If you love to travel in your RV year-round, you may have considered investing in an RV specifically designed to handle cold weather. Not all RVs are suitable for extreme cold weather, but there are many great campers out there that can handle all conditions. Our guide to the 11 Best Extreme Cold Weather Campers for the Money will tell you everything you need to start your search.
What is a Four Season RV?
A four season RV is a term used by RV manufacturers to describe RVs designed to handle extreme weather. It is essential to know that there is no industry standard to use the term “four seasons” or another common term “true four seasons.” When you see these terms used for an RV, it usually means that the RV has unique features designed to handle cold weather. However, features and specifics can vary from model to model, depending on the manufacturer.
Many Four Seasons RVs are guaranteed to withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Other RVs, known as “True Four Season” RVs, are designed for comfortable camping in temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit.
When you see an RV labeled for “four seasons” camping, you can expect that it will have extra insulation along with a better than a standard furnace. Other features, such as dual-pane thermal windows, are common in four seasons campers. Overall you will be more comfortable in cold weather with a four seasons camper as compared to a traditional RV.
While most people are primarily concerned with how an RV will hold up in cold temperatures, the extra insulation found in four seasons RVs is helpful in the summer as well. However, most four season RVs are geared toward cold weather and may not be comfortable in sweltering conditions.
Do You Even Need a 4 Season RV?
Recreational RV users typically plan their trips when the weather is moderate. Most RVers try to avoid extreme conditions such as below-freezing temperatures. If you are a full-time RVer, seasonal traveler, or have other special circumstances that mean you are camping in harsher weather, a four season RV may be a good idea.
Now the question is, do you need a four season RV? All RVs are insulated, but we know that four seasons RVs are better insulated than standard RVs. When it comes to cold weather, insulation will help keep the camper warm. To create warm air inside the RV, you will need to run your furnace. As you are generating heat, it will also be escaping through your walls, roof, and floor. This means you will need to keep your furnace running. Most RV furnaces are up to this challenge. However, it will cost you in propane.
The main feature that makes four seasons RVs practical is the added insulation. Whether you are camping in extremely hot or cold environments, added insulation will keep the temperature in your camper regulated. It will also prevent warm (or cool) air from escaping through your camper walls, floors, and ceiling.
While you can camp in extreme conditions with a regular camper, it will cost you more to heat and cool your rig. This means that a four seasons camper is not a necessity, but if you plan to camp in these conditions often, it may pay off for you to invest in the added insulation and other features that four season models offer.
6 Important 4 Season RV Features for Cold Weather Camping
As we mentioned earlier, there is no industry standard for four seasons RVs. This means that it is essential to do your homework and know which features you are looking for in your next camper. Let’s take a look at some of the main features that can be found in Four Seasons RVs. Remember, the more features the RV has to offer, the more comfortable the camper will be in extreme weather conditions.
Heat is lost through your floor, walls, and ceiling. The more high-quality insulation you have in your camper, the better. The quality of insulation in your walls and ceiling is an essential part of keeping the temperature stable inside the camper. It is also crucial to reducing heating and cooling costs.
Insulation quality is measured in terms of its R-value. This number indicates how well the insulation retains heat. A higher R-value means better quality insulation that holds more heat inside your camper.
RV manufacturers calculate the R-value by totaling up the R-value of all of the materials used to construct the walls and roof. A higher R-value means the manufacturer has used more materials and higher quality materials in the construction of the camper to insulate it.
When you are shopping for four seasons RV, be sure to check out the R-value for each camper so that you can compare models as you shop.
2. A Good Furnace
An above-average furnace is a must if you plan to camp during the winter months. While most RVs have a good enough furnace for most conditions, if you plan to camp in colder conditions, make sure your furnace has at least 30,000 BTUs to ensure that it can handle low temperatures.
3. Dual-Pane Thermal Windows
Just like in a house, heat can escape easily through poor quality windows. Keeping your windows close is not enough. You need to make sure that there is more than just a layer of glass or plastic between you and the outdoors. A good four seasons RV should come equipped with thermal, dual-pane windows. This will make sure your heat stays in the camper.
4. Heated And Enclosed Underbelly
While your personal comfort is important, a bigger concern when camping in cold weather is having your pipes or tanks freeze. We all know that when temperatures get below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, water begins to freeze.
Having frozen pipes not only prevents you from having access to your water but can permanently damage your pipes as well.
A high quality four season RV should come with an enclosed and heated tank area. Having a heated and enclosed tank system means that you will not have to worry about your freshwater, grey, or black water tank freezing up. You can imagine what problems can be caused by frozen tanks!
While you may be concerned about the cost of heating your tank area, keep in mind that it does not have to be heated to room temperature. The tank area only needs to stay safely above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Heat Ducting System
Your heat ducting system is important for ensuring that the heat from your furnace is distributed evenly across your camper. Check the number of duct openings in the RV and make sure there is one in the bathroom.
6. Pex Plumbing Pipes
An additional feature that is useful for cold weather camping is pex piping. While most four seasons campers have pipes enclosed in a heated underbelly, pex pipes give you an added layer of protection.
The great thing about pex pipes is that they can expand if water freezes in them. This means that they are less likely to be damaged or busted by freezing temperatures. Most RVs have pex pipes standard since they are easy to install and cheap to make. It is still a good idea to make sure your camper has pex pipes.
Does a 4 Season RV Need Skirting?
Skirting can give your RV an extra layer of protection from cold air and wind. Skirting goes around the bottom of your RV and can reduce the amount of cold air and wind passing underneath the floor of your RV. RVs with skirting are easier to keep warm than RVs without skirting.
If you decide to add skirting to your RV, there are many options out there. Some skirting is designed to be more permanent, while other skirting types can quickly and easily be removed. We tried AirSkirts and even made a video about them below. They are fantastic and we highly recommend them!
If you do plan to camp in freezing weather, temporary skirting could make you cozier inside your rig and even reduce your heating costs. Many skirting options can be hung after reaching your campsite, making them a convenient choice if you are on the go.
11 Best Extreme Cold Weather Campers for the Money
We’ve searched the market to find the best of the best when it comes to cold weather camping. We also made sure each option was budget-friendly. Here are the 11 best extreme cold weather campers for the Money.
1. Arctic Fox by Northwood
Northwood is well known for making quality cold-weather RVs. The Arctic Fox is both well suited to cold weather camping and luxurious. It has numerous features that will ensure you are cozy and comfortable no matter what the weather is like!
The Arctic Fox is one of the most popular true four seasons RVs on the market today. The Arctic Fox is available as both a travel trailer and a fifth wheel, with a variety of floor plans for you to choose from. The Arctic Fox fifth wheel comes in six different floor plans. The Arctic Fox travel trailer comes in two models- the Arctic Fox Classic and the Silver Fox. The Classic model has four different floor plans while the Silver Fox has three floor plans to choose from. With so many floor plans and options, you are sure to find a model and plan that works for your needs.
While all of the Arctic Fox floor plans come with similar all-weather upgrades, you will need to check the model and year of manufacture for the camper you are considering to determine the specific features included.
Basic features that you will find in the Arctic Fox include an auto-ignition furnace with 1,000 BTUs, thermal pane windows, heated holding tanks, and air ducting system, and multi-layered walls with high-density block foam insulation. There is four-season foam insulation in the walls, and the ceiling insulation is R-18 equivalent. This means that you will have less heat escaping your camper, which means lower heating costs for you!
Other features that you will love include a full tub in the bathroom, a TruRest queen mattress, USB and 12-volt chargers throughout the camper, a large refrigerator, and a digital thermostat.
Skylights in the kitchen, a 19-inch LED TV, DVD/CD player with Bluetooth and more will give you comfort when on the road.
The Arctic Fox also offers many extras and upgrades. From solar panels to rearview cameras, you will love the choices and add-ons available.
All of this luxury and convenience does come at a price. New Arctic Fox models start around $55,000. Keep in mind that pricing will depend on the model and floor plan that you choose.
2. Lance 4 Seasons Travel Trailer
Lance is a well-known leader in the RV industry. Unlike other RV manufacturers who may have one or two four seasons models, Lance offers the option of upgrading to a Four Seasons Package on all of their campers. We love that whether you want a travel trailer, truck camper, or toy hauler, you can get a Four Seasons package from Lance.
Lance Four Seasons packages come with insulated walls, roofs, and hatch covers, ducted heating systems, and dual pane windows. The insulation is Azdel insulation, which is a thermoplastic composite. This insulation will keep you warm and toasty no matter what the weather, and it also stops mold and mildew from developing as well. Another great benefit of this insulation is that it also provides soundproofing, something that you will appreciate on your travels.
Another great feature of this package is a water heater bypass. The water heater is winterized, which makes it perfect for cold weather use.
Since you can add this package to nearly all Lance models, you are sure to find a style of camper that meets your needs.
3. Northwood Nash Travel Trailer
Northwood, the builders of the Arctic Fox, also make the Nash travel trailer. The Nash all-season trailer has heated enclosed tanks along with a 25,000 BTU furnace. We also like that it has a propane capacity of 60 pounds. Extra propane is essential when you are doing extended cold weather camping.
Other great features of this camper include a full entertainment center, outdoor kitchen, solar panel capabilities, and lots of storage.
4. Outdoor RV – All Series
Outdoors RV travel trailers are rugged and designed for long term use. With six-sided block foam insulation, mountain extreme thermal pane windows and , you are well insulated from the elements in this fantastic travel trailer.
Outdoor RVs are made with a 2″ bonded all-aluminum construction. There is no wood inside or outside on this camper! Eliminating wood means that you do not have to work about rot, mildew, and mold, which gives you great peace of mind.
Thermal pane windows hold in the heat. You will also love its lightweight design, which makes it easy to tow.
We also like that that it comes with a 1-2-3 warranty. This extended warranty shows the confidence of the manufacturer that the travel trailer will stand the test of time.
5. Jayco Redhawk 26XD
If you are looking for an affordable, comfortable Class C that is also ready to take on winter weather, the Jayco Redhawk 26XD should be on your list. This cozy camper is perfect for couples and families.
There are five different floor plans available in the Redhawk line that all feature Four Season amenities. The main feature of the Redhawk that you will appreciate in winter weather is the 31,000 BTU auto-ignition furnace. This furnace is much better than the industry standard and is sure to keep you warm and toasty no matter what the weather.
The insulation in the Redhawk is also well above the industry standard. With an R-15 roof, R-9 floor, and R-5 walls, you will be nice and warm during the cold winter months. A bonus to this camper is that the holding tanks are enclosed and heated as well. This means that you don’t have to worry about your tanks freezing in cold temperatures.
Other great features of the Redhawk are the spacious layouts, linen closets, walk around queen bed, and a large refrigerator. All of this luxury does come at a price, and Redhawks start around the $100,000 mark.
6. Forest River Arctic Wolf
Forest River is another leading RV manufacturer. Their Arctic Wolf fifth wheel model offers six floor plans. You are sure to find a plan that works for your needs. The various Arctic Wolf plans can sleep between four and eight people.
What makes the Arctic Wolf a great four season RV is that you have the choice of not one but two cold weather packages, perfect for winter weather.
The first package option is the Arctic Package. The Arctic Package comes with a 35,000 BTU furnace, more than powerful enough to keep you warm in cold weather. The underbelly is also heated and enclosed, keeping your pipes and tanks safe from freeze damage. Upgraded insulation and enhanced fiberglass sidewalls keep you toasty no matter what the temperature is outside.
The Extreme Weather Package also comes with enhanced insulation, enhanced fiberglass high-gloss sidewalls, and a 35,000 BTU furnace. The underbelly is also heated and enclosed.
Additional features of the Extreme Weather Package are a high circulation ceiling fan, racetrack ducted air conditioning, and a “quick cool” fantastic fan. This makes the Arctic Wolf comfortable in both cold and hot conditions.
7. Heartland Big Horn
Heartland is an excellent brand of RV. They have many 5th wheel models that meet the criteria for a good four seasons RV. All of Heartland’s 5th wheels and travel trailers have an enclosed underbelly, which is important for protecting your pipes and tanks in cold weather. They also have furnaces and heat ducting systems.
The Heartland Big Horn floor plans offer very high R values for their insulation. This is a great feature as it means less heat will escape through your ceiling and walls.
The Big Horn also has a 42,000 BTU furnace. This is more than enough power to keep you toasty even in freezing temperatures. Pex water pipes complete this well-equipped trailer.
We love that the Big Horn has over ten floor plans to choose from in a range of sizes, styles, and budgets. You will be able to find a plan to meet your needs.
8. Keystone Raptor
The Keystone Raptor is another great cold weather-ready camper. With eight floor plans to choose from, you are sure to find a plan that works for you.
Keystone has a great arctic package that includes a 35,000 BTU furnace and frameless dual pane windows. The MaxFlo zone controlled air conditioner has 15,000 BTUs, which is another excellent feature. The underbelly of the camper is also enclosed and heated, which means you will not have to worry about frozen pipes or tanks.
9. Heartland LM Lafayette
Another great Heartland travel trailer is the LM Lafayette. Heartland’s Yeti Extreme Cold Weather Package is considered one of the best cold weather packages on the market today and is a huge selling point.
If you decide to add on the Yeti package, you’ll get a heated and enclosed underbelly, R-38 insulated floors, and pex piping. Another outstanding feature is that the main water line has a sensor to kickstart the heater if temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This automated feature is one of a kind and is good to have if you plan to travel in cold conditions.
Dual pane windows and heated holding tank pads complete this outstanding cold weather package.
10. Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3008W
The Forest River Rockwood Windjammer 3008W has a unique “V” nose design, which makes excellent use of space in the camper. It is also well equipped for four seasons travel, making it an excellent option for anyone planning to travel during colder months.
The floor-ducted furnace will keep you nice and warm on those cold, winter days. With R-values of R-7 for the walls, R-12 for the floor, and R-14 for the roof, you can rest assured that your heat will not escape through the walls.
A two-year warranty and luxurious interior touches, like dual Lazy Boy leather recliners, make this RV a great choice for winter travel.
11. Northern Lite Boreal 23FB
We love the stylish look and clean lines of the Northern Lite Boreal 23 FB. This four season fiberglass travel trailer is eye-catching, luxurious and has everything you need for four seasons camping.
With a 30,000 BTU ducted furnace and A/C with heat pump, the Boreal is designed to keep you warm and cozy in cold weather and will keep you cool on hot summer days.
The Boreal also has the first one-piece “no seams” leak-proof fiberglass four seasons construction. This one of a kind design is new in the industry and makes for a great all-weather camper.
The insulation in the Boreal is highly rated with an R5 rating. The tanks in the Boreal are also heated and enclosed. We love that two 100-watt solar panels come standard in the camper, allowing you to go off the grid for short periods.
We hope you have a better understanding of 4 season campers and also like the list of our 11 Best Extreme Cold Weather Campers – which will keep you cooler in the summertime too!
Let us know what you think of these campers in the comments below. And if you think we missed one let us know that in the comments below too! That way the list of the best extreme cold weather campers will grow!