Checklist: 10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home, Truck, Gear and More

Checklist: 10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home, Truck, Gear and More

snow day, snowy house, winterizing your homeRecently, the country ticked back around to daylight savings time. That means, especially for northern states, most outdoors equipment is stored for the winter, and outdoors enthusiasts take an assessment of the snow showers pounding their windowpanes and wonder: "Are the steelhead really worth it today?" (The answer usually is: yes.)

Winterizing your home isn't the same for everyone, in fact there are people like Texas-based Malia Lane, a full-time RVer, who has to winterize her vehicle while living in it.

"Since I have always lived in mine year-round since 2001, I've never had to do this," she said of winterizing her RV

Campers from Minnesota to Arizona planning to shutter their RVs or ATVs for the off-season should not only think of winterizing their engines — ¬†they should think about their tires as well, said Ricky Taranda, line manager with Allstate based in Northbrook, Ill.

"People let their tires go flat over the winter — tires are not that expensive and easy to replace. But you can destroy your rims as well, and end up potentially replacing all of the rims or wheels of that vehicle," said Taranda. "It's the flip in the south. Often, people store their vehicles in the summer because it's so extremely hot in Arizona or Texas, then bring it back out in the fall and use it through the winter."

Taranda said that insurance claims often come in for rodent damage, so make sure to stuff cracks and crevices with a rodent-deterring material — steel wool is a good choice. Taranda also recommends insuring your vehicle year-round.

"In the grand scheme, it could really cost you if you have a fire or wind damage to your motor home," he said.

Even so, there is some equipment that needs to be protected from the snow, rain, sleet, or just plain chillier temperatures. Here are some tips on winterizing fishing gear, hunting gear, your home, truck and more.

Fly Line

After a season of being dragged through algae-suspended water, being laid along sandy river banks or floating in salty water, your fly line deserves a cleaning before it's put to rest. RIO Products, a fly line manufacturer, recommends dunking your line in soapy water — they recommend Ivory soap — and wiping it with a cloth. Use a mildly abrasive cloth on particularly dirty lines.

Image via bplanet


Bicycling for exercise or your commute can seem like a venture for spring through fall. But the outdoors company REI, based in Washington, gives tips about how to cycle through the snow.

First, don't overdress. Wear a good base layer and breathable outwear, as well as a wool stocking cap or liner beneath your helmet. A single-speed track bike can help cyclists avoid gears getting clogged with salt, snow and mud. Some bikes offer internal geared hubs.

For more traction in the snow, lower your road tire psi to between 90-100. Fat tire bikes are gaining in popularity, too.

Fishing Gear

Rinse any hardware that is dirty or may be salty from seawater. Thoroughly dry the hardware. Store plastic gear such as worms or lures with soft, plastic skirts in plastic baggies with as much air as possible removed. Remove monofilament and fluorocarbon from reels; remove crank handle and spool and clean with compressed air. Store cleaned, dry waders out of direct sunlight, and stuff the foot part of boot-foot waders with newspapers to keep their shape.


Store your kayak on its side to avoid putting full weight onto the boat's hull. Ideally, suspend your kayak indoors on webbing — but for folks whose storage plans don't include a visit from Spider-Man, store your kayak on its side in order to avoid damaging the hull. If you don't have space inside, cover the kayak to protect the material from sunlight or weather exposure. If you can't store your kayak inside, cover the boat with an ultra violet- and water-resistant material.


Air out your summer tent, and if desired, wash the outside of the tent with soapy water. Let dry thoroughly. After the tent has dried, sweep dirt out of the tent.

Patch any damage you might find, and rub seam sealer along every seam in the tent.


You can winterize your home all day long, but it won't help if you have an overlooked air leak. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends you check for indoor air leaks along your wall baseboards or edges of flooring. Check for leaks along the outside of your home, looking in particular where two building materials meet. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping. Cover leaky windows with plastic sheeting.


Like your RV and truck, make sure your engine is ready for winter. Either empty the gas tank or fill it and add a fuel stabilizer. Run your machine for a few minutes to work the fuel through its system. Change your oil and top off your antifreeze. Remove the battery, charge it, and store it where it won't freeze. Fill your tires to the appropriate pressure. Cap exhaust and other holes or areas where mice may nest.

Image via


Wiper blades can make or break a road trip. Replace any older than six months old and use windshield wiper fluid that won't freeze in subzero weather. Check your battery to make sure it's well charged and see that the battery cables and terminals are clean and tight. Treat your truck to a good car wash with a wax — salt and snow is tough on your paint job.

Image via


To live in her RV year-round, Malia Lane keeps her fresh water holding tank full, and uses water from it rather than leaving hoses outside to freeze and crack. In warmer temperatures, she uses strips of insulation around hoses and sometimes wraps insulation around the RV's spigot. Make sure your sewer hoses are placed down a slope steep enough from the RV to fully drain into the ground sewer hook-up.

Use shrink-wrap for windows and check the RV for places where you might stuff foam insulation. Keep your propane tanks filled in order to operate electric heat pumps and if you use small electric space heaters, make sure they stay clear of surrounding objects. Stuff roof vents with foam pillows cut to size, and move as needed when cooking or to remove condensation.

Image via Auru Aro


Make sure the gun is unloaded. Remove the bolt in the rifle or lock open the action of a semi-automatic rifle, shotgun or pistol. Brush with solvent, clean, dry off and lube the bolt.

Once you're sure the gun is unloaded, use a bore light to safely check the bore for residue. If it's very dirty, scour it with a wire bristle brush tip soaked with gun solvent. Let sit for about 15 minutes.

Attach a cleaning cloth coated with powder solvent to a rod and swipe down the inside of the barrel of the gun. Apply firearm solvent to another wipe and pass a few more times through the barrel, until the cloth comes up clean. Finally, wipe your gun free of fingerprints with lubricating oil.

Image by Stephen D. Carpenteri

When you're done with your winterizing checklist, get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping with our Holiday Hunting Gift Guide!

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