Caravanning In Winter In The UK
More and more people are looking to extend the caravanning season in the UK to get almost 100% utilisation from their caravan. In an age where we watch every penny, recycle as much as we can and try to cut out all waste streams, using your caravan all-year-round is cost-effective given the outlay you have already made on it. Of course, using your caravan in winter relies very much on hard-standing pitches and heated toilet blocks, but with the right preparation there is no reason why you can’t make the caravan season 12 months long and take advantage of the wonderful winter scenery, long bracing walks and even Christmas or New Year in the great outdoors.
Using these basic guidelines you can begin to prepare your caravan and accessories for a bonus winter sojourn:
Gas – It is widely acknowledged that you need to switch from Butane Gas to Propane during the winter. Butane doesn’t vaporise when the temperature approaches freezing, and becomes unreliable, so propane is a better alternative and most modern appliances in caravans can be adapted to work on both.
Water – If you use water containers that are normally stored outside you will need to check they are not frozen, and maybe consider a second container as a back-up, if it’s possible you could consider moving the tank inside in winter. You should also stock up on bottled water just in case. If you use mains water it is recommended to insulate the pipes to stop them freezing in winter.
Heating – It is tempting to keep the heating on 24/7 during the winter but with some forms of heating, such as LPG, this can be dangerous, particularly as people tend to block ventilators during the winter too. If you use a balanced flue space heater this can be kept on all night, but keep checking the flues aren’t blocked by debris blown about by the wind. A thermostatically-controlled fan heater is probably the best idea, as it will only come on as required. You should also consider secondary double-glazing on windows, such as plastic sheeting which is widely available, and also make sure all doors and windows are well sealed.
Transport – If you have a touring caravan make sure your car tyres are in good condition and have enough traction. It might be worth investing in a 4-wheel drive car if this is to become a regular thing, and ABS brakes are also useful to have in some winter conditions.
Awnings – A porch awning is a good idea in winter, although it needs to be very well pegged down as it will face the harshest elements of the winter weather. An awning gives you somewhere to take off muddy boots or clothes rather than piling them up inside, and will also protect the main caravan door from the cold weather, particularly preventing some cold air coming in when opening and closing the door. You could also use an awning to prevent water tanks from freezing.
General – Some other general advice for caravanning in winter:
- Shake snow off mains cables occasionally to prevent them becoming embedded in the ground.
- Clear snow drifts from underneath the caravan as they may block ventilation.
- Invest in a good quality sleeping bag with a high tog value. Lots of layers are also advisable.
- Consider using damp traps or a dehumidifier to capture moisture and prevent condensation.
- Oil all moving parts of the caravan periodically to prevent them seizing, such as wheels and brakes.
- Make sure you have plenty of spare power sources, ie. gas bottles and batteries.
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