8 Tips for Great Winter Touring
This blog post will inspire those thinking about purchasing a new caravan to extend their holiday season.
It will outline how to stay safe with tips on the best sites, pre-winter essential maintenance, towing in icy or wet conditions and some must-have accessories to make caravanning fun in winter.
1. Buying a Caravan for Winter Touring
Caravans are a great option for travelling around the UK or going abroad in the wintertime.
However, staying in a caravan with bad weather outside can be off-putting at first. Fortunately, many caravan creators have ensured that their caravans can cope with British weather, so you don’t need to always think about leaving the caravan to go indoors.
You can simply make it as warm inside as your house, meaning you can stay in your caravan throughout winter. Standards used to vary significantly in caravans, but these days, almost all caravans offer a high-quality standard of warmth throughout the caravan during winter.
Whilst, some are ideal for winter touring, others may not. Some can cope with cold weather, but may be too hot during warmer periods of the year.
Assess where you want to use the caravan and what the weather will be like to help you determine what is right for you. Most modern caravans are graded 3. This means that even at -15 degrees Celsius, they will be comfortable at around 20 degrees Celsius.
The majority of older caravans are only graded 2. However, this does not indicate that they cannot be used for winter travel; it simply means that they are only genuinely rated for temperatures as low as zero degrees Celsius (freezing point). Since they were produced in the 1970s and 1980s, Grade 1 caravans are probably no longer in use, although they weren’t designed for winter travel.
Here is a list of brands that use grade 3 insulation:
Below are some caravans that travellers who live in them all year round use. It may be a more unconventional way to find warm caravans, but they are still worth taking a look at as they no doubt have grade 3 insulation:
2. How to Stay Safe While Caravanning in Winter
If you are caravanning in the winter, it won’t be the same as what you are used to in the summer.
It doesn’t get dark until around 9 pm, but in the winter, it tends to get dark anywhere from around 3 pm onwards. So you will want to ensure that you are prepared and can stay safe at all times.
Here are some tips for planning to help you keep safe:
Fresh Water Source:
You’ll want to ensure you keep a backup fresh water source because when travelling in the winter, the temperatures outside will likely be so cold that they can freeze your on-site water source.
So one suggestion is to get a backup container of some sort so that your fresh water will be both fresh and safe. You can also purchase insulated lids and low-power electric heating equipment to prevent containers from freezing.
Waste Water Protection:
Using insulation, a small electric heater, or salt, you can lessen the likelihood that your waste water container will freeze.
To prevent the toilet from freezing, you might alternatively use a specialised glycol-free antifreeze for caravans and motorhomes like Elsan’s. Because it cannot be disposed of in the drainage system, we do not suggest using glycol-based vehicle antifreeze.
There are different types of heating systems.
The blown air heaters in most other caravans and motorhomes will still do the job, but the wet central heating systems available on many higher-specified models are excellent. If additional warmth is needed, a compact, thermostatically controlled fan heater plugged into the mains is useful (1kW should be adequate).
It can also give a pretty rapid boost to heating, which is ideal for early morning. Heaters will consume significant gas and battery power (control systems, fans, and circulation pumps).
If you intend to stay somewhere without access to the main’s electricity, be sure you have enough gas and battery power. However, most systems are powered by gas or mains electricity, and the latter is more practical during the winter.
Change to propane for winter touring since liquefied butane won’t convert to gas below about 0 degrees Celsius. Butane is more cost-effective and efficient in the summer than propane, which may be used all year.
If the supplier delivers gas in steel cylinders, you will need a bottle exchange at your end since steel cylinders will freeze in cold temperatures. Most caravanners use refillable LPG bottles.
If you plan to stay on the continent, you must take an LPG conversion kit.
Check the Weather and Plan Ahead:
To prepare for autumn and winter touring, check the weather at your destination before setting off – check for up-to-date forecasts, and plan a route that allows you to avoid the worst weather conditions.
Check local weather forecasts before you set off and ensure you know what to expect. Research local events and festivals that might be worth visiting – these can be excellent ways to make your trip more interesting and help you keep busy.
Make Sure You Have a Torch and Batteries:
It’s very important to have a supply of batteries and a torch in your caravan when winter touring, so make sure you have these ready to go.
Winter is on the way, and when winter comes around, caravanners need to be prepared – and that includes having the right supplies on hand for your caravan adventures.
Use Reflective Strips or Paint:
It is also a good idea to get some reflective strips or paint to use when touring a caravan in the winter because of how early it gets dark.
This is especially beneficial if you are touring with children, as they will need to be brought along. Reflective strips will help other users see you, and it will also make it safer for you.
3. Pre-winter Maintenance Tips
You’ll want to be prepared if you plan on going winter touring, and you will want to make sure you have the caravan serviced before you go.
Servicing your caravan will help to ensure that everything is in working order and that the right safety procedures are followed.
Here are a few tips to get the caravan ready for winter touring:
- Make sure you do any necessary repairs that need to be done on your caravan. This includes repairing any damage that may have happened during the previous season and any wear and tear that might have accumulated over time. Preventing winter-related damage in the first place will also help to save you money on repairs in the long run. You may also consider upgrading your caravan’s heating system to be more efficient.
- Make sure your tyres are checked and inflated correctly. Low Tyre pressure can increase the risk of your caravan skidding around on the road or, even worse, causing a serious accident.
- Check your gas bottles and ensure they are full and in good condition – it is also a good idea to have a spare gas bottle for emergencies.
- Check all the electrics in your caravan or motorhome, including caravan lights, cookers, and fridges.
- Put together an emergency kit and place it in your motorhome or caravan. This includes items such as an ice scraper, de-icer, shovel, blanket, torch etc.
- Check the frame of your caravan or motorhome for corrosion or rust. Moving parts such as axles can take a lot of wear and tear over the winter months, so it is a good idea to check these over regularly.
- Cover your caravan or motorhome with a protective cover.
- Change your engine oil and oil filter.
- Put new antifreeze in your water system.
- Check your batteries for proper electrolyte levels and top off to the proper levels. Also, clean the battery terminals and cables.
- Check all the water supply lines for leaks, black water and greywater lines for leaks and pressure loss. Also, check the hose bibs.
By following these maintenance tips, you will find your caravan or motorhome in great shape to go touring in the winter!
4. Towing in Icy or Wet Conditions
Towing your caravan in icy or wet conditions can be very dangerous, so it is important to be prepared and take the proper precautions to ensure your safety before setting out for a winter trip.
Here are some tips for towing in icy or wet conditions:
- Stay within the speed limit, especially in icy conditions. You are more likely to have an accident if you drive too fast for the conditions.
- Use low tyre pressure, providing good traction in slippery conditions. The maximum speed that the tyre pressure should be reduced is 25% (or 50 psi) of the recommended pressure.
- Drive slowly, avoid sudden braking or steering, and accelerate smoothly. Use second gear for towing or ramping, and give the vehicle extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
- Stay out of travel lanes, and avoid passing or overtaking other vehicles.
- Pull over if your vehicle begins to skid.
- Pull over if you notice your caravan begin to slide backwards.
- Remember that higher gear ratios provide more torque at lower speeds, meaning you can better manage your caravan’s movements.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. You could get stuck, and your vehicle can be severely damaged or destroyed. Also, even a small puddle of standing water can cause your vehicle to hydroplane, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.
Remember never to take risks, no matter how convenient it might seem.
5. Accessories for a Fun Winter Caravanning Experience
Winter is the season to go caravanning.
It’s cold outside, so it’s best to go outside in the caravan rather than stay indoors. However, winter is a risky season to go caravanning.
The roads are slippery and icy, making it hard to drive. Furthermore, winter often brings rain and snow, which can ruin your caravanning experience.
Fortunately, there are still ways to enjoy winter caravanning. You may not be able to stay out as long as you would during the summer, but you can still have fun caravanning in the winter if you have the right accessories. Here are some ideas:
- A portable heater.
- Torches with spare batteries are handy.
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
- Rubber mats for your vehicle’s floor.
- Extra food in case of emergencies.
- A shovel.
- Snow chains for your tires.
- Antifreeze and windscreen washer fluid so you can keep your windows clear.
- A first aid kit.
- At night, enjoy some hot chocolate or hot cider with marshmallows!
- Take along some board games or cards for nighttime entertainment.
- Take a hot coffee or cocoa thermos in the morning to start your day off right!
- Books to read during downtimes.
- Radio or some form of music for entertainment at night.
There are many more accessories you could take. Just be sure to plan and write down anything you think you might need so you don’t forget anything when packing.
6. Winter Camping Tips
Winter is undeniably a magical season to go caravanning, and there are many other things that winter offers.
However, taking the caravan out in the winter poses challenges, so it is important to be prepared. Here are a few tips for caravanning this winter:
- Staying warm – Carry a portable heater with you in case it gets too cold inside your van or if you’re staying in a campground without electricity/gas supply to heat your van up.
- Plan for the bad weather – Bring extra clothes, food, and water if you want to stay out longer than usual.
- Pack accordingly – Make sure you pack clothes that are suitable for outdoor conditions, including warm and waterproof clothes.
- Ensure proper ventilation – It is highly recommended that windows are closed during colder months to avoid heat loss through windows. This helps you warm up quickly inside your van during the winter. Open the windows when you can, and make sure you use a vent fan or a heat lamp to heat the inside of your van.
- Ensure that your water heater is working properly – To keep yourself warm in the morning, use hot water bottles as they transfer heat from your body to the hot water bottle, keeping you warm for longer. However, if you run out of hot water bottles, don’t try to heat water on the stove – it can crack your glass stove top! Instead, use a camping cup and sit on the little stove to heat some water by pouring it into the cup. However, unplug the stove before pouring the water into the cup!
- Replace your water hose – Water hoses can develop leaks or kinks during the winter, leaving your water supply dry, so make sure to replace your water hose during winter.
- Don’t store water in your water tank – When temperatures fall below freezing, the water or antifreeze in your water tank can freeze (or ice may form on top). This can damage your water tank or even cause the tank to burst! To avoid this, only store your freshwater or antifreeze in plastic containers inside your van.
Following these tips will ensure that you are prepared for winter camping and have an enjoyable experience.
7. Seasonal Sites for Winter Caravanning
Here are the top winter camping destinations in the UK and the reasons you should go this time of year.
1. Bath Chew Valley: You can enjoy the stunning Somerset countryside by day and the stars at night at the historic Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park in Somerset.
The historic city of Bath is less than four miles away. Home to many fantastic eateries, shops, and tourist hotspots, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Zoo, and Brunel’s SS Great Britain steamer, which is only about 20 miles from their park. Wells, Weston-Super-Mare, the Bishop’s Palace in Wells, the expansive Grand Pier in Weston, the Helicopter and Weston museums, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxton, and the Wookey Hole Caves in Cheddar are also close by.
The Somerset Levels and Mendip Hills nearby offer stunning walking and bird-watching options.
2. Blue Skies Campsite: Blue Skies Campsite provides welcoming pitches where dogs and children are welcome together with adults.
Dogs are welcome to join their owners, and children are welcome to camp with their families. The campsite also offers a special dog area called Waggin’ Wheel Corner, so dogs can enjoy a water break or run around.
Wells-Next-The-Sea is a welcoming family campsite just a 5-minute walk away from the busy quayside and a 10-minute stroll from Wells town centre. It’s also just a 5-minute stroll from Blue Skies Campsite.
Wells-Next-The-Sea is a small, welcoming family campsite that accepts both tents and touring caravans and is nestled in a 1.5-acre dell just off the coast road. If you’re travelling by car and looking for somewhere nearby to stay, Blue Skies is at the perfect location, being close to Wells-next-the-Sea and in easy reach of the National Trails Norfolk Coast.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can set off on your journey, or if you’re feeling less keen, you can explore the Wells to Walsingham narrow gauge steam railway or the local CoastHopper Bus service.
3. Cofton Holidays: Cofton Holidays’ expansive resort is situated in Dawlish, Devon, not far from the sea.
The facilities are all accessible all year round. To keep its five-star accreditation, they have continuously upgraded its facilities.
They provide contemporary bathrooms and showers heated by our biomass system in the Dawlish neighbourhood of South Devon. They have received recognition as having some of the greatest camping and touring caravan spots in the South West!
Because it offers a gym, a pool, events, and a wide range of activities, it’s a great destination for families. Their Devon caravan vacations include beaches, woods, swimming pools, activities, and entertainment—everything you could want from a vacation in the UK.
4. Cotswold Farm Park: Cotswold Parks offer a tranquil retreat amongst the beautiful and tranquil Cotswold Hills.
You can explore ancient stone villages, discover wildlife, and go on guided walks to hidden waterfalls. You can capture those magical misty mornings and feed their rare breed animals.
For a low cost, they also give you Farm Park tickets. They also offer a range of camping and caravan experiences, and their caravanning pitches start from as cheap as £20 per night.
Grass pitches are suitable for tents, camper vans, and trailer tents. Bigger vehicles, such as caravans and motorhomes, will need a premium pitch.
Their park offers tranquillity and tranquillity away from the noise and bustle of big city living, and their park is just a short drive from an array of attractions.
5. Foxholes Castle Camping: Foxholes Castle Camping is a well-liked camping location for tents, camper vans, and touring campers in the North West of England.
The two wood-clad cabins and three converted carriages at the family-run site are wonderful for exploring any time of year. Bishop’s Castle, a bustling and charming village tucked away in the Shropshire hills, is reachable after a short stroll along the Shropshire Way Footpath.
Whether you explore on foot, bike, or simply from the comfort of your chair with binoculars, Foxholes Campsite is the perfect vacation for nature lovers and caravanners, so why not check them out on your next trip?
6. Home Farm Holiday Centre: Home Farm Holiday Centre is located in West Somerset in the middle of the countryside.
They have various options for accommodation and places to explore all around. You can bring your tents, motor homes, or touring caravans or stay in the glamping domes or the tree house along the way.
You can also visit the beach, the woods, the creek in the dell, the stone circle, or the standing stone fields. They have many activities and attractions for you and your family, and you can play table tennis in the beer garden or go swimming, fishing, crabbing, or fossil finding on their beach, among other fun things.
You may play paintball or a round of pitch and putt at Cannington, explore Dunster Castle and Tropiquaria Adventure Park, ride a steam train along the West Somerset Railway, and more nearby. Hikers and mountain bikers can traverse the Quantock hills, and fishing excursions can be booked from Watchet Harbour.
On the top terrace, touring caravans and motorhomes can stay on hard-standing plots with an electric hookup and a water tap. The awning needs metal pegs because it is pitched over fine gravel.
7. Mendip Camp: Visitors of all ages can visit Mendip Camp and enjoy Somerset’s natural beauty.
The Mendip Camp is situated amid the stunning Mendip Hills, 3 miles from Cheddar Gorge, one of Somerset’s most well-known tourist destinations. The site has ample room for tents, caravans and motorhomes without feeling crowded.
The location is excellent for walking, mountain biking, and climbing vacations, in addition to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Scout, Guide, and Cadet groups. Also close by is Rowberrow Forest, which provides access to Blackdown.
This is an exceptional location to start if you wish to explore the area on foot, and you can see the Severn estuary and the Welsh highlands in the distance in breathtaking detail. Additionally, caravans are priced at £7.50 per person per night, with children 4 years and under camping for free.
8. Tudor Caravan Park: One of Gloucestershire’s campgrounds and caravan parks with the best location is Tudor Caravan Park.
A tranquil rural campground next to the Gloucester-Sharpness canal is just a five-minute walk from Slimbridge’s renowned Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Center. Visit England, and the AA gave the peaceful Tudor Caravan Park a 4-Star rating.
They welcome campers, RVs, motorhomes, and tents all year long. If you prefer travelling by caravan, you’ll love your stay at their park in the picturesque county of Gloucestershire, where you can explore the Cotswolds and take advantage of various sights and activities.
9. Westdown Farm: The best place to unwind in nature is Westdown Farm, which is situated a few miles north of The Dartmoor National Park.
Take a break from everyday life, and enjoy their eco-friendly wild campground, where you can also look at the skies. Westdown Farm is ideal for your Devon camping vacation since it is perfectly situated for exploring Dartmoor and the North Coast of Devon and Cornwall.
In addition to building nature ponds and planting hundreds of trees, they have adopted an organic farming method and only raise rare breed animals. Their farm has been the subject of numerous wildlife surveys, and they have also been closely collaborating with the Devon Wildlife Trust.
Westdown Farm also has generous campsites, breathtaking vistas, and a true sense of “farm to fork” regarding the food they produce on the property, making Westdown Farm a special place to stay.
8. FAQs About Winter Caravanning
If you are still undecided about going for a winter caravanning holiday, here are some frequently asked questions that may help put your mind at ease.
What Is Winter Caravanning?
Winter caravanning is how people enjoy travelling through the winter.
They do this throughout the cold season in places that may not be accessible earlier in the year. However, travellers do not become bogged down in mud and snow but use facilities equipped with heaters and well-insulated buildings.
They normally stay in locations that offer a degree of shelter from the wind during the winter.
How Do You Prepare a Winter Caravan?
The preparation is the same as camping in summer, although in colder weather, one must add special considerations for safety and comfort.
The equipment needed is the same as that for summer camping, with the addition of a sleeping bag and winter clothing. One must learn to stay warm in cold temperatures and take precautions against hypothermia.
What Is the Best Time to Caravan in the Winter?
Caravanning during the winter is a magical experience that will open up a new world of adventure and natural beauty.
Winter brings with it snow-covered mountains, frozen lakes, and frosty mornings. The sport of caravanning can be enjoyed during the cold winter months, provided you plan your trip carefully.
The best time during the winter to go caravanning is January and February when the weather is at its best. The temperatures in these months generally range from 0 to 10 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for caravanning.
What Are the Major Challenges of Winter Caravanning?
Winter caravanning is much like regular caravanning but poses unique problems for drivers.
One of the major challenges of winter caravanning is vehicle maintenance. Cold weather puts extra strain on your brakes and tires, so it is important to keep your tires properly inflated and your brakes in top shape.
Cold weather can also reduce your battery life, so keeping your vehicle charged and your battery properly connected is essential. This can also affect your fuel system, so keep your fuel tank full.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against the Cold When You Are Winter Caravanning?
When you are winter caravanning, it is important to stay warm throughout the cold season, and there are many ways you can do this.
- Your clothes should be layered, so you can always add and remove layers as needed.
- It is also essential to wear clothing that is made of warm fabrics like wool or cotton.
- You should wear waterproof clothing that is made of fabric that dries quickly. You will need plenty of warm socks, gloves, hats, and scarves, and you should always wear multiple layers of clothing.
- Likewise, you should invest in a good sleeping bag and require a good set of winter camping equipment.
- You should also take along a hot coffee or tea thermos that can keep your body warm, even when you are moving.
Winter tent camping and winter backpacking are challenging but extremely rewarding.
Don’t let your fear of winter camping keep you from experiencing this dynamic adventure. With a little preparation, these tips can keep you safe and comfortable during your camping adventures in any season.
How Can You Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Caravanning?
- Transform your caravan into a winter vehicle by cleaning out the gutters, removing any unnecessary weight from the vehicle, and ensuring that the battery is fully charged.
- Fill up the vehicle with fuel, but ensure the fuel tank is at least half full. This will help prevent ice from forming in the fuel lines during freezing temperatures.
- Check that the tyres are in good condition and have the correct air pressure.
- The heater, radiator, and windscreen wipers should be checked before the journey, as these will be some of the first components to fail during winter conditions.
- Ensure the caravan is thoroughly checked over before the journey, and the oil and coolant levels are checked regularly throughout the journey.
We hope these suggestions will make it easier for you to enjoy winter caravanning.
Winter touring can be a lot of fun, but it’s essential to take some precautions to ensure you and your caravan stay safe.
Follow our tips for pre-winter maintenance, tow in icy or wet conditions, and pack the right accessories, and you’ll be set for a great winter holiday. If you have questions we haven’t answered here, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re always happy to help!