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Holidays in the countryside

Helpful hints for winter caravanning

The Quiet Site Winter Caravan site
Winter caravanning – pic. The Quiet Site, Lake District

The unmistakable chill of winter in the air shouldn’t put you off taking a trip in your motorhome or caravan.

Apart from benefitting from the peace and tranquillity of quieter holiday parks, you’ll also be able to enjoy crisp walks and take in the winter landscape – something you may not have seen if you’ve only visited during the fairer seasons.

Some of our holiday parks and their fantastic facilities are open all year-round, so if you’ve got your wellies and a sense of adventure at the ready, then check out some of our helpful hints to make camping in the cold weather a piece of cake.

Prepare for travel whatever the weather

Before you start packing, take a look at the weather conditions. We all know that the British climate can be unpredictable, but it should still give you an idea of what to expect and help you plan for travel. Make sure you’ve got an emergency travel kit to hand including snacks, fresh drinking water, jump leads, gloves, high vis jackets, tow ropes and warm blankets in case of breakdown or delays.

Towing a caravan or trailer on wet or icy roads is perilous, so try to leave when you’ll benefit from the best possible weather conditions, and don’t forget to check that your tyres are in good condition too.

Pack for the weather ahead

There’s no harm in being over-prepared when it comes to winter camping. Take plenty of cosy clothing, waterproofs, bedding, blankets and even a high tog level duvet – you’ll be glad of the extra layers at night.

Make sure you’re wrapping up in the day too with scarves, gloves and thermals if you’re planning on hiking or exploring the area, and always check the weather before you head out.

Make sure you’ve got a full battery

During a winter camping trip, you’re more likely to be draining your battery with increased electrical appliance usage. Double check it’s fully charged before setting off, and if you’ve got the space then it doesn’t hurt to pack a spare.

The Quiet Site VW winter

Know how much your vehicles weigh

With lots of extra winter provisions comes additional weight for your vehicles and trailers. Try to keep track of this extra bulk as you load up, or visit a weight bridge to make sure that you’re not over the legal limits for your motorhome or trailer.

Don’t let external water tanks freeze

Insulating your external water tanks is so important if you’re planning on camping in the colder months. The simplest thing you can do is make sure the tank is off the ground by placing it on a spare stool, box or plank of wood – nothing too complicated is needed.

There are also a number of insulated container jackets available, designed specifically to stop your water from freezing as the temperature drops.

If you don’t fancy forking out, but still want to protect your container and its pipe, then you can always make use of things you already have laying around such as unwanted jackets, fleeces or blankets.

Add anti-freeze to your waste water

Although some people may add salt to their waste water supply it can corrode the tank and lead to expensive damage, so best to steer clear. Instead, a little bit of anti-freeze should do the job.

Keep out the cold with extra insulation

Particularly with modern caravans and motorhomes you’ll find that you’re covered when it comes to insulation and double glazing. However, if you’re taking a much-treasured vehicle that’s seen plenty of adventures over the years, it’s likely you’ll need to give it a helping hand when it comes to keeping the warmth in.

Plastic sheeting and insulated window screens across windows, and extra matting on the floors can keep out drafts and stop your feet from getting too cold – even if you’re wearing your snuggest slippers and thermal socks.

Don’t block your vents

With chilly drafts coming in through vents, you may be tempted to close or block them – but don’t. You need this ventilation to help keep condensation levels down and let fresh air in, so it can be quite dangerous without them.

If you’re worried about the draft from the vents then work out the direction of the wind and position your motorhome or caravan out of direct gusts.

Store essentials just in case

Just like a squirrel in autumn, it’s a good idea to stock up on some important supplies you may need. Take some easy-to-prep food, extra blankets and keep a container of fresh water inside your caravan, just in case your tank insulation efforts don’t quite cut the mustard.

Switch butane for propane gas

Although propane can be slightly more costly, it is actually more efficient in the colder winter temperatures. However, before you make the switch, double check that your appliances are compatible and that you’ve got a full bottle.

The Quiet Site winter caravaning

Take a winter porch or awning

You’re really going to thank us for this one – particularly if you’ve caught the bug for winter camping. Not only can a porch or awning help to keep you toasty by reducing the cold air coming in when through the open door, but it also gives you a place to store muddy boots, wet wellies and soggy outer clothing.

Make sure your awning is specially designed for winter weather with thick, heavy duty fabric and durable poles.

Bring the step in at night

Slipping down your step first thing in the morning is a horrible way to start the day, so bringing it in at night will prevent ice from forming and creating a hazard. Of course, if you can’t do this, you can use rock salt or anti-freeze to help prevent the ice forming in the first place.

Draining down after your trip is crucial

When your winter trip is over, make sure your motorhome or caravan is ready for next time with a few simple steps. Residual water left in pipes can freeze and cause damage, so always drain the hot water and onboard tanks, and turn taps to open to release any air.

Ready and raring to go on a frosty winter break? Some of our nationwide holiday parks are open all year-round and are the perfect base from which to explore and enjoy days out.