Investing in a recreational vehicle (RV) can help you take your weekend camping or road trips to the next level. Taking the comforts of home with you everywhere you go can enhance the experience and eliminate many of the stresses and hassles associated with camping and traveling. RV owners do face one significant challenge, though - where to store such a large, complex and expensive item when you’re not using it?
Key Point Module
- 1 Determine the exact size storage you need. You don’t want to pay for space you don’t use.
- 2 The kind of storage you need depends on what you’re storing.
- 3 Always inspect the facilities security before signing any agreements.
- 4 The best storage is convenient, secure, and affordable.
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.
Reasons for Using RV Storage
There are many advantages to using self storage for your RV, including affordability, convenience, and security. Still not convinced? Let’s break down the benefits a little bit more:
The “biggest” reason it’s so hard to store an RV at home is, of course, their size. RVs come in a wide variety of sizes, from 5th wheel trailers to full-on motorhomes. A Class A motorhome can average between 25 and 40 feet in length. Most campers easily take up an entire driveway, and these days most people do not have the acreage to store their RVs off a driveway. Using RV or trailer storage will allow you to keep that space freed up to use for your other vehicles, or simply keep the space open.
Many HOAs or neighborhood covenants prohibit the parking of RVs or trailers on driveways for long periods – some don’t even let homeowners park an RV along the side of their home. Using an RV storage facility lets you bypass the headache of dealing with your HOA or zoning board.
Unfortunately, due to their value and vulnerability, RVs and trailers are often targets for vandalism and theft, making it a little risky to leave one in front of your house. Using an RV storage facility can provide security for your favorite camper by way of high fences, gated access, and even video surveillance. Some storage facilities even offer 24/7 staff monitoring.
Whether you want a storage facility as close to your home as possible, or somewhere along your route that’s convenient for you, the large number of storage facilities available across the country will make it easy for you to find just the right spot.
Understanding Your RV’s Unit Size
As mentioned previously, RVs come in a wide variety of sizes, meaning you will need to have a strong grasp of your vehicle’s dimensions when you are shopping around for the right type of storage. (We always recommend taking thorough measurements of your vehicle and keeping them written down somewhere so that you won’t forget.) Here are the three major classes of RVs and the storage sizes they typically require:
- Class A – If you have a Class A motorhome, you will need a fairly large parking spot or storage unit to store your RV. The largest Class A motorhomes can be up to 40 feet long – and that doesn’t account for width, either. You should be able to find accommodation at most outdoor storage facilities, but if you would like to store your vehicle indoors, you will probably need to locate a specialized RV storage facility.
- Class B – Class B motorhome owners won’t need as large of a parking spot or indoor storage unit. A Class B motorhome can measure up to 17 or 19 feet long, so you’ll need at least that much space for storage.
- Class C – Class C motorhomes can be quite long, so you’ll want to look for a space at least 30 feet in length to be able to store this type of RV comfortably. Class C motorhomes are similar to Class A vehicles in that they often require a specialized facility for indoor storage.
Regardless of your vehicle’s class, if you’re looking for indoor storage, you will need to keep in mind that most facilities cannot accommodate indoor RV storage unless they’re built for that specific purpose. RVs can be up to 13 feet, 6 inches in height, and many regular storage facilities cannot accommodate that height, so you will need to make sure you have proper clearance if you plan to store indoors. (Again, we recommend carefully measuring your vehicle and writing down those measurements. You can take this paper with you when shopping around for facilities.)
Types of RV Storage
If you have harsh winters or commonly experience inclement weather such as heavy rain or intense heat, you may want to consider indoor storage to protect your RV from damage by the elements. While most facilities have outdoor RV storage, some may also offer indoor or covered RV storage, or you may have to look for a specialized RV storage facility.
- Outdoor – Outdoor RV storage is the most common choice of vehicle owners, and also the most affordable. If you aren’t too concerned about weather damage, outdoor storage can be an efficient, cost-cutting option for your RV.
- Covered – There are some storage facilities that offer covered outdoor storage for RVs and trailers. Covered storage provides some additional protection from the elements, such as sun, hail, and snow, which can damage paint and tires as well as exacerbate any pre-existing minor damage, such as paint cracks.
- Indoor – Indoor RV storage may be the most expensive option for storing a motorhome or trailer, but it can be worth the investment if you often get bad weather, or just want to rest a little easier security-wise. If your area experiences heavy snowfall or severe storms, opting for indoor storage will save you money in the long run by keeping your repair costs down.
How do I prepare my RV for winter storage?
There are many things you will need to remember to do to prepare your RV for winter storage. Because prolonged exposure to weather–even just sunlight–can damage your RV over time, you’ll want to take extra precautions for outdoor storage. Below is a handy checklist of major maintenance items you will need to complete to prep your RV for storage.
- Wash and dry your RV thoroughly.
- Lubricate the moving parts.
- Cover the tires.
- Cover the vehicle with a breathable tarp.
- Use moisture-absorbent materials in your vehicle’s interior to inhibit mold growth.
- Disconnect the propane tank/s.
- Remove any perishables or valuables.
- Proof the interior for pests.
How much does RV storage cost?
RV storage prices depend largely on location and amenities offered. Some facilities rent out gravel lots, while others will have a paved parking lot. Parking spots at storage facilities can vary in size. Some facilities offer useful amenities, such as sewage dump stations, but this convenience does often come with a higher price tag. Outdoor storage starts as low as $30 to $50 a month in some locations, but can go as high as $60 to $100 or more. Another factor that affects the cost includes the size of your RV – expect to pay more for a Class A motorhome than you would for a Class B or small trailer.
If you opt for indoor storage, you should expect to pay more for the added protections. Rates for unheated indoor storage start around $50 to $125 monthly or more. If you live in an area with extreme winters, you can choose heated RV storage for added protection from damage, which will run you anywhere from $100 to $450 a month. As with outdoor storage, prices for indoor storage vary depending on your RV’s size and the amenities offered by the specific facility.
Speaking of amenities, if perks are your thing, you can seek out a facility that offers premium services, such as valet parking, battery charging, sewage dumping, and more. Of course, this means higher monthly rates, but many RV owners find those extra amenities worth the investment: the convenience of a one-stop shop can be invaluable, and ease of access to maintenance services can also increase the running life of your RV.
Whether you choose an outdoor gravel parking spot or a heated indoor room for your RV, choosing a reputable storage facility means you can relax, knowing your vehicle is secure, in good hands, and patiently waiting for your next adventure.