Tony & Peggy Barthel - StressLess Campers


We’re Tony & Peggy Barthel and we’re working to help you be a StressLess Camper.

Keeping rodents out of your RV

Keeping rodents out of your RV


RVs can be a big draw for rodents, especially in storage. With the enticing smell of food in them plus all that wonderful upholstery for nests, keeping rodents out of an RV can be a challenge. While most people open their RVs in spring and get ready for adventure, some have to start with mitigating damage caused by rodents. Getting rid of mice and other rodents in RVs is a big challenge and doing so safely and naturally is a bonus. 

Recently I heard a podcast with Nick Olynyck from Grandpa Gus as he extolled the virtues of his mouse and rat repellant for RVs and other places. The product primarily uses peppermint and cinnamon and the reason this works is that these smells block a rodent’s ability to detect food, others in their posse and also predators which makes them very uncomfortable. Mice and rats rely on scent much more than eyesight which is why they tend to crawl along walls as well. 

So my first thought was, why not just get some peppermint and cinnamon and be done with it? Apparently, in their natural state, the smell of peppermint evaporates rather quickly so Grandpa Gus has extracted the oils from the product and added another ingredient resulting in a long-lasting result. Certainly a dose of Grandpa Gus’ product when the RV goes into storage will keep it safe until you come back in spring and get it ready to go out again. 

Oh, and the smell you’re going to come back to is wonderful. Peggy, my cohort on this blog, is very, very sensitive to “chemical” smell as she calls it. It is bad enough that she literally will not walk down the aisle in the grocery store that has all the detergents and household cleaners. We’ve gone out of our way to look for natural products for cleaning and also rodent control. 

The Grandpa Gus package that I was sent included ten little pouches of powder and you put a pouch along the inside wall of your RV when you park it as rodents tend to follow walls. It also doesn’t hurt to put one in a storage bay or other access point where rodents might come in. 

Here in Northern California we’re not as worried about completely winterizing our RVs and Peggy and I are already getting the trailer ready to head to Quartzite for the big RV event there. I had put four of the pouches of repellant in the trailer a while back and Peggy went in and came back reporting that the trailer smelled wonderful. It’s a beautiful, natural smell of cinnamon and peppermint, basically. Kind of makes the trailer smell like a candy cane. 

We park our trailer near a field that borders woodland which feeds a cat rather well with rodents. So far, absolutely no sign of critters in the trailer.  I also gave several of the pouches to another camper who also parks her trailer where there is plenty of rodent activity and, like myself, no sign of entry at all. 

The other nice thing is that these pouches are basically natural product so if you have a curious pet or child you won’t have to rush them to medical attention if they do get into them. Furthermore, you won’t have to deal with dead rodents in your RV and “that smell” and you won’t have to clean traps. If you’re even more concerned about the environment, you won’t have to worry about poisoned rodents getting eaten by predators which will then die. 

“Our heat comes from cinnamon. Some say it smells like candy canes,” said Nick. 

If you’re in the RV a lot you have a lower likelihood of having mice because they like being in secret spots but when an RV is in storage it tends to attract mice as they smell food, even if there isn’t any in there. Mice like to move in when the place is vacant and it gets cold outside. Once freeze-up happens the mice have found where they want to stay so if they’ve chosen your RV, you may know find them until they’ve caused significant damage. 

“We knew there was space in the pest control market for a natural product,” said Nick Olynyck on the RV Industry News podcast with Greg Gerber

Oh, and Grandpa Gus? “The name came from the stereotypical old-time farmer who comes to town for coffee - someone who takes no guff and wants a simple solution and wants a simple solution.”

Olynyk also indicated that places like campgrounds, RV parks, lodging properties, laundromats and cabins would be a good place for Grandpa Gus’ products. I could also see putting this into classic cars in storage as they are targets for rodents and they also have “that smell” whether you like it or not. Not bad to come back to a pink and turquoise ’59 Fury that smells like peppermint and cinnamon instead of pulling off the cover and getting rat nests out of the upholstery. 

There are a variety of Grandpa Gus products including the featured rodent repellant. There is also a spray repellant. Modern vehicle wiring uses soy-based sheathing and this soy is based on plant proteins, which just happen to be what rodents find delicious. So the spray makes a lot of sense and I’ve used it in all our cars under the hood with no downside and we also haven’t seen any rodent activity. 

So far I’ve been completely happy with the Grandpa Gus products. My wife is also happy and you know, happy wife, happy life. But we haven’t seen any sign of rodent activity in our cars, our garage/outbuilding and in our travel trailer. This has also been true of the others whom I’ve given samples of the Grandpa Gus product to. 

And, I don’t have to clean dead rodents out of traps or worry that the cat will catch something that’s full of poison and then have to worry about her health. 

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