For those who live and work in their RVs, the camping season never really ends. For the rest of us, there comes a time when we have to put away the camper for the season.
This isn’t always easy to do, for more reasons than one. First, it signals that the cold winds are about to blow (if they haven’t already started) and that spring seems like a long way off. The second problem is a more practical one. What to do with the RV until you’re ready to hit the road again?
After all, your RV or camper cost as much as a new car… or possibly even several new cars. It is your mobile vacation home, but your recreational vehicle also represents an investment of your hard-earned dollars that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Then again, in the current economic times, any way you can save money can make a real difference. So let’s look at some of your RV storage options, ranging from economical to expensive.
The lucky ones among us have a simple solution, which is to park the RV in the driveway or “out back.” The cost for this option is nil, but there can be drawbacks.
Some towns and neighborhood associations have strict rules about RV storage. It may not be allowed, so it’s worth checking beforehand with your local town hall or neighborhood association bylaws. That simple step could save you a lot of headache if the neighbors decide to complain in February and you have to scramble for another RV storage solution.
Also, you should consider that even if there’s nothing in the rules about RVs, your neighbors may not enjoy looking out their sliding glass doors to their manicured backyard… and your aluminum-paneled RV looming over the landscape. This is a true story… a couple bought a house and discovered that the neighbors used the adjacent yard to park their RV for the winter.
So, the couple put up a tall fence and planted trees to soften the view. That worked fine until the neighbors bought an even bigger RV, which they parked in the same spot! The neighbors couldn’t see this new camping trailer, but it got to be a real eyesore for the couple, who planted even bigger trees. They were pretty sure that their camping neighbors were oblivious to the issue and hadn’t done it on purpose, but it still rankled.
Another affordable option might be to park your RV or camping trailer on a large property that a friend or relative owns. Be forewarned, however, that even if the price is right, this is not professional storage. Another true story campers made an arrangement to store their RV at a large farm owned by friends. They parked beside a barn to help protect their RV from the weather. But one night the barn caught on fire, and their RV was destroyed. (Fortunately, no one was using it at the time.)
You may also be able to arrange with a campground owner to park your RV there for the winter. This is more of an option at campgrounds that don’t have year-round camping. Depending on the circumstances, the campground might welcome a little extra income.
The third option is professional storage, which can be expensive. However, this is definitely a case where you “get what you pay for.” Professional storage often offers a secure, fenced facility with security lighting. The most expensive option is an indoor storage facility, although this does provide the most secure storage and protects your RV from the elements. It goes without saying that no matter where you store your RV, you should remove any items of sentimental or real value.
No matter what option you choose, remind yourself that the arrangement (and the storage bill if you go that route!) is only temporary. Once the weather warms up, you and your RV will be on the road again. And if you have an innovative solution for RV storage, we would welcome hearing your tips and suggestions.