It may sound crazy to some, but winter camping and caravanning is gaining popularity. After all, there seems to be little difference in the weather between our seasons in Britain as wet, changeable weather seems to happen at all times of the year. With this in mind, why miss out on the chance to explore the great outdoors? The change of seasons brings a different aspect to the beauty of the great outdoors. With the recent surge of interest in ‘northern light spotting’ up in Scotland, more people are beginning to appreciate the great outdoors during the colder months.
Have I got the right tent?
If you’re up for braving the elements, you need to make sure that you’ve got the right tent. A pop up tent will definitely not suffice if the weather turns bad. You’ll need to make sure that any tent you take has strong poles; preferably made of steel instead of fibreglass, to hold the tent up in strong winds. We’d also recommend using extra guy lines to keep the tent stable.
Perhaps the most important feature to check for is ensuring that your tent is fully waterproof, otherwise you could be in for an incredibly soggy trip.
If you do not have a decent groundsheet, it may be a good time to invest in one as a wet tent will certainly make for a miserable camping experience. All Royal tents are fitted with sewn in groundsheets but optional extras include a footprint groundsheet which protects the underneath of your tent from becoming dirty and adds as an extra layer of insulation. Tent carpets are another option to help insulate your tent. Tent carpets are made from a polyester flannel material for comfort and have a PVC backing which helps to keep out moisture
Groundsheets will not be enough to keep the cold from getting to you at night, so it’s worth looking for sleeping mats for added insulation. As airbeds can be very chilling in winter, you’re better off investing in a camp bed to take with you as they keep you elevated from the cold ground. Royal Leisure offers two styles of camp bed and a self-inflating mat, which can be used as a mattress on top of the camp bed for added comfort.
Make sure that you take a sleeping bag that’s well insulated with you, and a good tip to ensure maximum insulation is to give your bag a good shake inside it. This will ensure it’s full of air that will absorb the heat from your body and keep you warm. A mummy style shape can offer excellent insulation and the shoulder and zip baffles provide additional insulation in the colder months. It’s also worth looking at buying a sleeping bag liners to go inside your bag and add another layer of warmth.
When the weather is likely to change at any moment, it’s vital to make sure that you’ve packed enough layers to keep you warm and dry. We would recommend wearing at least three layers of clothing. The base layer will trap warm air in, the mid layer will insulate you further and the outer layer should be waterproof to keep you dry inside your tent.
Use the right gas
As temperatures are likely to fall to around freezing, you will need to make sure that you switch your gas supply to propane. This is because Butane is only a gas until around minus two degrees, so if temperatures drop below this point, your gas supply may not work. The first thing to do is to check that the appliances in your caravan are compatible with either gases, this is the case for most modern caravans but it’s better to be sure. If you usually use Butane gas, make sure that you change your regulator as the two cylinder types are not interchangeable.
Watch your water
If temperatures drop below zero, you need to be aware that your outside water container is more likely to freeze. We suggest that you always keep a second container warm with you inside your caravan. If your first container freezes, all you’ll need to do is transfer it to your water pump.
To stop your waste water container freezing, it’s a good idea to add salt to the container and insulate it where possible. It is unlikely that the temperature will get low enough in your caravan for any toilet chemicals to freeze, as long as you keep your caravan heated to an adequate temperature.
Another thing to bear in mind with winter is the increased likelihood of condensation developing in your caravan. To combat this, moisture traps or even a portable dehumidifier is a great way to avoid any damp developing. It’s worth stocking up on refillable crystal bags as well to use on your trip and for the rest of the winter to keep moisture at bay.
If you don’t already have one, it’s worth considering an awning for your caravan. In wet weather, an awning is the perfect place to store your wet coats and shoes. Another benefit is that it can help to reduce any heat that is lost from inside the caravan when you open the door. In order to secure your awning in more extreme weather, it’s worth considering purchasing a storm kit to keep the awning more secure.
Heating your caravan
As tempting as it may be to turn the heat up to full blast after coming in from the cold, you’ll only need to turn it right down again when it becomes too warm. To avoid wasting energy and your caravan from fluctuating between hot and cold, it’s a good idea to consider leaving your caravan’s heating running at a constant temperature.
If you feel you need any additional heat, taking a portable heater is another option if you’re concerned that your caravan’s heating system may not be enough to keep you warm.