Winter RV Hacks: DIY RV Skirt

Last week we woke up to quite a surprise: our water lines had frozen overnight! It’s only early winter in Virginia. Although the temperature dropped quite a bit, we weren’t expecting to have to deal with frozen water so early in the cold-weather season.

Our 2017 Keystone Outback 334RL is 4-season ready with an enclosed underbelly. Just to be extra safe, we set out to create our own DIY RV skirt to enclose the entire base of our camper and block the wind, reducing heat loss and (hopefully) preventing frozen pipes!

Winter Weather

Step 1: Determine Which RV Skirt Solution Fits Your Needs

Are you sure you need a skirt? If your RV is a true 4-season ready rig, you may not need skirting at all, especially in a climate that has a mild winter.

An RV skirt can cost $1,000+ depending on the size of your rig. With our frugal mindsets and budget constraints, we weren’t up for purchasing a pre-made skirt.

Note: If you’ll be moving around a lot in cold winter climates, you might be better off to purchase a proper RV skirt so that you can easily remove and adjust it as needed.

Since we’ll be stationary for the harshest winter months, we’ll be able to get by with a less-flexible skirt option. DIY for the win!

DIY RV Skirt Materials

Step 2: Determine Your Budget & Supply List for a DIY RV Skirt

With a handy husband and the internet at our fingertips, we budgeted about $200 for a homemade skirt solution and headed to The Home Depot to get our supplies.

Your budget will vary based on the size of your rig. (We have a 37 foot travel trailer for reference.)

DIY RV Skirt Supply List:

Supplies for DIY RV Skirt

Our DIY RV Skirt Cost breakdown:

DIY RV Skirt Budget

Frugal Tip: Check online for any coupons for Lowe’s or The Home Depot before you head to the store. If you’ve recently changed your address, USPS often mails out a confirmation packet with coupons! We used a veteran discount.

We also showed the cashier where some of the foam board was damaged and they had limited stock in the store, so we saved an additional 10% off those pieces for the damage.

Measuring DIY RV Skirt

Once you have all of your materials, choose an area and get started! We decided to skirt the slide outs first.

Measure your length and height, jot down your measurements (or juggle them in your head like my brave husband) and head back to your work station to cut the insulation board to your measurements.

If you are on level ground this should be pretty straightforward. If your rig is on uneven ground (like ours), you’ll need to be creative and possibly cut as you try to install.

Measuring DIY RV Skirt

Patrick marked off his measurements and used a straight-edge to draw a nice guideline for the cuts. He used a box cutter to quickly cut the boards down to size. You don’t have to be super precise, but try to go over instead of under on measurements if you must. It will totally work out if your boards are a little bigger than you need!

That’s the hardest part! Yay!

Walk your newly-fashioned skirt insert piece over to the intended area, then simply leave it there and yell for your wife (or any other helper, child, or well-trained dog). If you’re on your own, proceed to the next step.

Installing DIY RV Skirt

Next, the foam board just needs to be taped up. We used reflective ductwork tape. I found that it looks much nicer to just use one continuous strip of it wherever possible, but for functionality you may want to use a few smaller pieces first to get it positioned how you want it.

Continue cutting pieces to size and taping them up as you work your way around the entire camper.

Pro Tip: Fold the reflective tape strip down the middle with the backing still on, then peel the backing off for an easier time connecting 2 boards at a corner.

When you get to a point where you have something in the way (like your trailer) just cut the board to the correct dimensions and carve out the space you need once you get the board there. Seal up any gaps as you go!

DIY RV Skirt around tanks

Be sure to leave a way to easily access your tanks! We loosely taped and fit 2 pieces in front of our tanks to swing open like a barn door.

Keep in mind that with any crazy wind gusts or other weather events, you may need to take care of minor repairs to your skirt throughout the winter. We stashed a few extra boards in the barn in case we need them. Be sure to keep the reflective tape on-hand for quick patch-ups & re-positioning!

DIY RV Skirt Finished

We recommend monitoring the outdoor temperature and letting a faucet drip in extreme temperatures just to be safe. Frozen water lines are no joke!

When the cold season ends, we’ll take down the skirt and keep the materials in a dry spot until next winter.

That’s it! Enjoy your slightly warmer rig and reduced propane use.

Here’s a handy printable list of steps:

How To: DIY RV Skirt with Rigid Foam Insulation Boards

Before you get started (Prep Work):

  • Decide what kind of material you want to use. We chose R-3.2 rigid insulation  1/2″x4’x8′.  We were afraid that the 1/2″ would not be strong enough, but once it’s all taped up it’s surprisingly sturdy. You may prefer 1″ thick boards or another material. The foam insulation wasn’t expensive and was easy to cut and work with.
  • Measure your rig and figure out how much linear footage you need to cover with your skirt
    Example: Our rig is 37 feet long, 8 feet wide, with 2 slide outs. Take total linear footage of the perimeter of your rig and divide it by the length of the boards to determine board quantity.
    Tip: Add a few extras for mistakes and cushioning!

Supplies:

  • 1/2 inch Rigid Foam Insulation Board
  • Aluminum Reflective Tape
  • Box Cutter
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight-edge
  1. Pick any section to get started (We started with the slide-outs). Determine where you want to attach each section to your RV. We opted to secure the boards behind parts of our rig where possible for a cleaner look (taping on the inside of the underbelly).
  2. Take measurements of the height and width needed for your sections based on where you want to secure them.
    Tip: Always cut to allow as much extra on the height as possible so you can reuse the pieces when you move your  camper.
  3. Mark out your measurements on your first board. Cut it to the height and width needed for that section.
  4. Put board in place. Push it into any grass or level it with the ground so that there isn’t a gap underneath.
  5. Add tape to secure it. Use a few small strips if needed to hold it in place and a larger strip to run along the entire length of the board connecting it to the RV.
  6. Continue measuring, marking, and cutting boards around the whole length of your RV.
  7. Use the box cutter to cut out small holes for any pipes or other parts/pieces you may need to work around. Fit the boards around them and use tape to block any wind in those spots.
  8. Be sure to leave a way to get to your tanks! We loosely taped and fit  2 pieces in front of our tanks to swing open (like a barn door).
  9. When you’ve finished covering the entire rig, walk around and look for any openings or weak spots. Add more tape as needed.

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