Tips For Touring In Your Caravan In The Winter Months
Summer had been over long before we even noticed. Pumpkins and Halloween costumes have been in the shops for weeks and now people have tentatively turned their attention towards Christmas.
Winter is officially on its way.
Winter is not typically the season that springs to mind when the uninitiated think of caravanning holidays. But it’s all in the planning and preparation. Get that right and you can enjoy crisp walks in beautiful surroundings, then return to the cosy haven of your caravan for a hot chocolate (or something stronger). Your caravan will never have seemed so cosy and the warmth of a BBQ will never have been so necessary.
1. Water: You will need to make provision for the temperature dropping below zero – as this may well cause your outside water container to freeze. You will need a second container inside the caravan that you can transfer your water pump to. Winter conversion kits are around £30, an example here: https://www.wilmond.co.uk/winter-conversion-kit.html and a plug-in pump that allows you to switch between the two containers is around £40. Make sure that these parts are compatible with your current water system.
2. Gas: Propane gas is best to use for your caravan during the winter, as in sub-zero temperatures butane will fail to vaporise. If your heating is powered by gas, then you will obviously need a lot more of it than you use in the warmer months and it would be prudent to check the nearest place to replenish your gas cylinder, in case you unexpectedly run out.
3. Heating: Obviously heating your caravan when it is very cold is a priority. If you are using electricity – you can choose a thermostatically controlled fan heater (1kw max) that only comes on when the temperature falls below a certain level or a very low-wattage panel heater. If your caravan is ‘fully winterised’ then it will have a central heating system; a ‘wet’ system will provide hot water (luxury!) but will have quite a high LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) consumption. Though if you are spending a lot of the winter in your caravan then this is ideal. Water heaters in unoccupied caravans should be drained during the winter to prevent frost damage.
4. Insulation: Most new caravans are double-glazed, but if yours isn’t then you can use plastic sheeting (available from most DIY stores). Choose Velcro for a temporary installation or invest in a proper frame if it is permanent. Seal the edges with rubber draught-sealing strips. Ensure that all doors/windows are draught-free and repair if necessary.
5. General Tips:
- Choose a high-tog duvet or good quality sleeping bags and pack warm clothing. Avoid having the heating on all night.
- To reduce condensation, invest in a dehumidifier. This will help to prevent damp.
- When cooking or using a heater, ensure that you have adequate ventilation.
- Keep moving parts of the caravan e.g. The jockey wheel – to stop these parts seizing. If snow is on the ground – regularly shake free the mains cable to stop it becoming embedded.
- For regular winter caravanning, it is worth considering a 4-wheel drive. ABS brakes, heated seats and steering wheels can also improve the journey.
- Keep an eye on the weather and be sensible about your driving limitations. You do not want to get stuck travelling in extreme conditions, neither do you want to get stranded in the snow once you have arrived.