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Tips for Storing Your RV When You Need to Leave it Behind

Whether you’re a full time RVer or seasonal, there are just times that you might need to leave your RV behind. And it’s not as simple as just closing the door behind you and hoping to return to a fresh smelling, undamaged RV.

rvgeeks-technomadiaIn the past 2 months, we’ve been on some non-RV adventures – like we have many times in the past.

We thought we’d share some tips on how to prepare your RV to be stored while you’re off doing other things.

We’re thrilled that our friends Peter & John of The RV Geeks were willing to collaborate with us on this topic to share their 12+ years of full time RVing experience.

Below is an hour long video chat we co-hosted over the weekend together going over our combined tips, tricks and recommendations. (Warning, this video is nearly an hour long – make sure you have both the time and bandwidth to view.)

Direct Video Link on YouTube

Not into video? No problem.  Here’s a short summation of what is covered:

Why You Might Leave Your RV Behind

There are many reasons why a full time RVer might need to leave their RV in storage mode for a few days to a few months.

  • Non-RV Adventures (aka ‘Vacation’) – Yes, traveling in an RV is awesome. To a full time RVer however, the RV is our home – and sometimes we like to travel by other modalities too. We love integrating in cruises, train trips and flying away. And sometime we just hop in our Mini Cooper toad and go motoring.
  • Work Meetings or Conferences – Many of us working on the road RVers might need to travel by other means for work reasons. Whether a team meeting with the home office, visiting a client or attending a conference. Sometimes, driving there in our RV just isn’t practical in terms of costs or time.
  • Family Needs – Family is ultra important to us, so traveling to be with them is something we integrate into our all our routing. Sometimes however, a family event or emergency isn’t perfectly timed with our RV travels.

For those who seasonally RV, or only get out for shorter vacations – storing your RV for at least part of the year is a normal process. So these tips will also apply (and hey, perhaps you can share a thing or two with us?)

Where to Leave Your RV

When you don’t have your own home base to park your RV at, it’s sometimes tricky to find a place you feel comfortable with to leave your RV behind. Here’s some of the places we’ve utilized in the past or might consider in the future:

  • Friend’s Property – We’re super blessed to have a list of friends we’ve made over the years who have RV parking at their place. This is our favorite way to store our RV, where someone can keep an eye on it.
  • RV Parks – If we’re just heading out for a few days or a couple weeks, we might just pay for an RV Park with electrical hook-ups and leave our RV there. A couple times we’ve taken a week long cruise, so we got a monthly spot near the port and used the location to pack before hand, and unwind afterwards. The monthly rate, as opposed to daily, made this an affordable option.
  • RV Storage Lots – For longer term, finding an RV storage lot can be a solution. For usually under $100/month you can find lots ranging from big open fields to enclosed buildings. Look around carefully and go with something you trust and feel safe with.
  • RV Repairs & Maintenance – When you need to go away, leaving your RV in the hands of a RV shop to catch up on maintenance or tackle projects can be a great solution that kills two birds with one stone. Even if your job only needs a few days work, some can be quite flexible with you leaving it for longer – knowing they can fit in the work as their schedule allows. This is exactly what we’ve done this summer – we’re having our RV renovated while we went to Alaska on vacation for a few weeks. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a cheap storage option.

Pre-Storage Checklist Considerations

There’s a several things you can do to store your RV so that you don’t come home to any surprises – like mildew, rodents, floods, drained batteries or stinky smells.

However, which are appropriate for each particular trip will be dependent upon:

  • How Long You Plan to Be Away – A longer time away generally means taking all of our checklist below into consideration. For just a few days away, you don’t need to go to as many extremes (like emptying the fridge or fully flushing all the tanks).
  • Climate of Storage – If your RV will be left in extreme winter or summer conditions, the preps you make will be different than leaving it behind in temperate conditions. Also, anticipated winds and storms play a role too.
  • Will Someone Be Able To Check It – If your RV will be left completely alone, you probably want to take more measures than if you’ll be able to have someone check in on it.

You’ll also want to weigh the efforts of making each preparation versus the potential damage that could be caused if something goes wrong. Some things are just super easy (liking pulling the fuse on your water pump) which could prevent completely flooding your RV if it somehow gets activated.

Our RV Storage Preparation Check-List

We’ve teamed up with Peter & John to publish our recommendations into a downloadable and printable checklist.

Feel free to grab yourself a copy:

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 4.18.31 PM

Get our (free) RV Storage Preparation Checklisk
 now on Google Docs.

You can print it or download it. (Use the ‘File’ Menu and select ‘Download as’.. and make it your own).

For further tips & instructions – here are some great videos by the RVGeeks that might help in your preparations:

Enjoy… and happy travels wherever you go, by whatever means!

Have other tips to share? Please leave them in the comments – we can all learn from each other!

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13 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. A couple months ago, my uncle purchased an RV to take across America. He is thinking about using an RV storage lot when he returns from his trip. I like what you said about being able to trust the storage lot.

  2. Good information, although we are BRAND NEW RVers and FULL TIME RVers and got quite lost on many of the topics and terminology because we are so new. For us newbies, it would be helpful if you could explain things in more detail that seem like a no brainer because of your experience. Even such terminology as P traps, talking about different kinds of batteries, how to actually shut off some of the things you suggested. We didn’t understand what you were referring to, let alone how to actually do it. We are really not dummies….*;) just babies when it comes to knowing and understanding our RV. Thanks!

    • Once you have some experience on your tires.. and you’re ready to store your RV for a bit, you’ll know where to come for that portion. BTW… ‘P-Traps’ are not unique to RVs, they’re in every household. It’s the ‘U’ shaped plumbing under your sink.

  3. It’s a good reminder to us to always keep an open mind, because we learned things from Chris & Cherie during our chat, even after all these years on the road. We know that some people may not have the time to watch our hour of video, so a super big “THANK YOU” to you, Cherie for all your hard work in assembling this great article and checklist. It was so much fun, and so rewarding, spending time with you both. Can’t wait to do it again.

    • We hadn’t thought of that either.. we’ll totally be doing that in the future thanks to John & Peter! Sharing ideas with others is always awesome! (And thanks for your tip on filling the diesel tank up to prevent algae growth, we’ve added that to the list!)

  4. G and I just saw your video and got some more great ideas. I especially liked, and agree with, the comment about ‘it’s not the likelihood but the consequence’. Thanks again.

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