Enjoy winter by van
¡Don’t forget to share this post on social media!
Living in a van on winter is probably one of the most complicated challenges to which van dwellers have to deal with, but that doesn’t mean that that you can’t enjoy winter by van. We love going to the mountains and enjoying the snow in winter so if you follow this tips and tricks, you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful season to the max.
Probably one of the most important points, if not the first one. We’ve seen many conversions because we love to learn and to see what others do. We’ve seen people put many different kinds of isolation in their vans, rock wool, reflexive isolation, polyurethane injections, etc. Although those may work more or less fine, we recommend the self-adhesive 20mm Kaliflex without any doubt. Its price might scare you away at first sight, but keep in mind that a van doesn’t have that many square meters and it is something that, if you do it right since the beginning you won’t have to regret it in the future. Installing it is very simple, you only need to create a stencil of the area that you want to put it in, cut it with a cutter and then stick it directly to the sheet.
REDUCING OR ELIMINATING THE THERMAL BRIDGES
This may sound very ‘technical’ but a thermal bridge is basically a place from where you lose more heat than the average in your surrounding. The windows are an example or the areas of the van that aren’t isolated.
Possibly from where we lose more heat. The best solution is to use some detachable isolations for our windows. There are some companies that do custom made isolations but we recommend that you do it yourself because it’s quite simple. The best option is to use the 7 layer Isoflex isolation. They sell a kit to do it yourself in most camper shops, that includes the suction pads to stick them on your windows. If you want to do it ‘low cost’, there are some people who have made the isolations out of those silver mats from Decathlon, but we can’t guarantee that they are very effective.
Through the driver’s cabin, you lose a lot of heat because it is mainly all windows. If your cabin communicates directly with your living space, hang a thick curtain to retain the heat where you are. If besides that, you isolate the windows as we said earlier, even better.
If you spend a lot of time inside of your van in places where it’s very cold (we are talking about under 0 degrees) a heating system is going to be a must, because without it you won’t be able to move from under the blanket or the sleeping bag. There are many heating models, but the two main systems are the ones that work on gas and the ones that do on diesel oil.
We’ve chosen this type of stationary heating because it goes connected to the diesel tank of the van, so as we always have diesel, we can always have the heating, they consume very little as well. We’ve had it running the whole night and when turning on the engine of the van, the needle had barely gone down.
There are several brands in the market but the most well-known is Webasto. With this company , ou won’t have any problem when it comes to homologating it, as some Chinese heating systems that are growing in popularity between the van dweller’s community, are not approvable. If you want more information on the steps to follow to homologate your camper van, visit our post ‘Guide to certify your van step by step’.
We have installed the Webasto Air Top 2000STC in our van. Unless you have a huge van, we recommend you to install this model. It has a maximum power of 2KW and a maximum consume of 0.27l/hour. These heating systems are very safe to use because all its combustion gases are ejected outside, nevertheless, it’s best to keep a small space to let it breathe if you are going to sleep with the heating on, just out of caution. You can have it installed by several companies, but if you are up for it, you can install it yourself, it isn’t very complicated once you have all the connections figured out and you will save up
· GAS HEATER
The functioning is basically the same as the previous heating, but this ones use gas as fuel. We have to say that from this sort of heating there is a wider range of models, such as in different shapes and also some portable ones. We didn’t particularly like the idea of installing a heating that worked on gas for several reasons:
- First of all, we considered it more practical to have a heating that is connected to our diesel oil tank as we always have fuel.
- Because it works on gas, we don’t trust it that much, especially if we want to sleep with the heating on.
- If we are in a different country, we don’t have to worry about finding adapters for the gas bottle. To refill the fuel tank we won’t have any problem, as it is something we can do wherever we go.
A model that has become very popular between van dwellers is the Mr. Heater. It is a very powerful portable heater that you can connect to a gas bottle or it can also work on small ones, which are very easy to find in shops of camping material. It goes without saying that if you choose an option like this, never go to sleep with the heater on.
HOT WATER BAGS
A classic that won’t let you down! Put a bag inside of your bed before going to sleep so it will be warm. I don’t know you, but we hate when we get in the bed and it is cold. They also help you to keep the bed warm for several hours.
PARK IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Don’t underestimate this advice. When deciding where to park to spend the night, look for areas that are protected and less exposed to the outdoors as possible. Avoid high places and open areas. The best thing to do is to look for groves or between two vans for example.
As Norwegian idiom says “There isn’t bad weather, only inappropiate clothing”.
PREPARE YOUR WARDROBE FOR WINTER
When you are inside the van, the best option for us is to use anti-slip socks because they are very warm and are very useful if you have to move around the inside of the van. We always remove our shoes once we know we won’t be getting out in a while, so we don’t get the floor dirty (if that’s possible).
To be warm and cozy inside of the van, there’s nothing better than a good polar fleece pyjama. They are very comfortable, allow transpiration and keep your body heat a lot.
It is a must to take a good blanket with you. We have a duvet cover and it works wonders. We also always take another thinner blanket that we use to cover ourselves while we are watching a film or reading and if it is very cold, we put it on top of the duvet cover when going to sleep. If you go to extremely cold areas, it’s also a good idea to take a good sleeping bag with you.
What you eat also plays an important role here. You have to adapt your diet to a winter, something that almost everyone unconsciously already does when it’s cold, as we all prefer a good soup with cold weather than a salad for example.
On the morning we recommend you to have a coffee or a tea with your breakfast. At lunchtime, you should eat meals with a high energetic value, mostly food that is rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereals, that besides helping you keep a warm body temperature, have a higher nutritional level than refined cereals. We also recommend you to use spices and condiments like garlic, turmeric, curry or pepper because they help to higher our corporal heat. For dinner, there’s nothing like a nice warm soup or a purée rich in veggies. Before going to bed you can take an infusion.
TRAVEL AS SOUTH AS POSSIBLE
One of the best thing about traveling by van is that it allows you to go wherever you want to go, so if you live on the road and there’s nothing that ties you to the cold North, travel as South as you can. Winters in the South of Spain, Portugal and Morocco are much warmer.
We hope that these tricks and tips help you enjoy winter in your van.
¿What else do you do to bare with the cold while traveling by van?
DETACHABLE INDOOR SHOWER