Winter touring tips

Although caravanning in the winter in the UK doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, the winter landscapes and empty, more peaceful sites can make braving the cold worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the cold weather can take its toll on your caravan and can leave your caravan with cracked taps, split pipes and even damage to the water tanks and systems themselves - bringing your winter escape to a premature end. The best way to avoid this sort of damage is to prevent these services from freezing by keeping the caravan warm and well-insulated.

The following tips should help you to enjoy the winter months and reduce the threat of your caravan succumbing to the cold.

  1. If you are planning on staying out for the whole day and temperatures are struggling to climb above freezing, leave the heating on very low just to keep the ambient temperature inside the caravan well above freezing.

  2. At night the temperature drops further. You may have wrapped yourself up warm enough under the duvet but make sure you leave a little bit of mains heating on to make sure the pipes don't freeze.

  3. External water carriers or Aqua rolls can be vulnerable to freezing in the sometimes harsh winters we have here in the UK. Wrapping the container in insulating material can help prevent the contents of the carrier from freezing. Bubble wrap, old duvets or quilted coats also serve as good insulators

  4. Something which often gets overlooked when caravanning in the winter is the need to change your gas supply. You'll also need to switch from butane to propane cylinders as propane operates at a higher pressure than Butane and can still be used when temperatures plummet as low -40 degrees Centigrade. You will also need to change the regulator as it won't be interchangeable between the two cylinders. Speak to your regular gas supplier about getting set up for winter touring and make sure you follow all the safety procedures.

Winter storage

Even once you get home from your chilly adventure, it's worth the time and effort spent taking a few precautions to ensure that the cold weather doesn't get to your caravan whilst it's laid up on the drive way or in storage.

  1. To eliminate the risk of damaging water heaters, pipes and other services, it's a good idea to drain down all the water systems - including easily overlooked items like the toilet flush reservoir water heater and toilet cassette.

  2. Return the taps to the central 'open' position so they can release any pent up pressure caused by the expansion or contraction action of repeated freeze/thawing.

  3. Consult the manual relating to your specific make and model of water heater to locate the drain-down valve and make sure every last bit of water drains out.

  4. Don't forget to update your caravan insurance if your caravan storage arrangements change.

In early March, give everything the once-over and check that all the water, gas and electric systems are fully functional, so that when the first warm weekend of spring arrives, you're ready to make the most of it.

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