Get your caravan winter-ready!
blog / advice / winter / holiday
The clocks have gone back, the heating is on and the fluffy slippers are out - yes, winter is well on its way! Although modern caravans are well-equipped for year-round touring, with well-insulated body construction, advanced heating systems and endless creature comforts, the majority of caravanners still opt for spring-autumn trips only.
If this is the case for you, now’s the time to prepare your caravan for the cold winter months on the drive or in storage. There are many things you can do to ensure your caravan remains in tip top condition until the temperature rises a little and the time comes to get back on the road.
Top 10 tips to prepare your caravan for winter:
1. Cover up!
The best way to protect your caravan from the elements is to get a cover for it. Caravan covers are made from affordable, lightweight fabrics that are water-resistant and breathable. ‘Full’ covers that envelop the entire body of the caravan start from around £120 for off-the-shelf ones, so for relatively little investment you can keep your caravan protected during the winter and any other times you’re not using it.
Full covers come in a range of sizes to cover the entire caravan while it is being stored. They must be durable, breathable and water-resistant to protect the caravan from the elements whilst keeping the inside ventilated and in good condition. They are usually 4-ply to provide ultimate protection. You can opt for a standard or made to measure cover - the latter range from around £250-£450 in price depending on your requirements.
You can also get top, towing, hitch or wheel covers, a range of which we stock in our on-site shop. Read our caravan covers blog for more detailed information.
2. Well positioned
Research your options when it comes to storing your caravan. If opting for a caravan storage facility, check out their security measures, compare prices to make sure you’re getting a good deal and try to get one close to home so you can pop in from time to time. If you have space to store your vehicle on your drive on elsewhere on your property, think about the best place to park up for the winter months. Ensure it is in a safe location, ideally visible from the house and not under trees that may drop sap or in stormy weather, branches on top!
3. Safe and secure
Make sure your caravan is secure during the winter period when you may not be keeping such a close eye on it. Remove all valuables and electricals and ensure all the windows and doors are closed and locked. Consider a security system to deter potential thieves.
4. Battery care
Your leisure battery is an essential caravanning item so make sure you look after it whilst it’s not in use. If you can, remove the battery and store in a cool, dry place. Check it regularly and top up the charge levels when necessary. If you have to leave the battery on board to keep the security alarm powered for insurance purposes, consider investing in a solar panel to power the battery easily and efficiently.
5. Gas and heating
Make sure all your gas appliances are switched off and disconnected to ensure safety, and remove gas cylinders and store them somewhere cool and ventilated. Drain your caravan’s water heater – read the instructions for how to do this for your particular model’s system.
6. Go with the flow
Drain the entire water system and empty all the tanks to avoid frost damage if it gets really cold. Clean and disinfect the tanks so they’re clean and ready to use in the spring. Give your sinks, shower and toilet a good clean before you close the caravan up to ensure no odours develop over the months when not in use.
7. Wheel care
Ensure your caravan is positioned on level ground and rest the lowered corner steadies on blocks or pads. Use wheel chocks and take the handbrake off if the caravan will be unused for a long period. Be sure to turn the wheels regularly to avoid flat spots on the tyres and keep them in the best possible condition, prolonging their life.
8. Keep it well ventilated
Make sure your vents are uncovered so air can circulate inside the caravan and condensation can be avoided. If you are storing it on your driveway or land, go in and air the caravan from time to time on milder, dry days.
9. Soft furnishings and cushions
If you can remove these from the caravan and store them at home, please do. If you don’t have the space to do that, be sure to pull everything away from the edges of the caravan to avoid items getting damp.
10. Give it a good clean!
Your caravan will need some tlc before you tuck her in for the winter. Start by giving the exterior a good wash; use a paint brush to get as much muck out of all the joins and tricky to reach bits - the more black and green gunk that comes off the better! Once clean, you can either wax it or use an overwintering exterior protector, which will need to be washed off in the spring.
Next give the entire interior a good clean - vacuum everywhere from waist height down, ledges, upholstery and the floor and run the duster around too. Clear out and clean the fridge leaving it ajar, clean the appliances and inside the cupboards and remove all foodstuffs, even the salt and pepper as salt can attract moisture.
Top tips if using your caravan during the winter:
- Keep it covered in between trips to ward off frost.
- During cold snaps keep your eye on the water systems and do what you can to prevent frost damage - consider emptying the tanks in between trips if it’s freezing or occasionally switch on the heating to inject a bit of warmth.
- Drive slower in icy conditions as towing will present additional challenges.
- Plan your annual service just before the winter season to ensure your heating system is in tip top condition - it will be essential!
- Remember your wellies for crisp winter walks and hot chocolate for cosy nights in!
Please get in touch if you have any queries about winter care for your caravan. We stock a range of caravan covers in our onsite shop and we can offer advice on what might suit your needs best. Email us for more information or pop in and take a look when we reopen on 2 December.
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