Taking off on a road trip in the depths of a UK winter is a great idea – if you put in the time to plan. Read our guide to some of the best winter accessories for your campervan and be sure of the perfect break, whatever the weather!
A vital part of preparing your campervan for a winter escapade is to check you’ve the right campervan insurance. The team at Motorhome Protect are always ready and willing to help. Give us a call now for a comprehensive quote in minutes – it really is that straightforward.
Thermal windscreen cover
While most modern campervans have a decent level of insulation included as part of their build, it really doesn’t compare to that offered by a traditional bricks and mortar home. With that in mind, adding a thermal windscreen cover to your campervan could be a very useful way to create a more comfortable living space.
There are many internal and external options on the market but, in general, they perform the same function. In winter, several layers work to reduce heat loss through the windscreen and the front driver’s side and passenger windows. This area accounts for the largest loss of heat in a campervan so it’s vital to introduce more effective insulation here.
Covering your windows is just one of the 10 best ways to keep your campervan warm, or at least take the edge off. Have a look at our other ideas on the Motorhome Protect blog.
Another comfort issue with campervans in the morning is condensation on the windows. This is particularly so in the winter when warm bodies and cold external temperatures make ideal conditions for this troublesome issue. However, the effectiveness of thermal windscreen covers in preventing condensation can depend on the type (whether external or internal) and the fitment of the screens.
Being able to see out of your campervan windows is a legal requirement for anyone touring in winter. Pack a decent ice scraper and de-icer to keep your van on the right side of the law.
With the amount of snow, wind or rain around in the winter period, even when you’re not touring your cherished camper can still be at risk of significant weather damage. Campervan insurance is a great way to protect yourself from the fall-out from such events. But isn’t it better to stop it from happening in the first place? Buying a cover that fits over your campervan is a popular way to protect your investment from the attention of Jack Frost. Read our recent guide to campervan covers to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Not every campervan has top-of-the-range heating fitted as standard. So, if you’re staying in your van over winter and don’t have heaters fitted, you need a way of keeping warm as the evenings get colder. A compact oil filled radiator or fan heater is perfect for heating small spaces. And if you choose wisely, it shouldn’t cause a problem with the campsite electricity.
Therefore, choose a heater with multiple heat output settings. For example, it’s much better to have a heater that has an output of 500W, than a 3000W heater that will just trip the hook-up power supply.
Obviously, this isn’t an option if you’re planning on wild camping. As you will only be able to use an electric fan heater as a backup on a site with a mains hook-up.
Never use your gas cooker as a way to heat your camper. It can leave you at risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning!
Carbon monoxide detector
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases in cold weather, owing to malfunctioning heating appliances being brought out when the weather has turned chilly. Don’t put the lives of you and your family at risk – buy a CO detector right now.
Even if you’ve already got one fitted, test it before you set off on each trip. We’d also advise having a spare set of batteries to hand, just in case they run out. The cost of a CO detector and alarm is so insignificant compared to the safety benefits. After all, around 60 people a year are killed by CO poisoning. How to spot carbon monoxide poisoning is something that all campervan owners need to know. Get to know this silent killer before it’s too late.
Camping in a van in the winter can bring a number of issues, one of which is moisture. And it won’t just make everywhere damp, it’ll also create a breeding ground for mould and that dreaded musty smell. A great little solution is to invest in a handy dehumidifier. Just keep an eye on how often you run it and how much electricity you’re using.
Barbeque or outdoor oven
When the weather turns cold it can be tempting to spend more and more time inside the camper to stay warm. However, this means that you’re missing out on one of the best bits of van life – being in the great outdoors. Packing a barbecue grill or an outdoor oven is the perfect way to get in the fresh air for a bit. And you’ll have a tasty, warm meal at the end of it!
Digital AV adapter
There can be few better ways to spend a rainy hour or two than in the comfort of your camper. But from Wi-Fi dongles and boosters to 4G antennas and satellite systems, it can be a real minefield trying to figure out how to watch your favourite shows or play your favourite games.
We’ve gone through many of these in a recent article on how to get internet in your campervan . However, one of the easiest ways to do it is to invest in a digital AV adapter. Using an HDMI cable, this clever little gadget lets you mirror what’s on your phone or tablet screen to the TV. Meaning you can stream or download from services including Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+.
Yes, hiking around some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes is a high point of any expedition. However, if the weather takes a turn, then you might need to swap the Lake District for the rolling hills of Zelda’s Hyrule or the jungles in Crash Bandicoot. Just charge up the Switch console from your 12v batteries or a power pack, and you’re good to go!
Undoubtedly one of the best campervan accessories for any road trip. Because you never know what mother nature might throw at you, it’s always useful to keep gadgets fully charged while on the move. Using a car charger makes much more sense than eating into your leisure batteries once you’ve stopped.
Water tank heater
If the temperature drops below freezing on a cold winter’s night you may have the unfortunate experience of waking up to frozen water pipes. Stop this from happening by investing in some insulation and tank heaters to keep everything from freezing up.
Many campsites around the UK have hardstanding pitches on offer. But not everywhere has enough. Particularly if we’ve had a lot of wet weather, getting stuck in the mud on a grass pitch or when driving onto grass may be unavoidable. While you might not be able to stop this from happening, you can take precautions to help get going again quickly.
In many situations grip mats can come in handy. Although remember, they can’t perform miracles!
Sometimes the only way to get out of a situation is with some hard manual labour. But no matter how fit you are, if you don’t have the right tools for the job then you’ll have a problem. In winter a decent shovel can be invaluable when it comes to clearing snow. A durable, lightweight shovel that folds down is probably the best option in view of the often-limited storage space in a camper.
Duvet and extra blankets
Any campervan trip can turn into a nightmare if you’re not getting enough sleep. And a sure-fire way to miss out on those essential Zzzs is to be cold. That’s why you’ll never regret packing an extra snuggly duvet, thick blankets, bed socks, hot water bottles, and even electric blankets.
And what about when you’re out and about? How are you expected to glory in the wonders of nature if you’re shivering so much you can’t even hit the camera shutter button! Invest in a full set of thermals, hats, gloves and so on and you’ll be able to stay out much longer.
If you do get chilly on a walk then there’s no better way to warm up fast than with a cup of tea or coffee. Don’t forget to pack a well-insulated drinks flask for those trail breaks.
Among UK motorists the uptake on winter or all-weather tyres is one of the lowest in Europe. However, as the motor heads over at Autocar have demonstrated, once temperatures really start to drop, winter tyres have been proven to reduce stopping distances and make vehicles easier to control. If you’re planning on driving in Europe this winter then be aware that in some places it’s a legal requirement to have winter tyres fitted. Check that your campervan insurance covers you for trips abroad.
You should probably have one close at hand no matter what the time of year. However, as days get shorter a torch could prove a simple but very effective tool in many circumstances.
Okay, in some smaller campervans you should still have some natural rear visibility. But if you’re out on the road on a misty winter day and you need to reverse then you might be glad you’ve invested in a reversing camera. Particularly if asking your partner to step out into the wet and cold will make for an unhappy camper. Remember, even with a friend guiding you, there could still be an accident if there’s a miscommunication.
While we’re on the subject of technological helpers, a sat nav could be invaluable in winter. Modern units can provide traffic updates and divert your route to avoid congestion or obstacles. That said, having an up-to-date, paper-based map in the vehicle is still vital. After all, you never know when a piece of technology may fail you!
Home security system
Leaving your home and setting out on the open road is a wonderful idea at this time of year when we all start to feel a little bit of cabin fever. However, being away can leave us open to burglars and other hazards. For total peace of mind when away from home, a home security CCTV camera system could be the answer. Nowadays you can pick them up for not too much. Keep an eye on your house 24/7 from your laptop, tablet or phone. It’s not just your home contents you should keep an eye on, though. Make sure the contents of your campervan is covered by campervan insurance, too.
This might not be an option for everyone. But have you thought about saying goodbye to winter and finding somewhere altogether warmer to spend the next few months? The southern parts of Spain, Italy and Greece are all within reach when you’ve got a campervan. Just remember to check your campervan insurance includes foreign travel before you leave – Motorhome Protect’s does! Make sure you have the right documents and equipment (i.e. breathalysers) to drive in the country you’re visiting, too.
Campervan insurance from Motorhome Protect
Whatever the weather or time of year, setting off in your campervan without the right insurance is a recipe for disaster. The helpful team of insurance specialists at Motorhome Protect can find you suitable insurance cover for your needs at a price that’s right for you.
No matter how well prepared you are for your outdoor adventure, campervan insurance gives you that extra layer of protection against theft, accident and so much more.
Benefits of cover arranged through Motorhome Protect include:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year which can include foreign use
- Cover for your campervan while you’re converting it
- Enhanced cover for personal effects
- Discounts if you’re a member of a campervan club
- Up to £3,500 of cover for your camping personal effects
Get a quick quote for insurance for your campervan today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.