Our SUNLIGHT Adventure Crew member and pro freerider Lena Stoffel shared her tips with us to stay save and warm during cold weather RV camping.
You want to embark on snow-sports adventures in your motorhome or camper van? Fantastic idea – We have 8 tips for your successful winter camping trip!
Although modern vehicles are well equipped for any season you still need to follow a few guidelines when travelling in cold temperatures.
“For people like me who are chasing powder in wintertime the camper is just perfect. I’m totally flexible, I have everything on board, and I can park at the best spots being the first one in the morning without any stress. Most people do not know how “cool” winter camping can be. It’s a dream – but obviously you have to prepare to enjoy your winter adventures!”
Lena Stoffel, Freerider
1. Keeping Warm
Key to a great winter trip is, of course, the gas. Make sure that the gas bottles are filled enough – in the end, they provide the fuel for heating, warm water, and cooking appliances. Plus, the heating not only keeps you cosy, but also protects the freshwater tank from freezing. In the SUNLIGHT vehicles the heating runs with 2×11 litre propane gas bottles (except for the CLIFF 601 which comes with 2×5 litres). Depending on the temperature outside and the size of the vehicles, a bottle lasts between 2 to 5 days in wintertime.
My tip: regularly check your gas!
2. Winterized Vehicle
All SUNLIGHT models are ready-built for winter camping: equipped with a heating and insulated against the cold. The Camper Van series is even available with insulated and heated wastewater tank. Winter tyres are, of course, mandatory.
Mind: Have tire chains ready if you travel passes or are not sure whether the roads to your parking spot are cleared of snow.
3. Water Check
Water is a key point to watch in wintertime. At temperatures around or below zero, you must make sure that the water hose will not freeze. In winterized vehicles, the freshwater tank is protected by the on-board heater against freeze-up. But you need to check if the water hose might freeze depending on the model.
My tip: always try to keep the tank about 2/3 full as the water thus takes longer to freeze and the movement inside the vehicle further prevents it from freezing.
4. Frost Control
The boilers in a winterized motorhome or camper van come with so-called frost protection: the heating has a frost protection valve which automatically opens and drains water before freezing.
My tip for cold temperatures: turn on the heating one hour before filling the tank so the frost protection will not be activated.
5. Save Energy
In wintertime, you will need more electricity than in summer. It gets dark earlier, and you spend more time inside the vehicle. Therefore, I recommend to plug into shore power whenever possible as the on-board battery’s power is reduced in sub-zero temperatures.
When I’m not travelling with the CLIFF but a different SUNLIGHT model, I run the fridge with shore power as soon as I have access. Thus, I save gas for heating. In my camper van, the fridge runs on electric exclusively anyway.
6. Stay Dry
Depending on the vehicle size, SUNLIGHT‘s Low Profiles, A-Class, VANs and Coachbuilts come with differently sized garages. They do not only provide generous space for your equipment but are also perfect to dry your snow-sports gear. With your wet stuff in the garage, you prevent your interior from getting damp. You should also regularly air your mobile home to protect it from humidity.
My tip: In some models you will even find a socket in the garage. I plug in my sky boot dryer and the next morning I have dry and warm ski boots.
7. Thermal Insulation
To prevent heat loss, you can insulate thermal bridges with special insulation and covers. For most models, SUNLIGHT offers customized thermo-solutions and smart accessories such as thermal window mats or fitting insulation for the rear doors.
My tip: I insulate the rear of my CLIFF when it gets really cold outside. Thus, my sleeping space in the back stays all comfortable and warm.
8. Right Spot
Usually, campsites that are open all year are perfectly prepared and offer cosy amenities such as heated sanitary facilities or even saunas. If it’s your first time camping in winter, you will soon appreciate how quiet and relaxed it is with less guests and the campers spending more time inside.
I always have an eye on the weather forecast in winter, watching extreme temperatures or heavy snowfall. There’s always a chance of being snowed in, so make sure to bring a snow shovel.