Traveling and living in your Class A RV during the winter has never been more comfortable, thanks to the development of efficient and highly effective heating methods. In this article, we’ll look at 7 crowd favorites for toasty-warm winter RVing. Plus, look at the different heating systems available and answer a few FAQs.
7 best class A RVs for winter living:
1. Newmar Dutch Star
MSRP: Starts at $432,491
Length: 37’11” to 43’9”
The Dutch Star from Newmar is highly capable of handling cold weather. It’s built with ⅝” foam insulation in the sidewalls and ceiling, plus Polar Pak R19 Batten insulation on the roof. The Dutch Star comes standard with frameless double-pane windows, a 5-zone 50,000 BTU Oasis Chinook dual loop heater with continuous hot water, a dash heater, and a wall-mounted sensor for controlling the heating system.
You can also opt to add an electric radiant heat system under the main floor tiles for extra coziness in cold weather. It will also keep the ‘basement’ storage area warm and help prevent water tanks and lines from freezing.
To power the heating systems, Dutch Stars are equipped with either an 8.0 kW or a 10.0 kW Onan generator (depending on the floor plan/overall length). They also have six 6V house batteries on a pullout tray, an engine block heater to ensure the coach will start in cold weather, and an energy management system.
With the combination of the standard Oasis furnace/hot water system and the optional radiant floor heat system, you can easily keep your Dutch Star toasty warm even in the coldest conditions.
Many Dutch Star owners have reported that the robust heating systems have kept them warm even in sub-freezing weather. And, with many different layout options to choose from, there’s sure to be a Dutch Star that meets your needs!
More info: newmarcorp.com
2. Newmar Ventana
MSRP: Starts at $338,473
Length: 34’10” to 43’10”
Newmar’s Ventana is built with the same high quality ⅝” foam insulation in the sidewalls and ceiling and Polar Pak R19 Batten insulation in the roof. It also comes standard with double-pane windows to keep the heat in, dash heat, and a wall-mounted sensor to manage the heating system.
The shorter floor plans (34’ to 40’) come standard with a ducted propane gas furnace for heating, while the 43’ floor plans come standard with the 5-zone 50,000 BTU Oasis Chinook dual loop heater with continuous hot water. However, the shorter floor plans can be upgraded to include the Oasis system as well, and all floors plans have an optional electric radiant floor heat system available.
All Ventana coaches come with an 8.0 kW Onan generator, four 6V house batteries on a pullout tray, and an engine block heater for those cold morning starts. Again, many Ventana owners have had only good things to say about Newmar’s insulation and heating systems that hold up well even in very cold climates.
More info: newmarcorp.com
3. Newmar Canyon Star
MSRP: Starts at $256,872
Length: 35’11” to 39’11”
Our final Newmar option is the Canyon Star, which employs the same insulation and double-pane windows as the previous two models. The Canyon Star also has a dash heater, and comes standard with a propane gas furnace that provides ducted heat. Available options include an auxiliary heater in the back of the coach for extra warmth.
The Canyon Star comes equipped with a 6 kW Onan generator and two 12V house batteries, with the option to upgrade to an 8 kW generator and add inverters. This model does not have an engine heating block, but it does have an emergency engine start switch.
The Canyon Star is slightly less equipped for extreme cold than the previous two models, but it would be a great option for milder winter conditions.
More info: newmarcorp.com
4. Entegra Reatta XL
MSRP: Starts at $404,543
Length: 37’10” to 40’11”
The Entegra Reatta XL comes standard with heated basement storage, an Aqua-Hot 250D hydronic water and heating system, an electric radiant floor heating system, and a winterizing drain system. The floor is built with R9 bead-foam insulation, the walls have R8 bead-foam insulation, and the roof has R24 Flexfoil insulation.
The Reatta XL features a 10 kW Onan generator on a slide-out tray and two 6V house batteries. You can choose to add an electric 34” bedroom fireplace as well.
Entegra coaches have some of the best reputations for high-quality insulation and climate management. And, in addition to all the standard heat features, all but the smallest Reatta XL floor plans include TWO bathrooms – that’s not something you see everyday!
More info: entegracoach.com
5. Entegra Aspire
MSRP: Starts at $511,230
Length: 40’11” to 45’5”
The Aspire comes with R33 insulation in the floors, R24 Flexfoil in the roof, and a combination of bat and Flexfoil insulation in the walls. Heat is provided by an Aqua-Hot 400D hydronic water and heating system. There is in-floor heating throughout and the Aqua-Hot provides heat to the ‘basement’ storage area and prevents the tanks and water lines from freezing. It also comes with a winterizing drain system.
The Aspire comes standard with a 10 kW Onan generator on a slide-out tray and two 6V house batteries. The windows are all double-pane to help retain heat. You can opt to add two more batteries and/or an electric fireplace as well for some ambiance.
Most Aspire floor plans include two bathrooms as well – you can choose to have one central main bathroom or a rear master bath and a half bath mid ship. The Aspire also has a dizzying array of possibilities for couches, dinettes, and so forth, and a wealth of slide-outs provide a stunning amount of interior square footage.
More info: entegracoach.com
6. Foretravel Realm FS450
MSRP: Starts at $825,430
The Realm FS450 from Foretravel Motorcoach features an Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic water and heating system, electric heated floors throughout, and a 10 kW Onan generator on a slide-out tray. It also comes equipped with 200 W of solar panels for some extra power, and three house batteries.
The Realm also has a boost switch for engine starting and double-pane windows to keep the heat in. One of the two floor plans also includes an electric fireplace for a cozy, homey feel.
The side mirrors are remote controlled and heated so you don’t have to manually defrost them in cold weather. Plus, the utility center is heated and enclosed so you can easily monitor all your systems without getting too cold. Many Realm owners have reported that they can camp comfortably in sub-freezing temperatures.
More info: foretravel.com
7. Triple E Class A RVs (Past Models)
MSRP: Pre-owned only, ~$85,000+
Length: 37’6” to 40’2”
Although Triple E no longer manufactures Class A RVs, they are still available to purchase pre-owned. These Canadian-built rigs are known for standing up well to extremely cold temperatures since they use Triple E’s exclusive Climate Guard system to not only ensure your comfort but also to protect the RV itself.
Most past models of Triple E Class A RVs feature heated floors, front and rear furnaces with in-floor ducting, dual rear auxiliary automotive heaters, an 8 kW Onan generator, heated fresh and waste water tanks, a winterization system, and a water heater. Some models may have hydronic heating systems as well.
Of course, you’ll have to shop around to find a pre-owned Triple E RV that’s in good condition and has all the heating features that you want. However, these rigs are known for their longevity and ability to keep you toasty even in freezing Canadian winters!
More info: tripleerv.com
Oasis vs. Aqua-Hot RV Heating Systems
Now, let’s take a look at the most important element of winter RVing – the heating system! There are two main hydronic systems that are popular today: the Oasis and the Aqua-Hot. Let’s look at how they both work.
The Oasis hydronic system features a diesel burner and two 1500W immersion elements to heat coolant fluid within an insulated 8.2-gallon tank, which then circulates around the coach to provide both hot water and heat for the living space. Many coaches will have several heating zones so you can choose to heat part or all of it as necessary.
Oasis systems have summer loops and winter loops, where the summer loop only heats water for showers and faucets and the winter loop includes circulation to heat exchangers throughout the space.
The Aqua-Hot functions in a very similar way. Both use engine heat to provide heat for the cabin while driving, AC shore power to provide light-duty heating and hot water, and diesel fuel for boon-docking situations and/or when it’s extremely cold.
Both systems are efficient and effective, although some Class A RV owners have pointed out that Aqua-Hot changed up their pumps and other parts around 2014 resulting in an inferior system that regularly encountered problems, and they have only recently switched back to the superior original parts.
So, if you are purchasing a new RV, either system will be fine. But, if you are purchasing a pre-owned RV, try to steer clear of those that have Aqua-Hot systems that were manufactured between 2014 and 2018, just to be safe.
However, at the end of the day, both systems have the potential for problems, so you should always take care to maintain your hydronic system and fire it up regularly to avoid clogging, stale diesel issues, and other problems that can arise if you let it sit for too long.
Finally, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.
What is the best insulated Class A motorhome?
All of the Class A motorhomes on this list are among the best insulated. Specifically look for Entegra or Newmar coaches, or Triple E coaches if you are purchasing a pre-owned rig. All three brands take insulation seriously and manufacture coaches that stand up very well to cold weather.
What Class A RV is best for full-time living?
This is mostly a matter of preference, but there are some amenities that make it much easier and more enjoyable to live in your Class A RV full-time, such as a full-size fridge and freezer, large fresh and waste water tanks that don’t need to be filled/emptied too frequently, a walk-around bed, a generously sized shower, excellent climate control, and so forth.
Some Class A RVs have extra amenities like garage spaces, extra freezers, washers and dryers, cable and wifi, work spaces, solar power, etc. that can be majorly helpful as well.
However, the best Class A RV for full-time living can only ultimately be decided by you, based on how much space you need, where you will be traveling and in what season, and your personal preferences.
How do I keep my motorhome pipes from freezing?
The easiest way to prevent this is by choosing one of the RVs on the list above that has basement heating capabilities, and by storing your RV in a heated space so you don’t ever have to worry about winterizing it.
However, there are some alternative methods if you can’t do both of those things. For example, you can install heat tape on your pipes, hoses, and tanks to prevent them from freezing, warm your basement plumbing with a space heater, use only the internal fresh water tank, or add antifreeze to your system when you won’t be using it.
If I had to choose my favorite winter-ready Class A RV, I’d probably go with a Newmar Dutch Star with the optional radiant floor heating – assuming of course that I’ve won the lottery and can afford it! I like that it comes with beefy insulation, an Oasis hydronic system, and plenty of power options. Even though the radiant floor heating doesn’t come standard, it would definitely be worth it for serious winter RVing.
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