As the temperature drops and the days become shorter, some of you will be thinking about storing your camper van safely over the winter months. While the more daring will be planning a winter campervan trip either in the UK or Europe. If you’re thinking about setting off in the campervan over winter, read our guide on winter camping.
Why would anyone want to go camping in winter?
Some people may think it’s crazy to want to go camping over winter, it’s cold and dark, usually rainy and often snowy. When you could curl up by the fire in the comfort of your own home or a warm hotel, why do people want to be out braving the elements?
The changing seasons in the UK have their own individual beauty. Winter offers snow or frost touched views that are calming and serene. The bare trees give way to landscapes that might not have been visible when the trees were in full bloom.
Top tips for winter camping
- Get there early. There are fewer daylight hours in winter, so to make the most of your trip, arrive early so you can get set up and head out for your day’s activity. Remember to check campervan site opening times as many close over winter.
- Be prepared for snow and ice. Pack a shovel & items that can be used for grip pads, like carpet or wood if your campervan gets stuck.
- Make sure your vehicle is fit for purpose. Fresh and waste water can freeze in really cold weather, make sure you have antifreeze with you on your trip as well as warm high vis clothing so you’re prepared for any eventuality.
- Keep your campervan well ventilated. Your campervan is subject to condensation and mildew during the colder months. You could try moving upholstery away from the walls of your campervan to help prevent mildew.
- Bring items to provide extra warmth. To make sure you’re comfortable inside your campervan, bring extra blankets, hot water bottles, jumpers, hats scarves and gloves and even a rug for the floor.
- Head south! Southern England is beautiful all year round and the further south you go, the warmer it is likely to be. Or you could head out of the country altogether and travel to Europe for some winter sun!
Taking your campervan to Europe
If you’re looking to escape winter for a week or two or even the whole season, we look at what to prepare when taking your campervan out of the country.
- Do your research. Depending on what you want to get out of the trip there are plenty of destinations to explore and the internet has made life really easy when researching places to go. Find out about the weather, local events and campervan sites in the places you want to visit.
- Avoid overnight stops on French Auto Route aires. The French roadside rest areas are great, and a wonderful place to stop during the day to break up your journey. However, there have been reports of problems from many campers who have stopped at these aires overnight. The main issue is theft, particularly on the A7 and A9.
- Invest in GPS and road map. This point seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to ensure the GPS system you choose has maps for all the countries you intend to visit. Avoid relying on your phone as a map or GPS. Having a detailed road map as well as a GPS system is strongly advised.
- Know your vehicle’s dimensions. Measure the height and length of your vehicle and keep this information handy. It is likely that you will be presented with a narrow gap or low bridge. Save embarrassment by knowing that you will fit through.
- Check your insurance and passports. Make sure your passport is up to date and with at least 6 months expiry date. If you want to take your 4 legged friend, you will need to look into getting a pet passport! Make sure your insurance will cover the vehicle abroad and all passengers you intend to travel with. Phone your insurance company to ask if you’re not sure.
- Know the law. The road laws in each country vary, so do your research beforehand to make sure you know what to expect. For example, in France, you’re expected to carry a fluorescent jacket for the driver which needs to be put on if you get pulled over. In France, Germany and Spain you will be expected to carry a red warning triangle and if you break down the triangle needs to be placed 30 meters away from the vehicle. In Greece, you’re expected to carry a first aid kit, which is good practice when travelling in your campervan anyway, along with spare bulbs, engine oil and screen wash.
- Make the most of it! Finally, make the most of your trip and enjoy yourself. Travelling in a campervan is a fantastic way to see the world. Just make sure to take a camera with you!
Thanks for reading our winter campervan travel tips.