a little cooler in summer… and provide a place to store extra gear out of sight.

This 5th wheel's RV skirting is created and installed by Custom Skirting

RV skirting like this can make winter warm and pleasant for RVers who are stuck stationary in cold climates. (Photo credit: Custom Skirting)

But if you tend to be on the move year-round as we do, or if you just never really spend a lot of time in your RV in cold weather, then RV skirting is probably not worthwhile for you.

Have You Used RV Skirting?

If you’ve used RV skirting, drop us a comment and tell us about your experience. We’d love to know what you used and how it worked out for you!

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Sandra Yates

Saturday 17th of September 2022

I will be living in my 29ft long grey wolf camper. I lost my husband and have a little dog that my 85 year old mother isn't a fan of. so I sold my place of 25 years to move into her back yard with my new camper. I am 65 and need allot of information about heat tape and skirting. I have a heated water hose, but thats about it for now. I live in kentucky

Bill Schroeter

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

My wife and I have a new to us 2014 Redwood 5th wheel. Recently we have traveled from North New Mexico to North Colorado. With temperatures falling to -17 degrees everything froze up. Decided to stop at Home Depot and buy 4ft by 12 inch by1/2 inch Styrofoam boards. Just put them around the tank area with an electric heater and everything thawed. Also, placed an electric radiator type heater in the basement and use 2 electric heaters in living space. When the weather warms I plan on adding 12 volt tank heating pads. Currently we are very comfortable. Winter camping is challenging be for die hard skiers the pleasure is worth the pain.

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 9th of February 2022

Sounds like you have it mastered, Bill! We're in a winter climate ourselves right now (although nothing like -17!). Not too hard to stay comfortable with some planning.

Will Belden

Sunday 6th of February 2022

I'd be curious what y'all think of "air skirts". I have seen a vendor company at a few events, but haven't spoken with them or really looked into their product. It seems, as air is a fair insulator, that these *might* be a good solution.

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 6th of February 2022

Hi Will! We've seen those, but have no experience with them. Seems like a neat idea, but we'd see if people are reporting things like holes that allow the air to escape. We do like the idea of avoiding the installation of snaps that regular skirting requires. And if blocking airflow with regular skirting makes a big difference (it does), then having an insulating bag of air along with that is likely even better.

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