What is RV storage and when can it help?
RV storage is space rented out by self storage facilities where recreational vehicles can be kept and cared for, either indoors or outdoors.
Whether your vehicle is a motorhome, a campervan, a caravan or a towed trailer, you need a home for it when you're not on the road. RV storage is your best option for storage away from home as you know your recreational vehicle will be well protected in a safe and secure location. RV self storage also steps in when your garage has limited space or when your homeowners' association doesn't allow parking of RVs on streets or driveways.
With specially designed places for trailer storage, RV storage facilities may offer useful options such as electrical hookups, areas where vehicles can be washed and waste disposal services.
The best ways to store an RV
As RVs differ in size and configuration, storage solutions differ too. There are outdoor spaces, with or without roofs, and indoor units for maximum protection. Outdoor parking spaces range from 20' to 50' in length — big enough for any motorhome. This option is suitable when the weather is not so severe and the storage facility can be visited regularly to maintain the RV in good condition. Many outdoor RV storage lots have protective roofs to keep off rain, hail, snow and the sun, which is a big advantage during long-term storage.
Indoor RV storage units, meanwhile, give RVs full protection from the elements. They may even feature climate control, which gives top protection for high-value models. If you decide on renting an indoor storage unit, you need to determine which is the right size for your RV storage needs.
Understand storage unit sizes and get the RV storage unit size you need
Indoor units suitable for RVs come in many different shapes and sizes. You will need one that has enough space so you can move around your RV easily to load it up and carry out any necessary maintenance. In order not to waste money on something that is too large, you should know which is the ideal size for your vehicle.
Some compact towed trailers and campervans can squeeze into a regular garage. But most RVs are between 10' and 15' high, and don't forget any solar panels and other accessories mounted on the roof. Class A motorhomes tend to be between 21' and 45' long, while Class C vehicles can range from 20' to 32' and 'fifth-wheels' are often much longer than regular towed trailers. RVs tend to be between 7' and 10' wide.
As small trailers and campervans — such as those having 'pop-tops' — may be lower than the usual storage unit ceiling of 8', they might fit into a standard 10'x20' storage unit.
Larger indoor storage units often have the necessary extra height for most RVs, and you will need your unit to have the right width as well. Units suitable for RVs have floorspaces such as 10'x30', 12'x40', 14'x30', 20'x35' and so on.
The average costs of storing an RV
Prices for RV storage spaces vary across the country, and they can also change depending on the season.
Generally speaking, the larger and more unusual the size of the unit is, the more it will cost. Climate control adds further to the rent, and a facility with extra amenities may charge more than others.
In December, 2022, the average cost nationwide of a non-climate-controlled 10'x20' unit, which can often accommodate a small towed trailer or a campervan, was $202.
For larger recreational vehicles, a 10'x30' unit may be suitable if the ceiling is sufficiently high, and these rented for a nationwide average of $266 in December, 2022. Lower prices can be found for outdoor spaces, while indoor climate-controlled RV storage will usually incur greater expense.
How to find RV storage units
If you have now decided to keep your RV at a self storage facility, you're probably wondering “how can I find RV storage near me?” Fortunately, many facilities across the country offer RV storage units and parking spaces, including covered RV storage. So, get your motorhome or trailer prepped and look for the storage space that is ideal for you.
You can easily find what you need by using the filters in StorageCafe's search portal. Choose the location you want in the Search box — you can narrow down your selection to a neighborhood or a ZIP Code in the 'Search Mode' box. Choose 'Vehicle Storage' and the 'Large' option in the drop-down lists to find storage units big enough for your motorhome and browse through your local listings to see which ones offer RV storage.
Alternatively, maybe your question is “where can I find outdoor RV storage near me?” You can browse through your local facilities to see which ones offer outdoor RV parking, and then you can contact the storage facility directly. They will give you details about availability and prices, so you can book the RV storage space you need. Very easy! As we here at StorageCafe like to say: sort it, pack it, store it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it bad to store RVs outside?
A storage facility may offer designated parking places or simply some unoccupied space within its gated perimeter, and this may be an RV owner's only option locally. Moisture from rainfall can cause rust and rotting, snow in winter must be constantly removed so it doesn't build up, and persistent hot sun can adversely affect tires and paintwork. Nevertheless, by prepping the vehicle well, putting a cover over it and regularly visiting the facility to do maintenance, an RV can spend many months outside when it is not being used.
Is covered RV storage worth it?
Covered RV storage resolves many of the issues associated with storing an RV outside and can be especially beneficial during winter and in states which have a severe climate. In addition to keeping the weather off, the roof gives some protection against bird droppings, which can have a damaging effect and take time to remove. Costs tend to be a little more than regular outdoor RV storage but less than renting an indoor RV storage unit.
Should RVs be stored with slides in or out?
When a motorhome has slides, it is generally better to keep them stowed when it is in storage. Keeping them out can cause prolonged stress to parts of the vehicle's frame, plus there are more places for debris to accumulate and for unwanted visitors to make nests. In addition, it also simply causes the vehicle to take up more space.
Is it OK to leave your RV plugged in all the time?
Keeping a motorhome plugged in while in RV storage for a short time keeps it ready for action whenever you need it. However, to avoid overcharging, during long term storage you should use an RV battery tender that provides trickle charging. Alternatively, as batteries can lose voltage capacity during excessive heat or cold, it can be a good idea to remove them and keep them in a more suitable environment.
Where can I park my RV for free?
In some states, you can pull over for a night at an interstate rest area. Staying at a truck stop can be free, but not always. The car parks of large retailers, schools and churches can sometimes be used outside working hours, but ask for permission first. Away from populated areas, ‘boondocking' is the word for parking an RV for free at a remote location without campsite amenities such as electricity and water — however, in some places you may still need to obtain a permit.
Is owning an RV worth it?
Owning an RV offers a combination of freedom and comfort, and destinations range from state parks and mountains to beaches and big cities. Campsites provide all the necessary amenities at reasonable cost — plus maybe some recreational activities as well — and they have a reputation as safe places to stay. Renting an RV storage unit long-term in the off-season adds to the convenience of owning an RV.
Is owning an RV cost effective?
Owning an RV comes with its set of challenges, and while it does provide a more cost-effective alternative to traditional vacationing, it does not come cheap. Compared to cars, fuel costs will also usually be greater per mile, although small campervan models make these more manageable. However, the money saved by not paying for flights or hotel rooms can make owning an RV very cost-effective for couples or families who like to holiday together regularly. In addition, it is affordable to keep an RV in self storage when it is not in use as the service is usually inexpensive.
How should I prep my RV for storage?
You should clean your RV both inside and out before storing it. Don't leave anything perishable inside. All the RV's liquid levels should be topped up, including oil, antifreeze, and brake, radiator and windshield wiper fluids. When freezing weather is expected, all water pipes should be drained. Propane tanks should be disconnected, and all entrances such as exhaust pipes should be blocked so pests cannot enter. If it will not be under a roof, put a cover over it.
How much does RV storage cost?
You'll probably want to keep your RV close to your home in your city of residence even when it is not in use. This way you can visit it regularly and carry out all the necessary maintenance.
Large units that can accommodate trailers and campervans cost $202 on average in December, 2022. Outdoor storage can cost a lot less than this. If you want to see self storage costs in your city, check out StorageCafe's listings page for your preferred location and you can compare both prices and amenities for RV storage options.