Winter Camping

Tips

Motorhomes and caravans are a good alternative to holiday houses, guesthouses or hotels, also during the winter months. To camp in winter your motorhomes or caravans should be double-walled and have a double floor to provide proper isolation. To make sure it stays warm inside the vehicle during freezing temperatures, the walls have to be at least 3cm thick, while the roof and floor should be at least 4cm thick. If the right equipment is used and everything is planned well, unpleasant/frosty surprises can be avoided.

What to do before

  • Make your reservations in time, as well-established winter camping grounds are booked out quickly.
  • Winter tires for towing vehicles and trailers are a must during the winter months. In mountain areas, snow chains are obligatory as well. Practice procedures beforehand!
  • Change broken or fractured gas pipes. Use cold-resistant pipes in winter.
  • Test the heating system and fans: Open all cupboard doors, air vanes and storage boxes during the heating process to prevent water condensation.
  • Check flue pipe.
  • Fully charge batteries and keep well charged during holiday. Pack jumper cables and tow ropes.
  • Frost-proof the water tanks (fresh and processed service/industrial water), pipes and pumps. Use heating rods and frost monitor, if needed.
  • Use talcum or similar products on door and window gaskets.
  • For winter camping, a minimum of two gas bottles should be calculated / 3 Kg of gas per day.
  • An automatic switch prevents the heating system from shutting down in the event one gas bottle is empty. Be aware: Only use propane gas in winter. Butane gas stays liquefied at temperatures around 0°C or below.
  • A heating device on the gas bottle’s pressure regulator prevents the regulator from freezing at temperatures below 4°C. At temperatures below 0°C, the oil stays liquefied, and the regulator works properly.
  • Use anti-freeze for windshield wiper and radiator fluid.
  • Check which roads/routes are closed in winter.
  • Do not forget to bring a ladder, broom and snow shovel.

On the camp site

  • The pitch site should be free of ice and snow to prevent the vehicle from sliding or tilting during periods of thaw.
  • Boards should be placed under the wheels and supports to prevent the vehicle from sinking into the ground during periods of thaw.
  • Cover hand break lever, ramp and gas bottles with canvas or plastic bags to prevent them from freezing.
  • Arrange power/electricity cables in an appropriate way that prevents them from freezing to the ground or being damaged while shovelling snow.
  • Use rubber cables. Plastic cables might break!
  • After setup: Release the hand break so that it does not freeze!
  • Hang separation curtains (alcove model) over single glazed windows in the caravan cab or use isolating material.
  • Never close forced air circulations! The openings must not become covered with snow.
  • Never use catalytic heaters or infrared-gas heating systems! They absorb oxygen from the air.
  • An awning can be used as storage space, a place to keep things dry, as a refrigerator or heat buffer. If the angle of the roof is steep enough, the snow can be removed easily.
  • Hang covers on the refrigerator’s ventilation grilles.
  • Covers can be used to protect the bottom of the vehicle. Caution: Do not use on all four sides!
  • A pipe/chimney extension can be used to allow full circulation when it is snowing.
  • The chimney piece must be at least 10cm higher than baggage cases, ski-boxes, or racks on the roof. Only then can the heating work properly.
  • Leave the heater on, also during the night and when away for short periods of time. The temperature should not fall below 5°C.
  • Air regularly to ensure sufficient fresh air: open doors and windows for several minutes to allow the used, damp air to effuse and to let fresh, dry air in. Fresh air warms up faster.
  • In case of heavy snowfall: regularly remove snow from motorhome, caravan and awning roof.
  • Drain water from uninsulated tanks during freezing temperatures. Put a bucket under the tap. Caution: pipes that run along the outside wall freeze easily too.
  • Condensed water easily accumulates on the interior walls (e.g. areas behind the backrest cushion of seats or under mattresses) when there is not enough fresh air. Check this and dry these areas as needed.
  • Carpeting keeps your feet warm and helps to prevent damage caused by walking in ski shoes