30 Important Issues to Know (2024 replace)

30 Important Issues to Know (2024 replace)

30 Important Issues to Know (2024 replace)

Planning to dwell and journey in your motorhome this winter? Earlier than you set off, there are some issues you must learn about winter motorhoming, dwelling in a van throughout winter and the way to keep protected (and heat!) in colder climate.

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Winter Van Life- the challenges

After I quit my job to travel in a motorhome virtually fulltime, I by no means actually thought of the winter.

Oh, we considered it in a enjoyable way- ought to we go snowboarding (extra on that later) or head as much as Norway to see the Northern Lights or head south to Spain for some winter sunshine?

However I by no means thought of how we’d carry snow chains- would we cart them round all 12 months or retailer them someplace in the course of the summer time?

What about winter tyres- when would we alter if we had been travelling away from the UK? The place would we retailer our summer time tyres? What a few hotter duvet- would we feature two all 12 months?

Can you utilize a motorhome in winter?

Completely. Many motorhomes can be utilized all 12 months round and the ‘low season’ positively has some benefits. You simply must know the way to handle the downsides of winter tenting earlier than you set off in your epic winter road trip in Europe

Professionals of winter adventures with a motorhome or camper:

  • Far much less vacationers at widespread sites- that is the time to go to cities like Rome, Venice or Paris, but additionally busy and historic locations just like the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres or Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany.
  • Many locations are coated in snow, making the pictures magical. It’s additionally a should if you wish to go snowboarding!
  • If you happen to get pleasure from night time pictures, you will get some epic pictures on clear, crisp nights.
  • The roads are usually quieter (besides key days like Boxing Day
  • Campsites are much less crowded

Disadvantages of winter motorhoming street journeys:

  • Many points of interest and locations of curiosity shut for the winter
  • Many campsites shut too, so areas on the ones accessible are wanted. Attempt to keep away from grass pitches if in any respect potential.
  • There are fewer hours of daylight, so much less time to discover
  • Highway situations may be troublesome in freezing temperatures, particularly in snow and ice.
  • Your motorhome can endure from damp, condensation and mildew in case you don’t take care of it correctly (extra on that later)
  • Drying garments and laundry generally is a ache (extra on that later too)
  • Sturdy winds and rain may be powerful to sleep by way of (ask any of us who survived Storm Denis in a van!)
  • It may be COLD (until you’ve gone south) so that you’ll use a number of gas for the heating system and it takes longer to heat up the water heater/water tanks.

Through the years, we’ve acquired a routine down for our winter journeys, and we all know the pitfalls to search for and the way to take care of them.

Winter Motorhome van life- the fact

Right here’s a video of the issues I’ve learnt while dwelling within the motorhome full-time throughout winter. It was a STEEP studying curve. I hope you discover it helpful.

We hope you discovered the video helpful. If you happen to did, we’d like it if you followed us on Youtube. New movies with suggestions for motorhoming and campervanning within the UK and Europe are launched weekly.

Kinds of winter motorhoming & van life

There are a number of varieties of people that use their motorhomes within the winter, broadly categorised into:

  • Those chasing winter sunshine
  • Others chasing snow and mountain life
  • Those that dwell fulltime of their motorhome or campervan
  • Everybody else, who simply enjoys exploring and spending time within the can when potential, even throughout winter.

Every of those teams has barely totally different issues, though a lot of the planning stays the identical. Let’s have a look at the variations beneath

Winter motorhome life within the sunshine

For anybody who needs to get away from the dreary UK winters, heading south to locations like Spain or Portugal in a motorhome is the right answer.

In fact, the BREXIT guidelines of solely having the ability to spend 90 days in each rolling 180 has made it troublesome to remain away all winter, nevertheless it’s nonetheless potential to spend almost 3 months within the sunshine.

If that is the way you’re planning to spend your winter in a motorhome, then there’s not a complete lot you must do in another way than in the course of the summer time, though don’t overlook you now must adjust to the French winter tyre law (even in case you’re simply passing by way of.)

If you’re driving your motorhome or campervan through France (in addition to all the remainder of the gear you need- seize your FREE Europe journey guidelines beneath.)

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It does additionally get chilly in winter in lots of locations in Europe, even in case you’re heading additional east and going motorhoming in Croatia or Greece. We are able to make no ensures, however in case you’d like some concepts for locations to remain or go to, right here you go:

Chasing the snow- motorhome snowboarding

If you happen to’re the opposite finish of the spectrum and searching for snow, there’s quite a bit you’ll must do to arrange your motorhome for winter within the mountains.

Gear you must carry for winter campervanning within the mountains

In addition to the standard gear you want for motorhome touring in Europe, you’ll want to hold:

  • snow chains (be sure to know the way to match them prematurely and TEST them!) We by chance purchased the improper measurement and so they didn’t match. 🙁
  • You could want winter tyres; just like the new French winter tyre law
  • Shovel- an important for chilly climate tenting
  • Lengthy-handled brush
  • Bucket/ bowl to gather gray waste

You’ll additionally must test your camper van heating is working fine- whether or not you utilize a diesel furnace, conventional Truma blown-air or propane heating system or one thing like an area heater. You’ll in all probability additionally must insulate your car, particularly the pipework and put an additional rug/ carpet on the ground.

Be sure to’ve had a full service in your motorhome or campervan earlier than you go and prime up the screenwash; salt on the roads means you’ll use it much more than ordinary.

If you happen to’d like extra suggestions and tips, take a look at our put up on motorhome skiing right here, which tells you all the things you must know earlier than you go.

Dwelling fulltime in a van in winter

For anybody who lives of their motorhome, RV or campervan fulltime, winter brings its personal challenges.

Like everybody who makes use of their motorhome within the winter, even when just for a weekend, you’ll be going through condensation, chilly, moist clothes, and extra. We’ll go into every of these challenges beneath.

What’s the Greatest Motorhome for winter use?

Many individuals marvel which motorhome to purchase for winter use or winter RV dwelling and if it’s potential to make use of a motorhome in winter, even a British mannequin, like a Swift.

I can safely say that we went motorhome snowboarding with our Swift- and it was wonderful. Certain, it was slightly chilly, and we wanted to insulate the pipes and holding tanks slightly higher, nevertheless it did the job.

In fact, European producers from international locations that are used to mountains and snow could have a better insulation degree (some even have an excessive climate package deal and heated hoses), however in addition they value extra, so do loads of analysis in case you’re planning to spend so much of time in chilly environments in your motorhome.

Winterproof vs Winterised:

  • “winterproof” means the motorhome may be warmed as much as a temperature of 20℃ (from 0℃) inside two hours, then keep pretty fixed.
  • “winterised” means the temperature ought to attain 20℃ from -15℃ inside 2 hours, and the plumbing ought to work usually.

Planning a winter motorhome trip- issues to think about

If you happen to’re planning a winter motorhome journey or winter RV tenting, there are many issues to think about.

(If you happen to’re new to motorhoming and wish some assist with the place to start out, right here’s how to plan EPIC motorhome trips anyplace you wish to go.)

The largest issues with utilizing a motorhome or campervan within the winter embrace:

  • The place to remain
  • Climate situations and security
  • Storage
  • Gear to deliver
  • Staying heat
  • Coping with damp and condensation
  • Coping with moist garments and muddy/ moist boots- drying them
  • Solar energy and managing sources
  • Discovering contemporary water and emptying water- and stopping the contemporary water tank or waste tank hoses freezing!

First, we’ll think about the place you’re going to remain in a single day.

Motorhome campsites in winter

Many campsites across the UK and Europe shut throughout winter, which might go away discovering someplace to remain difficult.

We lately took our motorhome right down to Biarritz in southern France- STUNNING place to go to in case you get an opportunity. Seize your France journey guidelines right here:

However we struggled discovering a campsite which was nonetheless open. Many locations shut across the finish of October and don’t reopen till Easter.

There are two strategies we use to fight this and discover campsites which keep open all 12 months.

For Europe

We’ve been members of the ACSI Camping Card scheme for just a few years now and it’s good in case you’re capable of journey exterior of peak season (which is often finish of June till September.) If you happen to can go to Europe exterior these occasions, you’ll save your self a fortune with an ACSI card.

Even higher, their web site/ app/ guide are nice locations to test to see when campsites shut. There are sufficient which keep open all 12 months; you simply want to seek out them. There’s often no less than one close to each main metropolis/ widespread space. In fact, the extra widespread the world, the faster you’ll must guide.

The opposite methodology we use in Europe is to make use of Park4Night and discover campsites close to the place we wish to go, after which Google the web site of these campsites and see in the event that they’re nonetheless open. If they’re, we guide (often by telephone or electronic mail.)

Motorhome skiing- how to winterise and prepare your motorhome or campervan for winter in the mountains
How you can winterise and put together your motorhome or campervan for winter within the mountains

For the UK

Campsites for UK winter road trips can slightly bit tricker. ACSI does have some UK websites, however they don’t present all those that are open all 12 months.

We use an app known as Seek for Websites to seek out campsites close to our vacation spot, then test their web site or telephone to ask. Sure, this may be laborious and irritating.

Another choice is to make use of an internet site like Pitchup.com, which lets you seek for your dates, necessities (like a motorhome exhausting standing pitch with electrical and which permits canines) and then you definitely guide by way of them.

Lastly, in case you’re a member of a motorhome club, you should use their web site or guide to seek out locations.

winter motorhome trip tips and full time camper living all year round- how to use a motorhome in winter
Winter motorhome dwelling in Sierra Nevada

Aires in Europe in winter

Many Aires in France and Europe keep open all 12 months, until they’re closed for upkeep or attributable to heavy snow (or the roads near them being closed.)

Nonetheless, there are sufficient of them that in case you solely wish to keep someplace for an evening or two as you’re travelling by way of, they make the right cease.

Simply keep in mind, ones close to mountains might be closed and if they’ve amenities like water often, the faucets could be turned off to keep away from injury.

READ MORE: How to find and use Aires in France and Europe

Different motorhome parking in winter

In fact, there are many different schemes in case you don’t wish to use campsites or Aires. Schemes like Brit Stops and France Ardour have companies that are open all 12 months, particularly locations like pubs within the UK.

You’ll be able to, in fact, nonetheless use wild camping spots with your motorhome or camper. Simply beware of soppy muddy locations in forests- you’ll get caught very simply.

Study how to find overnight parking spots around the UK and Europe here

Take into account the climate

Earlier than you head off in your winter motorhoming journey, pay additional consideration to the climate. Does the forecast embrace robust winds, fog, or snow?

None of these are a lot enjoyable in a van. Don’t overlook, you possibly can at all times regulate your plans to swimsuit no matter is forecast- that’s among the best issues about motorhoming.

Be sure to carry water, snacks and ideally some sizzling drinks- simply in case.

Mice and Rodents in your van

The opposite factor to recollect is that chilly climate will trigger mice, rats and different rodents to search for shelter… and so they actually love hiding in motorhomes and campervans.

There are methods to discourage them (humanely!). Listed here are our top tips for deterring mice and rodents in motorhomes and campers.

You can even see the injury they do on this video!

We hope you discovered the video helpful. If you happen to did, we’d like it if you followed us on Youtube. New movies with suggestions for motorhoming and campervanning within the UK and Europe are launched weekly.

Gear to hold for winter motorhome life

Other than winter/ all-weather tyres and snow chains, there are some issues we’ve discovered VERY helpful when motorhoming in winter (and even Autumn!)

van life with kids- everything you need to know about travelling in a motorhome or camper van with a child
Our motorhome in winter- our daughter liked it 🙂

Mud Mats/ Traction Grip mats

These items are a lifesaver. Final 12 months, we broke all our personal guidelines and camped up on a grass pitch.

And acquired caught.

Attempting to push a 3.5ton motorhome out of the mud or off moist grass is rarely going to occur and with out these we’d have been stuffed (you should use the carpets from inside your van in case you’re actually caught, however they’re be ruined. Save your self the concern and carry a set of these all 12 months spherical.)


We don’t often use a groundsheet once we’re motorhoming. More often than not, we keep in Aires or wild camp, so we are able to’t get it out and on a campsite we regularly use a hard-standing pitch somewhat than a area.

Nevertheless, in winter a groundsheet turns into a necessity in lots of campsites. It stops us bringing a lot mud into the van- particularly as we journey with a mud-loving cocker spaniel.

Get one like this which may be pegged out securely within the corners so doesn’t fly away and which is wipe-downable. Some folks choose two smaller ones to allow them to use a smaller measurement when wanted.


Screenwash is extra essential in winter than at another time of 12 months. There’s a lot salt and grit on the street that it will probably make the windscreen additional soiled.

Be sure to prime up your screenwash and produce additional. We love this one because it’s made for all 12 months use, even in colder climates, so received’t freeze on you once you want it most. The Demon Ice spray can also be nice because it slows down re-freezing

Don’t overlook an ice scraper in case you don’t have one already! You’ll want one with a longer handle like this so you possibly can attain all off the windscreen!

Inside mat

While we’re attempting to keep away from mud and moist footprints within the van, get a mat like this (pawprint elective!) We’ve used these for years on each the camper and our boats and so they actually are unbelievable for absorbing water from each canines and people in case you wipe your toes (paws) on them!

It’s straightforward to scrub with a jet wash once you’re cleansing your van however will final a very long time between washes if wanted.

Ingesting water

Most aires and campsites will hold a faucet working. DON’T flip this off- it’s working in order that the pipe doesn’t freeze (working water is more durable to freeze than static water within the pipe.)

It’s as much as you whether or not you select to drink out of your motorhome tank or not. We used to at all times drink from our LifeSaver Jerrycan, which purifies 99.9% of all contaminated water, making it protected to drink.

Nevertheless, this 12 months we fitted an inline water filter, which suggests the water which comes out of the faucet within the kitchen is already filtered. It’s SO a lot simpler.

The one draw back is that you must control your water consumption, which incorporates issues like showers, because it’s all coming from the one tank, somewhat than supplying you with a backup water provide only for ingesting.

READ MORE: How to find drinking water & empty waste on the road

Winter motorhoming- damp and condensation

Condensation in a motorhome or campervan is a ache within the bottom and is likely one of the largest points with winter motorhoming. There are a number of methods to cut back the issue, however only a few which do away with it utterly.

Regardless of the chilly, your van will profit from slightly air flow, so attempt to open a window no less than as soon as a day for some contemporary air.

Some folks run a dehumidifier, however you may wrestle with electrical energy for that. Non-electric damp packing containers or pouches (like those you place in wardrobes) are a good suggestion to take in no less than a few of the moisture within the air.

See all our tips for reducing condensation in your motorhome here.

Coping with moist/ muddy clothes

The largest factor to determine is the way you’ll take care of damp garments and moist/ muddy/ snowy sneakers. Taking all of them off on the door is crucial (therefore a groundsheet being helpful), however the place will you dry issues after they’re moist? The place will you grasp moist coats?

We’re fortunate that in our motorhome now we have a heating vent within the lavatory, so all moist gear goes in there to dry in a single day. Sure, it makes going to the bathroom a MISSION, nevertheless it saves there being damp gear in all places.

If you happen to’re doing laundry on the road, that is the time to make use of web site amenities or a neighborhood laundrette. Be certain all the things is dry earlier than you deliver it back- having a van filled with damp clothes isn’t any enjoyable in any respect.

If the campsite has a drying room for moist ski gear, use it.

Winter Motorhoming with a canine

If you happen to’re travelling with a canine, there are some things you’ll positively must cease them masking the whole van in muck.

Listed here are our prime suggestions for winter vanlife with a dog.

Window Vac

One of many BEST motorhome accessories we’ve ever purchased is this Karcher window vac.

It removes condensation from inside your home windows in seconds AND it’s good for when you must clean your motorhome. All in all, price each penny.

Thermal Display

We LOVE our thermal display screen from Rainbow screens. Not solely is it a enjoyable speaking level, nevertheless it does its job exceptionally properly, reducing down condensation and warmth loss by way of the home windows.

(Disclaimer; we had been gifted the display screen, however we’re not being paid or inspired to incorporate it on this post- we genuinely suppose it’s good.)

Nevertheless, we all know it’s costly, so here’s a cheaper alternative for you:

READ MORE: Epic motorhome and campervan gadgets to make vanlife even better

Winter motorhome living- Staying heat

Staying heat in a camper when it’s chilly exterior generally is a problem. You’ll in all probability wish to add insulation to your van and positively add one other rug or carpet on the ground to maintain it slightly hotter.


Even in case you’re chasing the sunshine down in Spain, it will probably nonetheless get chilly sufficient to wish heating in your camper during winter and within the mountains it’s important.

Many campsites within the mountains don’t have 16 amp electrical energy provide and so your electrical heating won’t work in addition to you might be used to. It additionally means you must be selective about how a lot electrical energy you might be utilizing without delay (you don’t wish to be THAT van which is continually tripping everybody’s electrical energy…)

Gasoline heating works properly, however you’ll use a number of it- we use round 6kg each 2 days.

Diesel heating is a superb various, however many vans don’t include it as commonplace. If you happen to do match it, concentrate on the burden and the way it impacts your motorhome payload. Another choice is an oil-filled radiator, however ensure that it’s low wattage.

12v heated blanket

YES, you possibly can have a heated blanket in your motorhome. I do know, I do know- you’re welcome. One of many issues my daughter HATED about winter motorhome dwelling was that she acquired chilly within the again seats if we didn’t drive with the heating on. This blanket fixed all that.

You can even put it UNDER your quilt earlier than bedtime to heat the sheets- simply don’t sleep with it on.

I even have a low wattage electrical blanket in my van, which I run off my powerbank. This is the one I have.

(If you happen to’re , this is the powerbank I have)

Excessive Tog quilt

Is there something higher than snuggling beneath a heat quilt on a chilly night time? Make winter nights slightly extra bearable with a 15 tog duvet like this one (though clearly not in case you’re going to Spain!)

Different suggestions embrace carrying a LOT of sizzling water bottles, sporting thermals and investing in some superior fluffy slipper socks like these.

Managing energy for winter motorhoming or dwelling in a camper 12 months spherical

If you happen to’re on a campsite, you’ll in all probability have first rate entry to electrical energy. Nevertheless, in case you’re utilizing aires or staying off-grid, you’ll must pay extra consideration to your energy consumption and the way you’re going to prime up your batteries.

Photo voltaic Energy

You’ll be able to’t depend on solar energy throughout winter to recharge your batteries in the identical approach you possibly can at different occasions of the 12 months. The solar isn’t as robust, there are extra midnights and extra areas of shade. Additionally, you’ll be utilizing extra energy than you may usually.

If you have already got a photo voltaic panel fitted, then by all means use what you possibly can, however don’t depend on it as your solely energy supply. If you happen to’re planning on being off-grid quite a bit, a motorhome generator might be a good suggestion.

Your motorhome Battery

Batteries don’t like chilly. They don’t run as successfully so you must be extra vigilant about taking care of them, ensuring they don’t run too low, giving them cost often and customarily babying them. Discover out extra about looking after your motorhome leisure battery here.

You may additionally wish to match a motorhome inverter too, particularly in case you’re planning to remain off-grid quite a bit. This may allow you to make greatest use of the facility in your batteries; simply do not forget that photo voltaic shouldn’t be so good in winter so it’s going to take longer to recharge your batteries when you’ve drained them.

LED lights

We at all times suggest putting in LED lights in your van to avoid wasting power- particularly in case you’re staying off-grid quite a bit, however in winter it turns into important as ‘regular’ bulbs drain the facility too rapidly. Be sure to deliver spares- they’ll be on for longer throughout winter and also you’ll in all probability want to exchange a pair.


Cooking within the motorhome may be problematic throughout winter. You need one thing hearty and filling, however the longer you prepare dinner, the extra steam goes into the ambiance, inflicting damp and condensation.

Additionally, in case you’ve spent all day exterior, you in all probability received’t wish to prepare dinner once you return. That’s why now we have a low wattage sluggish cooker which we use quite a bit throughout winter.

In fact, this depends on an honest electrical connection. I’ve additionally heard good issues about thermal cookers (however by no means used one), which doesn’t want energy after the preliminary cooking and in addition good issues concerning the Instant Pot. Each are price exploring.

In fact, there are numerous methods to get pleasure from winter motorhoming. If you happen to similar to discovering a campsite close to your own home which is open all 12 months and staying within the van for a weekend, you in all probability received’t must do a lot in another way. You’ll be able to even pre-cook hearty stews and produce it with you.

Equally, in case you get pleasure from staying off-grid and wild camping with your motorhome, you received’t want a lot additional until you go someplace very chilly (like up a mountain!)

Simply keep in mind to test your methods earlier than you go and do your pre-trip motorhoming checks to make sure your car is protected in no matter situations you may end up driving in (like heavy rain!)

Final replace on 2024-03-17 / Affiliate hyperlinks / Pictures from Amazon Product Promoting API

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