As the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall in the Intermountain West, summer recreators are pulling out their skis and sleds and storing their fair-weather toys for the season. No matter where you live when it comes to larger recreational vehicles like RVs and boats, the struggle can be real to find a warm, safe and dry place to tuck them away for the winter.
If you’re looking for RV storage ideas or are in need of winter boat storage, you might want to consider a pole barn garage on your property.
Advantages of Winter RV and Boat Storage
The biggest reason to winterize your boat or store your RV during the winter is to protect it from the elements. Winters in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho – and the entire Intermountain region – can be harsh and unpredictable. Sleet, hail, heavy snow and punishing wind are all too common, and any combination of these elements can cause serious damage to your investment.
Water is by far the main concern for both RVs and boats. That is because water expands as it freezes, causing cracks in vital systems in both types of adventure vehicles. For RVs, not winterizing the water system (or plumbing system) can result in cracked fittings and lines – which can be a costly repair.
Properly winterizing your boat requires a lot of work. In terms of protecting it from freezing water issues, you need to fully drain the bilge, water tanks, head, pipes and seacocks (if your boat has them).
When it comes to winter RV and boat storage, both vehicles are best served by climate-controlled indoor storage. This option helps limit the amount of winterization needed and provides the best protection from the cold and other damaging elements. This type of storage, however, can be very expensive. More affordable options, such as covered outdoor storage or an enclosed garage, still provide much better protection than a basic RV or boat cover.
Average RV Storage Cost
Depending on where you live and what type of winter storage you’re looking for (outdoor, indoor, climate-controlled, etc.), RV storage can cost anywhere from $30 to $400 per month. Over the months and years, those storage fees add up.
Winter Boat Storage Cost
The cost of boat storage can vary wildly depending on where you live, the size of your boat and the type of storage. In any state with freezing temperatures and harsh winters, dry boat storage is required. Similar to RV storage, boat storage options include open outdoor, covered outdoor, indoor and climate-controlled indoor storage. You can expect to pay anywhere between $20 to $50 per foot of boat for outdoor storage per season and $50 to $200 per foot of boat for indoor storage per season.
To put that into perspective, a 20-foot boat could cost upwards of $4,000 per season for indoor storage.
Boat Garage and RV Storage Ideas
Instead of handing over hundreds or thousands of dollars every year to store your RV or boat during the winter months, you could use that money to add equity to your property by building a pole barn RV garage or boat storage building.
RV Garage with Living Quarters
Many people in the West use their RVs for family vacations and summer adventures; however, more and more people are transitioning to RV life post-retirement or as a more mobile and affordable living option.
If you’re looking for a place to store your RV and settle down during the colder months, a pole barn RV garage with living quarters can give you the best of both worlds! Technically considered a barndominium or pole barn home, this option allows you to design a custom RV pole barn to store your vehicle AND a home that fits your needs for when you’re not on the wide-open road.
Another option is to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with an attached RV garage. With an ADU, you could use the living space for older family members or guests, or to make additional income from long-term renters or nightly rentals.
Enclosed RV Garage or Pole Barn with a Lean-to
If you’re looking for a basic garage or storage building on your property for an RV or boat, a custom pole barn can provide all the storage you need. A full-enclosed pole barn garage with overhead doors works for vehicles of all types and will keep your property safe and dry all winter long. If you prefer to store more perishable property inside your pole barn garage but still need partial protection for your RV, a pole barn with a lean-to is a great option.
Covered Boat Storage
Pole barn garages and storage buildings are exceptionally versatile and adaptable. As such, any RV garage plans can be used and/or modified to suit a boat of (almost) any size. Whether you prefer a barndominium with a boat garage or a detached pole barn storage building with or without a lean-to, a custom pole barn can be designed to meet your needs.