I often wonder why we humans complain so much about the weather. We can’t stand the heat; we can’t stand the cold. Always in search of absolute comfort, we find ourselves continually longing for that golden middle. It may get frustrating at times, especially for those of you who have chosen the #Vanlife and need to survive the winter season at all costs.
Vanlife is exciting and adventurous. It gives you freedom and a sense of escapism. You can enjoy yourself and live your best life at all times, except, maybe, when winter approaches. That’s when you may start hearing voices in your head saying that this Van Life was not a good idea after all.
But don’t let those voices keep you away from living the life you chose. The experience that makes you truly happy. There are many ways to winterize your van and stay warm during the brutal season. And that is precisely what you are going to find out in this post. We will offer you some tips on how to weather the winter living in your van.
Tip #1: Insulation
This is the number 1 tip all vanlifers swear by. Without good insulation, all your winterizing efforts will go down the drain. We can’t stress enough the importance of this step. Insulating your van an all sides, as well as the ceiling and the floor, is a must. During your build-up process, make sure to cover any other parts or gaps of the van that can easily let out the heat. Like windows, for example. Covering them up will also keep you away from prying eyes.
Insul-Shine, which is also used for home isolation, is the best material out there that serves a double purpose when used to cover the windows. You can use its reflective side to protect you from getting unwanted heat inside the van during the summer. During the winter, all you have to do is flip it and use the reflective side to your advantage and increase the overall temperature inside your van.
Tip #2: The magic of hot water bottles
While there is nothing magical about hot water bottles, it is a wonder what you can achieve with this simple trick in no time. Not only is this the safest method, but also the cheapest one. Simply place a couple of water bottles at the end of your sleeping bag or inside your blanket to keep your feet warm, and voila!
Tip #3: Make yourself a cup of tea
Drinking hot beverages will make you feel the warmth at the core of your body. Making a tea before bed will also heat up your van pretty quickly once you boil the water. It is super easy and will cost you almost nothing. Just do not drink black teas or any caffeinated drinks before bed, unless you want to stay awake during the night.
Tip #4: Learn the art of layering
Invest in good winter clothes, because you are going to need them. You can also use several layers of blankets during the cold nights to keep you warm. This way, you will sleep more comfortably and can remove the covers easily in case it gets too hot.
Invest in several cold weather blankets that you can layer and give the van a cozy feeling. Plus, they look great in case you love taking cute pictures for your Instagram feed.
Tip #5: Get a dog
Now, this might not be a tip for everyone, but having a snuggly dog will keep you warm on cold winter nights. Especially if you are traveling solo. Many dog breeds excel in a winter climate, so they might be a great help when it comes to keeping you warm, keeping you company, and offer you security.
Tip #6: Use all types of heaters you can get your hands on
Whether it is an Espar heater, a Mr.Buddy Propane heater, turning the van heating on, or installing any other kind of heating devices in your van, go for it. If it keeps you warm whenever you need it, then there you have your answer. Be careful and don’t leave the heaters on during the night though. What you can do is turn the heater(s) on a few minutes before you go to bed and then turn them off and bury yourself under the sea of blankets.
Tip #7: Physical activity for the win
Let’s get real. No one wants to get out of their warm bed in the morning and head outside into the cold and snow. But bad news, it turns out you should.
Starting your morning off with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and some exercises, a long walk, or simply getting out of bed and moving is what’s going to jump-start your metabolism and keep you warm. You shouldn’t stay inside the van all the time just because it is winter and it is cold or snowing outside, right? So give yourself a push and know that you will feel much better afterward. If you also have a dog, you have one more reason to go ahead with those long walks.
Tip #8: Keep on moving
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think it’s pretty genius. You want to survive the winter, or better yet, get away from it. Then, how about you keep on moving and leave the winter behind? Why not take advantage of your 4-wheel home and move wherever there is no winter, no snow, no ice?
Maybe it will be a lot for some people to move across the country just to stay warm, but it will be worth it. Some of the places where you can escape winter and keep yourself and your van warm are St. Petersburg, Florida; Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Golden Isles, Georgia. Other parts in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware, and North Carolina are also perfect places to experience warm winters.
By moving to warmer states during the brutally cold season, you will not have to worry about winterizing your van. You will have the chance to explore new cultures, savor new cuisine, make new connections, and discover new places. You will be living in a “warm bubble” and will never have to deal with the cold months ever again. Just some food for thought…
Did you like any of these tips in particular? Do you know any other tips that are great for winterizing your van? If so, please, share with us in the comment section below. We would love to learn more creative ideas or secret tips from you.