Be Winter Wise with Your Caravan
Don’t let a bit of winter weather stop you making the most of your caravan.
There is no feeling quite like being inside a warm and cosy caravan when the winter weather’s doing its thing outside. You’ll also find that roads are much emptier, four-season sites are pleasingly quiet (and you’ll pay low-season rates), plus you won’t have to queue at any of the attractions you visit.
What’s not to like?
Here are a few tips from our friends at towbar specialist, Bosal, to help make your winter touring a success.
The right gas
Keeping warm and having everything ‘cooking on gas’ are the two most important elements of winter touring. But make sure you take the correct gas!
Using propane instead of butane is crucial. Butane liquid only ‘boils’ into a gas at -2°C, so if the temperatures get below that, your gas supply may be unreliable. On the other hand, propane has a much lower boiling point of
-42°C. This means it will still turn from a liquid into a gas at much lower temperatures – temperatures that are unlikely to be reached in even the worst British winter.
Be aware, you’ll need to change your regulator, as they are not interchangeable between the two cylinder types.
Stocking up on bottled water in any season is not a bad idea, and in a keen winter, it’s essential. This is because your caravan water system and on-site water supplies can freeze.
You’ll need enough water for basic hygiene as well as a good old cuppa. However, overstocking bottled water can mean transporting a heavy load so check to see if there will be local amenities to buy from where you’re headed as this may be an easier option all round.
Consider taking extra equipment, such as torches with spare batteries, high-visibility jackets, warning triangles, emergency beacons, thermal blankets and emergency breakdown kits. These can make a vital difference should wintery conditions take a turn for the worse.
Also, don’t forget basic winter accessories such as de-icer and ice scrapers.Should snow and ice affect your ability to drive safely, then snow shovels, snow chains or grip mats should help you out of any potential difficulties. Some experts also advise having an old piece of carpet on board to help your wheels gain traction when pulling away.
Keeping your caravan warm and well-insulated will help prevent damage such as cracked taps, split pipes and water tank leaks.
Keep the mains heating on overnight to ensure that pipes don't freeze as temperatures plummet.
Although UK winters are relatively mild, we are prone to the odd harsh winter that can lead to external water carriers freezing. This can be avoided by wrapping the container in insulating material, such as bubble wrap or an old duvet.
If your caravan has an internal water tank, make sure it’s full. If it’s mounted under the van, you might want to consider extra insulation.
Make time for maintenance
After every winter trip away, drain your water system to eliminate the risk of damaging water heaters, pipes and other services such as the toilet flush reservoir and toilet cassette. Repairs for this type of damage can get very expensive.
You should also keep mechanical parts well maintained. Regular cleaning and checking of brakes, hitches and wheels is essential.
In cold damp weather, consider taking a dehumidifier away with you as it can quickly become damp inside caravans, especially older ones. These compact units also minimise condensation which can be a serious problem during winter.