Can you sleep in a pop-top in winter? (5 camping tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you sleep in a pop-top in winter? This is the ultimate guide, where you will get useful tips and tricks for a warm and cosy stay in a pop-top during long and cold winter nights. 

Can you sleep in a pop-top in winter?

Yes, you can most certainly sleep in a pop-top (also known as a pop-up camper) in winter, as long as you take all the necessary precautions to stay warm during those cold nights. Obviously, your first ally will be warm winter clothes, but you can also do some things to prepare your camper for wintertime travel. 

If your pop-top camper has a cell heating system, you can easily face the cold; it is just a matter of gaining some experience and following some advice. 

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: tires, snow chains and shovel

The cold brings with it the necessity to travel with snow tires or with chains on board. There are those who need to have two sets of tires, one for summer and one for winter, and those who only need a summer train. and, occasionally, to mount the chains, those who opt for an “all season” solution.

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: The batteries

One of the most delicate topics: batteries in winter. The first thing to say is that both the engine battery and that (or those) of the services must be in good condition to face the cold which, in itself, will cause a greater discharge. 

As a general rule, the needs should not exceed 30% -40% of the battery capacity. 

And regarding the parking without connection to the electricity grid (connected to 220 v you will never have problems), the questions to ask are: how much do I consume? How much can I recharge the batteries during the day?

Yes, because basically, the batteries are like the current account, what matters is the balance: I spend a lot, I have to bring in a lot. With a peculiarity: there is no credit line, indeed there is a minimum stock under which I must not go, under penalty of the health of the battery or even its damage.

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: Heating of the camper

The insulation of the pop-top camper can be more or less valid and efficient, but it is still there. This means that the interior can be heated and the heat maintained, perhaps some models “hold better than others”, but this is not very important: your camper can face the cold. 

I don’t want to get involved in a dissertation on heating systems, gas, oil, air, radiators. It is not the goal of this article, everyone is fine, know that in any case, you will be able to obtain and maintain a comfortable temperature.

The important thing is to keep the camper heating always on, both day and night.

And not only because maintaining the temperature, in terms of consumption, certainly costs less than turning off and on several times, but also because the air distribution system runs alongside the water one, and keeping the stove always on prevents the water from freezing in the pipes, in the pump and in the ‘possible expansion tank.

You will adjust the temperature according to your needs, higher when you are on board, lower when you are out of the camper, at night you will avoid excessive heat, so as not to dry the air too much and maintain good comfort, but you will never turn off the stove. A couple of reference temperatures? 20 degrees during the day when inside, 15 at night.

Other questions you may be interested in

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Sleeping in a pop-top camper in the cold

The forced distribution of hot air through the ducting creates a fairly uniform temperature in the cell, but still consider that in the pop-top roof it will be a little warmer than below, take this into account in order not to lower the stove too much if someone sleeps down.

If the air ducting does not reach the top, during the night put a blanket (preferably padded) along the lower part as a draft excluder (stack it without pressing it), it will protect those who sleep on that side from the cold of the wall.

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: Stop the cold as soon as possible

Have you ever taken a winter nap in your car? If you don’t keep the heating on, take two minutes and you start to feel the cold outside.

In the pop-top camper, it is the same thing, if you do not run for cover, in the driver’s cabin there will be the same outside temperature. It is by far the point from which you will lose the most heat. First, put the air intake selector on recirculation and close the vents, at least no gusts of icy air will enter. The doors at the bottom may also have air intakes, close those too if possible.

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: the importance of isolation

The basic concept is to stop the cold as soon as possible, preferably outside the cabin. So the best thing would be to use an external integral cab cover thermal blind. Great for the classic white week, when temperatures of -10 are the norm. 

It is better if made up of two pieces because it is more versatile and convenient for storage. It must be purchased specifically for the pop-top model on which to apply it. For snow regulars, especially for multi-day stops, I consider it necessary.

Alternatively, you can do your winter outings anyway, shielding the cabin from the inside, even if the efficiency will certainly be lower.

In the morning in the pop-top, the air will be freezing (like everything you have left there) but the blanket will have done its job shielding the cell. For a “more professional performance”, with a little dexterity, you can make a partition with multilayer fabric, cutting it to size and applying it to the pop-top roof profile (also on the sides) with snaps, the best can also make a passage (with zipping or another system) between the roof and the living area.

Sleep in a pop-top in winter: Tips on Diesel and Gas

The diesel contained in the tank at certain temperatures begins to suffer from the cold, the paraffin separates from the fuel and crystallizes, forming real wax plugs, the classic one in the filter. The result is that the engine does not reach the fuel and the heating does not work if fueled by diesel fuel, exactly as if the tank were empty. 

Don’t forget that with snow on the ground, the windshield will also get dirty more quickly due to splashes of dirty snow mixed with salt, so to keep the wiper system efficient, an antifreeze liquid for the wiper chamber is ideal.

The gas you have in the cylinders (or in the fixed tank) is LPG, Liquefied Petroleum Gas. LPG is a mixture of various gases, you are interested in the two main ones: butane and propane. 

Do not cover the cylinders and leave them as they are. Without putting on coats of any kind, propane will continue to “work” precisely because there is heat exchange with the surrounding environment, which will occur up to external temperatures of -42. 

Conclusions

Doing things step by step will allow you to know your vehicle, its behaviour in the cold, your needs in terms of energy and gas consumption. The beauty is that the pop-top camper offers many opportunities to learn by doing, and for this reason, in a short time, you will find yourself on New Year’s Eve in the mountains with the snow.

It must also be said that campsites and rest areas often offer useful services even to those who want to stay still for several days, effectively eliminating the problems deriving from prolonged stops.

If you have any comments, tips or questions about this content, please let us know!

FAQ on Can you sleep in a pop-top 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.)

References

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