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Martyn Raybould

Winter touring in your Caravan, Motorhome?

Winter touring in your Caravan, Motorhome? Touring in the Winter months in the UK can create very different requirements for you and your home from home when the temperature drops. So we asked our friends at CaSSOA (Caravan Site Owners Association), the experts in vehicle storage, to provide some tips and advice for those more hardy owners. (Read other tips and advice at Engineer Aftercare News)

Our Top Tips for Winter Caravanning

The nights are drawing in and the weather’s getting cooler, which means winter is well and truly on its way. But, don’t let the change in temperature put you off taking a trip in your caravan or motorhome, as many of our holiday parks are open year-round.

Make the most of the peace and quiet and head to a Best of British park this winter. Our 5-star family owned parks contain the very best facilities, that will help make cold weather camping a breeze!

Here’s our top tips for a winter caravan or motorhome holiday:

Using well run and well maintained parks will make life easier and more enjoyable!

Insulate external water tanks 

As the temperature drops it’s important to take extra care of your external water tank to prevent it from freezing. This can be achieved using a specially designed insulating jacket that covers the container and the pipe that feeds your caravan. These accessories are relatively inexpensive to purchase however, it’s also possible to make your own using an old blanket, fleece or jacket.

Another helpful adaption that may save you a lot of hassle after a heavy frost, is positioning your water tank on a stand or pedestal. You don’t need to buy anything fancy, simply raising the tank off of floor level using a plank of wood or polystyrene will do the job.

Prevent waste water from freezing

 Adding a small amount of anti-freeze to your waste water supply is an excellent way to prevent it freezing. We often hear of people using salt for this purpose; however, this can cause corrosion. 

Stock up on essentials

Despite your best efforts it’s not always possible to prevent nature taking hold and sometimes your water supply can still freeze up. Therefore, it’s good practice to keep a large jerrycan or container of fresh water inside your caravan, that can be used in case of emergencies.

You may be surprised with how many other adventurous owners continue to tour in Winter months

Insulate against the cold

Most modern caravans have excellent energy ratings and come with double glazing as standard. But there’s always room for more adaptions, should you feel you require added insulation for warmth. Plastic sheeting can be fixed to existing windows for an additional layer of protection against the elements and foam matting on the floors will help to prevent cold feet. We also recommend using insulated screens and keeping the blinds and curtains closed to retain heat.

Ensure proper ventilation

Under no circumstances should you block or close vents to conserve heat, as this can have dangerous consequences. Proper ventilation is essential to help reduce condensation. Try to position your caravan or motorhome so that vents are sheltered from prevailing winds, this will help prevent any drafts from coming in.

Invest in a winter awning or porch

Investing in an awning is a good idea if you’re planning regular caravan holidays in the winter months. Porch awnings are an excellent place to store wet clothes and boots that would otherwise make the caravan damp and dirty. They can also help reduce the amount of cold air that comes in when the door opens, allowing you to keep your caravan or motorhome toasty and warm!

Of course, standard awnings can be used, but numerous manufactures produce awnings specifically designed for cold weather use. They tend to feature thick and durable fabrics as well as heavy duty poles and marquee style pegs, which can withstand variable weather conditions. If you experience snow during your trip always brush it from the awning roof using a long-handled broom, as the increased weight could cause it to collapse.

Pack sensible clothing and bedding

It may seem common sense, but packing warm and waterproof clothing is essential for a winter caravan stay. Bring plenty of jumpers, coats, socks, hat, scarf and maybe a pair of long johns! It’s also a good idea to increase the tog level on your duvet and pack a hot water bottle for added night time warmth.

Switch to Propane gas

Engineer Aftercare recommend contacting an AWS approved workshop to check or change your gas for heating!

Many motorhome and caravan owners tend to use butane gas because it is readily available and cheaper than alternative options. However, it may be worth switching to propane in the winter months, as it is more effective at lower temperatures. Before making the switch we highly recommend checking your appliances are compatible with both types of gas. It’s also essential to check you have a full bottle before you travel and research where you can exchange it should you need to.

Bring your step in at night 

To prevent your caravan gathering a thick layer of ice overnight and causing a potentially hazardous situation in the morning, try to remember to bring your steps in overnight. If you would prefer to leave them outside, you could cover them in anti-freeze or rock salt to prevent them becoming slippery.

Pack a spare leisure battery

It’s amazing how quickly you can use a battery when the weather’s chilly and you’re more reliant on electric appliances. Always make sure your battery is fully charged before embarking on your travels, use a site with power and ideally bring a spare leisure battery if possible.

Research the weather conditions before you travel

We understand the draw of a caravan getaway, but always make sure you check the weather conditions before you travel. Towing a caravan can be precarious in high winds and wet or icy roads can be dangerous. Make sure you check your tyres are not worn and consider investing in some winter tyres for added piece of mind. It’s also a good idea to pack an emergency kit in case you face unexpected delays, which included items such as blankets, tow ropes, jump leads, high vis jacket and gloves.

Check your vehicles weight

For winter holidays our touring customers often pack additional provisions and equipment, which can increase the overall weight of your vehicle. It’s always better to be on the safe side and visit a weight bridge to check you are not exceeding the legal weight or towing limit.

Drain down properly after your trip

When you return home after your winter caravan break, it’s important to properly drain down your caravan or motorhome to ensure its ready for your next trip. Always take the time to drain down the hot water and inboard tanks, as any residual water could freeze and cause the pipes to burst. It’s also a good idea to turn taps to open position to allow air to be released.

Take a look at these highly recommended holiday parks that are open year-round! They are the perfect destination for a winter break to test out your new found hints and tips!

Picture credits: Bath Chew ValleyWareham Forest ParkEye Kettleby Lakes

Engineer Aftercare Says: ‘Our Caravan & Motorhome owner friends in North England and Scotland, will be familiar with the weather at more extreme lows perhaps than Owners in the South. So when travelling in higher zones, take extra care when driving and remember that ‘planning with a what-if mentality’ can mean everything to a successful Winter adventure’!

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