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How to Properly Store Your RV to Prevent Damage

Storing an RV is not as straightforward as simply finding a large enough parking spot. From understanding weight distribution on tires to safeguarding the plumbing system, the technical aspects of RV storage require careful attention. In this piece, we’ll delve into the specific measures to consider when storing your RV to ensure its mechanical and structural integrity. Proper storage techniques ensure that every system, from electrical circuits to the engine, remains in optimal condition, ready for your next adventure.

We have all different types of campers in different climates and locations for many years and have learned a lot, so join us as we take a look at proper RV storage.

What RV Storage Options Are There? 

If you’re left scratching your head wondering what options exist for RV storage, you aren’t alone. There are a lot of options when it comes to keeping your RV safe. Here are a few ideas to help you decide where to store your RV.

Indoor, Climate-Controlled RV Storage

Indoor, climate-controlled RV storage is a premium option that will cost more upfront but can keep your RV safe and out of the weather. A climate-controlled environment will keep humidity and temperature in check, helping you reduce the chances of mold growth.

Believe it or not there are even a few underground storage locations that utilize old mines to safely store your RV. These locations offer perfect climate control and low humidity environments.

RV Garage Storage

RV garage storage may not provide climate control, but it’s the next best thing. Storing your RV in a garage not only keeps it out of the rain, wind, and snow but also keeps it safely tucked away behind locked doors. Even though the garage itself may not be climate controlled, you may be able to plug your RV into shore power if needed. 

Covered RV Storage

Many RV owners choose to go with simple covered RV storage. While this won’t keep all of the weather elements off of your RV, it does keep the rain and snow to a minimum. Covered RV storage will also reduce the amount of time the RV spends in direct sunlight, keeping the decals, window seals and paint on your rig free of premature fading and peeling. 

We built an RV carport specifically to keep the direct elements off our RV’s. Its a simple structure but provides big benefits to longevity.

RV storage shelter
This is the RV carport shelter we built

Driveway RV Storage

If you have the space in your driveway or elsewhere on your property, you might feel most comfortable utilizing this option. Your rig will be within eyesight, so you can be confident all is well. Additionally, packing up for a trip is a breeze because you’ll have easy access to your rig. As a bonus, you won’t pay any storage fees. 

RV Storage Lots

RV storage lots are a very economical choice for those who can’t store their RV at their residence. While your RV won’t be within your view, RV storage lots generally have a locked gate that only lot renters can access. Most RV storage lots have 24-hour access, meaning while your RV is safely stored, you can still access it whenever you need it. Some RV storage lots even have a hired security team member. 

Can You Store Your RV at Home? 

If you have enough space at home to store your RV, it may seem like the obvious choice. Before you create a cozy space for your RV, verify that you’re allowed to do so. If you live in an HOA community, bylaws may prevent you from storing your RV within the community, even on your own property. 

Have you heard of an RV port home? These houses are designed with an RV port or large garage to accommodate campers of all sizes, including Class As. Have a look: RV Port Home: The Perfect House for RVers

RV Port Home
This home was designed with a garage tall enough to store a Class A motorhome or fifth wheel.

Are RV Storage Lots Safe? 

You’ve likely read horror stories about RVs stolen from RV storage lots, and, admittedly, it makes our stomachs drop too. While it does happen occasionally, you can do things to reduce the risk of theft and damage. 

Choose your RV storage lot wisely. Is the storage facility in a safe neighborhood? Do they have a locked gate and security cameras? Additionally, you should place a hitch lock or king pin lock on your RV trailer to avoid being an easy target. Don’t forget to keep your RV door locked as well. We recommend using a high-security door lock for this purpose.

The Safest, Most Secure RV Storage We've Ever Seen! NIRVC To The Rescue.

How Much Does RV Storage Cost?

RV storage costs vary greatly. Depending on your location, you could pay anything from under $60 for a basic parking space to several hundred dollars for a climate-controlled storage solution. This number will fluctuate dramatically based on your location and what amenities you need for your RV while it’s in storage. 

Pro Tip: When calculating the cost of owning and maintaining an RV, be sure to factor in winter storage.

How to Store Your RV

Now that you’ve decided where to store your RV, you still have a few RV storage decisions to make. Let’s look at some tricks to help keep your RV in top condition year after year. 

Get a Cover for Outdoor RV Storage

While RV covers are a debated subject, many find that keeping their RV covered if they don’t have covered storage is a good thing. An RV cover can protect your home on wheels from exposure to rain, snow, and the sun. Be sure to choose a properly fitted cover to avoid damage from the cover rubbing. 

If you live in an area prone to high wind, you may want to skip the cover as it can buffet and rub the paint. Otherwise, keeping sun and rain off the RV can be very helpful.

If you choose to use a cover in snowy or rainy climates, we personally like to inflate pool cover balloons under the cover. This helps create a peak that can shed rain and snow better and prevent pooling. We have found it to work very well.

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Covered truck and fifth wheel
Even if you’re storing your camper in a moderate climate, an RV cover will help protect it from rain or sun damage. Keep in mind, however that high winds can cause buffeting that will wear paint. If you will be storing in a high wind environment, you may want to skip the cover.

Weight Distribution and Tires

One of the often overlooked aspects of RV storage is weight distribution. When parked for long periods, the weight of the RV can cause tires to deflate or develop flat spots. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Reduce Weight On The Tires: You can do this in a few ways, first by removing excess stuff. Empty water tanks and overall reduce weight. Many RV’s also have jacks that can take some of the weight of the camper. Put all your jacks down and allow them to remove some of the weight from the tires.
  • Inflate to Max PSI: Ensure the tires are inflated to the max sidewall PSI. This will keep the tire sidewall as stiff and vertical as possible to minimize sagging.
  • Use Tire Covers: Ultraviolet rays can degrade rubber over time. Protect your tires with quality tire covers to prolong their lifespan.

Clean and Empty Camper — Including Water System

Keeping clean plates and appliances in your RV can make packing up for your next trip much easier. Something you don’t want to keep in your RV while you’re away is food. That juicy apple that you forgot on the counter will now be a stinky and sticky mess the next time you load up for a trip.

RV 101® - Top 5 RV Storage Tips

Don’t forget to drain all fresh water and empty your tanks before placing the RV into storage. If you can flush your tanks, doing so before storing your RV can be beneficial in fighting odors.   

Electrical Systems and Battery Maintenance

An idle RV can experience battery drainage, leading to potential long-term damage. We always recommend having a battery switch installed that you can easily turn off.

  • Disconnect the Battery: For extended storage periods, it’s recommended to disconnect the battery. This prevents any gradual drain.
  • Battery Storage: Best practice is to remove batteries and store them in a heated dry space. This, however, is not feasible for most RV’s. The next best thing is to put a battery tender or trickle charger on the batteries to make sure they stay topped off. Even without use, they will slowly drain.

Open All Cabinets 

After you’ve parked your RV in your storage space, your job isn’t over. Head into your RV to open up your cabinets to allow proper airflow. Keeping your cabinets closed might be an invitation for condensation and mold to form. Opening your cabinets will also help you remember to grab anything that you might have forgotten. 

Place Desiccants Around RV Interior

Speaking of keeping condensation and moisture at bay, consider using desiccants. Placing a few packets of desiccants throughout your RV in areas prone to moisture build-up is a good idea. Instead of a musty interior, you’ll have a fresh-smelling RV. 

O2frepak 50Gram(20Packets) Food Grade Moisture...
  • Food Grade:Meets Specifications for Dry Food Packaging,Silica Gel...
  • Higher Absorption Capacity:Silica Gel Packets Desiccant can...
  • Advantages:Silica Gel desiccant Packs is a High-Activity...

Pro Tip: DampRid is another popular product RVers use to absorb moisture while their camper is in storage.

DampRid
Placing moisture absorbers throughout your RV will keep mold at bay while you’re away.

Deter Pests by Removing All Food Scraps, Crumbs, Etc.

Don’t leave even the smallest crumbs behind as you clean out the RV for storage; critters will find them. Even dry, nonperishable foods can cause issues. Rodents and bugs will love you for leaving them a treat, but you won’t be a happy camper when you find that they’ve made themselves at home in your RV.

Even if you remove all food rodents still like to move into RVs so we recommend getting a multi kill electronic mouse trap. These units can trap multiple mice and can save you from a ton of damage.

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Even when you’re traveling in your RV, pests can still be a problem. We recommend investing in an RV vacuum to clean up messes that could attract ants or roaches. Check out The Best RV Vacuum Options for Keeping Your RV Clean

Winterize RV if Necessary

If you live in a climate where temperatures fall below freezing, you need to winterize your RV. Most commonly, RV owners will buy potable RV-specific antifreeze to winterize their units. As an alternative, you can blow out your lines with an air compressor, eliminating any liquids from your water lines. 

Failure to winterize an RV that will sit in freezing conditions will likely lead to cracked water lines. Don’t forget to drain your water heater as part of your winterizing process. 

If you have the space, storing your RV at home is the most convenient and cost-effective option.

Which RV Storage Option Is Best for You? 

While it’s always sad to put your RV in storage, knowing you’ve tucked it away in a place you feel comfortable helps, at least a little. Thankfully, there are various storage options available in most areas, so you can feel confident that your home on wheels will be safe.

How do you store your RV? Let us know in the comments.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Mats Wolff

Friday 12th of November 2021

I like how you mentioned indoor, climate controlled rv storage is a viable option for my rv. I've been wanting to get my rv stored in a climte controlled storage facility. I'll need to find a facility that offers indoor climate controlled rv storage to see if it this would be a good option for me.