Taking into consideration the amount of money that we spend on our motorhomes, and all of the extras we put onto and into them, it is no surprise that many motorhome owners like to use them as much as possible and, all year round.
Motorhomes are not just for the summer, they are perfect for impromptu weekends, wintery getaways and wherever you fancy and, even winter sun in Europe and beyond.
Here are a few of our helpful hints, tips and ideas for successful Autumn/ Winter Motorhome breaks.
Top Hints and tips for winter motorhome holidays
· Before you leave home check to make sure your pipes have not already got frozen water sitting in them. If they do, thaw them out immediately. Keep a large water bottle with a tap in case you come across a frozen water supply on your travels!
· Make sure you have suitable winter tyres on your motorhome before you go. www.caravanguard.co.uk have information and a handy guide for picking out the right set. They are not cheap but they will make a massive difference to both your comfort and safety, they will last longer too, as you will only need to use them in certain months.
· Remember to close up the ventilation grilles in the cab, this can prevent the majority of the chilly draughts from getting in. You should never close the low level, fixed vent grilles as these have been designed to protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Try to park on a slight incline to prevent water from sitting and freezing in the pipes.
· Absolutely never travel in winter without plenty of antifreeze and salt to thaw frozen pipes as and when you need to. If it gets cold enough, it is extremely likely you’ll need to do this no matter how careful you are!
· Don’t forget the electric heaters…
· If your motorhome has an external waste tank, try leaving the drain open with a bucket underneath it while you’re parked up. It may not be the most pleasant idea, but it is definitely better than dealing with frozen waste.
· Leaving internal locker doors open at night will allow the heat to circulate more effectively.
· Fit external and internal covers or silver screens onto your windscreen and side windows. This will keep a significant amount of the heat inside, rather than letting it escape through the glass.
· Fit a curtain around the cab area, choosing one that is a little too long on purpose to keep the heat in the living area. It’s also well worth fitting a curtain to the external door, which is another draughty area.
· Close the blinds as soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops really quickly.
· If you don’t have a carpet in your motorhome, a few rugs can make all the difference for extra warmth.
· Make sure you have snow shovels, something for your wheels to grip when driving out of deeper snow (carpet remnants can be useful) and plenty of practice using all of your winter equipment. Get to know how to use your snow equipment at home while it’s warm and dry – you don’t want to be out in the snow longer than you need to be!
· Use hard standings to reduce the likelihood of having to dig your motorhome out of snowy or muddy ground.
· You may want to think about installing an on-board water tank if you are concerned about the temperature dropping low enough to freeze your outside container. Alternatively, a number of products are available to make your outside tank compatible with the winter weather, such as winter conversion kits and gentle pipe heaters. Researching this beforehand is the best option well before you are due to travel so everything is in place in plenty of time.
· It would be well worth adding anti-freeze to your waste water system (NOT to your drinking water). Most plumbing suppliers and builders merchants will have a variety of options available. Remember never to use salt in toilets or similar systems, as it can be corrosive.
· Make sure that your heating system is in good repair and safe to use. If you normally use a heater which is not suitable for all-night or unsupervised operation, it is advisable to consider installing a replacement. Standalone heaters and radiators will also be worth their weight in gold – never underestimate how miserable a freezing cold motorcaravan can be! If you use a water-based heater, remember to drain it fully after your holiday; or else you could start next season with damaged pipes.
· Most new motorhomes are insulated far better than older models were, but you may still find that you need extra protection from the elements. If your windows aren’t double-glazed, you can buy plastic sheeting from any DIY store, which can be used to create an extra layer, which is designed for use in houses, this can be attached to the inside of your windows with Velcro for a temporary fix, or in a proper frame as a permanent solution. Rubber strips can be fitted to block any droughts.
· Should it snow during your holiday, remember to regularly clear the snow from the mains cable and any other external fittings. You should also make sure air vents and flues are clear from snow, NEVER block any against the elements, It may be tempting, but it is also incredibly dangerous.
· When you arrive at the site, try to position your motorhome so that vents, ducts and similar fixtures are protected from the prevailing winds and, therefore, much of the snow and rain.
· A box of moisture-absorbing crystals can be great for clearing any condensation, which may form due to the differing temperatures on the inside and outside of your van.
· Pack as many high-quality duvets and sleeping bags as you can being cosy and warm is key! You will NOT regret it!
· Make sure your battery is well charged and able for the harsher conditions. In addition it is a good idea to keep a spare on board.
· Whist parked up, leave your motorhome in gear, with the handbrake off wherever it is safe to do so. This will help to stop the rear drums from freezing.
· Fish tank heaters can be very useful for your fresh and waste tanks when it gets very cold.
· Keep all door and window seals in good repair and check before you travel and replace as required.
· Always use propane rather than butane, due its much lower freezing temperature and never travel without extra gas.
· Make sure your fridge is properly sealed, both inside and outside your motorhome, using the correct winter covers for the external vents. Never cover these vents completely.
· Invest in some thermal blinds and levelling blocks to make your winter pitch more comfortable.
· If you can, go somewhere warmer for your winter holiday, go as far south as you can.
· If you are going to be away for a rather a long time, just double check if your home insurance covers it. You may need to purchase unoccupied house insurance, better to be safe rather than sorry!
· Last, but by no means least, make sure that you Motorhome insurance is up to date and will fully cover you for the season.
· Lastly wrap up get cosy and enjoy the trip