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What should we expect from a winter caravanning break!

winter scene in the woods and a car in the background


Could this be the year that you finally decide to take your caravan on a winter break?

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a very strange year. As the unreal period of lockdown came and went, followed by the ‘new normal’ and mandatory (sometimes) wearing of masks: we all hoped that by Christmas we would see a more settle period. Perhaps by the time that we got to Christmas… life would feel more normal?

These hopes had a bit of a setback this week - as restrictions were tightened again, due to a rise in COVID cases. The uncertainty continues.

Currently groups of 6 or more cannot gather, unless they are part of the same household or support bubble. If this affects your usual Christmas plans of visiting family and friends – perhaps an alternative might be to take your caravan (and your household) on a Christmas break?

When we think of caravanning holidays here in the UK, we probably imagine a week (or two) of idyllic summer days - where we spend most of our time enjoying the ‘great outdoors.’ Due to the slightly unpredictable British weather, we may have to suffer some rain (don’t worry seasoned caravanners will know how to make the best of this too) but not usually the cold.

So, what should we expect from a winter caravanning break? And how should we prepare?

The good news:

- Most modern caravans are well-insulated/equipped for winter.

- Many campsites in the UK are open all year round.

- These campsites will be much quieter than during the spring/summer months.

What to consider:

- Open? This goes without saying, but before you make any plans - ensure that your preferred campsite is open.

- Weather: The weather is generally worse in the winter. Try to avoid campsites with pitches at the bottom of a valley, as these may get waterlogged in wet weather. Also avoid those campsites/pitches that are too exposed – try and find one protected by a tree windbreak or similar.

- Facilities: Find out if the campsite is fully functional. Are the basic utilities/anything else you require open during the winter months?

- Keep the heating on: At all times. It’ll keep you nice and warm, while preventing your pipes from freezing.

- When it is very cold: You will need to change your gas supply from butane to propane cylinders. Propane is a better fuel for freezing temperatures and can still be used when temperatures are as low as -40C. To change from butane to propane you will need to change the regulator too.

- Water: Insulate any external water carriers to prevent the water freezing. This can be done with old blankets or bubble wrap.

- Towing in the snow: When towing in the snow and ice, you must always be extra careful and take it slowly. There are things that you can do before you set off to limit any potential dangers: make sure that the tyre pressure is set to the manufacturers recommendation, arrange luggage evenly across the van and lock down any large items, adjust the breaks on the caravan so that they don’t interfere with the car’s ABS (only in particularly icy conditions).

caravan park from above showing the ground laden with snow

What to bring:

- Pack lots of warm clothing: Think layers. T-shirts, vests, thin/thick jumpers, fleeces and socks. This way, you should never be too cold or too hot for long.

- Outdoor clothing: So that you can make the most of the outdoors whatever the weather – remember to bring wellington boots, walking boots, thermals, waterproof clothing, hats, scarves and gloves. - Fuel: Make sure that you have enough gas to keep warm and to cook.

- Extra blankets: Be prepared for temperatures to plummet at night by bringing extra blankets for your beds.

- Christmas: Don’t forget to bring as many decorations as your caravan can cope with. Decorating your home is always a fundamental part of the festive season. Christmas dinner – you may have to be inventive considering the limited space. Perhaps you could cook some things at home and bring them with you? Free up space inside the caravan by cooking your turkey on the BBQ outside. Don’t forget the presents!

Now all that is left is to wake up on Christmas morning to see the frost/snow decorating the stunning landscape, while you sip a hot chocolate (or mulled wine – how early is too early?) and look forward to a different, yet cosy Christmas day experience.

a woman outdoors in a vast snow filled landscape with a house in the distance