When you decide to invest in an RV, you probably start off dreaming of all the adventures you’re going to take your new camper on. You probably aren’t thinking about how you’ll store it when you aren’t off exploring.
Over 61 million Americans plan on taking an RV trip in the next 12 months, and if you’re one of these people, welcome to the Nomad club! But unless you intend to be living in your camper for the next year, you’ll need a place to park it without breaking the bank.
In this blog post, I’ll break down the following five RV storage options:
- In your driveway
- On your property
- In your garage
- In a covered RV storage facility
- At an outdoor RV storage facility
Let’s put on our scuba masks and dive straight in, matey!
1. In your driveway
Unless your last road trip was an absolute failure, your RV still has all four wheels intact. That’s all it takes to pull it into your driveway and call it a day.
It doesn’t get cheaper than free RV storage, and your driveway is a free and easy way to park your RV between trips.
Pro: Instant access
Park it in the driveway and put a few chock blocks around the wheels. This parking setup gives you a convenient way to clean your camper, check for damage, pack for your next trip, or set it up to host guests for cocktails or hot cocoa outside.
In short: it’s easy to park, easy to pack, and easy to head out for last-minute weekend camping.
Pro: Free parking
If you have the space in your driveway, you can park your camper right next to your other vehicles. At no additional cost to you, your RV is steps away from your front door. While an RV will take up a great deal of space in suburban driveways, few other options offer instant access and convenience.
Parking your RV in the driveway also allows you to pull your trailer out at any time of the year. It doesn’t have to be shoved in the back of your property or stored in an out-of-the-way facility—you can keep it nearby and ready to roll at a moment’s notice.
Con: Lost driveway space
Storing your RV in your driveway may simply not be possible if you have a small driveway and a large RV. You might be able to tuck a pop-up trailer into the side of your driveway, but a Class A motorhome may take up all the space you need for your daily ride.
Although a free parking spot is the best price you’ll get, it’ll be an even bigger pain if you obstruct access to your garage or have to park your car on the street to make room for the camper.
Some long RVs may even be too long for your driveway. If that’s the case, you’ll be forced to park it on the street or look for alternative spots anyway.
Con: Curbside eyesore
Your camper may look sweet surrounded by other campers, but it can stick out like a sore thumb when parked in your driveway. This is particularly true if you have an older motorhome or an extra-large one.
Even if you don’t mind the sight of your RV greeting you every day, some cities have HOAs and other local ordinances that prohibit long-term RV storage in a driveway. It’s essential to check your town’s policies before parking your camper in the driveway.
2. On your property
Make your camper a part of your backyard décor and create your own campground. Pair your RV with a fire pit, and you’ll be roasting s’mores in no time.
When people set up their RV in their backyard, they often craft a gravel, dirt, or concrete parking pad. Some homeowners take it a step further and install an electric pole to create an authentic backyard campsite experience.
You don’t even need a solid parking area if you don’t want to do the extra work. Much like storing it in your driveway, you can simply drive across your grass, park your mobile home where you want it, and block off the wheels. Whether it’s in a staged area or on the grass, backyard parking gives you immediate access to your camper year-round.
Pro: Discreet parking
Parking in your backyard or the side of your property is much more sheltered than your driveway. You (and your neighbors) don’t have to stare at a massive camper every day. It’s a better situation if you have a small driveway or need to get in and out of your garage with multiple vehicles.
Pro: Backyard getaway
You can give your guests a discreet camping spot for free! Backyard camping is convenient whether you create a parking pad and electrical connection or go rustic and park it right on the grass.
Depending on your property’s size and layout, you can even put your RV on AirBNB for “glampers” to rent for a night or two. This is a great way to make money off of storing your camper when you aren’t using it for personal travel.
Con: Damage to your lawn
Parking on the lawn is going to quickly kill the grass underneath your trailer. If you decide to move it or head out on a trip, you’ll be greeted with tire-shaped chunks of dirt.
This leads many homeowners to create a parking space or using gravel to create a stylish, grass-free parking spot. The cost of building a parking pad makes this the most expensive RV storage solution in the short term, so it’s not exactly a great way to save money. But if you’re thinking about renovating your backyard anyways, it’s something to look into.
Con: Local restrictions
Check with your HOA board and review local ordinances before deciding to park your camper in the backyard. Personal RV storage outside of your garage is restricted or outlawed in certain residential areas.
3. In your garage
If you have an enclosed garage on your property, you can park your RV in there. That is, if it fits. Compare the dimensions of your RV to the measurements of your garage before trying to squeeze it in.
Storing your RV in the garage comes with all the benefits of keeping it in the driveway, but with the added bonus of protection from the elements.
Pro: Covered protection
Direct sunlight, thunderstorms, and freezing temperatures can all do a number on a camper. Your driveway and backyard may be free spots to park your trailer, but they’re also exposed to the weather. Avoid prematurely aging your rig with a place in the garage.
Pro: Secure location
Even in the safest neighborhood, a motorhome parked in a driveway is a prime target for theft. Fully stocked campers are a considerable investment. Whether a thief drives away with your entire RV or breaks in and takes a few valuables, it’s a headache you shouldn’t have to deal with. Parking your trailer in your garage adds an extra layer of protection from any unexpected events.
Con: Lost garage space
While this RV storage solution is still technically free, you have to give up a lot of your garage space. You may decide that it’s more important to keep your car in the garage and create storage areas in the extra space. You can build a new garage just for your RV, but that safely moves it out of the realm of cheap storage solutions.
Con: No oversized RVs
Space-conscious Class B and C motorhomes and trailers can easily fit into a standard garage. Class A motorhomes, fifth-wheel trailers, and other campers can easily reach 35 in length. A typical garage may not have the length or height you need for your rig.
When you have a larger RV, you have to either build a custom garage or choose another storage solution. A custom garage is a major investment that requires zoning approval, permits, and professional construction.
4. In a covered RV storage facility
Invest a little for a comfortable, safe, and out-of-the-way RV storage option. If you know you’re going to say goodbye to your camper for a long time, then there’s no use leaving it in your driveway or taking up your garage space.
Check out nearby storage facilities and ask for their covered storage rates. Some facilities offer fully enclosed garage stalls, while others have covered carports to shelter your camper from most of the sunlight and rain.
Pro: Out of sight convenience
Clean up your rig at the end of camping season and park it somewhere out of sight and out of mind. Enjoy the convenience of removing a massive trailer from your property and knowing it’s going to be safely stored.
This is the preferred solution for many because of local regulations and HOAs. Additionally, a storage facility is designed for long-term RV accommodations, so it doesn’t affect your curb appeal or kill off areas of grass.
Pro: Sheltered protection
Extreme weather and direct sunlight fade the paint of RVs. Leaving your camper in the open can cause a leak, exposing your trailer to devastating interior damage. The last thing you want is to open your RV for your next adventure and be greeted by the foul smell of mold and mildew.
Most storage facilities use video surveillance, fences, and keypad entrances that protect your RV. Your camper may be farther from home, but it’s usually safer in a facility than it would be in your driveway.
Con: Costly alternative
While more affordable than constructing our own garage, this is the most expensive option for instant solutions on this list. You’ll have to pay monthly or yearly costs for the luxury of a safe and enclosed storage space.
A fully enclosed climate-controlled storage unit will be the most expensive option. A tent over a row of parking spaces in a gated facility is the least costly covered option.
Con: Distant storage
Keeping your RV at a storage facility means a last-minute camping trip suddenly requires some planning. You need to drive to your storage unit, pick up your RV and bring it home before packing it up and hitting the road. Many facilities are open for year-round access, but it’s still not as easy as grabbing a backpack and hitting the road.
5. At an outdoor RV storage facility
If your camper can handle a little water and sunshine, then an outdoor RV storage facility may be the best option for you. RV storage facilities and self-storage companies offer uncovered areas where you can park your camper for a monthly or yearly fee. These areas are typically surrounded by a fence and monitored by a security camera.
Pro: Cost-saving option
An RV that you’re willing to park outside will cost a lot less in storage fees than one in an indoor, climate-controlled location. For RV owners who can’t park on their own property, this is an affordable option.
You can ask the employees at the facility about discounts for paying a yearly price if you plan on pulling the RV out once or twice a month. Many companies offer a discount on the monthly rate if you pay for an entire year upfront or sign a multi-year contract. Another cost-saving strategy is to pay to store your RV in the off-season months and keep your RV on your property during the summer.
Pro: RV-free yard
You don’t have to pay a fortune to keep your camper away from your grass and driveway. This option allows you to your property clear without paying for a costly indoor storage facility spot.
Parking your trailer at a storage facility saves your grass and gives you room to access your garage all year long. This may also be the only practical option for homeowners in a neighborhood with RV storage restrictions.
Con: Outdoor exposure
Even the best RVs can suffer from leaks or UV ray damage. Over time, excess moisture can penetrate the shell of your camper and create mold and mildew problems. Excessive sunlight cause tires to degrade, paint to fade, and rubber parts to crack.
On top of that, the facility you choose may have a fence and a camera, but there is still a level of risk that doesn’t come with a fully enclosed facility.
Con: Not free
For some camper owners, it’s hard to think of paying money for a patch of dirt to park a rig. This option isn’t as expensive as more elegant storage solutions. Still, it can seem like a lot when you compare it with free alternatives.
Like a covered spot in a facility, an outdoor location can be some distance from your home, and it may feel silly to park your RV in a carport that isn’t your own.
You should be able to give your mobile home an affordable place to stay in between your adventures. These five options help inexpensively protect your rig so you can focus on your next escape from real life.