Can you live in a caravan in winter?

In this article, we will discuss: Can you live in a caravan in winter? If you have decided to go on a short trip during the winter holidays, be sure to equip your vehicle properly.

Can you live in a caravan in winter?

It is possible to live in a caravan in winter, but you must insulate your vehicle well and make all the necessary preparations. 

Snow, heavy rain, cold or ice may be very present on the road. But you don’t have to worry, today’s caravan brands are prepared for all types of climates. What’s more, new caravans on the market are becoming better equipped to be able to use them regardless of the season of the year. 

  • The heating: If snowfall is expected on your trip, you must take into account the exit of smoke. It is very important to avoid the accumulation of snow on the roof, it can block the exit. 

Before turning it on, check that there is no obstruction. In older caravan brands that do not have heating systems, you can use an electric heater. In the case of new caravans you will find quite a few heating systems: central, forced air, fuel.

  • Propane gas: You should not use butane bottles in temperatures that are below zero degrees Celsius. Butane is gasified, therefore, always use propane gas bottles and do not forget to take a spare as in winter you will put it to good use.
  • Water tanks: it is important to monitor them, low temperatures can freeze our installation, so empty all the tanks when you have the caravan parked.
  • Always dry electrical installation: be very careful here, check that the batteries are charged, in winter they discharge faster, and check that the external connections do not get wet.
  • Exterior care: It is important to grease the locks. Water or moisture can get into them and freeze them. In addition, it is recommended that, if you have been informed of the storm and there is frost at night, do not forget to use insulating tape to cover the keyholes.

If you live in a caravan in winter, insulate your vehicle well

It is important to feel warm in your recreational vehicle. Insulating your vehicle is therefore essential: it will limit noise, cold and prevent water from entering. Do not miss the thermal bridges (interruption of insulation, heat loss) with hollow bodies, cutting points, bodywork reinforcements, windows and bays … To properly insulate your vehicle, here are a few tips:

– Buy insulating cover for the windshield  or make yourself with thermal insulation

– Curtains for the windows: ready-to-install kits or home design (recover, for example, insulating camping mats). Also, remember to isolate the driving position from the living area.

If you live in a caravan in winter, warm up!

To help you achieve a comfortable temperature in your vehicle, opt for heating. Several solutions are available to you: gas heating, gas oil heating, electric auxiliary heating … Be careful to keep in mind that you are in a small space: you must respect good ventilation and equip yourself with a carbon monoxide detector.

If you live in a caravan in winter, equip yourself

To fight against the cold, you obviously have to choose your wardrobe with care, favouring insulating materials and do not hesitate, if you have room, to take your plaid, blankets, fleeces … For your vehicle, equip yourself with a good duvet or duvets and do not hesitate to abuse rugs to insulate your floor. Equipment level, some practical ideas: hot water bottles, moisture extractor, antifreeze

How do I keep the water heater and water tank from freezing in winter?

If you live in a caravan in winter, the water system might freeze over. You obviously want to prevent your water from freezing and running out of water. That’s why we show you how to keep the water heater and water tank frost-free.

Tip 1: Heat and insulate your caravan

If you are camping in the winter, it is important to maintain the heat for a long time so that the cold stays outside. To do this, you can heat the motorhome or caravan and place thermal curtains inside the windshield.

This also applies to winter-resistant motorhomes or caravans. A motorhome is winter hardy if it is equipped with a heating system and is sufficiently insulated. This way, the cold is kept outside and you avoid high gas consumption and condensation. However, this does not mean that the caravan or motorhome is 100% protected against the cold. We recommend placing additional insulating material on the wheel arches, as this is often a weak point in terms of insulation. In addition, with a winter-resistant motorhome, it is also important to heat well.

Tip 2: Do not completely fill the water tanks

To avoid damaging the water pipes, we recommend that you do not completely fill the water tanks (this also applies to winter-resistant motorhomes/caravans). If the water freezes, it expands. The water lines in a caravan are almost always flexible plastic (thermoplastic), so they won’t break very quickly if the water turns to ice. 

The connecting pieces to the tanks and the valves are made of harder plastic (thermosetting) and these will break more quickly if the ice expands. This expansion can damage the tank and the pipes and no one wants that. Therefore, avoid damage by not filling the tank completely.

Tip 3: Use an antifreeze additive

By using an anti-freeze additive, you prevent the water from freezing. You can use it for the toilet and the waste water tank. If you have a toilet with your own water tank, make sure the water tank is protected from the cold during the winter period. 

You can turn on the heat, but if you find it too expensive, the anti-freeze additive is a good solution. Like windshield washer fluid, there is also a winter version for toilet fluid. By adding antifreeze to the toilet, you prevent it from freezing.

In addition to the toilet, the waste water tank is also sensitive to frost, as it is usually located under the motorhome and can therefore freeze more quickly. Some people add salt to the wastewater tank, but it can affect the tank. 

This is not recommended when the tank is made of aluminium. A better solution is to add an antifreeze additive, as this does not affect the tank and it is environmentally friendly.

Aqua Kem Green can be added to toilet water, waste water tank and toilet water waste water tank. This promotes the decomposition of waste and remains liquid down to -20 degrees.

Tip 4: Clean the water tank after use

Most water heaters are well insulated. If the water heater is still on in the morning, it will stay hot for a few hours and prevent freezing. Many water heaters also have automatic frost protection. This means that the water heater drains automatically in the event of possible frost. If the water heater does not have such a safety device, you must empty or purge it yourself.

More tips for living in a caravan in winter

Check your gas bottles: In the summer, butane is often used, but it can freeze. Therefore, use propane during the winter months. Propane stays liquid up to 38 degrees below zero.

Bring a hairdryer: You can not only use it for your hair but also thaw frozen pipes or locks.

Take a lock de-icer as well: Do not leave it in the motorhome, caravan or car, but make sure you always have it with you, otherwise, you will not be able to get into your caravan.

In short, prevent freezing by purging the tanks or adding antifreeze and properly insulating and heating your caravan.

The bottom line

If you do not use your caravan for a while and store it in a place where the temperature may drop below freezing, we advise you to always empty all the water. When a caravan is unmanned, the heating is off and it is still too cold. In unheated spaces, the water pipes should therefore always be purged.

Are you going to store your caravan for the winter? Then drain all water from the water heater, pipes, water tank and toilets. Purge remains the best solution. This way you avoid a lot of damage.

If you have any questions, comments or tips on how to live in a caravan in winter, please let us know!

FAQ on Can you live in a caravan in winter?

How do I prepare my caravan for wintering?

Here are a few tips to prepare your caravan for wintering:

  1. Empty the water heater. 
  2. Empty and clean the toilet tanks. 
  3. Remove the gas cylinder (s). 
  4. Put the windows in the ventilation position. 
  5. Open the bathroom door. 
  6. Do not unscrew the feet. 
  7. Do not put plastic sheeting on the caravan. 
  8. Put the clean trailer in the garage.

Should you cover a caravan in winter?

Yes, you should cover a caravan in winter with good quality, breathable and light caravan cover. A caravan with a protective cover can be safely stored inside and outside, no matter the season, but especially in winter. 

How to protect a caravan in winter?

The first solution is the most economical: the protective cover. It covers a caravan that usually sleeps outside. It is never advisable to leave a motorhome outdoors for a long period, it is damaged and degrades more quickly (bodywork, gaskets, batteries, tires, etc.)


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