How to winterize a pop up camper

how to winterize a pop up camper

There is a lot that goes into winterizing a pop up camper, but all of it can be done by yourself, so long as you're willing to do some research. It's better to take care of your pop up camper now, at the end of the season, than it is to wait for spring and find out the damage has been done. The best way to start is by doing some research online about pop up campers and their maintenance needs. This will give you an idea of what needs to be done when you go in for regular maintenance. If you have questions about this or any other part of your RV's maintenance schedule (including your pop up), don't hesitate to contact us. We'll get back to you with more information on how we can best handle your RV repair problems in a timely manner.

Connect the camper to a power source, then turn on all its electrical appliances.

Your camper's electrical appliances need to be turned on periodically to keep them in good shape. They will get their energy from the power source. Where can you get power?

  • If you've got a camper, you might want to consider using it as a guesthouse during the offseason. If that's the case, it's not difficult to run a temporary extension cord from your house to your camper.

  • Otherwise, there are several RV campsites across the country that have electric hookups for campers and RVs. The prices at these sites vary, but even in wintertime, knowing where they are and what options they offer is a great precautionary measure if you're storing your camper somewhere remote that doesn't have electricity available year-round.

If worst comes to worst and neither of those options work for you, then do this: charge all of your batteries before winter comes around!

Turn on all water taps to let water drain from the camper's plumbing system.

Now that your camper has been drained of its water, it's time to add the antifreeze. To do this, you'll need to bypass the water heater, which will allow you to pump antifreeze directly into your camper's freshwater system. You can bypass the camper’s water heater by following these steps:

  • Locate and open three valves: the hot and cold for both inlet and outlet sides.

  • Close all other valves.

  • Turn off or disconnect the propane supply for your RV’s water heater system.

With this done, you can now begin adding antifreeze to your pop up camper's fresh-water system! Keep in mind that it is important to use RV/marine-specific non-toxic propylene glycol antifreeze instead of automotive-type ethylene glycol (which is toxic). This specialized RV/marine type of antifreeze is readily available at any camping supply store.

Flush out the toilet and add RV antifreeze to the flush basin.

After you have given the toilet a good flush and cleaned it out, pour at least two gallons of RV antifreeze into the flush basin. It is important that you don't get any of this antifreeze onto your skin or eyes, so be careful when handling it. After the RV antifreeze has been added, go ahead and do a few flushes with water to make sure that all of the antifreeze makes its way into the holding tank. Once you've done this, you can use the toilet as usual.

Drain the hot water tank and refill it with RV antifreeze.

You should drain the hot water tank and refill it with RV antifreeze. After you have drained the tank, close the drain valve and fill it with 1/4 cup of RV antifreeze (non-toxic) through the water heater bypass tube. Run only the hot water until you see that pink fluid coming out of each faucet in your camper. Flush all toilets.

Drain the gray and black water tanks, then add RV antifreeze to each one.

The next step is to add RV antifreeze to your camper's gray and black water tanks.

The gray and black water tanks are where waste goes when you use your toilet and shower. You'll need to find these tanks on your vehicle—usually they're inside the camper, though sometimes they're located underneath it (check your owner's manual if you can't locate them.) Once you've found them, drain both of them completely, then add RV antifreeze to each one. RV antifreeze will protect them from freezing and cracking over winter storage.

If you don't have RV antifreeze handy, look for a non-toxic alternative; the ones made for RVs tend to be pink in color, whereas antifreeze that isn't meant for RVs is usually green or blue. The color doesn't make a difference—what matters is whether it contains ethylene glycol as an ingredient or not. Ethylene glycol is toxic; it can poison plants, animals, and any humans who drink it by accident.

Close all valves and cap off any open pipes, then disconnect the water hose from the city's supply line and store it in a safe place.

With the water turned off and all of your valves closed, pull out your supply line from the campground's water supply. Once you have it safely disconnected, store it away in a safe place until next year. This can be done last thing before you leave the campsite or before you pack up at home if you choose to do so. It will help prevent damage to your hoses while they are not in use.

Once everything is disconnected and stored, then what do you do? You wait for spring!

Winterizing your pop up camper is super simple and will protect it from freezing damage

Winterizing your pop-up camper is a preventative maintenance job. It's super simple and will protect your investment in the RV. This process will keep the RV in good condition and allow you to avoid costly repairs, frozen pipes, mold, mildew, rust, and insurance claims. Check with your camper dealer for the recommended winterizing products for your RV.


Winterizing a pop-up camper is a simple process that will protect your camper from freezing damage. By following these steps, you're ensuring that your water heater, pipes, and hose are empty of water. If you can't get all the water out, use RV antifreeze to prevent water remaining in your plumbing system from freezing. You're also taking action to stop mold and mildew from growing by opening up a vent and letting air circulate through the unit. Lastly, you'll be protecting the battery from cold weather damage by removing it.

Winterizing a pop up camper is an important step when storing it for the winter months, but it's also good practice to run your plumbing system every so often during winter storage.

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