4 Tips For Tackling Humidity & Moisture In Your RV On The Coast

The beach is gorgeous, but can get very humid...
The beach is gorgeous even on grey days, but can get humid…

Paul’s away in Portland picking up his niece (who you may remember from last year) while I while away the day hanging by the beach and rocking out to The Cure (yes, I regress whenever hubby leaves town….as long as the thick black eyeliner doesn’t come out I consider it just a minor aberration). Not much to report apart from more beach goodness and a few very humid days, the latter of which makes for a good blog topic.

You see moisture is a thing of inevitability on the coast. Many Oregonians, especially those who reside on the “dry” side joke about the Westerners walking around with webbing on their feet. I’ve never been one to mind the moisture having grown up in Asia (where humidity often exceeds 100%…yes, this can happen) and living for 10 years in San Francisco where the thick fog that rolls over the city is a daily event. In summer it gets even worse when the marine layer sucks right into the coast creating May Grey and June Gloom, the foggiest months of the year! No, I don’t mind this at all and in fact I find the thick air almost comforting. The fog seals in sounds and muffles the waves, creating a silent microcosm. On particularly thick days you can walk the beach and lose sight of the shore making it seem like you’re in a manufactured bubble, miles from anything living. It’s really kinda cool…

But it does make for interesting living in the RV. There’s no doubt that marine moisture can be a bane for metal objects and I often get asked what we do to prevent corrosion and damp in the RV. I don’t claim to have the magic solution, water is water after all, but I do think there are things you can do to prepare your rig and manage excessive moistness. Here are my top tips:

A little elbow grease and a help from Polly does the job
A little elbow grease helps protect “the beast”

1/ Wash & Wax (and Rinse!) -> One of the easiest things you can do for the outside of your rig is wash and wax it. We typically wash and wax before we get on the coast, and will try to rinse whenever we can while we’re here. A simple rinse will get rid of any salt accumulation from sea air and goes a long way to limiting corrosion. The wax helps to seal everything in.

We use this spray on all our exposed metal bits
We use this spray on all our exposed metal bits

2/ Protective Spray on Moving Metal Bits -> We use T-9 Boeshield on all of our exposed and moving metal bits including our jacks & tow bar. It keeps everything slick as well as providing a great barrier against moisture. Wherever we’ve used it we’ve never seen corrosion so I take that as a testament to it’s effectiveness. We really like this product.

3/ Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation -> Internally to the RV heavy moisture is not only uncomfortable, but encourages mold/mildew growth as well as clothing and linen destruction. On days when the sun is out and the air is dryer nothing works better to clear out your RV than simple ventilation. Open up the windows, air out your closets, fluff out your bedding in the sun and get the air moving in your RV. We have vent fans in the bathroom & living room which we’ll run on a sunny days plus we have a large ceiling fan in our bedroom. If you have neither any kind of cheap plug-in fan will work. The key is to get that air moving so you exchange dead, moist air (from inside) with dryer air (from outside). Propane releases moisture to the air too, so everytime you cook make sure to open and run those ceiling vents. Moving air is dry(er) air.

They're ugly  & noisy, but compressor-based dehumidifiers will really suck the moisture out
They’re ugly & noisy, but compressor-based dehumidifiers are very efficient

4/ Dehumidifiers ->  Sometimes ventilation simply isn’t a viable option especially when it’s raining and the outside air humidity is over 80%. In these cases there’s not much to do except close up the rig and look at additional options. Your air conditioner will definitely do the job and is a great option in hot places like FL, but on the OR/WA coast where it’s typically cool (around 60-70 degrees all summer), running the air all day really isn’t practical. A decent ceramic heater will also dry the air some, but again may not be practical all the time depending on temperature. We use Damp Rid in our closets (both the bucket and the hanging kind) and recommend a dehumidifier for the main rooms. The Eva-Air dehumidifiers are compact, quiet and get decent reviews, but are not nearly as effective as the noisy good old-fashioned compressor-based versions. Which one you chose just depends on whether you can handle the noise of a compressor and how dry you want your RV to be (you’ll feel best if you can get below ~60% humidity). As a bonus, a dehumidifier is a great addition if you decide to winter in a cold, humid spot with your RV.

Of the course the ultimate protection against humidity? Just don’t RV anywhere humid at all, and definitely (of all places) avoid the coast. Then again who would want to do that? With a bit of planning & just a few extra items you can happily while away the summer with your feet in the water and your butt in the sand. Just be ready for some moisture and prepare yourself to bask in it all :)

If you have a booster, you have to register it now
If you have a booster, you have to register it

Extra Notice: Did You Know You Have To Register Your Cellular Internet/Phone Boosters Now?

Those of you travelling with cellular boosters may not know that it’s now an FCC requirement to register those same boosters with your cellphone provider. The new rules went into effect May 1st so it’s way past time to act. Thankfully our buddies Technomadia wrote a comprehensive guide which means we’re now “legal” (our Wilson Sleek & Wilson Amp are now both registered with Millenicom), plus I don’t have to write it myself (love it when that happens). If you have a booster and/or are planning to get one, definitely read this -> The Definitive Guide to Cellular Booster Registration

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    Good to know about the booster…thanks. Yes, as long time Bay Area residents, now visitors, we’re familiar with the June Gloom syndrome!

    • libertatemamo says

      Out-of-coast folks always find it odd that June is so “grey”, esp. in Southern California, but the locals know the deal all too well.


  2. Rowanova says

    Great info to add to the RV Notes for long stays and fulltiming in the damp areas of the country. Thanks for the info.

    • libertatemamo says

      Glad it’s helpful. I feel we have an “edge” on this given our many years in humid Asia & the coastal regions of CA LOL. You learn to love your dehumidifier :)


  3. says

    Growing up in Washington, I used to love our family outings to the ocean shore. Being a bit of an introvert, I used to love to walk down along the beach and lose myself. If there was a bit of mist in the air, so much the better.

    • libertatemamo says

      I definitely find the mist gives you that deep sense of being really alone…somehow comforting. I like that too.


  4. Steve says

    Hey guys. Don’t let that Western OR/WA mold get too thick between your fingers and toes before you scrape it off (-:
    We are finally getting some rain in the Bend area too.

    • libertatemamo says

      Very funny, Steve. We know what you “Easterners” are like LOL. Glad you’re getting to enjoy a bit of moisture even out on the dry side of the state.


    • libertatemamo says

      I’ve looked at that little renewable, but always thought it was too small/low-power to make any difference. Nice to know it works as advertised. I could see this being handy in our bathroom, for example.


  5. says

    Mold? What’s that? Thanks for the information, Nina. We’ll definitely keep this in mind for our future travels to places that have moisture. Grace (in Tucson)

    • libertatemamo says

      I’m always kind of amused by the extremes we go through. We spend all winter in the desert hovering between 10-30% humidity and then all summer at 60-90%. We sure get a bit of everything. I think the highest we ever saw in Tuscon was around 45%…it snowed that day LOL.


  6. says

    We lived in Washington for three months last year (Sept-Dec) and ran a big humidifier pretty much 24/7. With temps averaging 47 degrees, there really was no other option.

    Another tip, take your screens off! We had tons of mold growing on them. You can’t wipe the windows down with the screens on.

    • libertatemamo says

      Good tip on the screens. Moisture gets stuck in those areas and grows mold. We find the same thing happens by the front window and make sure to wipe that area regularly.


  7. says

    In my opinion, if you’re living in your motorhome in the Pacific Northwest in the cooler months with more than two people, a fairly robust dehumidifier is mandatory, not a small one.

    The temperature variance between the indoor heat and the outdoor temps, plus the exhalation moisture from the humans, propane heat, etc, is too much for the little dehumidifiers most use for their weekend get-a-way. Not to mention propane combustion yields water.

    Use electric heaters………..

    • libertatemamo says

      I would have to agree. I’m partial to the proper compressor-type dehumidifiers and preferably those that allow you to attach a hose and auto-drain. We run them at all the lighthouses we’ve volunteered at, and they’re pretty much a necessity. When we lived in Asia we relied heavily on our dehumidifier too. They’re noisy, but they really get the job done.


  8. says

    Great, simple tips – thanks! I always loved the Pt Reyes Peninsula in June. We would leave 100+ temps in the valley and wrap ourselves in a fog blanket for a couple days. It is a wonderful “otherworldly” experience :-).

  9. Peter says

    Nina…In the past you hit on diesel fuel additive for the grunge…Will you update your thoughts on that subject?

  10. Linda Cicenas says

    Hey Nina, just saw an advertisement on the Weather Channel for a show they will run on Monday, June 30th, at 6 PM (repeat at 11 PM)(Arizona time) called Coast Guard: Cape Disappointment. Didn’t say what they will cover but thought it was interesting since that is the very place you and Paul are at now. Just wanted to mention it. Enjoy your blog, thanks for writing. Linda

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh how NEAT!! I had not noticed this, so I will definitely tune in tomorrow to see it. Thanks for the tip!


  11. says

    Nina – just made two batches (one for hubby and one for me)of your DEO recipe. I used the peppermint essential oil. I haven’t used makeup or hair dye in over 10 years. Have always bought “natural deo” but still didn’t like the ingredients. My hubby is super sensitive to hops which are in most deodorants on the market today. Thank you and I am sure we will love this product. I sure love the price!

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh cool! We’re still using that same recipe (hubby uses it too) and we both still love it. You’ll need to reapply more regularly than one of those prescription strength deodorants, but you’ll adapt quickly. It is so much nicer IMHO than store-bought stuff.


  12. says

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing. My Eva-dry does a great job for its small size, but sometimes I do think about upgrading to a big one. I’ve also found that those little buckets of damp-rid work well for under the kitchen sink and other closed spaces.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah I think for moderate-level humidity a combo of Damp-Rid and Peltier-type dehumidifiers (like the Eva-dry) do an OK job, but for anything more substantial a “real” compressor-type dehumidifier is the only way. I just wish the compressor-type weren’t so noisy.


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