23rd January 2019
Caravanning has been traditionally associated with warm weather, but modern caravans work very well in colder conditions too. In fact, just a couple of years ago Bailey of Bristol took two caravans and a motorhome to the Arctic Circle to show just how versatile their vehicles can be in cold conditions.
You may not want to take your caravan or motorhome to sub-zero conditions, but you may want to venture out and explore more familiar surroundings in the colder months.
A couple of weeks ago, we visited the Caravan & Motorhome Club at Longleat with some friends, taking in the Festival of Lights and had a much-needed catch up. Whilst away, I asked each of them for a top tip on caravanning in the winter. Here are some of the top suggestions:
Jan & Nik Ban have been caravanning for only a couple of years and find the experience of doing it in the winter very relaxing. Nik is disabled and the caravan provides an unparalleled freedom seldom achieved elsewhere. Jan suggested to me that if using ALDE wet heating; make sure you select GAS to start the heating process in a cod caravan. This will warm the caravan quicker and once warm switch over to electric to conserve the gas supply.
However, if you are using the Truma blown air supply, select the MIX2 fuel selection to speed up the heating in the caravan. This setting will use Gas and electric to get the caravan warm and maintain the comfort level.
A good battery
A top tip from Kelly & Damien Hollingbury discussed the point of making sure the leisure battery is in good working order. If the campsite electrical supply runs out, you can continue to use the heating, hot water, cooker and refrigerator on gas, but you must make sure the leisure battery has a healthy voltage for the systems to work.
Insulate your water supply
Making sure Aquarolls do not freeze was the recommendation from Iain & Zoe Hardham. Simply wrap a coat or jacket around the Aquaroll, insert the pump into a sleeve and this will reduce the risk of water freezing in the water container. Also, keep the Aquaroll topped up, as more volume of water will take longer to freeze in very cold conditions.
Muddy days, busy nights
Andy & Kate Morley have a great suggestion for caravanning in winter months with children. They suggest spare clothing for muddy days, soak up as much winter Vitamin D as you can and make sure you pack plenty of carrier bags that can be used to store muddy boots or wet clothing. For the long dark evenings, take a pack of playing cards that can entertain the whole family for hours.
Use the awning wisely
Jules & Karina Ingham have a top tip for the outdoors in the colder months. They recommend a small lightweight awning or Sun canopy that can be used to feed the dog, an interim shoe off and boot on area and a great place to store clothing or footwear that is likely to get wet or mucky. Placing a tarp on the floor before putting the awning up and when taking the awning down will also limit the possibility of attracting mud on the awning fabric.
Good food, always
Andi & Rob Stallwood recommend the use of an instant pot or slow cooker in the caravan. It’s a great addition to any winter getaway and can create tasty meals when taking in a day of activities (I sampled an evening with Andi & Rob – the stew with dumplings was amazing)
Use the correct gas
Steve, Jo & Oliver Cox mentioned about using the correct gas during winter. Make sure that the caravan is equipped with Propane Gas (Red bottles) and not Butane (Blue bottles). Although they will both work in the caravan with the correct regulator, Butane cannot operate at lower temperatures like Propane and will freeze up.
Jon & Sarah Feeney make a valid point when discussing our four-legged friends. Keep an extra torch attached to the doggy bags when taking the dog out for a toilet break and keep an extra-large microfibre cloth to dry the dog if they get damp, muddy or completely soaked.
And finally, our top tip
Although caravans stay nice and warm, the outside always doesn’t. This can cause condensation on the windows, especially first thing in the morning. A good idea is to prop the windows open in the morning and allow the condensation to disappear, if this doesn’t work, use a clean Microfibre cloth to gently wipe away the moisture away from the corners of the windows.
There you have it. Some great tips from the caravanning community. Caravans stay very warm these days and are a great hub to get out and about to see the countryside or to make a city break. Our top tip for anyone is to give it a go. Winter caravanning is a great experience and we as a family highly recommend it.