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Winter storage of motorhome or caravan

, Dec 8, 2022, Reading time: 10 min
Reading time: 10 min

If you don’t use your motorhome or caravan during the winter, you may need to review how you will store it for the winter. You can store your vehicle outdoors or indoors, with or without heating. No matter what you choose, there are some things you need to keep in mind to keep your vehicle in good shape for the spring when you roll it out. 

Storing the motorhome or caravan outdoors in the winter

It is perfectly possible to store a motorhome or caravan outside in the winter, but it is important to take care of it properly and prepare it for the winter. It is also good to be aware that cold and harsh climate can wear down the vehicle in the long run, and that it is not as protected as if it is stored indoors.

Some recommend parking the vehicle on a slight slope, to help the drainage. You may also choose to protect the motorhome or caravan with a blanket, tarpaulin or some other kind of cover. However, there is a risk of condensation and moisture forming between the cover and the vehicle. Therefore, it may be better if you have the opportunity to lift your cover on some form of frame, so that air can circulate between the vehicle and the cover.

Caravan under a roof in winter climate
Caravan under a roof in winter climate.

Storing the motorhome or caravan indoors in the winter

An even better option, if you don’t use your motorhome or caravan in the winter, is to store it indoors. The room does not need to be heated, but it is good if it is dry and has good ventilation. If you choose a heated room, the temperature should be around 20 degrees. Low heat of 5-10 degrees is not optimal, because it is at that temperature that condensation is at its highest.

In some storage rooms, it may also be possible to connect electricity to the vehicle. It can be an advantage if you want to be able to maintenance charge the batteries, and not have to disconnect them. However, it is not a necessity. Also keep in mind that in some premises you will not be able to access the vehicle during the winter. If you want to be able to rent out the motorhome or caravan even in the winter, you need to find a place where you have access to the vehicle all year round. 

Check your insurance in connection with winter storage

Remember to review which insurance policies apply, in case something should happen during winter storage. If you have full or partial insurance for your motorhome, you can sometimes drop it off when you are not using it, for a lower premium. During this period, you usually have garage insurance that applies in the event of fire, theft and vandalism. However, some insurance companies have stopped offering this option, and now only sell year-round insurance, with same price all year round, regardless of whether the motorhome is in use or under off road notification. Since caravans don’t have traffic insurance, the same insurance applies for them all year round.

In addition to the insurance for your own vehicle, it is a good idea to check how the storage facility is insured. To be safe, you can also take some photos of the vehicle before leaving it. If something were to happen, these photos will help you when you contact the insurance company. 

An empty garage

Finding a place for winter storage

Finding a suitable place for winter storage can be both easy and difficult. It may be a little easier if you life in the countryside or in a smaller town, where there are more farmers with large barns or similar spaces. For the same reason, it can be a little more difficult to find storage places in big cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala. But if you look a little outside the cities, you can find places there as well.

Feel free to talk to other motorhome or caravan owners in your area, and ask where they usually store their vehicles for the winter, or join suitable Facebook groups. You can also search vacancies in Sweden on one of the following webb sites:

Another possibility, if you mostly use your motorhome or caravan in more southerly latitudes, is to store the vehicle for winter down south and take a flight home to Sweden. Just don’t forget to check how your insurance applies if you choose this option. 

Cost of winter storage of a motorhome or caravan

How much it costs to store a motorhome or caravan for winter can vary greatly. The price for winter storage can, for example, vary greatly between rural areas and large cities. The price is also affected by the type of winter storage. For example, it is usually more expensive to store a motorhome or caravan in a heated garage than in a room without heating. Note that some charge per month, others per season, and some per square meter and month.

An American motorhome in front of snow covered mountains.
An American motorhome in front of snow covered mountains.

How do you avoid getting mice in the motorhome or caravan?

Getting mice into the motorhome or caravan, when you store it for the winter, can happen quite easily, but you definitely don’t want it to happen. In addition to the mice dirtying and gnawing wood or textiles, they can also gnaw on cables and wires, which in the worst case can mean that important functions stop working. Unfortunately, damages caused by mice are often not covered by insurance companies, which means that they can be costly ones.

Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the risk of mice by taking certain measures. First of all, you can consider whether there is a high risk of mice in the place you have chosen for winter storage. For example, there may be a greater risk of mice on a farm than in soma other types of garages.

Empty the motorhome/caravan of everything edible

One of the most important measures to avoid mice is to empty the motorhome or caravan of everything that is edible. Clean and wipe thoroughly with detergent, so that the mice can’t smell any food. Also keep in mind that the mice, for lack of anything else, can eat things like soap and candles.  

More tricks to avoid mice in the motorhome/caravan

If you are particularly worried, there are various “housewife tricks” to use, although there are also different opinions about what works and what doesn’t. Sealing all entrance holes may work in theory, but in practice it can be difficult as mice can enter through openings that are only 5-6 millimeters wide. You can also try electric mouse scares, but the risk is that the mice get used to the sound and it ceases to be a deterrent. Here are few more tricks that have the potential to work:

  • Mouse traps are perhaps the most effective. The disadvantage is that the traps must be checked and emptied regularly. 
  • Obstacles around the motorhome/caravan can stop the mice if they are at least 30 cm high and cannot be climbed.
  • Vinegar has a deterrent effect. The downside is that the smell fades over time.
  • Branches of juniper or thorn bushes around the wheels may deter the mice, because they are “prickly”.
House mouse gnawing on something edible.
House mouse gnawing on something edible.

Preparing the motorhome/caravan for winter storage

If you have a motorhome, you need to of course remember to make an off road notification for it, so that you don’t have to pay traffic insurance and vehicle tax when it is stored for the winter. Before winter storage of the motorhome or caravan, you also need to take care of the vehicle so that it doesn’t get damaged during the storage. In addition to reducing the risk of mice, it is above all about avoiding frost damage, avoiding moisture, protecting the batteries and storing the gas tubes in a suitable way.

Avoid frost damage

One of the most important things to remember is to drain all water systems and open all faucets, to prevent pipes and fittings from freezing. This is advisable to do even if the vehicle is in a heated garage, as it may happen that there is a power outage and the room suddenly cools down.

Avoid moisture damage

If the humidity is too high, there is a risk of moisture and mould in the vehicle, which you naturally want to avoid. You avoid problems with moisture by choosing a ventilated room with right heat, opening up valves, taking out textiles and perhaps setting up one or two moisture absorbers.

Protect the batteries

Batteries should never be discharged, so if you don’t have electricity connected to the motorhome or caravan, you should disconnect the batteries. This applies to both recreational batteries and start batteries.

Store gas tubes appropriately

If you store the motorhome or caravan in a garage together with other vehicles during the winter, you should remove the gas tubes, to reduce the risk of fire in the premises. LPG cylinders must be stored upright, in a suitable storage location with ventilation directly to the open air.

Volkswagen van parked in snow
Volkswagen van parked in snow.

Checklist for winter storage of a motorhome or caravan

Here is a checklist to go through when it is time to store the motorhome or caravan for winter.

  • If you have a motorhome: Remember to make the off road notification.
  • Check insurance for both vehicle and storage room.
  • Empty the motorhome/caravan of anything edible and clean it thoroughly.
  • Empty the fresh water tank, gray water tank, water heater and toilet.
  • Set faucets and mixers in the open position, halfway between hot and cold.
  • Make sure valves and dampers are open (with the exception of low sitting valves, considering mice).
  • Take out all mattresses and pillows, or place them on a side.
  • If necessary, set one or several dry balls in the vehicle.
  • Set the refrigerator door ajar, by placing for example a cloth or similar in the opening.
  • Disconnect the batteries.
  • Do not apply the handbrake, as it may get stuck. Insert a gear instead.
  • Pump extra air into the tires if the vehicle is to be parked for a longer period of time.
  • If your vehicle is standing in garage with other vehicles: Take out the gas bottles and place them in a suitable place.
  • Take a photo of the motorhome or caravan in the storage area, just in case something should happen.
Sunset through snow-covered fir trees
Sunset through snow-covered fir trees.

Tips for you who want to rent out your motorhome or caravan

Do you want to rent out your motorhome or caravan? If you store it for the winter in a place where you can access it, you can of course rent it out even during the winter.

Vill du hyra ut din husbil eller husvagn? Om du vinterförvarar den på en plats där du själv kommer åt den kan du naturligtvis hyra ut den även på vintern. Here you will find tips for those who want to winter camp. If it is a motorhome, just remember to end your off road notification before it’s time to roll out!

If you want to wait to rent out your vehicle until spring, we recommend that you don’t unpublish you advertisement, but instead set it as “not available”. Go to “My vehicle”, select “Availability” in the sub-menu and then choose which dates you are prepared to rent out. In this way, you can already get bookings for spring and summer during the winter!