Are you wondering how to keep your caravan warm year-round? It can especially be a challenge during the winter months to keep your caravan warm. The list below is everything you need to know to keep your caravan warm in winter or colder months.
As full-time travelers, we live almost year-round in our caravan, touring the lovely places in Europe and beyond. So, I know what it takes to keep your caravan warm. That’s how I can say we’ve become experts in living in a caravan and sharing our knowledge with other travelers. Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in!
Just a heads up, this post contains some affiliate links. Purchases you make through these links may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Use The Right Heater
It might be obvious to use a heater to keep your caravan warm. However, not every heater is the best during the winter months. Especially when you can only use gas heating, you need to take some things in preparation.
For example, it’s essential to use propane gas in the winter months. You can use propane gas for heating and cooking until -44 degrees Celsius (-47.2 Fahrenheit), which is probably not the most convenient temperature for camping. However, when you do, you can still use your gas heater! Below that temperature, the gas turns into a liquid, which means you can’t use it for cooking or heating anymore.
If you usually use Butane gas, you must know that you can only use Butane until 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). Everything below 0, Butane gas turns into a liquid and is no longer suitable for heating or cooking.
If you go camping in Europe, most gas bottles are Butane gas. With an exemption from Northern Europe, where almost everything is Propane. So, make sure to double-check which type of gas you currently use.
You might also need a different gas pressure regulator to connect the gas bottle safely. You can ask which regulator you need at most service points for your caravan or where you buy your gas bottle.
Most caravans are standard equipped with a Truma gas heater. Specific types can differ per caravan brand. However, Truma is the go-to heater for safe and convenient heating systems in your caravan.
Gas heaters are perfect when you can’t connect to electricity or when the amperage of the connection is too low. Install a carbon monoxide detector close to the heater, low to the floor, for extra safety.
We use the Truma Ultraheat in combination with the Truma Gas heater. Honestly, we use our electric heater most of the time since that gives enough warmth in our caravan.
The Truma Ultraheat is an extra heating device that you can put in front of the gas heater. It works on 230V, and you can easily switch between power usage. There are standard three programs, 500 Watts, 1000Watts, and 2000Watts. And then, you can choose between 8 levels of warmth in each program, from which 8 is the warmest.
The 1000Watts program is enough for us to heat our complete caravan quickly. Most of the time, we use the heater on level 5. Still, on colder days, we switch it all the way up to level 8 to warm up quickly, and then when the temperature is convenient, we switch it back to level 5.
It all depends on when you feel comfortable. This is for everyone different.
When you’re on a campsite with a minimum of 10 amperage power outlets, which is stable, you’re good to use the Truma Ultraheat.
2) Use Ring Heating To Keep Your Caravan Warm
It’s important to install a ring heating system in your caravan when camping in the winter. This will help to warm up the temperature in your caravan evenly.
When you don’t use ring heating, you get direct heat from the heater, but it takes a long time to spread through the caravan. When you have a larger caravan, it’s almost impossible to heat the complete caravan without ring heating.
For example, our caravan is 7 meters long. Our heating system is placed in the back of the caravan. When we don’t put on the ring heating, it only warms up the back of the caravan. In front is the small sleeping room of our son. We must use the ring heating to warm up that part of the caravan as well.
Ring heating is a tube you install all around the caravan (behind the couch and bedding etc.). With a ventilator, it can blow the warm air throughout the caravan. It works perfectly!
However, if you use a ring heating system, we found that it works best if your warm-up the heater first and then, after like 15 minutes or so, put on the ring heating ventilator. This way, the system can blow warm air directly throughout the caravan.
3) Use Underfloor Heating
Underfloor heating in your caravan is a must-have if you want to keep warm and have warm feet. Did you know that your whole body can stay warm if your feet are warm? So, why wait to install underfloor heating in your caravan!?
We use underfloor heating mats that we can easily take out if we don’t use them during summer or when we need to clean the caravan. We put a walking carpet over these mats, so it’s better to walk on.
Some caravans also have the possibility to build in the underfloor heating directly. This can be convenient, but the biggest downside is that when the system has a defect, they need to take out the floor to fix it. Which can be an expensive job.
Also, when using underfloor heating mats, you have more direct warmth coming from the floor, resulting in a warmer caravan.
These underfloor heating mats don’t use a lot of wattage, so they can easily be used in combination with an electric heating system.
You can learn more about picking the right underfloor heating for your caravan by reading my article; The best way to have underfloor heating for a caravan.
4) Use The Right Insulation
Most modern caravans are almost always equipped to use year-round. Newer caravans often have thicker walls, consisting of multiple layers, which is helpful to keep the warmth inside the caravan. However, when you’re touring with an older caravan, you must use the proper insulation to keep the warmth inside.
This is easy to do by installing the suitable insulated curtains. You can also put insulated mats in front of the windows. They keep the warmth inside the caravan in winter. They can keep the caravan cooler in summer because they also protect the sun’s heat.
5) Put A Walking Carpet in Your Caravan
So, we just learned that insulation is essential to keep your caravan warm in winter. But it’s also convenient to put a walking carpet in your caravan. Basically, a walking carpet has two purposes, insulate the floor, and protect your underfloor heating mats (if installed).
We also have a walking carpet in our caravan. In fact, we have multiple carpets because we also have multiple under-floor mats. So each carpet covers an underfloor heating mat. Everything custom made for the dimensions of our caravan, so it fits perfectly. We can easily take them out for cleaning.
6) Put Windows in Ventilation Position
This may sound a bit ought at first because you want to keep your caravan warm. But it’s also essential to have a fresh air flow throughout your caravan. Ventilation helps to create a pleasant climate in your caravan.
And when using a gas heater, you always want to ventilate to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Chances are very low with modern equipment, but it’s always good to be aware of this.
We always put three windows slightly open on colder days to create a constant airflow and all the other windows in the ventilation stand. Of course, it depends on your preference on how you want to set this up in your caravan.
7) Build Up The Right Awning
Using the right awning for your camping purposes is important for the best experience. Your caravan awning can also help to keep your caravan warm. This is because of the simple fact that most awnings are the same length as your caravan. So basically, one side of your caravan is protected from the cold with your awning.
Keeping your caravan awning warm is also important to enjoy sitting in your awning and helps to keep your caravan warm as well. You can read all about it in my article, Complete Guide To Keep Your Caravan Awning Warm.
Also, when camping in winter in places with a lot of snowfall, you must use a specially equipped awning that can withstand the snow. These awnings are often porch awnings with a stronger frame and an extra-strong roof frame.
8) Keep The Door Closed
Is this ‘an open door’ or not? It’s probably too obvious, but very important if you want to keep your caravan warm in winter.
Picture this: you finally heated up your caravan to a pleasant temperature, go outside to get something from the awning, and leave the door open, there goes the warmth! All the warmth flows directly outside. So, to keep warm, just leave that door closed!
9) Use A Reverse Airconditioning
On warm summer days, it’s very convenient to use air conditioning. Luckily most airconditioning systems can also be used for heating. So if you don’t want to use the electric or gas heater, you have airconditioning installed in your caravan, you can easily use it to warm up your caravan.
We also have air conditioning installed in our caravan. Still, we only use it during summer because we prefer to use our Truma Ultraheat and floor heating on the colder days. However, suppose you may only have a gas heater and airconditioning. It might be a good idea to heat up your caravan first by using your reversed airconditioning and later put on the gas heater. This way, you can warm up your caravan quickly and save on gas!
10) Set A Timer For Your Heating System
Most caravans are equipped with a control panel so that you can easily control all the electric and heating systems in your caravan. Make sure to find out if you have the option to put a timer on your heating system. We can do this in our caravan, and it’s the best thing ever!
For example, when we go to sleep, we don’t want to have the heating system running all night. So at a fixed time, we set the timer so that the heating automatically switches off.
We can also use it when we go out, for example, for dinner or something, and know we come back at a specific time. Then we set the timer like half an hour before we arrive, and the heating system switches on automatically. This way, our caravan is always nicely warm when we come ‘home.’
11) Connect Your Heating System With An App
When you have a control panel installed in your caravan, make sure to check if you also have the option to connect it with your smartphone.
We have a Hobby caravan, so our control panel is also from Hobby. We’ve connected the “Hobby connect app” with Bluetooth, which was a cheaper option than the connection for Wi-Fi. But it works perfectly, and I know from other caravanners that the Wi-Fi connection is also great. I can easily use the control panel when relaxing inside the awning or even from our bed (yes, sometimes I’m too lazy to walk 4 meters to the door, haha).
It’s perfect if we want to switch on the heating, but also when we want to control the lights inside.
12) Wear Warm Clothes
When you don’t want to spend too much money installing all kinds of heating systems in your caravan, there’s only one thing you can do: wear warm clothes!
Of course, we also wear warm clothes during the winter months. However, I like to walk barefoot. With the floor heating in our caravan, it’s always a convenient temperature, so I don’t have to wear socks. But that’s a choice, of course.
I recommend installing at least one or two heating options we discussed earlier in this article. Maybe you can keep your caravan warm in winter when you only use a gas heater. This all depends on your specific situation, the size of your caravan, and how cold the area is where you go camping.
It’s important to take the right measures to keep your caravan warm. You might be interested in my other guides as well;