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Tips for Cold Weather Vanning


The seasonal cold weather is calling for van travelers to get in touch with their creative and inventive side to stay warm through their journeys. Fortunately, we learn that the more we van camp, the more we learn to stick to certain must-do’s from experience and fellow van campers along the way.

Whether it’s your first time van camping through the cold or your seventh, there’s always something new to discover that will make your travels safer and more comfortable through harsher weather. To help you get an edge on your next road trip, we’re bringing you some of our most nifty and cozy tips that are easy to include for your fall and winter travels.

Guest Post by Deanna Paulsen 

Winterize Your Van

RV antifreeze is an absolute must for cold weather travel. If you’re wandering to a destination where temperature may drop below freezing, you’ll want to winterize your rec van by pumping antifreeze through your water lines and adding some antifreeze to your tanks. Don’t forget to pour some antifreeze into your black and gray tanks too! You’ll also want to keep them closed through freezing temperatures. While the antifreeze can only do so much when a tank is left trickling.

Meet Your Best Friend, Insulation

While several all-season rec vans come equipped with insulation, not all vans are created equal. If you’re riding a rig that doesn’t quite have the insulation you need to make it through frigid weather, no worries! There are some simple and incredibly helpful hacks you can do to keep out the cold while you’re van camping. Applying indoor insulation films to the windows of your van is an easy and affordable way to trap the heat in your RV. You can also trim reflective bubble foil to add an extra layer of insulation (and privacy) when you’re stationed at a campground. Its ease of storage is an absolute plus. Just roll it up and tuck it away! You can also add some rugs inside to help with the insulation of your vinyl flooring

Electrical Heating

Instead of wasting energy by cranking up the heat, pack along a couple of personal electric space heaters to keep the interior of your van cozy. If you’re one for holiday ambiance, you’re going to love this personal electrical fireplace! Who says big rig RVers are the only ones that can enjoy the perk of indoor burning coals? (Don’t worry, they’re purely aesthetic and safe!) If you’re at a campground with free electric hook-ups, bring along an electric heated blanket to stay warm through the night. There are plenty of buying options available, including blankets with remote control and timed settings. If you’re at campground hook-up, cooking inside will keep your van warm while saving energy from running your furnace.

Protect Your Propane Tank

Cold weather can cause your propane tanks to lose pressure. As a result, you may find your van burning through propane much quicker than normal, causing an extra loss of money over time. If you’re looking to go boondocking, invest in a propane radiant heater or a Powerblanket propane tank heater to keep the pressure from dropping, thus saving you a significant amount of money on tank refills. Keep in mind that the heat system in your camper van is designed to keep the tanks warm too. So be sure to share the love to your vehicle by running the heat when you can. The cost and inconvenience of repairing a frozen tank is much higher than the cost or running the heat.

Keep Your Water Lines Warm

Upgrade your freshwater hose with a heated water hose to keep water flowing through frigid weather. To avoid the chance of having to deal with the clean-up of frozen… um… black tank contents, you’ll thank yourself down the road for insulating your sewer hose. The easiest way to go at it is by purchasing foam tubes to slip over your sewer hose. You can also find this tubing in 90-degree forms for insulating the connections as well. Alternatively, you can wrap the hose with heat tape. Should you run into the issue of a frozen sewer hose, try pouting some antifreeze into your holding tank and placing a heating pad over the piping to get it thawed out. You can also keep cabinets and cupboards with passing plumbing lines slightly open to allow your van’s interior heat to reach the piping.

Reduce Condensation and Moisture

When you’re staying inside your van through cold weather, you’ll note a natural build up of condensation. As it accumulates, it can build up into moisture that may create the issue of molding over time. Though it’s not possible to completely eliminate condensation, reducing it will help you in avoiding potential mold damage down the road. You can find a personal dehumidifier that best fits your living space to help do the trick through your travels. We know a long hot shower can be very tempting after a cold day, but try to keep your showers short and sweet to avoid humidity build-up. Be sure to let your indoor moisture escape by using your vent fans when cooking or in the shower. If you want to take extra precaution, you can put DampRid moisture absorbers throughout your van’s cabinets and drawers without breaking the bank.

Are you getting ready to enjoy a van style Thanksgiving weekend with the ones you love most? To help you plan and prepare for an unforgettable gathering, we’ve got just the guide for you! Check out How to Celebrate Thanksgiving #VanLife Style for some nifty tips and tricks to hosting your friends and family at the campground, or in the heart of nature.

Where are you planning on going for the Thanksgiving holiday? Let us know along with your favorite holiday traditions in the comments below!