Put your parking and storage stress in the rear view. Read this handy article for the low-down on where to park and the advantages and disadvantages of different RV storage options, as well as 8 pro storage tips.
RV parking and storage basics.
You’re not alone in scratching your head about where to park your rig—not to mention where to store it when camping season’s over. RVs are much bigger than a family SUV and since most RVing is done during the summer, that means come wintertime you’re going to need to find a pretty large place to put it.
And if you’re visiting family or friends who live in town, just pulling up and parking in front of their house probably won’t fly.
So with all that being said, just where do you park or store an RV?
Finding your park place
What’s great about owning an RV is that instead of putting out the people you’re visiting, you’ve already got your own little home away from home. Stay up as late as you want and don’t worry about having to tiptoe around in the morning.
The downside is finding a place to park. While some cities will allow you to park on the street, others are cracking down on this. Especially if it’s going to be for several days. Neighbors can complain. Nearby motels also aren’t big fans of you using their parking lots free of charge.
Your best bet is a parking lot for a big box store like Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, or a Super Target. After hours no one is in their lot, so it’s not like you’re taking up valuable space, but to be sure, just park as far away from the entrance as possible. As an added bonus, these locations will sometimes have security personnel who patrol the lot at night.
Options for storing your RV
When vacation season is over and it’s time to put the RV away for the winter, you’ve got a few different storage options: your home, an outdoor storage facility, or a self-storage facility.
Home storage has several benefits over using a professional storage facility. The most obvious advantage is that it’s free. That is, unless you have to pour a new concrete storage pad for your RV or build a garage specifically for it. In that case the costs can rise precipitously.
Storing your RV at home also means that you can take it out whenever you want. You’re not restricted in any way to access.
The downsides to home storage include the fact that many homeowner associations don’t let you do it and will assess you fines if you try. You could even end up getting your rig towed. RVs also take up a lot of room, and not every driveway or garage has room for one.
Also, storing your RV at home probably means you’re going to be storing it outside, and keeping an RV or trailer in your driveway means it’s much more likely to sustain damage caused by the elements. RVs left on personal property are also more susceptible to theft or vandalism.
And finally, while we’re sure you love your RV, you can’t be quite sure your neighbors feel the same way. Not everybody likes to see these large vehicles on proud display out in the open.
Outdoor RV storage facility
Outdoor storage facilities are the most common storage option for RVs, as these facilities are widely available and can hold everything from a Class A motorhome to pop-up campers. It’s more affordable than a self-storage facility and these facilities often have security features like video surveillance, keypad entry gates, and tall fences. However, like home storage, this option also leaves your rig exposed to the elements.
Storing your RV in a self-storage facility is the best option for many RVers. You’re going to have 24-hour security, like video surveillance, keypad access, and high fences surrounding the facility. These facilities will probably also offer the option to have your RV stored under some kind of cover—or even better, in a temperature-controlled environment. This helps limit any damage the RV could get from the elements.
The one downside here is cost, especially if you choose to have your RV stored in a temperature-controlled environment.
Think inside the barn
One thing you may want to do, if you live in a part of town close to farmland, is inquire at the local farm co-op about any farmers in the area who might have a barn with room for your RV. It’s probably not going to be as secure as a professional facility, but if your RV is sharing space with the farmer’s expensive equipment you can be sure he’s going to be keeping at least a little eye out on things.
And what about where your hometown stores its garbage trucks and snow plows and maintenance vehicles? The town may be willing to rent you some space in their lot, if it’s not already filled. If you already plan on storing your RV outside in the elements then all you really need to do is find a spot big enough for it, and along those lines there should be plenty of options around town. Think creatively.
8 RV storage tips
- Make sure you check the seals around the doors and windows of your RV. If any of them are cracked or brittle, you’re going to want to replace them.
- Wad up a piece of cloth or steel wool and place it in the tailpipe. This will keep any small critters from trying to make it their winter home.
- Once you’ve got the fridge cleaned out, simply leave the door open and the system turned off. This way you can avoid the build-up of mold.
- Keep your blinds closed (no, not for privacy). It’s so that sunlight doesn’t make its way in and fade the interior fabrics.
- Instead of wearing out the emergency brake, use wheel chocks to keep the RV in place.
- Remove the battery or put a trickle charger on it. A long period of sitting and doing nothing can drain the battery.
- Save money by cancelling any services you won’t need while your RV is wrapped up. These could include certain types of insurance and things like satellite service.
- Avoid storing anything of value in your RV. Even if you have the vehicle stored in a locked facility, it is still wise to keep anything of true value in a safe or protected in your home.
While these storage tips should prove helpful, you’ll also want to check out our How to Winterize Your RV guide for the ultimate look at protecting your rig from cracks, creaks, critters, and more. Then, when it’s time to get on the road again, be sure to download our How to Dewinterize Your RV guide to get your rig road-ready in no time.