What is a thermal package on an RV? (9+ essential tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is a thermal package on an RV? We will disclose the advantages of an RV thermal package, but also give you a few alternatives and solutions to keep your RV warm on cold winter nights. 

What is a thermal package on an RV?

A  thermal package on an RV usually means better motorhome insulation to protect you on cold winter days. A thermal package usually includes:

  • Insulated, enclosed and heated underbelly;
  • Higher-insulation for the roof and the room floors;
  • One/two interior fireplace (on certain RV models) to keep you cosy and warm.

The most popular RV models that have a thermal package are: 

  • Jayco Eagle, Pinnacle, Designer and North Point
  • Forest River Sandpiper and Rockwood Windjammer
  • Northwood Arctic Fox and Snow River
  • Lance travel trailers and
  • Livin Lite Camplite.

How does the thermal package on an RV work?

An RV with a thermal package is simply better isolated, thus the cold doesn’t get in so easily! For many, the winter RV is a dilemma between turning up the heat and therefore using your precious fuel or staying frozen.

The truth is, most RVs aren’t made for the cold, and the ones that are aren’t usually cheap. Older RVs tend to have less efficient insulation and heating mechanisms. So even if you turn the heat on, you will see your heating expenses leaking from any leaks and cracks your RV might have. 

An RV that has a thermal package promises higher insulation and warmer days. Plus, you will save so much electricity (to be read “money”) since you won’t have to use your RV’s boiler, AC or heater pump. 

What to do if my RV doesn’t have a thermal package?

If so it happens that your RV doesn’t have a thermal package included (but even if it does), below are a few tips on how to keep the RV warm in winter and be able to travel in comfort even on the coldest days. 

  1. Boiler maintenance is crucial: Before the cold hits, we recommend that you test your heater and have it serviced every year. Check the area around the exterior vents for cobwebs and other pests. Make sure your propane cylinders are full and the selector valve is ready to operate. Inspect any visible wiring to make sure mice or pests haven’t eaten away at them.
  1. Ventilate the boiler vents: This step goes hand in hand with the maintenance of your furnace. Since RV heater vents are on the floor, they would be used to collect dust, small stones, animal hair, and other things that may be lying on the floor. So this is not a good sign. 

Remove the vent cover, wash in hot soapy water and pat dry. While it dries, vacuum your vents to the end of your hose. However, be careful not to pierce the metal pipe that leads to the furnace. When you’re done, replace your vent covers and you’re good to go!

  1. Find and stop any air leaks: You will need to locate and eliminate drafts from your trailer. Start with the slides and windows. Cracked or torn rubber seals on the outside should be replaced, which can be done easily. Inside, use a lighted candle or incense to find hidden drafts. Seal them with silicone rubber or spray foam.
  1. Use a heat pump instead of the heater, especially on cold nights:  If your RV has a heat pump in addition to your boiler, we recommend that you use it occasionally if it is over 40 degrees outside. In addition, if you are connected to electrical support, it will save your propane consumption.

The difference between a boiler and a heat pump is that the furnace heats from the floor of your car and the heat pump heat from the ceiling. However, beware of the outside temperature and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

  1. Insulate with window covers, blinds, carpets, etc: The cold air circulating around your windows and under the floor of your vehicle robs you of heat. If you have day-night shades and windshields, like almost all RVs, you should keep them closed.

Even if you don’t have thermal glazed windows in your RV, closing the shades will trap an extra layer of air between the window and the shade, which will help with the overall insulation of your RV interior.

Another thing you should do is place rugs in the middle parts of your RV floor where you walk most often. These mats, placed in the busiest areas of your RV, can protect your feet from the cold and often uninsulated floors of the trailer.

  1. Turn on the ceiling fan: A ceiling fan helps circulate the air in your living space on your RV. And since your furnace vents are on the floor, you’ll need to adjust the direction of your blower to pull the hot air up.
  1. Close the AC ceiling vents: closing a room keeps and focuses the airflow where you want it. If you spend more time in your kitchen and living room, close the bedroom and bathroom doors. This will help you concentrate the heat where you want it in your RV.
  1. Install an electric fireplace: Many 5th wheelers and motor homes are equipped with luxurious electric fireplaces. And it’s not just for looks! Most have temperature control. If you’re plugged into an electrical stand, they’re great for relaxing in the morning without having to turn on your furnace.

Note, however, that if you are on electrical supports with a meter, your wallet will take a hit.

  1. Cover your RV: Covering an RV means putting material around the bottom of the vehicle to protect the lower parts of the unit from the cold. While you can wrap an RV with any material, materials such as vinyl, plywood, thick plastic sheets, styrofoam panels or even snow… these are the most popular with RV travellers.
  1. Use portable heating units: The purpose of having a portable heater is to raise the interior temperature of an RV room a few degrees above the base level provided by the furnace.

This heater should be your second source of heat. It will be economical to operate, and it will provide constant heat in the room. Place it in the living room during the day and in the bedroom at night.

The bottom line

If you are planning to travel in an RV this winter, dress warmly and tackle the cold effectively with these tips. Their application will guarantee you comfort onboard your vehicle and will make sure that you will enjoy your winter trips more!

Please feel free to share your own tips for keeping warm during winter trips in an RV, or let us know if you have any comments/questions about the content. 

FAQ on What is a thermal package on an RV?

What does thermal package mean?

A thermal package means the underbelly of the RV is better insulated and heated than a motorhome without this package. A two-sided reflective foil is customarily used for isolating the underbelly, the roof and the room floors of an RV.

What is an Arctic package on an RV?

An Arctic package on an RV means that the motorhome is better isolated and fitted for long and cold winter days. The package usually includes dual thermal pane windows, preinstalled heating pads for the water tanks, better floor and roof insulation. 

How does a heated underbelly on an RV work?

A heated underbelly on an RV has a two-inch diameter hose that transmits heat to the underbelly area of the motorhome to prevent the water tanks (including sewage) from freezing during winter nights. 

Are Jayco trailers insulated?

Yes, the Jayco trailers are insulated. In fact, Jayco trailers are considered among the best when it comes to insulation, as they use the best bead foam, insulation board.


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