How to Heat a Caravan Without Electricity

If you’re going to be staying on a camp site without electricity, you may want to figure out ahead of time how you’re going to heat your caravan.

Caravanning in the UK is particularly problematic as it’s often possible to experience fours seasons in the space of one day! Therefore, you may set off in the blazing sun in the morning, only to arrive at the campsite a few hours later to gale force winds!

Then there’s those chilly UK evenings to contend with, where temperatures in the caravan really begin to dip as the sun goes down.

However, there are several ways which you can take advantage of to keep your caravan cosy, even when it’s not possible to hook up to the mains.

Consider Purchasing a Generator for Your Caravan

First things first, we’ve already spoken on this site about the many benefits of buying a generator for your caravan. If you haven’t already got one, think about purchasing one of these, so you have something to hand to run a small electric heater on, such as those mentioned here in a previous best caravan heaters article.

Alternatives to Electric

Gas convector heaters, cavity heaters, furnaces, oil filled radiators, and central heating systems all eliminate the immediate need for an electrical supply. Furthermore, they are fantastic appliances to have to hand even when you do power up on a site, as they can often heat up a caravan quicker and stop you from having to rely entirely on the mains:

Portable Caravanning Gas Cannister

Portable Caravanning Gas Cannister

The company Other sell a portable, lightweight gas heater which works using butane gas canisters.

With a swivel body which encourages directional heat, this is a compact model which is easy to carry around with its fold-down carry handle.

Better still, it’s considered high quality and a safer form of alternative heating. This is due to its gas leakage and overpressure protection.

Featuring combined temperature control, dependant on the setting selected this can burn from 1.5 to three hours.

Diesel Air Heater for Vehicles

Diesel Air Heater for Vehicles

Sold by the company Winterswet, this is a vehicle heater type which can be used for caravanning purposes.

Compact in overall structure, this is easy to install and has both low emissions and fuel consumptions levels.

Relying on automatic advanced control technology, this is used by many for eliminating those frosty windows. It’s also claimed to be stable and quiet in operation.

Featuring a wireless remote control, Winterswet says this is an entirely simple device to operate.

Oil Filled Radiator

Oil Filled Radiator

Prem-l-Air presents a radiator which is oil filled, offering a fantastic adjustable thermoset and a 24-hour timer.

With three heat settings to select from, this claims to heat up swiftly and, better still, offer a maintained level of heat over more extended periods.

Designed to provide continued safety, it also has a tip over switch, and an overheat protection system for extra measures.

Furthermore, this model can be rolled around to the desired spot, ensuring you can use the radiator wherever you please in the caravan. 

Don’t Forget That All Important Caravan Accessory

It goes without saying that anything that uses gas in your caravan will produce carbon monoxide. Therefore, it’s crucial your entire caravan is adequately ventilated to accommodate these appliances. Keep a window open while they’re in use, ensure the ventilation around the caravan is good, and never ever fall asleep with gas appliances on.

If you have any gas appliance in the caravan, regardless of how infrequent you use them, we can’t stress enough the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector in your van as well. This provides you continued peace of mind. Therefore, should your appliance misfunction, you’ll immediately be alerted about it. This is a small and inexpensive device which could possibly save your life.  

Other Ways to Stay Warm

Now you’ve had a chance to look at some of these alternatives to electric heaters, you may also be wondering if there any other ways you can stay warm when caravanning? Here are just a few simple suggestions, that you can quickly implement if you find yourself without electricity when caravanning:

  • Look at caravan solar panels. These are a great alternative power source and can be bought very cheaply online these days. This may be a better solution if you regularly find yourself off-grid or at sites where power hookups are scare or non-existent.
  • Wherever you can, opt for an elevated position on the camp that exposes you to as much sun as possible. This way, your caravan will warm up naturally that little bit quicker and stay at a reasonable temperature throughout the day. You’ll also prolong those chilly nights for as long as you can!
  • Capitalise on any rays of the sun and leave your blinds and curtains open to encourage the caravan to heat up. If you can hack it, consider keeping windows and doors closed as well to keep the heat concentrated and around the van. Likewise, look at closing all doors and windows early in the evening.
  • If you’ve just cooked a meal using your stove, leave the oven door open, where it’s safe to do so, and allow the warm air to circulate throughout the van.
  • Pack up a good supply of blankets, making use of your storage space – such as under the sofas, dining table, and overhead cupboards where possible.
  • Finally, keep a couple of hot water bottles to hand. Though these may seem an old-fashioned solution, hot water bottles are once again becoming increasingly popular – if not for the many kooky covers you can find on the high street now! You could fill them up using the site’s facilities, just before getting into bed.

Final Thoughts on Heating Your Caravan

Even if you do visit many sites that offer electricity, it’s still a good idea to get into the habit of having some additional heating methods, aside from electric ones. Furthermore, a heating back-up plan when caravanning is highly beneficial, should you ever find yourself temporarily stranded.

Overall, some caravaners find that heating an entire caravan on the mains can indeed take some time. Therefore, being able to heat both with electric and alternative methods, such as those mentioned above, will get your van comfortably heated in next to no time. It will also provide you adequate warmth to carry you through the night and into the early hours. 

Leave a Comment