How To Heat An RV Without Electricity

Off-season camping brings cooler temperatures, more space, and lower costs. But if you want to enjoy the season to the fullest, you have to find a way to keep your RV warm. RV heating solutions usually depend on electricity, but what if you want to try off-grid RV camping?

What if your RV’s electrical system malfunctions and you don’t have any power source? Many campsites charge hefty fees for unlimited power supply. However, you don’t need to worry because you can enjoy RV camping year-round with a few tricks and tips.

How to Stay Warm in the RV

Even if you don’t have access to a campsite with a generator, there are ways to keep your RV nice and toasty. These methods are convenient when you’re in the backcountry, so below are some tips on how to heat an RV without electricity.

Use a wood stove

Many wood stoves are easy and safe to install. Since it needs wood for fuel, you can gather branches at the campsite or bring some along with you. One of the best things about wood stove heating is that it allows you to use different kinds of wood. Therefore, it’s an easy and cost-efficient way to make your RV smell nice and feel warm.

Wood stoves also have a high heat output. If it has a large top, you can use it as a cooktop. Overall, it’s a safe and reliable heat source for those who love camping year-round.

Portable propane heater

Here’s a quick tip on how to heat RV without electricity: use a portable propane heater. Most of these units use a one-pound screw-in tank that you can also use for lanterns or camping grills. These canisters can run the heater for up to six hours. You’ll also find portable heaters that run on butane canisters. These canisters are usually smaller than their propane counterparts, so they’re less common in RV heating.

If you’ve decided to use a portable butane- or propane-fuel heater, don’t forget to clean the unit between uses to prevent dust from accumulating. It would help if you also considered installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Furthermore, avoid placing the heater near flammable materials or using sprays or air fresheners during operation. Most importantly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using the unit and don’t leave it unattended.

Opt for a solar array

For off-grid camping, consider installing small heaters that use solar power. You can also use solar heating boxes. These boxes can be fitted into a window or installed outside the RV to keep your vehicle warm without electricity.

Get a flameless heater packet

Packet heaters can warm your toes and keep you comfortable during your camping adventure. Small packets for gloves and boots are available, and you can also find large pouches designed for cooking.

Larger packets can provide heat above 100° Fahrenheit within 10 minutes, while smaller ones can keep you warm for 13 hours. These packets generate heat through a chemical reaction, some activating with water while others with air. You can wrap the pouch in a shirt to protect your skin against burns.

Use proper insulation

Keep your RV warm by containing the heat from your heaters through proper insulation. Any spot with gaps or cracks can allow heat to escape, so always replace worn weather stripping and caulking in your RV. You can also cover the windows with a reflective insulated panel to contain the heat inside your recreational vehicle.

Another option is to cover the camper’s floor with thick rugs. The rugs will provide an additional insulation layer and keep the flooring warm. You can also install a tankless water heater to have instant access to warm water for cooking.

To prevent cold air from getting in, consider placing rolled blankets or towels at the bottom of your doorway. With proper insulation, you’ll spend less time trying to heat your RV with external heat sources.

Use warm bedding

Running a heater unsupervised is unsafe, so you must find other ways to stay warm. One of your best options is to use a flannel sheet as it’s thicker than silk or cotton blankets. Therefore, it can hold more heat during cold nights. Likewise, thermal sleeping bags can keep you warm throughout the night.

Down comforters, hot water bottles, and disposable heating pads can serve the same purpose. For example, you can use disposable heating pads to heat the bedding 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime.


You have many options to keep your RV warm off-grid. Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s within your budget. As long as you keep these things in mind, you can head back to your favorite destination anytime. And when summer comes, don’t forget to de-winterize your RV and install a surge protector to keep it in peak condition and ready for the season.

About The Author

AutoMotto Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need for you vehicle.

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