Where Should I Store My RV When Not in Use? Your RV Storage Options

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When handed the keys to your very first RV, your dreams of RV ownership become a reality. Days spent mingling with the RV community and nights spent under the stars await you.

However, when you realize you don’t have anywhere to store your RV in the off-season, reality may hit you harder than you anticipated. Along with camper-side picnics come the responsibilities of RV ownership, namely the responsibility of safely storing your motorhome.

When shopping for your RV, you likely found yourself distracted with other pressing questions, such as “How long is the RV bumper to bumper?”; “What kind of storage does this model have?“; “Is it gas or diesel?“; or “Is there a hot water heater?”

As a first-time RV owner buzzing with excitement, the question, “Where should I store my RV when not in use?” may have never even crossed your mind. But fear not! Finding RV storage for the winter months is but a few simple steps away.

With this quick guide to RV storage on hand, you can spend less time ruminating on where to store your RV for the winter and more time cruising through Zion National Park or any of these other top-rated RV destinations across the United States.

Choosing the Right RV Storage Option

Don’t put off RV storage another minute.

The first step to making a decision is knowing what RV storage options are out there. From storing your RV on your own property to using self-storage units, to opting for full-service RV storage facilities, there’s no shortage of options.

Option #1: Personal RV Storage

Storing your RV on your own property might seem like the most convenient and cost-effective solution. However, before you park your RV in your driveway or backyard, it’s essential to check your city/county’s local regulations and space restrictions.

Your city, county, or your homeowner’s association (HOA), may prohibit RV street parking and/or the storage of RVs on your personal property, like your driveway.

While storing on your property may save you money, it’s crucial to ensure that your RV is secure and complies with local regulations.

If your city, county, and HOA (if applicable) permit on-property RV parking, consider investing in a carport or camper cover to safeguard your RV from weather damage. You can even consider building a custom RV storage structure.

Option #2: Building a Custom Storage Structure

Building a custom storage structure, such as a carport or garage, can provide a secure and convenient storage solution tailored to your needs. If you own enough land and have the financial means to do so, custom storage structures offer numerous advantages, including:

  • Durability
  • Customizability
  • Low maintenance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Versatility
  • Cost-efficiency

By constructing a custom storage structure, you can customize a storage space that fits your RV to a tee. While this option involves a hefty upfront cost, lifelong RV owners can stand to reap benefits for years to come, including unbeatable convenience and accessibility, along with theft and weather protection.

Option #3: Self-Storage Units

Self-storage units are another viable option for RV storage, providing secure and easily accessible storage spaces. These units offer convenience, protection, and ample space for your RV.

When considering self-storage units, factor in the location of the facility (is it close to home and convenient to access? Is it located in a safe part of town?), as well as the security measures the facility puts in place.

While this option may be more costly than storing your RV on your property, the monthly cost of an RV-friendly self-storage unit will pale in comparison to the heaping pile of HOA fees you could potentially accrue, should you continue to park your RV in a way that violates your HOA contract (or the law).

Option #4: Full-Service Storage Facilities

Full-service RV storage facilities specialize in providing services and amenities tailored to RV owners’ needs. These facilities offer not only superior weather protection, climate control options, easy access, and exceptional security against theft, but also the convenience of being located near an RV park for easy access to your recreational vehicle.

However, using paid RV storage facilities may come at a higher cost and could be subject to limited availability.

Consider the location, availability, and cost of these facilities when making your decision. While this option may be more expensive, it provides specialized services and peace of mind, knowing that your RV is well-protected and easily accessible when needed.

Traditional RV Storage with Peer-to-Peer RV Storage: A Comparison

Storage type (storing on your property, self-storage, full-service storage) isn’t the only factor to input into the equation. If you go the paid storage route, you’ll also need to account for provider type (traditional vs. peer-to-peer).

Unlike a public storage company, peer-to-peer RV storage marketplaces connect RV owners with individuals currently renting out their private property for RV parking and long-term RV storage.

When weighing between traditional RV storage and peer-to-peer storage solutions, cost is the key differentiator. Unlike traditional storage companies that set fixed monthly costs, peer-to-peer marketplaces like Neighbor offer greater price flexibility for those RV owners looking for low-cost storage options.

Outdoor vs. Indoor vs. Covered RV Storage

Once you’ve settled on a facility type and a storage provider type, you’ll also need to decide between outdoor, indoor, and covered RV storage. These options vary in terms of cost, level of security, and the extent of weather protection.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each storage option.

Outdoor RV Storage

Outdoor RV storage is a very affordable option. Costs for the service can range from as little as $30 to more than $100 a month, depending on the size of the RV and whether you want covered or uncovered parking.

This storage solution provides ample space and easy access to your RV but falls short when it comes to weather protection and deterring potential theft.

If you opt for outdoor RV storage, consider investing in an exterior RV cover to protect your RV from weather damage. While this option may not provide the same level of security as indoor or covered storage, it’s a cost-effective solution if you’re working with a tight budget.

Covered RV Storage

A type of outdoor RV storage, covered RV storage strikes a balance between affordability and protection, shielding your RV from direct sunlight and precipitation without racking up costs like indoor storage options.

This option provides protection from the elements while still being more cost-effective than indoor storage. However, covered storage does not offer the same level of protection as indoor storage, as your RV remains exposed to threats of pests, theft, and some more extreme weather (hurricane conditions, severe heat, etc.)

Indoor RV Storage

Indoor RV storage scores highly in both the weather protection and theft prevention categories, but is the most expensive option, with costs ranging from $50 to $500 per month.

Although indoor storage offers the highest level of protection, it may not be as readily available as outdoor RV storage (both covered and uncovered).

Alternative RV Storage Solutions

If neither self-storage nor full-service storage facilities meet your criteria, there are alternative storage solutions to consider in the off-season.

Renting out your RV when not in use or building a custom storage structure can provide unique benefits and may be more suitable for your specific situation.

Let’s explore these alternative free storage solutions.

Renting Out Your RV

Renting out your RV when you’re not using it can generate income and help you sidestep storage costs altogether.

By advertising your RV on online rental platforms or connecting with local RV clubs and organizations, you can find renters who are interested in short-term RV rentals.

However, renting out your RV comes with potential risks associated with the RV life, such as:

  • being held responsible for any damages caused by renters
  • the need to obtain additional insurance coverage
  • the need to ensure regular maintenance is performed

These measures are important to protect both you and your renter.

Preparing Your RV for Storage

Properly preparing your RV for storage is essential to ensure its longevity and prevent potential damage from pests, weather, and other factors. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your RV in top condition and ready for your next adventure.

Let’s explore these steps in detail.

Step 1: Cleaning and Maintenance

Before storing your RV, it’s important to give it a thorough cleaning, both inside and out. Remove all perishable items, clean the interior, and wash the exterior to maintain its appearance and prevent dirt buildup. In addition to cleaning, perform necessary maintenance tasks such as checking the vehicle battery, adding antifreeze, and sanitizing the water system.

Proper cleaning and maintenance not only keep your RV looking its best but is also a step toward pest prevention.

Step 2: Pest Prevention

Pests and rodents can terrorize your RV during storage if not properly addressed. To prevent pests from entering your RV, you can take the following steps:

  • Seal any cracks or openings around windows, doors, and vents with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Remove any food sources by cleaning up spills and crumbs.
  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Set traps like glue boards or snap traps or apply repellents like mothballs or peppermint oil to deter rodents.

By taking these preventative measures, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure your RV remains pest-free during storage.

Step 3: Winterize

To set your RV up for success, come spring, winterizing is a must. For an in-depth guide on how to successfully winterize your RV pre-storage, refer to this helpful guide or check out this step-by-step video tutorial.

Summary

The more pre-storage precautions you take, the sooner you’ll be able to get back on the open road. Don’t spend time that could be spent in the Great Outdoors on unnecessary RV repairs caused by improper storage.

Even when your RV is not in use, your RV deserves your time, attention, and careful consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It OK to Store Your RV Outside?

Storing your RV outside can result in mold, leaks, collected debris, and sun damage if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Taking the time to properly prepare your RV for outdoor storage can save you from costly repairs and replacements down the road.

Should You Store Your RV With the Slides in or Out?

It’s recommended to store your RV with the slides in to help avoid damage such as sagging and erosion of seals. Additionally, storing your RV with the slides in will reduce the likelihood of attracting pests and prevent snow and debris from accumulating on the slide-out roof.

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