If you’re contemplating year-round van living, you might understandably be concerned about how you can feel safe and comfortable during the winter months. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to be sure you’re ready for the weather. Here’s what you should address before you hit the road in the snowy season.
Keep It Warm
Because you won’t be directly exposed to the elements as you would be while camping, it can be easy to underestimate how cold it can get inside your van during winter. The combination of being in cold temperatures and experiencing fewer hours of sunlight each day can make it downright frigid in your ride, but there are a few steps you can take to feel as warm as possible.
Start by ensuring that your van is well insulated so the heat you generate doesn’t escape. You’ll also want to use insulated window coverings for the same purpose. Then you’ll need to look at your options for van heaters to determine which type will best meet your needs. Propane and electric models get the job done but have their drawbacks, so you might find that installing a diesel heater is the best choice to get you through the cold months (check out van base for info on diesel heaters).
A toasty cabin can not only make you feel more comfortable, but it can also protect your interior plumbing from freezing. Water that’s in exterior pipes can freeze quickly, so wrap any plumbing that isn’t inside your van with insulation.
You can also install a heat trace to your pipes; just by flipping a switch inside your van, a heating element that’s been attached to your plumbing will turn on and melt any ice that’s accumulated. Remember that in winter you may find it harder to access water at camp and RV facilities, so ensuring that your pipes are safe can be an important survival measure.
Invest in Proper Road Gear
One of the joys of van life during winter is that you can explore the country in the months when fewer tourists are clogging the roadways. However, this means you’ll often be driving on snowy roads that can be quite treacherous, so equipping your van with chains is a must.
It may also be a smart idea to invest in recovery boards or traction mats, which can be used to free your van if it gets stuck in mud or snow when no other vehicle is around to pull it out. Gearing up with one or both of these options can help you navigate the roads more safely in challenging winter conditions.
Even though the thought of braving winter weather in your vehicle can be daunting, don’t let that stop you from living your best van life during the cold months. By installing good insulation and a toasty heater, protecting your plumbing against freezes, and equipping your ride with weather-defying road gear, you’ll be ready to hit the highway and enjoy the solitude and beauty that can come with living in your van in winter.