Want to experience the best that this country has to offer? The most enjoyable way to see it all is with an RV.
An RV lets you and your entire family travel across the country, or just across town, in comfort. You can go at your own pace and enjoy the great outdoors without sleeping on the floor.
The only downside to having an RV is not being able to use it all the time. With jobs and responsibilities, you won’t be camping all year long. That’s where indoor and outdoor RV storage comes in handy.
You need a place to park your RV when it’s time to get back to work. So where should you keep it; indoors or outdoors? Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of outdoor RV storage and indoor storage.
Importance of Storing Your RV
RVs aren’t small. There’s a good chance it’s not going to fit in your driveway. And it’s most definitely not going to fit in your garage.
Even if it did fit in your driveway, it’s going to quickly become a nuisance. Blocking your house with a giant RV is an eyesore to the neighborhood, and can make simple tasks, like bringing groceries into the house or washing your car, much more difficult.
Plus, many driveways are sloped. Even if your driveway only has a minor slope, keeping your RV parked on it for any length of time will put unnecessary strain on the brakes. And some neighborhoods may even have HOAs that don’t allow homeowners to keep their RVs at their residence unless it fits in the garage.
But it needs to be kept somewhere. Otherwise, your investment is exposed to many different elements that could cause some serious damage and serious headaches. Here’s what proper RV storage can help you avoid.
Of course, RVs are meant to be outdoors. They can withstand sun and other weather factors well. However, leaving your RV stored outside in direct sunlight, day in and day out, without moving for months at a time, could eventually wear parts of your RV out.
Seals around windows and doors, that prevent air and moisture from breaching your RV, can wear out with excessive sun exposure. Likewise, too much sunlight can eventually cause fading to the decals on your RV as well as to the upholstery inside.
Hail storms are common in many parts of the country. Smaller hail storms should pose little to no threat to your RV. However, larger hailstones can quickly cause a ton of damage.
In fact, one storm in South Dakota caused damage to more than 500 RVs at one time. The larger hailstones were the size of grapefruit. Collectively, this added up to millions of dollars of damage.
Of course, you should have insurance for these instances, as they are out of your control. But proper RV storage could prevent you from having to file a claim in the first place.
Your RV should be capable to keep out wind and rain. However, stronger storms have the potential to knock down trees or launch other debris into the air. Storing your RV in your driveway or backyard makes it a target during a storm.
RV or Home Break-Ins
You can keep the doors on your RV locked when stored at your home, but that doesn’t mean that the RV, or your home, is always safe. Keeping an RV at your house tells people that you have money.
That makes your home more of a target to break into, as burglars think they will find plenty of valuables inside. Inmates have often reported how they used to cruise through middle-class, and upper-middle-class neighborhoods looking for signs that a particular household has a lot of money. They then target these homes.
While there are many safety measures you can take to prevent burglary in the first place, it’s still best to keep your RV out of sight.
How to Store an RV
So, are you ready to get your RV off the street or out of your driveway? There are a few common ways to store it.
Some people just park it out in the backyard. While this keeps your RV out of sight, it doesn’t actually offer any physical protection.
A better option, if you want to keep your RV at home, is to construct a simple storage shed for your RV. These structures put a solid roof over your RV, protecting it from the sun, hail, and other debris.
These can be cost-prohibitive for some RV owners. They also aren’t ideal if you ever plan to move out of your current house. If you know you are in your forever home, it may be a good option.
The best option, however, is to utilize local RV storage facilities. Storing your RV on a local lot is affordable and offers different levels of protection based on your preferences and budget.
The cheaper approach is to park your RV at an outdoor storage facility. This might be a simple, fenced-in parking lot keeping your RV safe from vandalism or theft. Or it might be a covered outdoor space. These are simple overhangs that protect your RV from a majority of the elements.
Otherwise, indoor RV storage offers the most protection but also costs the most amount of money each month. So which is right for you and your precious RV?
Indoor vs Outdoor RV Storage
This is the dilemma that most RV owners face at one point or another. Do you pay the extra money to keep your RV stored inside? Or do you save a few bucks each month and leave it outside, in its natural element?
The Pros and Cons of RV Outdoor Storage
Outdoor storage facilities are the easiest to use. Generally, you can park any sized RV at an outdoor storage facility.
Many facilities offer RV-specific amenities, such as electricity, potable water, and dump stations. This makes it super easy to prepare your RV for a trip and to clean it up once you finish traveling.
Outdoor RV storage is great for those who live in mild climates. Storing your RV outdoors year-round won’t be an issue.
However, for those up north with below-freezing temperatures in the winter, or those in the South or the Southwest with extremely hot summers, outdoor storage is less than ideal. Likewise, the Midwest is always threatened by tornados while the Atlantic faces hurricanes.
Before storing your RV outdoors, consider your local weather factors. It’s best if your storage facility offers insurance on individual parking spaces. But make sure your RV is also insured against any weather threats you might face.
Some outdoor storage facilities may offer winterization services for an additional fee. Taking advantage of this can greatly extend the life of your RV in cold climates.
The Pros and Cons of Indoor RV Storage
Indoor RV storage offers maximum protection. With climate-controlled environments, your RV won’t be exposed to high heat, freezing cold, or humidity.
There’s no rain, hail, wind, or debris that could cause damage. Likewise, there won’t be any dust that coats your RV. So once you are ready to use it for your next trip, there’s no washing necessary.
There are different types of indoor storage facilities available, ranging from individual garage ports to large, open warehouses with designated parking spaces. Some offer valet parking, which is a good idea so that you don’t bump into anything.
Indoor storage is also more convenient when preparing your RV for a trip, or preparing to store it. When cleaning or packing your RV, you won’t be outside in the heat or cold or have to deal with rain. You also won’t be tracking dirt or dust into your RV.
Indoor RV storage is the best option. However, it comes with a higher price tag. If you’re RV is brand new, or especially expensive, indoor storage is the best way to keep your investment safe.
Also, depending on the type of indoor storage center you choose, accessing your RV may take longer. Some facilities park RVs in long lines to maximize storage space. This means it’s not easy to show up and drive your RV out.
You’ll generally need to call ahead to have the staff get your RV ready to go. Most people, however, know ahead of time when they will need their RV and can plan accordingly.
Choosing a Storage Facility
When choosing an RV and boat storage facility, there are a few key factors you’ll want to keep in mind, other than indoors versus outdoors.
For one, you’re going to want the RV stored as close to your home as possible. This makes packing up for trips so much easier. Plus, after you return home, you can clean it out and access your RV as much as you need to.
It also helps if you can access your RV at any time. Want to take an impromptu trip? Some facilities won’t let you in outside of normal business hours. Or you may need to call ahead to make an appointment.
Other facilities give you 24/7 thanks to onsite staff members who are happy to let you take your RV out for a camping trip at midnight if you want to. Or you may be given a code that lets you in at any time.
You also want to choose a secure facility. Storage centers are known for having lots of expensive property on them at all times, making them a target for criminals.
Choose a facility with modern, secure fencing and lots of security cameras, especially if your RV is going to be stored outdoors. 24/7 security staff makes for the most secure option.
Some rural storage units don’t have paved surfaces, and may not be level. For the longevity of your RV, it’s best to choose a facility that has level, paved surfaces.
And of course, you want a storage space large enough to accommodate your specific RV. Choose a storage center that has different-sized options. If you have a small RV, you don’t want to pay for a large space.
Likewise, if you own a supersized RV, make sure there’s a parking space large enough for it.
Bundle Your Storage Options
Do you already have a storage unit? Many homeowners have a storage unit, not for an RV, but for their extra belongings that don’t fit in their home at the moment.
If that’s you, you may be able to save some money by utilizing multiple storage options at one location. So having a standard storage unit for your belongings, while also have an RV, and maybe even a boat storage unit too, may qualify you for discounted pricing.
Always ask your storage provider if they can cut you a deal.
Indoor or Outdoor, Which Should You Choose?
So which should you choose? It really comes down to your budget and preferences. Outdoor storage generally costs less than $200 per month. That’s very accessible for most RV owners.
You can go even cheaper by choosing an uncovered parking space, but you are getting the least amount of protection. If your RV is old, and you aren’t as concerned, this is a great option.
For those with a newer RV or those who use theirs often, indoor storage is the best way to park and store your RV. It stays the safest, the cleanest, and makes it easy to keep it ready for your next adventure.
No winterization is necessary and you’ll always have peace of mind knowing that your RV is safe.
Keeping Your RV Safe and Sound
Most RV owners need a place to store their RV when not in use. The home, driveway, or yard, simply isn’t practical, nor is it safe.
At the very least, you should spend the money on outdoor RV storage. It offers protection from most of the threats your RV is going to face. It’s the least you can do for your recreational investment.
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