Dear RV Shrink:
We travel a lot in many parts of the country during the shoulder season. We find mostly great weather, fewer people and less camping hassle. We do encounter an occasional snowstorm. This can usually be anticipated and prepared for. However, my wife insists on having the slides out every night. She does not like dealing with the smaller kitchen area or climbing over the bed when they are in.
If the slides are out during a snowfall, I have to deal with frozen, snow-covered slides before we can move on. This often means climbing on the roof of the motorhome to sweep off the ice and snow which has accumulated.
Do you think she is being unreasonable? —Frosty in Franklin
It seems to me it would be much easier to deal with the kitchen space limitations than the ice and snow buildup on the slides. Most rigs are designed to be very functional with the slides in. (Be sure to check that before buying an RV.)
I find it wise to pull the slides in during many weather events. A strong windstorm can drive you crazy with the slide awnings flapping. If you know the chance of snow is almost certain, it only makes sense to pull them in and eliminate the hassle of dealing with the aftermath.
It is wise to carry a step ladder. A ladder is convenient for maintenance and reaching tall windows for cleaning. It also comes in handy when you need to deal with your slides.
There is also a safety issue here which your wife may pay attention to. If you had to move for some type of emergency and your slides were iced up, it would at the least slow your progress or perhaps end up causing damage to the slides. It is something we all deal with. I personally make sure my slides are clean and there is nothing to impede them every time I extend or retract.
Depending on the consistency and quantity of snow, a slide is designed to shed it like water. Knowing the cost of slide repair, I prefer to err on the side of caution and clean the snow off before retracting the slide. The slide awning will be collapsed on the top of the slide and often not retract properly until you remove heavy snow.
These issues often come down to common sense. I have left my slides out on many occasions knowing I was going to wait out a snowstorm, warmer weather was forecast, or deciding I would deal with the job of cleaning it off.
It comes down to a personal choice, but if you are not comfortable dealing with these conditions, pulling them in is as easy as pushing a button. You also might want to explain to your wife the danger of climbing around on a slippery RV roof during or after a snowstorm. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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