27 Tips For Camping In Winter In Caravans & Camper Trailers
Camping in winter in a caravan or camper trailer can be a rewarding and unique experience but it also requires extra preparation and consideration due to colder temperatures and potential weather challenges.
We love camping in winter because it’s the best time for warm fires and camp oven cooking. Usually there are less people around so we get the pick of the better camp sites. We also love bush walking and walking is a lot more pleasant in cooler temperatures instead of the highs of an Aussie summer.
With proper planning, preparation, and a positive attitude, winter camping can be a memorable and enjoyable adventure. Stay warm, stay safe, and create lasting memories in the winter wonderland!
Our 27 Tips for Camping In Winter In Your Caravan Or Camper Trailer That Work
1. Keep Your Caravan Floor Warm
Staying warm while camping in winter can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping the floor of your caravan warm. Caravan floors tend to get really cold due to the circulation of cold air underneath the van. To combat this, one effective solution is to add carpet floor mats. These mats provide insulation and make a significant difference in keeping the floor warm. You can place them underneath the dinette area and near the door, and even on either side of your bed. Affordable options can be found at stores like Bunnings or Ikea with prices starting around $15.00.
2. Check The Weather Forecast
If the weather is dry and cold it is ok to start your camping trip. If it turns icy and rainy it can adversely impact both your physical well-being and mental state of mind. It is crucial to take into account the prevailing weather conditions while selecting your campsite and making necessary adjustments to your camping plans.
3. Meals And Food
Take advantage of winter, which is the peak campfire season, and enhance your camping experience by preparing a camp oven roast and hot chocolate over the warm coals! This delightful and satisfying way of enjoying food and drinks not only adds to the winter camping ambiance but also keeps you warm and cosy.
However, it’s wise to be prepared with a backup plan in case the weather becomes too wet to light a fire or if you encounter an unexpected fire ban. Consider bringing along a gas stove or a portable BBQ as ideal alternatives to ensure you can still enjoy delicious meals even without a traditional campfire.
4. Get To Camp Early
Avoid scheduling a late arrival on site as it will be dark making it challenging to navigate and set up.
5. Check Your Torch
Prioritise checking your torch thoroughly, ensuring that the batteries are in good working condition, and double-check them for certainty. Consider purchasing a wind-up torch as a backup. Additionally, having a head torch can prove to be beneficial for tasks that require the use of both hands, such as emptying the loo.
6. Go To The Pub For Dinner
Arrange a date night at a nearby pub or restaurant and treat yourselves to the winter comfort food menu. There’s a charm to cold weather outings perhaps driven by the desire to huddle together for warmth. Add a touch of romance to the winter camping experience.
7. Don’t Just Sit Around Get Into Activities To Get warm
Staying active with some exercise is an excellent way to stay warm during winter! Remember to dress appropriately for the weather, and here are some fantastic winter campsite activities:
Explore The Area
Embark on a brisk walk to explore the local surroundings. Even if you’ve camped in the area multiple times before, there’s always something new to discover and keep your blood pumping.
Split Some Wood
For the adults engaging in wood splitting can be a productive campsite activity. Bring along a block splitter and get the best out of your firewood. Spending an hour on this task will keep you warm and get you in the mood for a bourbon or ten. Remember to prioritise safety and keep the kids at a safe distance.
8. Get Warm Before Going To Bed When Camping In Winter
Don’t wait until you start feeling cold to go to bed at night. When you’re sitting comfortably by the campfire and feeling warm and cosy and the drinks are kicking in is the perfect moment to hop into bed.
If you’re camping off-grid a fantastic way to ensure a warm start is to use a hot water bottle in your bed. Wearing cosy sleepwear like flannel pajamas or warm tracky dacks along with a top will help keep the chill at bay and make your sleeping experience more comfortable.
9. Apply Reflective Tape Or Paint To Things
Apply reflective tape or paint to any things you have accidentally walked into in the dark before like the caravan hitch, water or waste containers, the edge of your caravans steps, and particularly roll-out awning supports. I’ve smashed my melon on the awning support arms loads of times! This precaution will make them more visible during night-time and help prevent future damage to your head (it’s a bit late in my case!)
10. Condensation Inside Your Caravan Or Camper Trailer When Camping In Winter
During our travels we are mindful of condensation inside the caravan. This typically forms on the roof and walls during the night and early morning. To minimize this issue we find it beneficial to keep a window slightly cracked open. However it’s equally essential to dedicate some time each day to open all the windows and vents fully allowing the excess moisture to escape and dry up.
For additional assistance in controlling condensation investing in a dehumidifier can prove to be a worthwhile option. It will help maintain a drier and more comfortable environment inside the caravan during your journey. 12v humidifiers are available.
11. Cook Inside Your Caravan Or Camper Trailer If Possible When Camping In winter
While free camping over the years we discovered a handy trick – cooking in the van serves as free heating! Utilizing the oven, grill or stove top within the compact space of your caravan or camper trailer when camping in winter significantly contributes to warming it up. Even making a cup of tea and boiling the billy on the caravan stove creates enough additional warmth to heat the inside up quite a bit.
12. Chase The Sun When Choosing A Camp Site While Camping In winter
When selecting a campsite during winter we prioritize the sun’s position. Not only does it contribute to keeping the van warm during the day but since we depend on solar power it significantly helps in maintaining our power supply. It’s essential for us to complete the camp setup within daylight hours as well, as there’s nothing more challenging than arranging everything in the dark or unfavorable weather conditions. We also avoid camping in the shade.
13. Drive To The Conditions In Winter
Winter frequently brings unpredictable weather, leading to wet, icy, or snowy road conditions. It’s important to remain aware of this and adapt your driving accordingly. We make it a priority to stay informed about weather forecasts and be ready to modify our plans if needed. If the conditions become excessively hazardous it’s wise to postpone or alter our route to ensure our safety on the road. Prioritizing caution and preparedness during winter travels is of utmost importance.
14. Learn How To Easily Start A Camp Fire
Starting a campfire in a cold environment can be more challenging due to the increased dampness of outdoor objects. This includes the wood you would use to ignite the fire, as it retains moisture. Here are some tips to successfully start a campfire:
- Choose a Suitable Spot: Upon arriving at your campsite, find an appropriate location for the campfire. Many campsites have designated fire pits, but if you’re in a remote area, create one using rocks. Ensure it’s away from trees, plants, low-hanging branches, and your shelter to prevent potential accidents.
- Collect Dry Wood: To enhance the chances of a successful fire, gather wood at the beginning of your trip and allow it to dry. Using wet wood creates excessive smoke, which can be bothersome and hampers cooking.
- Gather Dry Kindling: Collect dry kindling such as sticks, twigs, and large pieces of bark. These materials will help maintain the campfire once it’s lit and ensure a steady burn.
Remember, taking precautions and using dry materials will make the process of starting and maintaining a campfire much smoother and enjoyable.
15. Get Warm Before Going To Bed
In addition to wearing warm sleepwear it’s beneficial to warm up your body before getting into your sleeping bag to ensure a warm and cosy night’s sleep. Even if you have the best sleeping bag available getting your body warmed up beforehand is essential.
The solution is simple. Engage in some easy exercises to generate warmth. Step outside and do around 50 star jumps, take a short walk, or jog in place. If you’ve been drinking around the camp fire you may even be able to talk your significant other into some “special cuddles”. However don’t get too sweaty as that can lead to discomfort while sleeping. The goal is to raise your core temperature without excessive perspiration. By giving this pre bed routine a crack you’ll significantly increase your chances of enjoying a good night’s sleep. Regardless of how cold the weather might be outside.
16. Camping In Winter Means Having A Campfire
During summer fire restrictions put the kybosh on having campfires at many locations. For campers including us, a campfire is always a highlight of the camping experience.
- In winter these restrictions are generally lifted (though it’s always extremely important to verify this).
- Winter camping offers the luxury of having campfires not just in the evening but also in the morning and often during lunch and in our case hell, we just keep it going 24/7! This presents fantastic cooking opportunities including a wide range of camp oven dishes and other ways of cooking you probably don’t use at home.
- Unlike summer when cooking at the campsite can be limited and boring without a campfire winter opens up a vast array of cooking techniques making the camping experience even more enjoyable for campfire cooking enthusiasts.
17. Check Out You Caravan Or Camper Trailer Door And Window Seals And Improve Or Repair Them Before Going Camping In Winter
During winter it’s crucial to address any issues with leaky or porous rubber seals on doors, windows, or skylights to avoid potential problems. Before embarking on your winter camping trip take the following steps:
- Clean the Seals: Use a damp microfibre cloth to remove dirt and debris from the seals.
- Check Their Condition: Inspect the seals carefully to ensure they are in good shape. If they appear fine proceed to the next step.
- Address Porous Spots: If you notice any porous spots in the seals, it’s advisable to replace them promptly.
By taking these precautions and performing regular maintenance, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable winter camping experience.
18. Install A Heater To Keep Warm While Camping In Winter
You have the option to install heaters in your caravan or camper trailer providing an efficient way to keep the interior warm when camping in winter. These heaters come in different types offering various functionalities to suit your needs.
The four main types of heaters that can be installed in your RV are as follows:
- Space Heater: This type of heater is portable and serves as an affordable heating option for your caravan. It provides localized warmth and can be easily moved around as needed. Oil filled column heaters and blow heaters are examples of space heaters. You need to be hooked up to 240v power for these to work so that is a limiting factor.
- Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioning: With this system, you can effectively cool or heat your caravan, making it versatile for all-season comfort. Remember that reverse cycle air conditioners will cease to work when the temperature gets down to around 4 degrees Celsius. You need to be hooked up to 240v power for your reverse cycle air conditioner to work so that is a limiting factor.
- Gas Heater: These heaters are fuel-efficient and allow you to utilize your cooking gas to power the heating system. It’s a convenient and cost-effective choice.
- Diesel Heater: Compact and hassle-free diesel heaters do not require professional installation. They are a practical choice for keeping your caravan or camper trailer warm while camping in cold weather.
Depending on your preferences and requirements, you can select the most suitable heater type for your caravan or camper trailer. Each option offers its unique benefits ensuring a comfortable and cosy environment during your travels regardless of the outside temperature.
19. Pack And Plan What You Take For Camping In Cold Weather
Above all else it’s essential to ensure you have the right gear with you! Camping in winter requires more equipment compared to other seasons so accepting this fact early on will make your experience much better. Embrace the cold weather by making wise choices in your dressing, planning and packing. By doing so, you’ll guarantee a truly enjoyable camping trip.
Failing to acknowledge the realities of winter camping can lead to the unpleasant experience of freezing your nuts or lady bits off in inadequate clothing like a tee shirt and shorts. Pack wrong and chances are you’ll be packing up and heading for home early. To avoid this make sure to bring crucial items such as an insulated sleeping bag or bedding, thermals, numerous pairs of socks, beanies, a cosy down jacket, and everything else necessary to stay warm and comfortable throughout your adventure. By being well prepared you’ll be ready to embrace the beauty of winter camping and create lasting memories in the great outdoors.
20. Invest In Hi-tech Clothing For Camping In winter
That old woollen jumper grandma knitted for you and you’ve held onto for years won’t be sufficient for camping in winter. It’s time to leave behind the neglected clothing at the back of your wardrobe and invest in some high-tech apparel that will keep you better insulated. While these items may be more expensive they are worth it as they are designed to withstand winter conditions and will serve you well for numerous trips in the future.
- Look for products made from advanced materials like Gore-Tex, thermal wool blends and Down to ensure optimal performance from your gear. These innovative fabrics offer superior insulation and durability, ensuring you stay warm and comfortable during your winter adventures.
- In addition to upgraded clothing, consider incorporating tech-savvy tools into your camping gear. A portable heater will make a significant difference in keeping you warm and toasty. A portable hot water heater for your camper trailer will make having showers a lot mor bearable.
By upgrading your gear with smart and efficient materials as well as including helpful gadgets you’ll enhance your winter camping experience and have a much more enjoyable and comfortable time in the great outdoors.
21. Layer Your Clothing
Layering is a crucial technique to ensure you stay comfortably warm, especially if you intend to immerse yourself in any water during your cold-weather expedition. Regardless of the activity, whether it’s working out, relaxing by the campfire, or taking a nap, proper layering is essential for maintaining your well-being and safety.
By adopting a layered approach, you can easily adjust your clothing to suit different temperature conditions and activity levels. This way, you’ll always be sufficiently wrapped up, allowing you to enjoy your winter adventure while staying cosy and in good health. Whether you’re adding or removing layers, the versatility of this strategy will help you regulate your body temperature and ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable experience during your outdoor activities.
22. Precook Your Food
While this may not be our personal practice many campers swear by it. When camping in winter you might encounter challenging weather conditions such as wind, rain, hail, or even snow, depending on your destination. Cooking in such elements can be difficult and uncomfortable.
To prepare for these situations consider packing a few dry treats and pre-cooked meals. These will come to your rescue during severe weather or when you simply don’t feel like cooking. A helpful tip is to make and freeze a couple of meal options in advance, so they’re ready to heat and enjoy whenever needed.
Additionally, bring an assortment of non-cook snacks to keep in your camper. Having these convenient snacks readily available will help prevent hunger-induced irritability and ensure you have a pleasant and satisfying camping experience even in challenging weather conditions.
23. Check Out Where Those Drafts Are Coming From
Before heading off we make it a point to prepare our caravan just as we did when we had a rear-fold camper trailer. One of the essential tasks is to check all the windows and doors seals to ensure they are functioning properly and keeping any drafts from entering.
When traveling to especially cold and snowy regions it’s a great idea to go a step further and invest in insulated window covers. These covers come in handy, especially if you have a camper van or motorhome as they can be used to protect the windscreen from the harsh weather conditions and maintain a warmer interior during our travels. These thoughtful preparations contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable camping experience in colder environments.
24. Warm Bedding For Camping In winter
During the cooler months we make sure to update our bedding to create a more comfortable sleeping environment. Winter sheets and thicker blankets are a must for added warmth during the night. Additionally we place a few lightweight rugs on the floor to enhance the cosiness of our sleeping space. To further protect ourselves from any potential chilly drafts we place mylar space blanket under the mattress to block any seeping cold air from the van floor. A blanket or even a piece of cardboard works almost as well. This simple yet effective measure ensures a snug and pleasant sleep during our winter camping adventures. By paying attention to these bedding adjustments we ensure a more enjoyable and restful experience inside our caravan.
25. Getting A Great Sleeping Bag For Camping In winter In A Camper Trailer
When camping in winter in a camper trailer it’s crucial to have a top-notch sleeping bag, especially considering the colder night time temperatures. You certainly wouldn’t want to find yourself shivering in your camper trailer in the middle of nowhere while trying to sleep.
Before heading out on your camping trip, ensure that you have the right type of sleeping bag suitable for the environment you’ll be staying in. Research the overnight temperatures of your camping destination to help you make the appropriate choice. Opt for a sleeping bag designed for winter use, rather than one intended for summer conditions.
For superior insulation, a down sleeping bag is an excellent choice. However, if your camping location is prone to dampness, a synthetic sleeping bag would be more suitable to maintain warmth. To further enhance comfort, consider using silk or thermal sleeping bag liners, which provide additional warmth without adding much bulk to your packed items.
Sleeping bags are rated based on their insulation capabilities, indicating how warm they will keep you during use. Pay attention to these ratings to select a sleeping bag that offers the level of warmth you need for a comfortable night’s sleep during your winter camping adventure.
26. Close Up Your Caravan
After enjoying a pleasant day with your van opened up it’s essential to close it up as soon as you sense the temperature starting to cool down. Take the following steps to retain the warmth inside your van:
- Close Windows and Blinds: Shut the windows and lower the blinds to prevent cold air from entering.
- Close Roof Hatches: If you have any roof hatches open, close them to keep the warmth inside.
- Draw Curtains: If your van is equipped with curtains, pull them across to add an extra layer of insulation.
By promptly sealing off your van in this manner, you’ll be amazed at how long the warmth can be retained inside. This simple measure will ensure a cosy and comfortable space for you even as the temperature drops, allowing you to fully enjoy your winter camping experience.
27. Wear Warm Clothing To Bed That You Find Comfortable
To stay warm during freezing cold nights while winter camping it’s crucial to wear the right clothing especially for bedtime.
- Opt for fleecy or wool pyjamas as they provide excellent insulation. Just like with your daytime clothes layering is advisable for maximum warmth.
- The number of layers you choose to wear depends on your personal sensitivity to cold, the temperature, and the quality of your sleeping bag or quilt. Incorporating merino wool garments is highly beneficial as it helps to retain heat effectively. Avoid wearing anything made of cotton as it tends to absorb moisture which can make you feel colder.
- Consider wearing a zip-up hoody, thick wool socks, and a beanie to further keep the chill at bay. Using a hot water bottle is a highly recommended method for quickly warming up your sleeping space and ensuring a cosy night’s sleep during cold nights.
By carefully selecting the appropriate clothing and accessories you’ll be well-prepared to face the cold weather and enjoy a comfortable and restful sleep during your winter camping adventure.
Camping in winter is awesome. There are less people around so you get the pick of the camp sites. You can have a fire. I could go on and on.
Here are some essential tips for staying warm and comfortable during winter camping:
- Use carpet floor mats in your caravan to insulate the floor and keep it warm.
- Check the weather forecast before camping and make necessary adjustments to your plans.
- Enjoy campfire cooking to keep warm and cosy.
- Avoid arriving late at your campsite to set up in daylight.
- Ensure your torch is in good working condition and consider a wind-up torch as a backup.
- Plan a date night at a local pub or restaurant for a romantic and warm experience.
- Stay active to keep warm with campsite activities like walking and wood splitting.
- Use a hot water bottle in bed to start off warm before sleeping.
- Apply reflective tape or paint on objects to prevent accidents in the dark.
- Take measures to control condensation inside your caravan or camper trailer.
- Utilize cooking appliances inside the van to generate heat.
- Choose a campsite with sun exposure to stay warm and maintain solar power.
- Drive safely and adjust plans based on weather conditions.
- Learn to start a campfire effectively with dry wood and kindling.
- Warm up your body before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Take advantage of campfires in winter for cooking and warmth.
- Check and maintain rubber seals on doors and windows to prevent drafts and freezing.
- Install a suitable heater in your caravan for efficient heating.
- Pack appropriate gear and invest in high-tech clothing for insulation.
- Layer your clothing to adjust to different temperatures and activities.
- Pre-cook meals and bring non-cook snacks as a backup in severe weather conditions.
- Check and improve seals and insulation to keep the caravan warm.
- Update bedding with winter sheets and thicker blankets for added warmth.
- Choose a suitable sleeping bag for winter camping conditions.
- Close up the caravan at night to retain warmth.
- Wear warm and comfortable clothing to bed.
- Utilize warm clothing, blankets, and a hot water bottle to keep warm during the night.
Following these tips will ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable winter camping experience allowing you to embrace the beauty of the season while staying warm and cosy.