Best Class C RVs for Winter – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: June 6, 2021

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Taking a trip in a camper is part of the great outdoors experience. 

However, winter can be harsh in most states, and you must make sure that your RV has all the necessary specs to stay warm. 

We explore the best Class C RVs for winter and why you should consider one of them for your next trip. 

What Makes a Class C RV Great for Winter?

If you're planning to travel in your RV during winter, there are certain essential features that you should consider. Without these, you might find winter uncomfortable in your motorhome. When choosing the best Class C RVs for winter, focus on the following factors. 

Insulation

Insulation is an essential factor when choosing an RV for winter travel, and it's measured with an ”R-value" that shows how resistant a material is to conducting heat. The higher the value, the better the insulation. 

You'll find three common types of padding inside RVs: spray foam, rigid foam, or fiberglass, of which the fiberglass has the highest rating. 

Heating System

Another critical feature is the heating system. The standard in most of the best Class C RVs for winter is forced-air heat from a propane furnace. You can hold out during the coldest of temperatures as long as you have enough propane in your tanks to keep you going. The best option is to have the ability to use either electricity or gas. 

Tanks and Underbelly

When looking to purchase one of the best Class C RVs for winter, you need to check that the underbelly is enclosed and heated. Inspect the RV from underneath to see that the underside is sealed against the elements. All the water lines, pipes, and holding tanks should be well-insulated.  

Photo credit: jeffsetter.com

Windows

Dual pane windows are a must for RV insulation. The thicker windows help keep you warmer inside and reduce condensation and other moisture issues. You might be tempted to forgo the double windows due to some of the problems that crop up with them over time. 

No matter how careful you are, eventually, there's bound to be fog build-up between the panes leading to costly repair bills.  

Custom Skirting

Skirting around the bottom of the camper makes a big difference in winter. It's a hassle to set up and take down if you're on the move often, but if your rig will stand for a while, it helps keep the underbelly warmer. The attachment matches the model-specific measurements, so it's easier to handle.

Review of the Best Class C RVs for Winter

Traveling in winter can be a lot more pleasant when you have an RV that's kitted out with the right tools and features. Below you can explore our picks for the best Class C RVs for winter and what makes each one special. 

Best Overall:
Forest River Forester LE

Pros

  • Offers an arctic package for winter prep
  • Large 42lb propane tank great for long trips 
  • Wrap-around front cap provides better wind resistance
  • Slide-out queen bed leaves plenty of room inside to move
  • Fiberglass substrate with an R-value of 3 making the RV warmer in winter

Cons

  • Not suitable for inexperienced drivers
  • Slide-out can be a hassle in extra icy conditions, and some people don't like it

Layout

The Forester LE is designed to sleep a maximum of six people. The layout differs slightly between models, but the primary design remains constant. The queen bed is in the back of the RV with the kitchen dining area in the middle. 

The extra bunk beds are toward the front behind the cab. There's also a sofa that can double up as more sleeping space. There are options available to have the main bed as a slide-out, which gives more room inside the RV.   

Popular Features

When it comes to safety features, the Forester LE has you covered. It has a built-in smoke and carbon monoxide detector, as well as a propane alarm. The shower has a movement-sensitive light and a skylight that creates a beautiful atmosphere when showering during the day. 

If you enjoy a nap in the afternoons, then you'll be pleased to know that the unit comes standard with blackout roller shades. The living area houses a 12V LED flat panel adjustable side TV. 

Runner-up:
Jayco Redhawk 26XD

Pros

  • 42lb propane tank for long trips
  • 12V heating pads on holding tanks
  • 750lb overhead mass capacity for lots of storage
  • Plenty of room with five-floor plans to choose from
  • Heavy-duty roof design that can handle large piles of snow

Cons

  • Extra insulation may be needed for below zero temperatures 

Layout

The layouts of the various models aren't much different from each other. One significant difference is that the smaller models have a sofa that folds out into a queen bed, while the bigger versions have a proper bed already installed. 

The 29XK is excellent if you're looking for some privacy as it has a partition that divides the main sleeping area from the rest of the RV, including the bathroom section. All the units have plenty of overhead storage space and well-placed cabinets. 

Popular Features

The roof of the Jayco Redhawk is well padded, especially the top. It comes standard with heating attachments on the holding tanks. The 42lb propane tank is large enough to last a long time without needing to be refilled. 

It has a handy electric patio awning complete with LED lights for those evenings that are mild enough to enjoy outside. For entertainment, you have a LED HDTV in the living area and a Sony infotainment center with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

Best for the Money:
Coachmen Leprechaun

Pros

  • Lots of storage space
  • Simple to drive and operate
  • High-quality finishes in the kitchen and living area
  • Smaller size makes it easier to find space to park and camp
  • 21' awning and exterior kitchen to enjoy the outdoors when the weather permits

Cons

  • Living area is a bit tight for the number of people it sleeps
  • Water tanks are small, restricting showering and water usage unless you're close to a fill-up station 

Layout

The Coachmen Leprechaun RV comes in various styles, and the floorplan options depend on the model. If you're looking for a smaller motorhome in Class C, then you'll want to look at the Leprechaun 210RS at 24.9". 

The layout includes a bedroom with a full bathroom, kitchenette, and dining area. The main room has a queen bed with a nightstand as well as closet space. The larger versions of this RV can sleep up to eight people as it has a fold-out couch and over cab bunk for extra sleeping space.  

Popular Features

Our budget choice has a lot of features that give you more bang for your buck. The RV has a recessed three-burner stove with a glass cover and a full oven. When you're ready to snuggle down for the night during those cold winter nights, you can enjoy the slide out entertainment center with a 32" TV, stereo, speakers, and, in some models, a fireplace. 

This affordable motorhome has some stunning decor features with cherry wood grain cabinets and decorative glass door inserts in certain areas. 

Editor's Pick:
Tiffin Wayfarer

Pros

  • Powerful 3.2 Onan diesel generator
  • Bed is a one-piece, seamless slide-out
  • Roof is made from a single piece of fiberglass
  • Variety of decor options available to customize your RV
  • Plumbing comes standard with internal mounts and heating

Cons

  • There isn't a lot of storage space, which isn't great for longer trips
  • Generator is on the entrance side of the RV, which is noisy and inconvenient

Layout

There are four design models in the series, and they're designed to accommodate six people. The 25SW model has a slide-out bed and dinette area, which creates a lot more space in the motorhome. The bedroom is private from the rest of the living areas. 

The 25RW also has a slide-out. Instead of the bedroom and kitchen moving out separately, they're both situated in the middle and slide out as one piece. Due to the positioning, there isn't much privacy, and you need to fold the bed up into a sofa to make more space.  

Popular Features

The windows are heated and electric making it easier to adjust in cold weather when driving. The shower is fitted with a Trauma Comfort Plus instant water heater, so you don't need to go anywhere to take a warm shower. You can enjoy music on the radio, DVD player, or via Bluetooth. There's a TV in the main bedroom, reading lights, and a USB port with a 110 V plug so you can charge your devices safely without leaving the RV.

Honorable Mention:
Thor Motor Coach Outlaw

Pros

  • High-quality sleek interior 
  • Powerful engine with a lot of pull
  • Relatively easy to park almost anywhere
  • Standard version doesn't need road upgrades

Cons

  • Living area is small 
  • RV has some quality control issues

Layout

There are two models of the Thor Motor Coach Outlaw, namely the 29J and 29S. The 29J has a patio deck, while the 29S has a ramp door and garage. The living space is slightly cramped, but the 29S has more room due to the garage feature. However, it does sleep up to eight people if needed. 

An added benefit of the 29J is that it has a full-sized queen bed, while the other option provides a fold-out murphy bed in the main bedroom. The 29J also allows the main room more space with a slide-out patio. 

Popular Features

Both models have vacuum-bonded block foam insulation keeping the camper snug in cold weather. The RV has a high-quality air ventilation system that prevents fires and smoke build-up by allowing for steady airflow. 

It also has a separate smoke, gas, and carbon monoxide detector to alert you. You can enjoy the convenience of technology through a touchscreen dashboard with satellite radio, navigation, and Bluetooth connectivity.

How to Live in an RV in the Winter

It's one thing to travel and camp out in an RV during the summer months. However, there are some things you should know when considering living in one of the best Class C RVs for winter. 

How to Insulate a Camper for Winter Use 

The most crucial factor is insulation. Make sure that you insulate the windows and the doors. Keep the heat trapped inside by laying down rugs and hanging up thermal curtains. If you don't have curtains, you can also improvise using bubble-wrap or foam insulation boards to cover the windows. 

Your main objective is to put as many barriers as possible between you and the cold air and ground outside. 

Photo credit: trailandsummit.com

How to Keep Moisture Out of RV in Winter

The last thing that you want in your RV is mold and moisture. Vents are an essential part of your RV's ventilating system, but these are the primary source of heat loss. 

Purchase a vent cover to help keep you warm and prevent ventilation condensation and humidity build-up in your motorhome. This will add an extra layer of insulation, let excess moisture escape, and hamper mold growth. 

How to Keep Mice Out of the RV in Winter

The golden rule is don't leave food lying out, which can attract hungry critters from outside. If mice can't smell the food, they're less likely to try to get inside your RV. Make sure that you keep your camper clean and empty the trash cans at every stop. 

If you want to use some natural remedies to keep mice away, consider using the following scents in your vehicle that seem to repel rodents: peppermint oil, mothballs, or pine needle spray.

How to Heat an RV in Winter

Once you've done what you can to insulate your RV to keep the heat inside, you'll need a way to warm the interior. You can invest in a couple of small indoor space heaters but be sure to keep an eye on them at all times and don't leave the camper unattended while they're on. 

If you're parked in an open area that lets in sunlight, open the curtains to allow the sun's rays to shine through the windows, which will heat the air inside the RV. 

Photo credit: blog.campersinn.com

Conclusion

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best Class C RVs for winter, with warmth being a priority. Insulation is one of the most critical features of any camper, and if it doesn't come standard in the model you want, you need to invest in some aftermarket options. Check that the engine, pipes, and underbelly of the rig are also covered. Ultimately choose a camper that has both comforts and is winter-ready.      

People Also Ask

RV owners have many questions regarding living in an RV during winter, and we've taken some of the most important ones and answered them below. 

What Happens if You Don't Winterize Your RV?

The chances are that you'll end up freezing yourself half to death, especially during the night. Even though most RVs do come with some insulation, it might not be enough to offset the below-freezing temperatures outside. 

Is it Possible to Live in an RV in the Winter?

The short answer is “yes.” If you prepare your RV correctly, you can live inside during winter. The biggest challenge is keeping yourself warm and making sure that the pipes, tanks, and other equipment in the camper don't freeze and damage. 

Photo credit: rvshare.com

How Cold is Too Cold for an RV?

There's no correct answer here. Many people have camped in an RV in below zero temperatures. The biggest concern will be with your water tanks freezing and pipes bursting, but you can avoid those situations if you've done the proper preparation. 

Can I Use My RV Toilet in the Winter?

It's possible to use your toilet for brief periods during winter. However, it requires the RV to have completely enclosed and heated holding tanks. You'll need to work off the holding tanks only and make sure to empty them when necessary. To be safe, don't stay connected to outside utilities. 

At What Temp Will RV Pipes Freeze?

It's difficult to give an exact answer, but generally, the temperature needs to drop below freezing (32℉/0℃) for around 24 hours for RV pipes to freeze. It'll also depend on whether you have an enclosed and heated underbelly, insulation, heat tape, or other preventative measures in place.



My husband and I live a life on the road so we figured no better way to share our journey than through a blog! While traveling place to place as RV noobies, we quickly realized how often we were in need of RV accessories and supplies. This led us to launch RV Expertise and sharing our top picks.