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  1. Default First time road-tripping in a rental camper in cold weather- advice appreciated!

    Iím going on a 10 day road trip from Denver to Seattle starting Oct 14 and ending on the 24th. The idea was to drive north and go spend some time in Yellowstone (never been!) and then start heading more west toward Seattle. Iíve already spoken to the company Iím renting from and theyíre going to winterize the camper, all good there. However, Iím a little nervous about road conditions in the area of Yellowstone at that time of year, is it starting to get icy around then? Any wisdom on road conditions in that area would be well received as well as any advice for a first-time rvíer! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Warning, Will Robinson!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    A couple of things leap out from your seemingly simple inquiry. Both have to do with your dates and your mode of transportation/lodging. First: You do realize what 'winterizing' an RV entails, do you not? It means no fresh water in the water tanks - it would freeze! No gray water, no black water, no hot water, no cold water - NO WATER AT ALL, which means no drinking, cooking, bathing, toilets, showers, or any of the other amenities that one associates with traveling by RV. Second: once you do get to Yellowstone, precious little in the way of accommodations. There will be all of one campground open in the second half of October and it doesn't have RV hookups because, as noted, there will be nothing to hook up - your RV will be 'winterized'. Indeed many of the roads in Yellowstone may be closed due to snow.

    You will be traveling in the high northern Rockies for much of your trip, so you must expect to see snow and/or ice at some point(s) along your trip. If ice makes you nervous and you've never driven a hulking, slow-to-respond RV before, then your only realistic choice if you run into bad weather is to hole up in a motel for a day or two until the road crews do their work and the sun comes out to melt the last bits of snow and ice away. Plan to spend a day or two doing nothing but sitting in a motel room on this trip and stay flexible with your plans otherwise.


  3. Default

    Iím aware of what winterizing means and Iím not thrilled, would love an alternate option, this trip is nothing but flexible, the only things set in stone are the dates and the pick up and drop off cities.
    I donít know how sensitive an rvís plumbing and tanks are to cold weather, if you have one night that gets down to freezing or just below but warms up in the daytime, would you ruin the plumbing? Or if youíre driving for several hours and the windchill is cold enough?
    Instead of Yellowstone, I could head west out of Denver then north once in California but Iíll still be seeing freezing temperatures at night even on that route. Do you think I would still need to winterize?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    It only takes a small amount of water in the lines to freeze to cause big problems. The issue that Buck raise isn't so much that you shouldn't winterize, (you almost certainty should) it's that if your planning a trip in an RV where you have to winterize, then an RV trip, particularity a rental RV trip, probably isn't a good choice.

    Not only do you have the lack of plumbing, RVs aren't particularly well insulated which means you might be freezing inside the RV and as Buck also mentioned just finding an open camp ground could be a big challenge.

    I think you should ask yourself why you want to do this trip by RV, and if perhaps just renting a car and staying in hotels would make more sense (such a trip would almost certainly be far less expensive).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    All you can do is keep checking weather conditions and plan accordingly, if Yellowstone is experiencing bad weather it will best to have a plan 'B'. Whether you hook up to water or not is a choice you have to make but if you make the wrong choice it can get very expensive as you become responsible for all repair costs. The temps can take an enormous dip in the small hours ! We have done some cold weather RV'ing and I recommend you have extra blankets and plenty of layered clothing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Note that Dunraven Pass and the Beartooth are already closed for the winter. The other Yellowstone roads are subject to closure at any time.

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