When you think about winterizing your RV, you probably think of pumping your pipes full of antifreeze to prevent them from bursting.
However, there are more steps to prepping your RV for winter…especially if you plan to take it out in the cold rather than leaving it in storage. One of these steps is installing RV skirting.
Not sure what that is? We’ve got your back. Here’s our complete guide to RV skirting for winter!
What is an RV Skirt?
Essentially, an RV skirt is insulation arranged all the way around the bottom portion of your RV. Some are more literal “skirts,” while others are more like another set of walls.
All RV skirting for winter is made out of some kind of insulating material, no matter what form the skirt itself takes.
Why Should You Skirt Your RV?
RV skirting for winter keeps the heat trapped inside. RVs tend to to lose heat from their underbelly, which can render your heating system near-useless.
Skirting also helps protect your pipes if you choose not to winterize before you go winter camping.
When you winterize your RV, your pipes become unusable. (You don’t want to be showering with antifreeze, trust us.) Therefore, some winter campers choose to take the risk of not winterizing before they go winter camping.
Sometimes, depending on weather conditions, this is doable. If temperatures don’t fall below freezing, your pipes should be safe.
However, keep in mind that wind chill can play a factor. So even if the weather report says you won’t see freezing temperatures while you’re on your trip, wind chill could change that quickly.
It’s always safest to winterize your camper and use the campground facilities for showering and potable water. However, with RV skirting, you can lessen the risk of choosing not to winterize if you have your heart set on it!
Even if you do choose to winterize, RV skirting is something you’ll want to invest in. The heat escaping from the bottom of your RV can leave your floors freezing. Walking on ice-cold floors definitely takes away some of the joy of camping in an RV!
By putting up skirting, you can give your heating system the extra support it needs to keep your RV toasty and warm. Most winter campers bring along additional space heaters, but with RV skirting, you may not need them!
The Different Types of RV Skirts
As mentioned, RV skirts come in a lot of different forms, but they all serve the same purpose!
The most popular choice for RV skirting is an actual “skirt,” usually made of heavy insulating material such as vinyl, canvas, or polyethylene. Vinyl is the most common.
Some people choose to save money by DIYing their RV skirting. In this case, you’ll often see multiple tarps strung together to cover the span of the RV, plywood boards, foam boards, or even metal sheets!
If you choose vinyl, you’ll probably be looking for an RV skirting kit, or a place that makes custom-sized vinyl tarps. Canvas and polyethylene are not often chosen for skirting kits.
With plywood, foam boards, and metal sheeting, you’ll be putting them together yourself. Make sure you measure around your RV before purchasing your materials so you don’t come up short!
Alternatives to RV Skirting
If you can’t track down typical RV skirting materials, there are a few alternatives you can use.
One popular choice for alternative RV skirting is straw. By buttressing the sides of your RV with straw bales, you can partially insulate it against the cold.
If you have no skirting material at all, but want to do your best to keep the heat in and the cold out, you can also use your surroundings to your advantage. If you’re camping in the dead of winter, there’s one alternative RV skirting material you can find all around you: snow!
Think of it a bit like building an igloo. By piling snow around the perimeter of your RV, you can keep cold air out and warm air in.
You may have to build your snow wall back up over time, as the warm air will melt it eventually, but it’s better than nothing.
These materials are not quite as effective as others. However, they can be a cost-effective alternative when you can’t get your hands on anything else.
What You Need to Skirt Your RV
In order to skirt your RV, you’ll need different supplies depending on which material you use:
If you choose to skirt your RV with alternative materials like straw or snow, you will need very few materials and tools.
All you need is your chosen medium (bales or snow) and gloves to protect your hands while you set them up!
If you choose to build your own skirting with plywood, foam board, or metal sheeting, you will need different tools.
For plywood, you’ll need a saw, something to clamp the boards together, a measuring tape, and plywood, of course!
For foam board, you’ll need a knife to cut the board, a ruler, and something to secure the foam boards together.
For metal sheeting, you should just need the metal and something to brace it with.
You’ll also want some extra insulation material to make sure all gaps are filled.
RV Skirting Kits
Some RV skirting kits come with all the tools you need to put them together; others don’t.
For those that don’t, you’ll typically need a pencil, a tape measure, scissors, and a drill.
How to Skirt Your RV
For alternative RV skirting options, all you need to do is ensure the snow piles or straw bales are tall enough to block the entire open space around the bottom of your RV.
If they don’t sit flush, they’ll allow cold air to leak in and warm air to leak out.
For plywood and foam, you’ll need to cut the boards to fit to your RV’s specifications. Most of the time, plywood and foam insulation are used for skirting RVs where people live full-time; because of this, they’re usually screwed or glued together, then attached to the RV.
However, if you’re going out for a shorter trip, you won’t want to do anything quite that permanent. Instead, try using clamps or clips to hold your boards together.
You can also use velcro strips to keep them attached to your RV. These are normally used with tarp skirts, but they can come in handy for these, too!
With RV skirting kits, every one is different, so the instructions will vary as well. However, you can expect to have to attach the skirting fasteners with your drill and screws, as well as attaching your studs. Studs can be either adhesive or snap-based.
RV Skirting Troubleshooting
If you find that your foam boards, plywood boards, or metal sheeting don’t fully cover the gap beneath your RV, you can fill the gaps with more flexible insulation.
With foam or plywood, you can feel the extra space with scraps left over from cutting them down; for metal sheeting, you can also use foam or plywood to fill the gaps, but you can also try soft plastic insulation.
Our Favorite RV Skirting Options
Airskirts Skirting Kits are by far the easiest and most convenient skirting kits available today.
They’re also extremely unique in their design.
Most RV skirting kits, like we mentioned, use vinyl tarps as actual “skirts” around the RV. Airskirts is different; instead of using vinyl tarps, they use inflatable RV skirting!
These inflatable tube-like pieces of skirting are easy to blow up and even easier to install. All you have to do is attach the included air pump, position the Airskirt tube where you want it, and start inflating!
The Airskirt RV skirting kits come with other useful accessories, as well–most notably, they come with “corner and edge protectors” you can use to keep the tube from popping.
One downside to the Airskirt skirting kit is that it will take some time to install every tube. While it’s much easier than typical skirting setup, it does take a while for the tubes to blow up all the way.
It can also take some time to properly arrange the tubes to provide the most protection they can.
However, between the ease of use, unbeatable effectiveness, and lightweight design, it’s hard to beat the Airskirt.
Plus, under their “Products” tab, they even have a guide based on the most popular RV brands to help you find the right skirting kit size for your RV!
- Helpful size guide based on brand and RV type
- Kits for any size RV, from pod to Class A
- Easy to assemble
- Comes with useful accessories
- Takes a long time to fully install
Best Budget Option
If you don’t have the budget to invest in the Airskirt, that’s all right–they’re far from your only option!
RV Windskirts are far more budget-friendly. They also come with an added bonus: you can leave them on while storing your RV, which can keep your tires safe from damage over the off season!
RV Windskirts will do the job just fine. They also come in multiple colors and sizes! However, keep in mind they don’t include the tools you’ll need to install them.
You also may need to buy multiple windskirts to cover the entire RV. However, even buying more than one of these is a cheaper alternative!
These RV skirts are made from heavy canvas, not vinyl.
- Multiple sizes
- Multiple colors
- You may need to purchase more than one
- Not made from vinyl
Best for Fast Installation
Last but not least is the E-Z Snap RV Skirting Kit!
Unlike other skirting kits or DIY options, this RV skirting kit doesn’t require any additional tools or drilling on your part.
Instead, it comes with “snap fasteners” which are easy and fast to snap into place.
This RV skirt is made from “encapsulated yarn,” which is a unique material for RV skirting. However, it allows for simple resizing if needed.
If the skirting is too long, you can cut it down yourself without worrying that the edges will fray apart afterward!
One con to this skirting kit: while it claims in the description that it can fit any type or size RV, the actual specifications tell us it won’t function properly on RVs with slides or RVs longer than 30 feet.
- Easy to install
- No need for extra tools
- Unique no-fray material
- Limited compatibility with various RV models
RV Skirt Buyer’s Guide
The most important thing to pay attention to when purchasing an RV skirt is the size of your RV.
If you get an RV skirt that’s too big or too small, it won’t cover the underbelly properly.
If DIYing, it’s more important to make sure you get enough material to cover your RV. If you purchase too much material when DIYing, you can simply choose not to use it. But if your premade RV skirt is too large, you’ll have to find a way to adjust it.
Dress Your RV Up With RV Skirting for Winter!
Once you decide which RV skirting option is right for you, you’re all set to head out on your winter RV adventure!
For more tips on winterizing, picking the best winter camping locations, and making the most of your RV winter camping trip, check out our Ultimate Guide to Winter RV Camping!