Advice for winter touring
Tips and recommendations before you set off on tour in the winterRead more
With the winter season fast approaching, now is the best time to plan what to do with your caravan in the months ahead.
If your caravan is not going to be used for some time, we’d firstly recommend removing all valuables and keeping them safe inside your home. Empty your caravan of all perishable items and then give it a good clean inside and out. This will help minimise the tasks you’ll need to do, come the springtime. Leave fridge and cupboard doors ajar, this is so air can circulate and help dissipate any odours. Make sure that you check that the vents are not blocked and that the grills or mesh are still intact, this helps to prevent any vermin or insects getting in.
Flush the waste water tanks and/or pipes and drain the water system, this includes the water heater and toilet flush. Leave the taps open and remove any water filters to help avoid the risk of freeze cracking.
Aside from the security systems that you might have in place, switch off the electrical circuits. If you’re leaving the battery inside your caravan, make sure it’s fully charged. If your caravan is kept topped up by a solar panel, ensure this is cleaned and if possible, pointing towards the low winter sun.
If the battery is not required for the security system and you’re storing your caravan away from your home, you could consider removing the battery and then periodically charging it, with a suitable charger. It’s important to remember to turn off the gas supply at the cylinders, and it’s worth noting that some storage compounds may require the cylinders to be removed altogether.
Give the rubber seals on the windows and door a little lubricant, either with a silicone spray or wipe them down with a little olive oil. It might help making a list of all the things that you've done, so that you know what you have to address when the days start to lengthen again, and it's time to bring the rig back to life.
Purchasing a good, breathable cover will help protect the vehicle from the elements and also reduce extra spring cleaning.
Get the security devices activated, or if your vehicle doesn’t have any, consider getting them fitted, subject to any restrictions in your storage location. If you’re able to, it is worth checking on your vehicle every few weeks whilst it’s in storage and give it a good airing to minimise the condensation. Try to move it slightly so that the tyres aren’t loaded at the same point and leave the handbrake off to avoid the brakes jamming.
Winter is the best time to sort out any minor repairs and refurbishments, so make sure you book in your spring servicing before the workshops get booked up. You could also get round to the jobs that you’ve been putting off during the touring season, like cleaning the awning. Have a look at what you like to take away with you when you’re back on the road and see if it’s possible to minimise it for better fuel economy or improved payload capacity. With the holiday season around the corner, any missing essentials could be added to your Christmas wishlist.
But if you don’t fancy packing away for the winter just yet, why not carry on touring? Most Club campsites are open well into the autumn, with many open all year, as are many CLs.
Winter touring takes a little planning, with warm clothes and bedding being essential, as is making sure you can heat your outfit adequately – mains hook-up or enough gas is key. Plan journeys carefully too, to allow extra time if weather conditions are less favourable. National Highways offer some good advice on this. If you’re more ambitious or fancy milder climes, the Club offers winter holidays in Europe for short or long breaks.
Finally, if your caravan is kept at home, it can be a valuable asset over the winter. Extra accommodation for Christmas guests? A secure place to hide presents from inquisitive young children? Somewhere for older children to escape to when the house is full of 'boring' adults? A peaceful space to work or just to relax when the house is full of noisy teenagers!