As caravans have become more sophisticated, not surprisingly, the prices have been rising. So, when you buy a caravan you are making a significant investment. In Britain we have very variable weather and so to get the best out of your investment, it might be an idea to do some winter caravanning.
Many people want to snuggle up at home during the winter months but when you have a little home from home, then winter caravanning can be tempting. Lots of caravan sites are open during the winter months, so what about escaping for Christmas to your own little hide-away, sipping mulled wine miles away from anyone except the one you love?
Another reason for taking the caravan away during winter is the difference in climates from the North to the South of the UK. If you live in Scotland, going south for a few weeks in January can make all the difference to conditions like SAD (Seasonal Adjustment Disorder). While it isn’t exactly warm during January even down on the south coast, you will see the snow melt more quickly. Seeing snowdrops and crocuses can reassure us that spring is on its way. Those little signs that indicate warmer weather and more sunlight can be just the ticket to keep us going through the cooler weather.
The good news is that most modern caravans are up to the job. If you want to caravan in below freezing weather, then your caravan is likely up for the job. The general rule is if your caravan has grade 3 insulation you are fine in minus conditions. If your caravan has grade 2 insulation you will be okay in down to 0 degrees. Most caravans are equipped with grade three insulation unless you have an older caravan. So almost certainly your caravan is good to go. If you have grade 2 insulation, don’t worry, we have an idea for you later on in this article.
Which Caravans Have Grade Three Insulation
Grade three insulation means that your caravan will stay at a comfortable 20 degrees when outside the weather is -15 degrees.
- Swift caravans had made all their caravans with grade three insulation since 2010.
- Elddis caravans have had grade three insulation since 2016
- Bailey caravans have had grade three insulation since 2012
- Hobby caravans have had grade three insulation since 2016
Most caravans have a sticker on them advertising their grade three insulation, so it’s worth looking out for even if you are buying an older caravan. Otherwise, check the handbook that comes with your caravan, that should let you know too. Most caravan manufacturers are proud of the grade three insulation so you will probably find information on it quite readily.
I’ve Got Grade 3 Insulation, What Else Do I Need?
There are other precautions that you will need to consider when you are going to do winter caravanning. Your main priorities are keeping warm and dry and you know your caravan can do that. But what about your caravan’s pipes and tanks?
If you find that the temperatures are going to drop dramatically it is as well to empty your grey water tank, so it is totally empty before you go to bed. If you have fresh water and it isn’t insulated, then that can also freeze so you will need to either insulate the container or empty it, too.
Keep some water indoors so you can start the day with a cup of something warm.
Then when you are ready go out and get a new batch of fresh water. Some caravan manufacturers offer winter kits, but you can make your own with just some insulation from your local hardware shop and some black sacks. Tie them around the tank and you should be good to go.
Of course, if your water is kept in away from the outside of the caravan, this won’t be a problem for you – it is for the caravans where the water, be it grey black or fresh, is kept near the outside of the ‘van.
Your heating matters. If you use butane, it doesn’t ‘gas off’ in low temperatures. You could have trouble when it gets to 0 degrees, and if it goes as low as – 4 degrees then you need to switch to propane. Calor gas, in the blue bottles, is butane.
Propane works right down to – 40 degrees. That takes some serious caravanning bravado to be out in weather that cold!
You will find propane bottle are at least in some part red. Flogas is a brand of propane that is commonly seen about. It isn’t difficult to find, sometimes petrol garages have propane bottles.
Just check with the seller that you have the correct connector since they are different, usually propane bottles have screw attachments.
It’s very important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your caravan. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas which makes people drowsy. If a person falls asleep, carbon monoxide will kill them.
Because you use more heating and often more electricity during the winter months, it is important to make sure you have a leisure battery. You will use more power and your car alternator may well not be up to the job. Especially if you have a sudden cold snap and you need to get everything warmed up from a very low temperature.
When you go out for the day, it is best to keep the temperature in your caravan on a low rather than turning it off completely. If you do this then it won’t be as difficult to get the temperature up to comfortable. Some modern caravans have heating that can be controlled by an app on your smartphone which makes things very easy indeed.
Whatever you decide, wintering in a caravan is something that isn’t that difficult. Just by making sure you take the advice on board and take sensible precautions; you can enjoy all the seasons out and about – taking advantage of your investment and using your caravan all year round.