Staying warm while winter camping is a challenge faced by anyone who lives in their RV full time. Whether you are in a van, motorhome, trailer, 5th wheel, if you’re car camping, or tent camping. You don’t have to suffer freezing temperatures anymore. There are so many luxury items that are winter RV camping game changers. Check out my blog post here for more winter RV living tips. If you’re looking for the best way to heat your RV in winter this is a must read.
There is one item I won’t live without for the winter and that’s my heated mattress pad. I spent a winter in Alberta and the temperatures got as low as Minus 40 Celsius! Thankfully I had full hookups. If you are paying for power, heating your whole RV in winter can get really expensive, at night, targeting where you sleep can really help keep your heating costs down.
You don’t need access to conventional power sources to use a heated mattress pad all winter though. You can run it off your “house” battery or off of a portable battery pack. I recommend either the Jackery 500 or the Renogy Phoenix 500
In order to determine the best portable power station for your needs you will need to do some basic math. Output capacity is measured in watt-hours (wh) as in my Jackery 500 can deliver up to 500 watt-hours if the device I’m using requires one watt per hour. When you’re shopping for your heated mattress pad you will want to check out the output of your power station and the amp hour draw of the item you are using.
Watts Required × Hours of Usage = Total Capacity
Total Capacity ÷ Watts Required = Hours of Usage
I highly recommend getting a heated mattress pad for your RV with dual climate control whether you have a partner or not. Just bear in mind dual control requires dual plugs, not a problem if you have hookups, but something to keep in mind if you are running from a battery bank. My own personal winter RV living tip is that I keep one side cold and one side warm, sometimes I just want my feet toasty and the dogs to be comfortable. I also recommend getting water-resistant. I drink coffee in bed, I have two dogs, I’m a bit of a disaster at times. Have you ever driven off with your RV without moving the water glass you keep bedside!?
The difference in energy usage between a heated mattress pad and a heated blanket is negligible. I believe you are better off with a heated mattress pad for the simple fact that heat rises. If your heat is on top of you the heat will be rising up and above you. With a mattress pad, the heat will be heating all the things resting on it. The coldness you feel from your mattress when you get into it is directly compensated for when you have a heated mattress pad. If you have ever gotten into a bed with a gel foam mattress topper in below zero you will know that thing is cold, hard, and very unwelcoming. A heated mattress pad for your RV will ensure the heat is staying with you between the mattress and the blankets.
Don’t waste much time searching for a 12v heated mattress pad they get terrible reviews. I bought one in 2019 for full time RV living in Canada and it never really worked right. Half of it never worked at all but for some reason, I couldn’t return it, the reason escapes me now.
Some Rv’s have a short queen mattress and on amazon.ca I wasn’t able to find any that would fit. I’m sure they are out there, I just ran out of steam searching. Hit me up if you want me to help you find this size. Happy to dive down the rabbit hole with you. The difference is only 5 inches you could probably get a regular but you need to be careful not to overheat the coils but folding them under your mattress, it might be fine if you let it flow over the end of your mattress but not between the mattress and the headboard.
I bought a sunbeam dual-zone back in 2014 and it lasted 5 years all in all a decent return on investment in my opinion. If I were looking to buy a heated mattress pad for my RV now I’d choose this one for the AClass as it has a standard queen-size mattress. Some mitigating factors for me are dual control and water resistance. I have a 17-year-old chihuahua who sleeps with me every day with her is a gift but she has had a few accidents lately that I wouldn’t want to risk electricity and an accident!