Winter Van Life - 9 Essential Tips to Make It Successful

Even though winter is the harshest season, it also brings a sense of peace and calm that’s unique to this time of year. This makes winter van life an incredibly exciting opportunity for those who want to embrace it.

Tourist attractions are quieter, campsites and park-ups are less busy, and destinations can be less expensive when it’s not high season.

Winter van life isn’t as challenging as you might think, especially if you’re willing to do your research first. The key to enjoying van life during the colder months is preparation. With the right measures in place, you can have an enjoyable, safe experience no matter what mother nature throws at you. Let’s take a look at some essential tips for a successful winter van life!

Check Your Van’s Tyres and Battery

One of the most crucial things to do before embarking on your winter van life is to make sure your tyres are up to the challenge. If you’re heading to a region with heavy snow, you’ll need the right tyres to get through it safely. Check the tread and make sure there’s enough to get you through the winter months. If you’re unsure whether your tyres are up to the challenge, consider purchasing winter tyres.

We have these tyres on our van – https://www.atseuromaster.co.uk/consumer/tyres/brands/bfgoodrich-tyres/lt22575sr16bfgatko2lrdrwlg1000154520

They are all-terrain winter tyres that are great in snow, ice, rain and on dirt tracks etc.

Also, as winter comes with longer periods of darkness, you may want to consider your battery set up. You won’t be able to rely on solar power as much as you would in the summer, so do you have other means of ensuring your batteries will have enough power?

Consider purchasing a portable power station as these are one of the best ways of not always relying on or using up your batter power. We have this power bank – EcoFlow US

If you would like to know more information about power stations, then you can check out our blog post where we discuss the best portable power stations – 10 Best Camping Portable Power Stations In 2022 (threeasabird.com)

You’ll also want to get your battery tested to ensure it’s in good condition and capable of powering your electrical appliances.

winter van life

Check Your Heating System is Good Enough

What sort of heating system do you have in your van? Do you have a central heating system that runs off gas or do you have a diesel heater? Either way, your heating system is going to be your saviour in the winter so you need to make sure that it is good enough and that it is also working properly, and you will need to do this before the winter season comes.

If you have a gas system, do you use has bottles or do you have a refillable LPG system? If you’re going to be travelling Europe in the winter then you may want to consider switching to a refillable LPG system as this type of gas is much easier to access than replacing gas bottles, especially in Europe.

We switched our system to a refillable LPG system, and it has been a great decision as we do a lot of travelling in Europe. It is easy to find, and it is much more cost-effective. If you would like to know more about the refillable LPG gas system, then please check out our blog post – Guide LPG Refillable Gas Bottles For Campervans & Motorhomes (threeasabird.com)

Winter Van Life - 9 Essential Tips to Make It Successful
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Install Window Covers

If you’re planning on taking on winter van life, you will need insulated window covers. This will help to keep the heat inside your van, especially if you’re using a gas or electric heater.

We use these window covers in our van –

Winter Van Life - 9 Essential Tips to Make It Successful

Milenco 2110 Motor Home Internal Cab Thermal Blind and Window

You’ll also want to make sure to close your curtains or blinds at night, to keep the warmth inside.

You may also want to consider getting a windscreen cover. This is a great purchase that not only keeps the heat in in the winter and protects the windscreen from freezing, it’s also great for keeping heat out in the summer.

We use this windscreen cover on our motorhome –

Winter Van Life - 9 Essential Tips to Make It Successful

UK Custom Covers Luxury Front Windscreen Wrap Cover Black – To Fit Fiat Ducato Motorhome

If you’re parked in a public space, be mindful of the noise you make. It’s not always appropriate to use a heater that makes loud noises at night, as it may disturb your neighbours.

winter van life

Bring Blankets and Warm Clothing

You’ll also want to make sure you have the right blankets to stay warm during the winter months. This is obviously a great way to keep warm without using up gas or diesel all the time for your heater.

You can also use blankets to keep your van clean and tidy and to protect the soft furnishings and avoid the build-up of dirt and mud.

Also make sure to pack plenty of warm clothing – coats, thermals, hats, scarfs, gloves, fleeces, jumpers, hoodies, thick socks etc. These types of clothing can take up a lot of space in your van but are absolutely essential to keeping warm and cosy in the winter.

A hot water bottle is always a fantastic thing to have in your motorhome or camper in the winter also.

Make Sure You Have Enough Gas

Whether you have a gas bottle system or a refillable LPG system you will always want to make sure you have enough gas. You won’t want to leave it to run empty and run the risk of struggling to find a gas bottle or a fuel station that provides LPG and not being able to use your heating in freezing cold weather.

Motorhomes and campervans don’t have the same insulation as houses so when it’s cold, it’s really cold.

Keep an eye on your gas levels and always keep them topped up.

winter van life

Check Your Insulation Is Up to Scratch

Speaking of insulation, it’s important to make sure you have good enough insulation in your motorhome or campervan ready for winter van life.

If you’re doing a self-build campervan and you know you’re going to be travelling through the winter and facing the cold temperatures, then you can plan ahead and make sure that you install good quality insulation from the start to protect you in the winter.

A lot of people who do self-build campervans focus more on the aesthetics of the van and making it look nice, forgetting about the practical and more important things like insulation, so it’s really important to consider this.

If you have a motorhome and you feel that the insulation is not good enough, you can remove panels etc in your motorhome and add more of your own insulation also.

Plug Any Vents / Gaps Where Cold Air May Creep In

Before the Winter arrives, it’s a good idea to check your van for any gaps, vents or broken seals that could be letting in cold air and fix/replace these before the cold weather arrives.

You will want to keep your van as warm as you can, and if you have any issues with cold air coming in then you’re probably going to be spending more money on heating, so it’s going to be more cost effective for you to ensure that you resolve these problems before the winter arrives.

Not resolving these sorts of issues could also result in you getting mould in your van in the winter from it being cold and damp.

Be Prepared to Stay Inside More

In the Winter, it’s likely that you may not be getting out and about as much as you would in the Summer, so you need to be prepared to be inside your van a bit more. For us this is one of the big downsides of winter van life as we love to get out and explore – in good weather!

When you’re living in a confined space, this can lead to feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia, so it’s important to remember to prepare for this and make sure you have what you need to make your life inside the van just as enjoyable as it is getting out and exploring.

Do you have books, games, a TV, an exercise mat or whatever you like to keep yourself entertained?

You can also try to open your window a crack each day to get a bit of fresh air flowing through your van or if this isn’t possible then try to get out even just for a short walk where you can as fresh air can help with the claustrophobic / cabin fever feelings that some people can get when they have been in the van for too long.

Make Sure You Have Window Scrapers, Anti-Freeze, Something to Remove Condensation Etc

There are a few essential items that you will want to make sure that you carry with you during winter van life. These include:

  • Windscreen Scrapers – to scrape snow / ice from your windscreen (You probably won’t need this if you have the outside windscreen cover that we discussed previously)
  • Anti – Freeze
  • Condensation is a problem in the colder months. It builds up on the inside of the windscreen and your windows. You can do as much as you can by putting the window covers up and closing the blinds etc at night but unfortunately, it’s something that you can’t always prevent, no matter what you do. So, it’s important to have something that you can use to remove it. A window vac is absolutely perfect for this. Or even just a cloth or towel to wipe down the windscreen and windows when condensation builds up. Also, moisture catchers can help to reduce condensation too.

Conclusion

Winter van life can be a truly rewarding experience. By taking the time to prepare your van for the colder months, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. So, take the time to make sure that you and your van are fully prepared before Winter arrives, and above all, enjoy the season!

Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube

You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)

If you’d like to follow more of our adventures or keep up to date with our travel hints and tips, please join our Facebook group, we’d love to connect with you all! –https://www.facebook.com/groups/309295536220437

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