Winterize? What’s that? We’ve owned our Airstream Safari travel trailer now for 12 years. Wow. That’s a pretty long time. “Ginger” — named after our first collie dog, Ginger — is showing her age a bit (we’re jealous of newer Airstream’s enormous panoramic windows), but she’s still “home” when we’re on the road. One thing that’s always on our list is doing a good winterize.

Over the years, we’ve learned quite a bit about putting her “to sleep” in the late fall with various winterizing tips:

Getting water out of the system is absolutely critical. Whether you blow it out with compressed air or use that pink RV antifreeze (or both strategies), prepping your RV’s water system for the winter is something not to ignore (believe us!).

Remove all food, toiletries, and other liquids. Sure, maybe you think you can leave the bottle of countertop cleaner in an overhead or those rolls of TP in the bathroom cabinet. But wait until spring when you find that TP was home to a family of mice and the bottle froze, burst, and then ran all over your storage compartment.

Store those batteries inside. We’ve never had problems, but we’ve heard plenty of horror stories. We take ours out of our rig and store them in our basement. We’ve even taken to hooking them up to a trickle charger, though we’ve also heard that this is unnecessary. Winterizing your batteries is a good idea.

Now that you’ve prepared your RV for winter or long term storage with the proper winterize procedures, when your RV is ready to “wake up” after winter and start some camping, there are some things to remember. Well, these might seem pretty obvious, but here are some things we always note to do:

Flush that water system. Remember that pink RV antifreeze? Fill your holding tanks with fresh water and flush it out using your RV’s water pump. It always takes us at least three tanks of water to get all that pink stuff out. When you’re done, be sure to sanitize the whole system with a dose of bleach (a quarter cup for every 15 gallons in your fresh water holding tank) overnight before flushing the tank one more time.

Check the tire pressure. Okay, we admit we weren’t always the best at doing this. But after a few tire bursts as we rolled down the expressway at 60 miles per hour, we’re a bit obsessive about tire pressure. Doubtless, your RV’s tires dropped 10 or more pounds in pressure over the winter.

WD-40 is your best friend. It’s great for making doors, springs, latches, and other metal moving parts move more easily. We run all around the Airstream in the spring, squirting everything that needs it.

With just a bit of planning (and lessons learned!), your sleeping RV will be ready for the road in no time. Be sure to schedule a weekend “waking her up” from her winter slumber.