If you want to live full-time in a caravan, you probably ask yourself, can you live in a caravan in winter? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible!
You can live in a caravan in winter. However, you must install the right heating system and insulation, use anti-freeze liquid in the toilet water and grey water tank, and only use propane gas. Make sure the electrical installation stays dry. Keep batteries charged since they discharge faster when it’s cold. And pick an awning suitable for winter conditions.
It’s essential to make preparations to live in a caravan in winter. It may seem like a lot, but it’s straightforward if you know what you’re doing. I’m living full-time in a caravan with my family, so I’ll share all my expert tips and experience in this article. This way, you can prepare easy to live in your caravan in winter! Let’s learn more!
How To Insulate Your Caravan To Live In During Winter
When you live in a caravan in winter, it’s essential to use the proper insulation in your caravan. It’s essential to use insulation curtains. Since a lot of cold is coming from the ground, using a rug and floor heating in winter is helpful with insulation. Most modern caravans have double caravan windows and double walls for better insulation.
When your caravan is insulated correctly, you can quickly warm up the temperature inside, but it also keeps the warmth inside longer.
Luckily the quality of the modern caravans is getting better each year. Most modern caravans are prepared to use year-round in both the summer and winter. The modern caravans are standard and equipped with the proper insulation.
Almost every manufacturer produces caravan types for year-round use, meaning they are equipped with double walls, insulation curtains, double lightweight plastic glass, and a standard ring heating system.
Install The Right Heating In Your Caravan To Live In During Winter
When you live in your caravan in winter, it’s important that you can quickly heat up the temperature. Everyone experiences a different comfortable temperature. However, a comfortable temperature inside is between 19 and 24 degrees Celsius for most people. Make sure you can use a gas heater and an electric heating system in your caravan. This way, you are not dependent on just one energy source and always ensure you can create a comfortable temperature inside.
We use different heating systems in our caravan, which I recommend for everyone. Our caravan is equipped with the following heating systems;
Truma Gas Heater
There are different types of this heater available, and which type you need to use depends on the type of your caravan. You can learn more about the other Truma Heaters on their specific product page here. Use only Propane gas in winter. I’ll tell you later more about choosing the right gas for winter camping.
Many people don’t want to use a gas heater in their caravan because of safety reasons. However, modern gas heaters are perfectly safe when used in the right way. We have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in our caravan as an extra safety measure.
I prefer to use our electric heating system instead of our gas heater because gas heaters use a lot of gas. The places where we stay include electricity, or electricity is at a lower price than gas. So it just makes more sense to use our electric heating because of the price.
Truma Ultraheat Electric
This is an additional heater that combines with the Truma Gas heater. The electrical heater warms up much faster, and we actually use this one much more than the Truma Gasheater.) You can use this heater with different outputs, 500W, 1000W, and 2000W. The higher the output, the faster the heater is warming up. Of course, it also depends on your amperage if you can use a higher output.
We connected a ring heating system with our Trumaheaters. Basically, this means that there’s a tube all around our caravan connected to a fan in the heaters. If we switch this on, the warm air will blow through the tube, spreading the heat throughout the caravan. It works perfectly, but it is essential to make sure that the heater is hot. Otherwise, the fan will blow cold air through the caravan, and that’s something you want to avoid during winter.
I already mentioned that most cold is coming from the floor. And did you know that it’s much easier to stay warm when your feet are warm? So, underfloor heating is a must-have when living in your caravan in winter.
We use underfloor heating mats from Heatek, which we can also remove easily during summer. On top of the heating mats, e put rugs to walk on, which is very pleasant.
Many times we only switch on the floor heating, and within 5 minutes, the temperature in our caravan is getting much more comfortable.
To learn more about using underfloor heating in your caravan, I recommend reading my article; Can I Use Underfloor Heating In My Caravan?
You can also install an air conditioning system in your caravan. We have one, and we use it most of the time for cooling during summer. However, our air conditioning can also be used with a reverse option, so it can heat up the caravan. I learned that using the standard Truma heater in combination with the underfloor heating gives the best results in creating a comfortable temperature. But it’s also perfect to have the option of air conditioning in your caravan as an additional heating source.
Keeping your caravan warm is essential when you live in your caravan in winter. You can find even more tips on how to keep your caravan warm in my article; 12 Essential Tips To Keep Your Caravan Warm.
Using The Right Gas For Heating and Cooking In Winter
When living in a caravan, you probably use gas for both cooking and heating. It’s essential to use the right gas for your heating source and also for which climate you are camping in. When you are living in your caravan in winter, chances are that temperatures will fall below the freezing point. This means you can only use propane gas.
Propane gas is a gas that you can use up to a temperature of -37 degrees Celsius. So perfect for winter camping. However, many people use Butane gas in their caravans. Butane is ideal to use, but you can only use it at a temperature above the freezing point. When Butane reaches a temperature below 0 Celsius, it turns into a liquid, and you can’t use it for cooking or heating.
When you buy a propane gas bottle in your caravan, also check your gas regulator/ connecter. When you usually use Butane gas, you might need to switch this to connect correctly. The service point where you can buy your propane gas can quickly help you connect with the proper gas regulator.
Prepare Water Tanks In Your Caravan To Avoid Freezing
When living in your caravan in winter, you don’t want to end up with frozen water in your water tanks. It’s not only inconvenient but also can damage your water tanks.
Most people use a water tank for drinking water, to do dishes and a separate water tank that is connected to the toilet.
If you have a ring heating system in your caravan, and your water tank is positioned next to the ring, you don’t need to do anything extra. The warmth coming from the ring heater is enough to prevent the water from freezing. You don’t want to put an anti-freeze liquid in your fresh water tank.
Only fill your fresh water tank for 2/3 as a preventive. In case the water would freeze, after all, there’s enough space in the tank for it to do so without damaging the water tank.
It would be best to disconnect the water hose to avoid leakage when using a city water connection to fill your water tank. And in winter times to prevent freezing.
Toilet Water Tank
A toilet water tank in a caravan is a separate water tank to flush your toilet. When staying in winter in your caravan, it is recommended to use an antifreeze liquid in this water tank.
Prepare Window Seals & Locks To Avoid Freezing and Damaging
The window seals in your caravan are made of rubber, which can easily get damaged while it’s freezing outside. So, preparing the window seals for the winter nights is essential. You can easily lubricate the window seals with a spray like WD40 so that they can withstand the different weather conditions.
The locks on your caravan door can also get stuck while it’s freezing. A simple trick to avoid is spraying some WD40 in the lock. Some people also put a little tape over the lock. However, it might be challenging to remove the tape because it gets stuck when it’s freezing. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in winter.
The Best Awnings For Living In A Caravan During Winter
When you want to live in your caravan in winter, you also want to use a caravan awning. A caravan awning extends your living space. We really love to relax in our awning, even when it’s cold or rainy outside. Our awning became our ‘living room.’
Since we work online at home (in our caravan), having a large awning is also perfect. On a rainy day, we can use the awning to play with our son, and one of us can do some work on the laptop while inside the caravan.
So, to live in your caravan in winter and choose an awning that also can withstand the different weather conditions, you basically have two options.
You can either choose an awning that you can use all year round. Isabella Awnings is a great brand that’s known for creating the best all-year-round awnings. We use an Isabella Commodore North awning which is perfect the entire year. Isabella produces a lot more different awning types, so make sure to go to a specialized dealer to try and see other awnings for yourself. This way you get the best feeling of what you like best.
Or, when you go to a place with a lot of snowfall, getting a specialized winter awning is recommended. These winter awnings have a reinforced roof that can withstand the snow. Unfortunately, these winter awnings are often more like the size of a porch, so they aren’t suitable for extending your living space.
When using an all-seasons caravan awning, it’s also essential to keep your caravan awning warm. You must build up your awning floor correctly and use awning tiles or a floor that is a bit lifted off the ground. This way, you can avoid moisture and cold coming into your tent.
Best Caravan Types For Winter
There’s a good chance you already have a caravan or RV you want to use to live in during winter. However, if you still need to buy a caravan, you might find it helpful to know which caravans are the best to use during winter.
The best caravan brands that are perfect for winter camping are Kabe and Polar. These Scandinavian brands are made to withstand very cold winter conditions. However, other popular brands in Europe and the UK, like Hobby, Fendt, Knaus, and Adria, also produce caravans, especially for winter conditions.
We use a Hobby De Luxe Edition, with many accessories for heating, and it’s perfect for winter and summer in The Netherlands. However, when we would go to a place where it’s much colder and freezing all the time, I’m not so confident this caravan is the best one to have. Mainly because of the fact it doesn’t stay warm very long. So we need to use our heater quite often.
Adria Alpina and Knaus Sudwind Scandinavian Selection are good for winter camping, according to the German ADAC, which tests different caravans yearly.
Best Caravan & Camping Equipment
There is always a need for new products when it comes to camping. Either to maintain your caravan or to make your camping setup more comfortable. As digital nomads, we are on the road a lot. We tried out many different online camping stores.
However, we feel that Amazon still offers the best value for money, quick and easy delivery, and easy returns when necessary. We really like that we can use Amazon at almost every location in the world! You can find the best caravan & camping equipment on this page (links you to Amazon).
When you stay in your caravan in winter, some other articles might be helpful.