Are you getting ready to spend some time out in the wilderness? Here’s how to prepare your camper van for the perfect winter getaway.
After a year of hard work, time for that long-awaited holiday season is here. The pandemic has yet to settle, however, so hopping on a plane to visit your favorite holiday spot or visiting your family might not be the best idea. Luckily, there are other ways to enjoy the holidays.
One of the best ways to unwind and relax is to drive your campervan deep into the wilderness, where you can take your time to indulge in peace in a quiet environment. Now, camping out in the van isn’t the most favorable when you are staying out in the cold; if it starts raining in the summer it won’t cause much damage. Snow, however, is a little difficult to tackle. It will affect your van in more ways than one. If you’re considering going camping in your van this winter, then here are some steps that you need to take.
Preparing for The Snow and Winter Getaway ⛄️
As mentioned earlier, van life in the winter isn’t as simple as in the summer; and the one thing that can make or break your winter getaway is the snow. Depending on how bad the snowfall will be, you might risk causing serious damage to your camper van’s exhaust system. The cost for repairs can be quite high and the last thing you want is unnecessary expenses.
The harsh and cold conditions outside are harmful to your car’s charging system, especially the battery and the alternator. Your car’s battery runs the risk of being damaged by certain chemical changes caused by freezing temperatures. Then, the alternator might go out on you – you won’t be able to charge your battery and you won’t be able to start your car.
Cold temperatures make the belt of your car’s alternator quite stiff, which makes it even more difficult for your car to run normally. If you think your alternator needs replacing or repairing, then check out Mechanic Base to learn more about the symptoms of a bad alternator and the costs of repairing it.
Aside from being mindful of the mechanics of your car, here are some other points you should note.
Bring the Equipment Necessary for Removing Snow in your Winter Getaway
Since it’s almost the end of the year, don’t be surprised if you suddenly wake up and see that your camper van is covered in snow. That’s not the only thing you risk on roads as the solar panels of your van are likely to be covered in snow as well.
Make sure to check the weather forecast for the week before heading out. That’ll give you a good idea of what to take or not with you. You might want to take some tools to get rid of the snow if such a situation arises. Portable snow shovels and tire traction mats will come in handy, so make sure to purchase them beforehand.
Make Note of Possible Dangers in Your Winter Getaway 😃 ❄️
Do you remember how you’d get a day off from school when there were heavy snowfalls? Well, that’s because the build-up of snow on the roads makes it very hard to drive the car. Not only that, when the snow melts after the storm, it makes the road very slippery; and can lead to serious accidents if you’re not careful.
With that being said, please watch out for possible danger – snow can completely block your campsite making it difficult for you to find a place to park your camper van. Steer clear of trees as well. Branches sometimes break due to the heavy snow. Which might unexpectedly crack and fall onto your van. If there is a forecast of heavy snowfall, you might consider delaying your trip; if you absolutely can’t wait, then try finding a campsite in a different location that’s much safer and is less likely to be hit by the snowfall.
Use Solar Panels When Possible
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you cannot make good use of your solar panels. Cover them up when it’s snowing – wait for the sun to come up to start using them again.
Keep Any Airways and Glass Clear
Of course, you will want to keep vents, fans and windows clear at all times.
Heating and Insulation
It would be rather silly if you went camping in the winter and didn’t prepare for proper heating to get you through the day. There are different methods of bringing the heat with you while traveling. Depending on where you will be going, the heating systems might vary. You can bring along propane (natural gas or fuel) or electric heaters. Electric heaters don’t require a lot of effort to set up, but in case you can’t manage one, make sure you learn how to light a propane heater properly before taking one with you – just to avoid any accidents.
However, having proper heating isn’t going to be enough. Your campervan will still get cold, even if it has a good insulation system. Your van gets cold due to heat lost into the environment. Simply put, you will need to find ways to stop the heat from escaping.
Windows allow the most heat loss, so covering them up when you go to sleep will solve some of your problems. For this, you can either use blackout curtains or insulated window covers. You might also want to upgrade your van’s floor insulation, as the floor too can get very chilly at night.
Dealing With Wet Floors and Clothes 🥶
There’s no doubt that you will be walking around during the day and enjoying the snowscape. This makes wet floors and clothes inevitable. You might want to think about ways to manage wet and dirty floors. Carry extra mats or rugs with you on the roads. These can help soak up mud and dirt after a long hike. Also, make sure you have a good place to store your shoes. You do not want to sit or sleep next to your wet smelly boots. That would be a nightmare.
In the case of your clothes, you have to be very careful. I would suggest you not reuse wet clothes. Since this is a short stay, you can always pack a few extra clothes. Pack your wet clothing away in a laundry bag and store them outside. Although drying your clothes near your heating source is possible, you wouldn’t want anything to go up in flames in the middle of the night. Make sure your van is properly ventilated to avoid any molds from growing inside (if you decide to have any wet clothes).
Getting Rid of Condensation
Another factor that can become an obstacle in your winter adventures is condensation. This can often be an unanticipated battle during severe winter.
How do you avoid fighting condensation? Well spending your time indoors, closing the windows and doors is a way to build up excess moisture (which will cause mold over time) inside your camper van. Keeping your windows open or aerating your van in the winter can be annoying, and might be ineffective, but rest assured that it will prevent unnecessary condensation and build-up of mold inside your van.
Backup Batteries For Your Van
Times when an abundance of clouds make the sky murky, and it may have you running around to find power sources other than the sun.
So what do you do when the sky turns its back on you? Well, a battery isolator is an inexpensive solution for providing your car’s electrical system with a boost. Battery isolators open options for you to charge your car batteries on the go and are also cheaper when compared to other solutions such as adding extra batteries or paying for campsites with electrical supplies. However, do remember to learn more about battery isolators and how they are used before trying to Macgyver your way out of the problem.
It’s time to turn the lights out in your van, but the shivering cold keeps waking you up and prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. Cold, bone-chilling nights can be a problem, but there are amazing ways to keep those at bay.
Keeping your van warm can be tricky unless you have the right kind of bedding. Ever heard of electric blankets? It’s an unconventional solution but 12v electric blankets can also be a good option if your car’s system can support it. Given your car does not have the means to run electric blankets, you can always try synthetic blankets; these are an excellent solution to cold feet and will get you a good night’s rest.
Packing Proper Clothing
Last but not least, you should pack according to the weather. A sure way to ruin your winter travels is forgetting to pack enough warm clothing. Padded jackets are necessary, but they can take up a lot of space in your luggage. Consider dressing in layers. Make sure you have lots of warm, thick socks.
After a long day of exploring the wilderness and connecting with nature, turning in for the night is the only logical thing to do. For that, don’t forget to pack your favorite winter pajamas so that you can sleep undisturbed.
Enjoying Your Winter Getaway 😃
While meticulously preparing for your adventures will make things easy for you, it’s important to remember not to over-prepare. The whole point of going on an adventure is encountering problems and finding ways to navigate around them. So go out there and enjoy yourselves in the snow! Good luck and happy holidays.
Now, you are ready for your next campervan winter getaway! Do not hesitate to share your own tips with us in comments ⬇️
Be ready and enjoy your motorhome, caravan and van winter getaway with CaraMaps!