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The Truth About Four Season Travel Trailers

Published on March 21st, 2024 by Dave Helgeson
This post was updated on April 3rd, 2024

Does a true four season travel trailer exist? Why or why not? If you ask this to RVers sitting around the campfire, you will receive a plethora of answers. Some will say yes, others will say no. A few will answer “kind of.” Still other RVers will say it depends on many factors and equipment in those campers. There’s a reason for the large assortment of answers. In this article I will explain the real truth about four season travel trailers (and what to look for in one).

The Definition of a “Four Season Travel Trailer” Depends on Who You Ask

The truth about four season travel trailers is that in the RV industry, a definition does not exist. There is no universally accepted standard of the factors that make up a four season travel trailer.

But although there is no universal definition for a four season travel trailer, there are certain features and specifications commonly associated with trailers designed for year-round use. You will find these factors in the materials and building methods used to make year-round travel trailers.

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Most of the better brands don’t even offer a “4-season” or “Arctic” package because their standard construction is suitable to some definition of “4 seasons”. I slays felt that “a 4-season package was just a way of saying “we left the insulation out, but we can put some in for a extra price”.

@Gary RVRoamer, iRV2 Forums Member

Eight Key Things to Look for in a Four Season Travel Trailer

The top eight key indicators, materials, and building methods of four season travel trailers look something like this:

Insulation Quality and Placement

Your goal is to locate trailers with high-quality insulation throughout the RV. This includes extra (double or triple) insulation in the floor, ceiling and end caps. Above-average insulation is essential to maintain a comfortable interior temperature and prevent heat loss during cold weather.

Look for trailers with thick insulation layers and features known as thermal barriers. Examples of thermal barriers include:

  • Foam tape between the aluminum rib and aluminum skin on an Airstream travel trailer.
  • 2”x 2” lumber inserted in the aluminum tube frame members of a laminated travel trailer sidewall. Not only does the wood insulate what would otherwise be a void in the tube, it also provides more material for screws holding cabinets and other components to bite into.  

Double Pane Windows

Also called Dual Pane, these four season windows have two layers of glass with a space in-between. This design provides better insulation compared to single-pane windows. Dual pane RV windows also reduce heat loss and keep the interior warmer in cold weather camping. Finally, they also help to keep the interior of the trailer cooler in hot weather.

Heated Holding Tanks and Plumbing

In cold climates, freezing temperatures can cause RV water tanks and plumbing lines to freeze. This leads to system failure and possible damage. Four- eason campers will be equipped with heated tanks and plumbing in heated bays / cavities. This prevents freezing and allows for year-round use. Heated tanks can be heated by either heat circulated below the floor line from the RV furnace or holding tank heaters.

Upgraded Heating System

A reliable heating system, such as a propane RV furnace or hydronic heating system, is crucial for keeping the interior of the trailer warm in cold weather. Look for trailers with high BTU furnaces and ducted furnace heating systems that distribute heat evenly throughout the living space along the plumbing lines.

Sealed Underbelly

A sealed RV underbelly helps protect the trailer’s plumbing, wiring, and insulation from road debris, moisture, and pests. It also helps to maintain a consistent interior temperature by preventing cold from entering the trailer from air gaps.

Strong Construction

Look for sturdy construction, including reinforced RV roof rafters. These are important building methods for withstanding heavy snow loads and strong winds.

Good Ventilation

While insulation is important for keeping the interior warm, adequate ventilation is necessary to prevent moisture buildup and condensation from cooking, the shower, and general living activities. Without it, your RV is at risk of mold and mildew growth. Look for four season campers with insulated and vented skylights, roof vents, and windows that can be opened to allow for airflow even in .

Cold Weather Kits

Appliance makers like Norcold offer cold weather kits for their absorption refrigerators. This allows RV refrigerators to properly operate in sub-freezing temperatures.  

Practical Strategies for Better Comfort in Year Round Campers

Even with a top-of-the-line, 4-season travel trailer, being comfortable in a fiberglass box while winter RVing can still be a challenge. Here are some ways to help maintain a cozy and safe environment in cooler camping temperatures:

  1. Upgrade to an insulated or heated electric freshwater hose. Your goal is to prevent water from freezing in colder climates.
  2. Insulate each water line in exposed areas. It’s your best safeguard against freezing pipes.
  3. Install reflective insulation in your windows. This lightweight barrier mitigates heat buildup during hot weather camping, or heat loss during winter camping.
  4. Purchase an RV skirt. This shields your travel trailer’s underbelly from winter conditions during cold weather camping.

Examples of Top Rated Four Season Travel Trailers

Here are a few examples of 2024 travel trailers deemed “four season.” Take a deeper look at the RV manufacturers’ floor plans, specs, highlights, and manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP):

Northwood Arctic Fox 25Y

Northwood Arctic Fox 25Y
Northwood Arctic Fox 25Y
  • Length: 30 feet
  • Dry Weight: 6,640 lbs.
  • Features: Thermal Pane Windows
  • Four Seasons Insulation With R-18 Ceiling
  • R-15 Reflective Foil Insulation in Roof / Slide
  • Heated holding tanks and plumbing
  • Double-thickness luggage doors 
  • High BTU furnace and heater ducts
  • Sealed underbelly
  • Aluminum superstructure with trussed roof rafters

MSRP: $55,000

Grand Design Reflection 296RDTS

Grand Design Reflection 296RDTS video tour
  • Length: 34 feet
  • Dry Weight: 9,995 lbs.
  • Double Insulated Floor (R-30).
  • The slide out floors are insulated with radiant foil. (R-24)
  • Double Insulated Front Cap (R-40)
  • Double Insulated Roof (R-40)
  • Heavy Duty Insulated Baggage Doors
  • Thermofoil Insulation under Holding Tanks
  • Dual Attic Vents
  • High-performance furnace and electric fireplace deliver over 30,000 btus
  • Heated and Enclosed Underbelly
  • Heat Thermostatically Controlled 12 – Volt Tank Heater
  • Heated and Enclosed Dump Valves

MSRP: $ 68,560

Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2608BS

Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2608BS
Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite 2608BS
  • Length: 30 feet
  • Dry Weight: 6,836 lbs.
  • Four-season insulation R-7 Side Wall,
  • R-12 Floor & R-14 Ceiling with enclosed underbelly.
  • Electronically Controlled Heated Holding Tanks
  • 35,000 BTU furnace
  • Fiberglass exterior with aluminum frame

MSRP: $48,000

So, does a true four season travel trailer exist?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the truth about four season travel trailers is blurry. It depends on who you ask and what features are considered essential for year-round use.

If you are looking at four-season travel trailers for full-time or part time RV adventures in extreme weather, research the features mentioned above. Understand their benefits, and whether they are right for you. Then learn how to know if the rig you are interested in buying contains these four-season capabilities and features I’ve shared above.

What else do you need to know about four season RVs?
This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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