American Family Insurance | Image of a RV Camper parked on river.

Keeping Rodents Out of Your Camper

Updated July 2, 2018 . AmFam Team

Finding rodents in your recreational vehicle can spell big trouble for a number of reasons. Take a look at these expert tips that describe how to get rid of rodents and keep them out — you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time!

Those first moments back in your beloved RV after a long winter in storage are a wonderful feeling. But when you discover that rodents have taken up residence in your RV, it’s time to take action. Small as they are, they can become a problem that’s hard to solve. In gathering nesting materials, they have chewed through wires, plumbing lines and walls, often forcing expensive repairs. There is hope though. Below are several tips to best deter and abate rodents in your RV — and hopefully — prevent them altogether from finding their way back in.

Know What to Look For

If you discover evidence of rodents squatting in your RV, you’re not alone. Living in a climate where cold, long winters are commonplace puts your RV at increased odds of housing them during the cold months. Take a close look around your camper for indications. They’re messy. You might find hulls of acorns or other organic material and even if that’s all you find, you should take it seriously. Start by looking in the cupboards and other locations where you’ve stored food. They’re seeking out your dry goods — food left over from your last trip. Inspect the area with a flashlight.

Furry Friends Come in Many Sizes

Depending on the way creatures have made their way into your RV, you may find squirrels and even chipmunks are not that uncommon. And once they’re established inside, they won’t be too willing to leave. Here are steps you can take to take to keep rodents away and get you back on the road to adventure and discovery more quickly.

How Did Rodents Get in Your RV?

As winter sets in and the weather changes, rodents are going to try and seek out refuge in safe, reliable and warm spaces like your RV. They’ll hide out in dry places where nesting materials — like the foam in your mattress or the polyester in your blankets — are readily available. They’re able to squeak through small holes and cracks. But one little breech can mean big problems. And they don’t just make their way into the main cabin. If you find evidence of rodents on the kitchen floor, they may be nesting in your walls, chewing wires, wreaking havoc in the space between. They’ve even been known to chew through coolant hoses.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your RV

Just because they’re in doesn’t mean you can’t kick them out. An unappealing RV is sometimes good thing, especially when it’s rodents that you’re aiming at. To evict them, look at the RV through their eyes. Get down to their level and inspect your RV for tiny breeches or holes under your cabinets, in areas that may not have been sealed well. Use a flashlight. A nickel size hole is big enough for small rodents to get through. Take note of all suspect locations for further action. Next, get under the RV and look from below at areas that connect into the wall space of the RV, again noting all potential areas of concern.

Get in the Middle

Winterize by specifically targeting the reasons rodents seek out your RV. Start by removing all food from the interior of your camper including dry goods and condiments. And make sure you sweep, vacuum and mop all floors.

Sourcing the right materials for rodent deterrence is a great second step. Find stainless steel wool to plug any suspected holes. This option is more lasting than standard steel wool and it’s just as effective at preventing rodents from chewing their way through. Next, seal these areas with expandable polyurethane spray foam. Permanently attach sections of painted aluminum or sheet metal to larger exterior holes, and set up traps to capture rodents in high traffic areas.

Recommended Repellants

Chemical agents don’t need to be toxic and many are quite effective and safe. Peppermint oil scenting systems are a great first option. This rodent repelling aroma is distributed through a permeable membrane and offers up to 60 days of continuous distribution. It’s good for offsite storage when checking up on your RV at frequent intervals is not possible. Other more lasting alternatives are available, too. Peppermint infused granules are available online and in big box hardware stores. Pre-packed pouches can be easily distributed across your RV’s drawers, closets and around areas where droppings had been previously found.

The Road to Recovery

You’ll feel more at ease after you’ve taken preventative measures to ensure your RV is rodent free. And don’t forget to take the appropriate steps to winterize your RV. Each time you open the camper after a period of hibernation, remember to keep a list handy that identifies those former hot spots and inspect these areas regularly. And at the beginning of every RV season you should also set aside a little time to review your RV coverage in order to fine tune your policy. Contact an American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab)  (Opens in a new tab)today and get the RV insurance that’s right for you.

Related Articles

  • RV's and Boats at a Dock
    RVs and Boats at a Dock
    Recreational Vehicle Insurance: What’s Covered?

    Cruising down the highway on your motorcycle or riding around the lake on your personal watercraft are activities you dream about in the cold winter months. And with warm weather fast approaching, it’s time to get your recreational vehicles tuned up and ready for summer fun. But performing maintenance on your ATV and filling your RV’s gas tank aren’t the only things you need to check off your to-do list — making sure you have the right recreational vehicle insurance coverage is key to protecting the vehicles you work hard for.

    Let’s find out if you have the proper coverage in place.

    Why Do Your Recreational Vehicles Need Coverage?

    Accidents happen — and they can be disruptive and costly. Insurance for your recreational vehicles can help reduce or eliminate your financial burden should the unexpected occur.

    Having insurance for your hobby vehicles — like dirt bikes, RVs, jet skis and ATVs — is part of being a responsible recreational vehicle owner. And knowing you’re financially protecting the things you work so hard for gives you peace of mind as you set out on your adventures.

    Find coverage for things like:

    • Liability protection to help pay expenses associated with things like injuries or property damage
    • Collision coverage to protect against loss or damage to your recreational vehicle
    • Emergency roadside or waterside service for certain vehicles that breakdown
    • So much more!
  • Image of wave runners and boats on a lake at sunset.
    Image of wave runners and a boat on a lake at sunset.
    How to Buy Recreational Vehicles

    You work hard all year long for those precious days in the sun, when you can get outside and enjoy the weather. Maybe you’ve been dreaming about finally buying a recreational vehicle of your own. If you have, you know you’ve got a lot of choices, from campers, travel trailers and ATVs to fishing boats and wave runners.

    Whatever you choose, purchasing a recreational vehicle can be a big investment — and it’s one you should take seriously. One of the best ways to buy is to do your homework first and then narrow down your choices to those that retain their value best.

  • American family Insurance Tips for Renting an RV
    American family Insurance Tips for Renting an RV
    Renting an RV

    When it’s time for your next vacation, you may be thinking about switching things up and renting an RV. Wondering how you can rent an RV? It’s really pretty simple and, in some ways, it works much the same as renting a car. You’ll first fill out an application, either online or at an RV dealer, and they’ll probably need a credit card for a deposit to secure your reservation.

    And much like a car rental, you’ll probably need to meet the minimum age requirement to qualify. But because RVs are more complicated and much larger than a car, you may want to find an RV rental group that offers RV training to new customers before you drive off the lot. Try Googling “where to rent an RV” — you’ll likely find a long list of options and rental groups — then, reach out to those that best meet your needs.

    Not only can renting an RV save you money, but it offers a whole new perspective on vacation travel. Not sure how to get started? That’s why we’re here! Check out our tips on how to rent an RV, so your first RV adventure goes off without a hitch!

  • snowmobiles on a snowy trail at night
    Snowmobile ride at night on a trail during snow
    Snowmobile Buying Guide: What to Look for

    As the leaves fall and the temperature follows suit, our minds drift towards wintry outdoor activities. A snowmobile can be your ticket to a flurry of fun this winter.

    But before you run out and buy a snowmobile, there are a few factors you should consider first. For example, if this is your first time shredding the snow, then you’ll want to purchase a beginner’s snowmobile.

    Here are some tips to help ensure the snowmobile you purchase is the right one for you and your family.