An RV is great to have around in the summer, when the weather is clear and the wide-open road is safe for cross-country road trips or weekend excursions to your favorite campground. During the summer season, a curbside-parked RV in front of your home can be a welcome sight--a reminder of all that lies ahead once Friday afternoon rolls around. But not all of us have the space in our driveway, yard, garage, or at our curb to keep an RV or camper, and some neighborhoods face strict rules preventing RV owners from doing so. What do you do with such a huge vehicle in the winter, or in between stints of adventurous road-ruling?
The average size of a motor home is anywhere from 18 feet to 25 feet in length with a weight of approximately 3,000 pounds. When you think of the vehicle in those terms, you might wonder how you'll ever find a place to store it. That's where SpareFoot comes in. Enter your city or ZIP code into the search bar above to find a facility with trailer storage near you, or browse through the links of cities that are popular with other trailer storage renters below. If you need more information on RV storage, such as what types of RV storage are available and how you can prepare your RV for a stint at a storage facility, read on below.
How to find storage for your RV with SpareFoot
SpareFoot makes finding RV storage space easy. Enter your city or ZIP code into the search bar and you'll be presented with the nearest storage facilities to you. To better filter the results, look to the left-hand menu and choose the size of your motorhome. Then you'll be able to book RV storage with SpareFoot.
Storing Your RV at a Self-Storage Facility
While most people choose to store their camper, travel trailer, or motorhome at a storage facility because they're either unable or unwilling to keep it at home, there are a host of other advantages to storing your vehicle at a facility. For one, they're more secure than your driveway or backyard; storage facilities provide fenced-in, well-lit parking areas that are monitored with onsite video cameras. Many have staff that either keep the facility open 24/7 or live on the premises, which means they'll be able to keep a constant eye on your recreational vehicle. Storage facilities can also offer your RV superior protection from the elements with either indoor or covered RV storage spaces. Think of it like this: rather than purchase a huge canopy to cover your RV in your backyard, you can save money by renting out a covered, monitored space at a nearby storage facility. By protecting your RV from the elements, you'll prolong its life, save money on repairs, and have to worry less about cleaning your RV when it comes time to take it back out on the road. Some facilities offer 24-hour access storage, so you can retrieve your RV anytime. Other common amenities include wash stations to rinse off your RV before or after a road trip, and dump stations for dumping and rinsing your holding tank.
Types of RV storage
There are four common types of RV storage offered at self-storage facilities: indoor trailer storage units, covered RV storage, RV parking spaces and RV land lots. While parking spaces and land lots are the most common of these, they offer the fewest perks. Indoor and covered units offer substantial benefits and are far more convenient, but they're also harder to find and more expensive. Additionally, it can be difficult to find indoor storage for the large RVs. When it comes down to choosing a type, trailer storage renters will need to factor price, availability, the size of their motorhome and other various factors into their decision. Here's a little bit of info on each type to help you get started:
Outdoor car storage
Facilities that offer outdoor car storage are typically referring to a paved parking spot on the facility premises, usually within the facility's gate.While some facilities have designated parking spots for car storage on the premises, many simply offer unused space around their drive-up storage buildings and on the outskirts of the facility grounds. Since these spots aren't under a roof or in a building, they're typically the cheapest way to store a car at a storage facility.
However, storing your car outside leaves it vulnerable to damage from the elements, most notably precipitation and the sun, the first of which can cause your car to rust,while the second can damage your car's paint and tires. Because of these environmental threats, you should always use a high-quality car cover while keeping it outside forlengthy periods of time, and consider using covered or indoor car storage if you plan on keeping the car at the storage facility for a long period of time.
RV storage on open lots
This is the most basic type of RV storage available at self-storage facilities as well as one of the most common and least expensive. Essentially, the storage facility has open, unpaved land on its premises that it's willing to lease out to RV owners. Your RV won't be protected from the elements any more than it will be in your own backyard.
However it still will be within the facility's fences and watched over by security, and you may have access to any other RV storage amenities the facility offers. Some regions of the US worry less about the damage weather might do, while those that receive an extreme amount of rain, snow or sun should carefully consider whether storing their RV outside is worth the risk. Choose to store your RV in an open lot if you simply need to get the RV off your property and price is your main consideration.
RV storage parking spaces
This is also a very common form of RV storage you'll find at self-storage facilities, and rivals storage on an open lot in price. Essentially, you'll be renting a paved parking space in the facility's parking lot to keep your RV. Some facilities will have designated, marked-off areas for you to keep your RV, while others will simply rent out paved spaces in the margins between and around their storage buildings.
Like open lot storage, RV parking spaces are exposed to the elements and may experience some wear and tear from the weather. However, since they're parked on a paved surface, RVs are less susceptible to dirt and dust than on an open lot. Choose RV parking if price is your main consideration and you'd prefer to keep your vehicle on a paved surface.
Covered RV storage
Instead of parking your RV, camper or travel trailer out in the open, covered RV storage provides you with a canopy to protect your vehicle from the elements. There are two primary types of covered RV storage: standard, stand-alone canopies, and three-sided, walled canopies. The first is simply a roof structure supported by columns, while the second has walls on three sides. Stand-alone canopies offer great protection from the sun, but less from precipitation, while three-sided canopies offer protection from both elements (particularly if their open end is not oriented towards the east or west). Both types of covered RV storage do not typically have walls separating the individual spaces, meaning your RV will likely be parked next to another vehicle.
Covered RV storage is usually more expensive than parking or open lot storage, but less expensive than an indoor RV storage unit. It's also more common than indoor RV storage, meaning that if you're looking for an RV storage solution that will protect your vehicle from the elements, but are unable to find an indoor unit, a covered space is a good alternative. Rent a covered RV storage space if you want some protection from the elements, but aren't willing to pay the price for an indoor unit.
Indoor RV storage units
These are essentially oversized versions of your typical self-storage unit and will act as a large garage for your RV. Indoor RV storage units are accessed via a large roll-up door that may or may not be powered. These units are typically between 12-15 feet wide and of varying heights and lengths, often around 15 feet tall and between 30-50 feet in length.
Size is an important consideration with enclosed RV storage units, as spaces are strictly defined. Indoor RV storage offers one huge perk: near-total protection from the elements. Your vehicle should be completely protected from the sun and rain while in its indoor unit, which can save you money on repairs and cleaning in the long run. Your RV will also be in excellent condition when it comes time to take it out again.
Another benefit is the added security of having your RV locked away in its own garage, where no one but you can access it. These perks come with a price: indoor RV storage units are the most expensive form of RV storage. Rent indoor RV storage if your concern for protecting your RV outweighs your need to find the cheapest RV storage possible.
RV Storage size guide
RV storage comes in myriad sizes due to the fact that RVs, campers and travel trailers come in a wide variety of sizes. Additionally, storage facilities are often simply renting out unused space on their property. Most facilities will advertise their RV storage spaces based on length, as this is the greatest difference between different sizes of RVs.
Width and height can still be an important consideration, particularly when it comes to indoor RV storage (and to a lesser extent covered RV storage), but is typically much less of factor with outdoor RV parking spaces and open lots. Below, you'll find a basic guide detailing the different lengths of RV storage spaces and the RV, camper and travel trailer types they're suitable for. Remember to always double-check the dimensions of your RV and the storage space before booking a unit.
25' RV storage:
25 foot RV storage spaces will work for smaller models of Class B campers, Class C campers, travel trailers, toy trailers and pop-ups. Some of these might even fit inside traditional 10' x 25' self-storage units, but make sure the height and width of the unit is sufficient for storing your RV before attempting to move in.
Examples of popular models that will fit in this space: 2009 Safari Damara Sport (21'11), 2010 Great West Titan Wide Body (21'6), 2011 Great West Classic (22'2), 2011 Leisure Travel Free Flight (20'4), 2011 Pleasure-Way Excel TS (20'4), 2011 Pleasure-Way Lexor TS (20'5), 2011 Roadtrek 190 Popular (20'5), 2011 Gulf Stream Enduramax Sport (23'), 2011 Jayco Octane ZX Super Lite (20'7), 2012 Forest River Stealth (21'5), 2012 Forest River Work and Play (20'9), 2012 Lance Camper Lance 1050S Truck Camper (18'10), 2013 Lance Camper 855S (17'8), 2011 Gulf Stream Amerilite (17'2), 2011 Holiday Rambler Campmaster (23'), 2011 Jayco Skylark (22'1), 2012 Forest River Grey Wolf (22'2).
30' RV storage:
This next category will handle smaller-to-medium sized Class B campers and travel trailers, large pop-ups, and smaller Class C campers and fifth-wheel trailers. Standard self-storage units go up to 10' x 30', but lack the necessary height to handle many of these vehicles (self-storage units typically only reach 8'-10' in height).
Examples of popular models that will fit in this space: 2014 Keystone Cougar High-country (28'7), Keystone Hornet 245RLS (27'10), 2011 Fleetwood Jamboree Sport (26'2), 2011 Winnebago Aspect (29'7), 2012 Coachmen Freedom Express (27'9), 2012 CrossRoads Zinger (27'11), 2011 Gulf Stream B Touring Cruiser (27'5), 2013 Thor Motor Coach Siesta (29'9), 2011 Keystone Energy (29'1), 2012 Forest River Shockwave (29'1), 2012 Keystone Outback Kargoroo (27'), 2011 Gulf Stream Gulf Breeze XLT (26'10), 2011 Jayco Jay Feather Select (26'11), 2012 Forest River Salem Hemisphere (25'10).
35' RV storage:
35' RV storage spaces can typically contain large Class B and Class C campers, mid-to-large sized travel trailers, small-to-mid sized fifth-wheel campers, large toy trailers, and small Class A campers.
Examples of popular models that will fit in this space: 2009 Safari Passage (31'), 2010 Gulf Stream Independence (31'5), 2010 Holiday Rambler Admiral (31'), 2011 Fleetwood Bounder Classic (30'7), 2011 Fleetwood Terra (31'2), 2011 Itasca Suncruiser (32'10), 2011 Holiday Rambler Vacationer (30'11), 2011 Monaco Coach Monarch (31'), 2011 Newmar Canyon Star (34'11), 2011 Winnebago Sightseer (32'7), 2012 Gulf Stream Yellowstone (31'5), 2012 Winnebago Adventurer (32'11), 2013 Fleetwood Bounder (34'3), 2008 Conquest SuperNova (34'1), 2011 Fleetwood Jamboree (30'10), 2011 Fleetwood Tioga (30'10), 2012 Coachmen Concord (30'10), 2012 Coachmen Leprechaun (32'3), 2011 Holiday Rambler Ion (31'8), 2012 Coachmen Chaparral Lite (31'8), 2012 Forest River Flagstaff (32'), 2011 Holiday Rambler Savoy LX (33'), 2012 Airstream Classic Limited (31'), 2012 CrossRoads Cruiser (32'10), 2012 Forest River Cherokee (30'3).
40' RV storage:
All but the largest of RVs will fit into a 40' storage space. This includes most Class A campers, large travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers. Remember that with the added length often comes additional width and height, meaning that many of these extra-large vehicles will require ceilings with a minimum height of 15 feet.
Examples of popular models that will fit in this space: 2009 Safari Compression Gas (38'1), 2014 Thor Motor Coach Challenger (37'10), 2011 Coachmen Brookstone (35'6), 2011 Holiday Rambler Ambassador (37'4), 2011 Holiday Rambler Neptune (37'4), 2011 Monaco Coach Cayman (37'4), 2011 Thor Motor Coach Tuscany (37'2), 2012 CrossRoads Rushmore (35'11), 2008 Conquest Endura (35'1), 2011 Forest River Ridgeview (36'7), 2011 Jayco Eagle (35'6), 2009 Safari Cascade (35'10), 2009 Safari Compression FD (39'3), 2010 Gulf Stream Caribbean (38'), 2011 Coachmen Cross Country (39'9), 2011 Fleetwood Discovery (37'8), 2011 Fleetwood Expedition (36'8), 2011 Newmar Dutch Star (37'11), 2011 Thor Motor Coach Astoria (37'4).
50' RV storage:
50' RV storage space will handle the largest of RVs. Class A campers, travel trailers and destination trailers will all fit within this space.
Examples of popular models that will fit in this space: 2014 Heartland Fairfield (42'11), 2014 Keystone Residence (40'11), 2014 Keystone Retreat (40'11), 2011 Jayco Jay Flight Bungalow (40'11), 2010 Gulf Stream Constellation (45'), 2013 Newmar King Aire (44'11), 2013 Newmar Essex (44'11), 2012 Newmar Essex (44'11), 2011 Monaco Coach Dynasty (44'11), 2012 Newmar King Aire (44'11), 2010 Holiday Rambler Navigator (44'10), 2014 Monaco Coach Dynasty (44'3), 2011 Holiday Rambler Endeavor (43'3), 2012 Monaco Coach Dynasty (44'11), 2014 Entegra Coach Aspire (43'1), 2013 Fleetwood Providence (43'6), 2014 Entegra Coach Anthem (43'1), 2012 Forest River Charleston (43'), 2013 Winnebago Tour (42'10), 2013 Itasca Ellipse (42'10), 2014 Thor Motor Coach Tuscany (41'2), 2009 Safari Cheetah (40'8).
RV storage insurance
Before committing to any particular storage facility, check your RV's insurance policy to see if it covers theft, damage and/or liability for the length of time the vehicle will be in storage.
If not, it might be a good idea to purchase insurance either through your current provider or through the storage facility. Keep in mind that most (but not all) storage facilities sell additional insurance.
Preparing your RV for storage
When it comes to RV storage, the best thing to do to avoid missing any steps is to make a checklist. Start with utilities like turning off heat, electricity and AC circuit breakers. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Inspect and unplug electrical devices and the battery. Your RV storage checklist should also include inspecting all devices that could drain the battery if you forget to turn them off, including alarms, shut-off valves, TV antenna boosters and any other plug-in electrical element inside the RV. To be extra safe, disconnect the negative cable on your battery. If you're storing your RV during the winter and your area experiences freezing temperatures, it's best to remove your battery entirely and store it in a room-temperature place.
2. Clean out your water tanks. Clean-out jobs for RV storage should cover sewage tanks and water tanks. Empty both the wastewater and the freshwater tanks at a dump station before storing the RV. Also empty toilets and the water heater. One recommended way of cleaning out your tanks is to fill them with a mixture of water and baking soda or bleach, then drive your RV around for a short period of time so that the liquid sloshes around, cleaning out your tanks. Make sure to empty the tanks immediately afterwards.
3. Dry out your pipes. After your tanks have been cleaned out, it's time to attend to your pipes. This is particularly important if you're storing your RV during the winter, when water can freeze and expand, bursting your pipes. It's impossible to completely dry out your pipes, but one way of expelling as much moisture as possible is to send compressed air through the system. Consult your owner's manual or an RV mechanic before doing so, as compressed air can damage some plumbing systems. Otherwise, your safest bet is to add antifreeze to the system in sufficient amounts to ensure that all pipes have been treated. Don't forget to pour a little antifreeze down every drain and toilet in your RV as well.
4. Close off the gas tank. Propane tanks should be topped off and gas supplies shut off. Remove propane tanks if possible and store them somewhere cool and dry, like a basement. Turn off any appliances that use gas (stoves, ovens, furnaces, water heaters).
5. Take care of the engine. Change or top off your oil, radiator, windshield wiper fluid and brake fluid. Add antifreeze to the radiator. Fill up your gas tank, adding the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer along the way. Filling your tank will prevent moisture from building up in your tank and corroding the material, while the stabilizer will make sure the fuel doesn't break down. Run the engine for a few minutes so that the stabilizer can spread.
6. Take off the tires. When your RV rests on the same spot on its tires for a long period of time, its tires can develop flat spots that will ruin them. Cold temperatures can exacerbate this issue. This isn't much of a problem if you're able to take your RV out and drive every few weeks, but if you aren't, removing your tires and setting the RV up on jacks or blocks will extend the life of your tires. If you decide not to remove your tires, make sure to put chocks around the wheels. Don't engage the emergency brake, as it can fuse with the rotors over time.
7. Take care of the roof. If you're storing the RV in an uncovered space, a leaky roof could damage the interior and prevent you from getting back on the road when the time comes. Ensure that you've closed and sealed the roof vents, and make sure you don't need roof-sealing maintenance. Using mesh screens on the inside of vents and covering them up with cardboard can prevent squirrels, birds and bugs from entering. It's best to have your roof inspected once per year to keep it in good shape, so get into the routine of doing this before you store for the winter. Minor cracks and exposed seams can be covered with a good outdoor sealer.
8. Clean it out. Empty and unplug your refrigerator, then leave the door open with a bucket underneath so that the ice in your freezer thaws. Thoroughly clean the RV of any food or crumbs. Take any perishables out of your vehicle. It's even a good idea to spray ant killer or leave ant traps inside the RV. Lubricate the hinges on all doors.
9. Cover it up. Get an RV cover to protect your RV from dust, sun damage, hail, birds and other animals. Don't just rely on a cover to protect you from water damage if the roof needs repair. Reseal the roof or find a covered storage space to prevent serious damage.