There are many benefits to RV life: the ability to get into nature moree comfortably than camping; a fun, on-the-road lifestyle with its own unique community; and knowing that you can get up and go — whenever you want — in your own private home away from home. But for all of the spontaneity and mobility that an RV offers, ownership also comes with its own expense and challenges. Beyond the purchase price, there’s fuel, insurance, and maintenance, plus choosing storage when you’re not using your RV full time. If you can’t put your RV in your own garage or driveway, finding a storage spot can be a challenge. Here’s what you need to know to help you make the smartest RV storage choice.
- 1 When researching RV storage, start with your RV’s exact size. It’s crucial in determining whether a facility can accommodate it.
- 2 The larger your RV, the less likely it is that you will be able to find an indoor storage facility.
- 3 Take time to properly prepare your RV for storage to reduce future maintenance costs and preserve your RV’s life.
- 4 Some RV storage lots offer additional amenities like sewage disposal and battery charging.
If this question has been eating at you, or even preventing you from purchasing a new RV or other recreational vehicle, you can stop worrying now – there are self storage facilities available all over the country that offer outdoor RV storage for those who want to free up some driveway space and keep their vehicle secure while maintaining easy access.
RV Storage Unit Size Guide
While investigating your RV storage options, the single most important thing you need to know is the size of your RV, as not all storage facilities can accommodate all sizes, and you will need that information in order to get an accurate price quote. The facilities will be able to tell you the length of their spots, but you’ll also need to have your RV’s height and width handy to make sure that it will fit.
RVs fall into the following three classes:
- Class A: Class A RVs are the largest motor homes available. Measuring up to 40’ long, they are built on heavy-duty frames similar to those used to build commercial buses and 18-wheel trucks. They have 22.5-inch wheels and are also generally the tallest type of RV. Though they are built with luxury in mind and can come equipped with enough room to sleep four people comfortably, storage is not widely available. You will probably have to identify a special RV storage facility.
- Class B: Also known as camper vans, Class B RVs generally measure between 17 and 19 feet. They are tall enough to stand in and generally feature a kitchen, living area, and small bathroom with a toilet and shower. They are the least expensive RV option and have the added convenience of being easy to park since they don’t take up more room than a standard van.
- Class C: Class C RVs fall right in between A and B in terms of size. They are usually at least 30 feet long and built on a cabin chassis. Because they have a sleeping area located over the cab they can accommodate a greater number of people, but as a result their height needs to be considered when finding RV storage. Their size provides comfort but also means that you’ll need to find an RV storage facility with appropriate clearance.
Types of RV Storage
There are three different options available for storing your RV, and which you choose will depend upon your budget, the size of your vehicle, and what you’re looking for in terms of security, protection from the elements, and additional amenities. Though it is always tempting to go for the least expensive option, it is also important to consider whether making a short-term decision to save money will result in decreasing your RV’s life, or lead to unexpected maintenance or repair costs when you’re ready to hit the road again.
- Outdoor RV Storage – This type of storage is generally either a large parking lot or an open lot that is often unpaved. These RV storage spots are affordable and plentiful but provide no protection from the elements. They do offer the advantage of being protected by fencing and other security measures.
- Covered RV Storage – This type of storage provides coverage to protect your RV from rain, snow and hail, and in some RV storage facilities the open-air, covered spaces include partial walls to provide added protection from the wind. This type of RV storage will cost more than outdoor RV storage in exchange for a significant increase in the protection it offers your RV’s exterior.
- Indoor RV Storage – Though indoor RV storage may not be an option based on the space required for your RV, there’s no doubt that indoor storage provides the greatest protection and security, and often comes with additional amenities. As is always true, the more services provided, the greater the cost is likely to be. In most cases these facilities for RVs range in size from 10×25 feet to 10×30 feet and offer complete protection from the elements.
How Much Does RV Storage Cost?
When pricing RV storage, it is important that you take all factors into consideration. Though a parking lot storage or leaving your vehicle on a fenced-in gravel or unpaved lot may save you money, choosing that option means you’ll have to budget for additional maintenance and repair when it’s time to put your vehicle on the road again. The more protection and servicing you pay for on a monthly basis, the fewer costly surprises you’ll encounter.
Pricing for an outdoor lot can be as low as $30 to $50 per month, though much of the cost will be determined by your geographic location and the availability of RV storage in the area. Prices will also vary based on the size of your vehicle.
Once you move to covered storage your costs will increase modestly, while for indoor storage the costs will jump significantly and can vary based upon amenities offered. Unheated indoor storage costs range from $50 to $125 per month while heated storage costs from $100 to $450 per month, with the highest costs coming with the largest RV spaces as well as whether the facility offers services such as sewage dumping and battery charging.
RV Storage Insurance
If you want to offset the cost of RV storage, you might consider making adjustments to the insurance policy that you’re carrying on your RV. Though RV storage insurance is still necessary to protect you against theft or extreme weather, you have no need for collision or liability coverage, and taking those elements off during the off-season can make a big difference. Talk to your insurance agent about how to keep comprehensive coverage to protect you from theft, fire, water damage and more, while also lowering your costs while your RV is not on the road.
How Do I Prepare My RV for Storage?
When you decided to buy an RV, you did so understanding that ownership required work, and that work doesn’t stop when you decide to put your RV into storage. Even indoor storage requires taking steps to protect the vehicle’s interior, exterior, and engine.
- If you’re storing your RV indoors, invest in a breathable cover that will prevent mold and mildew from growing.
- Removing your tires is essential — if you don’t, you will likely end up with a flat from the pressure.
- Make sure that all windows are covered and all vents are closed. This protects your interior and furniture from fading in the sun and provides an additional barrier against insects and rodents.
- Repair any cracks or tears, especially if your vehicle is being stored outdoors. Moisture will find its way to any imperfections and make them worse.
- Turn off the main LPG supply valve.
- Clean out your RV’s refrigerator and defrost and sanitize it, then turn it off and put an open box of baking soda inside. Prop the door open to prevent odors from forming.
- Check every drawer and cabinet for food and remove it.
- Remove your battery and store it. Some RV storage facilities offer battery charging services. If the RV storage facility that you have chosen does not offer it, charge your battery once a month yourself to keep it as close to fully charged as possible.
- Fill your tank with gas and add fuel stabilizer. Make sure that the supplemented fuel circulates through your engine before you store your RV, and if your storage facility doesn’t offer the service of starting the vehicle every two months and letting it run, you need to do it yourself. The same is true for your generator.
- Change your oil and make sure that your radiator is filled with antifreeze.