Owning an RV can be a fun experience for families, campers, and outdoor adventurers alike. Not only can you pack up and go whenever you want, but you can take all the comforts of home along with you. RV camping truly is the best of both worlds.
If you own an RV or motorhome, you probably want to do everything you can to keep it protected. An RV is a big investment, and a smart choice for protecting your investment is to use an RV cover or storage unit once it comes time to winterize.
There are a lot of benefits to covered RV storage, the main being that it will keep your vehicle safe. If you want to learn more, keep reading.
What is a Covered RV Storage?
Covered RV storage is a method of storing your RV to protect it from the environment when you’re not planning on using it for an extended period. For example, you can park your RV in a garage that seals vehicles off entirely from the outside world, or you can use a canopy or RV port with open sides. Or, a simpler option is to use a cover that’s fitted to your RV’s shape.
Covered storage can protect your RV from a number of things, including:
- Sun discoloration
- Bad weather
There are a few different methods of RV storage that can address your concerns. You can learn a bit more about them in the next section.
Types of RV Storage
The three main options for RV storage are indoor, outdoor, and covered storage. Each option has its pros and cons, so before you decide, you should consider a few things.
- How often do you use your RV?
The amount of time you spend each year using your RV could dictate what kind of storage you need. It could also determine whether you use indoor or outdoor storage, as well as how long your storage lease should be.
- What is your covered RV storage budget?
Budget is a critical factor in deciding what type of storage to buy because storage prices have a pretty broad range. For example, indoor storage offers more protective options, but it could easily be several hundred dollars more than outdoor storage.
- What is the weather like in your region?
Weather is a big factor in deciding what kind of storage to use. If your region has pretty severe shifts in temperature throughout the year, indoor storage will probably be your best option because it offers more defense from the elements and temperature changes than outdoor storage.
Your answers to these questions will help you decide which of the three options will work best for you.
Indoor RV storage is exactly what it sounds like. You can rent a space in an indoor storage facility–just like you might for other things you might want to store–and leave your RV there when you’re not using it. There are even climate-controlled options that keep your RV at a steady temperature.
When you choose outdoor storage for your RV, you’ll get an outdoor parking space in an enclosed area. So if you don’t have the space on your own property for your RV, outdoor storage will give it to you. However, it’s unlikely you’ll have much overhead protection, if any.
Covered storage falls right between indoor and outdoor storage. Your RV will be outdoors, but it’ll be under a canopy that blocks out the sun, rain, and other elements. Depending on the facility, the sides of the canopied structure may or may not be open.
4 Ways To Store Your RV In Between Trips
You have a few different options for storing your RV between trips.
In Your Own Property Lot
The simplest and least-expensive option in many cases is to store your RV on your own property. You can leave it in a space in your driveway, in your backyard, or build a garage or RV port if you have the means.
You should also use an RV cover if you opt for at-home storage. An RV cover will add an extra layer of protection from the elements. Many covers include tire covers, too.
A storage facility can offer you the convenience of not having to find space on your own property to store your RV. Most facilities offer variations of indoor and outdoor storage.
Outdoor storage is a convenient option, but you won’t have the same level of protection as you would with indoor storage. Your RV will still be exposed to the elements, and there’s no guarantee you’ll know right away if there’s been damage.
Indoor-only storage is the equivalent of storing your RV in a standard garage. You might have your own bay or just a spot in a large facility.
Climate-controlled indoor RV storage keeps your RV safe from weather fluctuations by maintaining a constant temperature. It’s especially ideal if you live in an area with significant changes between seasons.
Finding covered RV storage near you shouldn’t be difficult if you know where to look and who to ask. Your best bet is to do a quick internet search for facilities, then read as many reviews as possible. You want to find a place that offers reliable and safe storage for your vehicle, so word of mouth and reputation are the best way to find the right one.
How Much is Covered Storage?
Most storage facilities charge by the month, and rates can vary pretty drastically from one facility to the next. But, on average, you can expect to spend about $50-$200 per month, depending on size, level of protection, and whether you want climate control.
Cost by Size
Since RVs come in various sizes, storage costs will depend on how much space your RV takes up. For example, if you have a class C or class B RV, you’ll likely pay less than a spot for a class A because they’re both smaller than a class A.
Another cost to factor into your storage cost is insurance for your RV while it’s not in use. Most policies will give you an option for storage-only coverage that will protect your RV against acts of nature, theft, animal damage, and so forth.
Is Covered RV Storage Worth It?
Whether or not covered RV storage is worthwhile for you will depend on your circumstances. In addition to the questions listed above, you should consider a few pros and cons when making your decisions.
Benefits of Covered RV Storage
- Protects your vehicle from damage
- Keeps your RV secure
- More room on your property
- Can be temperature-controlled
Disadvantages of Covered RV Storage
- Whether you build or rent, covered storage can be costly
- Offsite storage can be a hassle
Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of RV storage, there are two options you can consider if you want to avoid the cost of storing your vehicle.
Rent It Out
If you only use your RV a few weeks out of the year, consider renting it out the rest of the time. Or, at the very least, rent it out for a few months, then use that income to pay for storage for the rest.
It’s easy to feel wary about renting out your vehicle to someone you don’t know. However, with the proper insurance, renting your RV out can be an excellent way to make some extra income.
Rent Instead of Own
Sometimes, buying might not be the best option. If you don’t think you’ll use your RV often, renting one as you need it can be a far more cost-effective option than purchasing one and paying for storage.
There are many options for renting an RV on an as-needed basis. In particular, other people who’ve bought RVs that don’t see much use will often rent theirs out to campers who aren’t prepared to make a big purchase yet.
Tips for Taking Care of Your RV
When you choose a storage facility, you should make a note of what services they do and don’t offer. For example, some places will offer a lot more security than others, while some may just be bare-bones lots to park your vehicle.
Before you put your RV into storage, you should do some essential maintenance to make sure there aren’t any issues that could get worse over time.
Inspect for leaks
Check the roof, walls, windows, seams, and doors for any areas where water, animals, or dirt could get in. Make sure they’re sealed up nice and tight before putting your RV into storage.
Check Your Tires
Make sure your tires are in top shape when you winterize your vehicle. If any seem dry-rotted or have low air pressure, remedy the issue to make sure you don’t end up with an RV that’s sitting on its rims at the end of the season.
Stabilize Your Fuel
If there’s gas in your fuel tank, you don’t need to drain it. Instead, add some fuel stabilizer as soon as you winterize, especially if the RV will be sitting for more than a few months.
In order to fully animal-proof your RV, make sure you remove all food, including canned goods. Once the food is removed, give your cabinets, fridge, stove, and microwave a good scrubbing to get rid of any crumbs that could attract rodents.
Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions about RV storage.
Should you keep your RV covered or uncovered?
It’s best practice to keep your RV covered, especially once winter hits. Whether in storage or under a cover on your property, your RV cover will protect it from the elements, theft, and other damage.
Why is RV storage so expensive?
A storage facility will charge based on availability, competition, and demand. For example, if you live in an area with few RV storage companies but a high demand for spaces, companies will likely charge higher prices.
Does RV storage make money?
As a business, RV storage can be pretty lucrative. If you have land available that would work for a storage facility, storage could be a good use for it. RV storage also makes for a great addition to an existing storage facility.
How do you prepare your RV for winter storage?
Winter can be hard on your RV, so here are a few things you should do to prepare for winter storage:
- Drain the water system
- Remove any food or beverages
- Inspect the vehicle for any damage
- Stabilize your fuel
- Clean all cabinets and appliances of food to prevent rodents
- Remove all valuables
Should you store your RV with the jacks down?
Jacks are meant to take the pressure off your RV’s suspension when it’s parked for a long time. However, some people think extended time on jacks can be a problem if your tires lose air. So, if you want to use your jacks, be sure to check your tire pressure now and then to make sure your RV is still on an even surface.
Should you leave your vents open?
Humidity is the biggest factor to consider when making the choice to leave your vents open or closed. If you leave them open in a colder climate, you’ll risk humidity inside of your vehicle. Likewise, if you keep the vents closed in hotter areas, you’re likely to have the same outcome. The best practice is to know the weather in your area and act accordingly. Ideally, you’ll open and close your vents as needed, but it’s likely unnecessary to keep them open permanently.
What is the cheapest way to store your RV?
The cheapest way to store your RV is on your own property. You could build an RV port, which would only be a one-time cost. However, the cheapest option for off-property storage would be outdoor storage.
Covered RV storage can keep your vehicle protected from the elements in an enclosed environment. If you only use your RV a few months out of the year, storing your RV at a secure facility will keep your vehicle safe. That, in turn, will give you peace of mind.