Ensure that the awning is washed and clean
and completely dry before storing for winter, if you do
not do this it could result in mouldy patches on the awning,
or worse. It is better to store the awning in the house
rather than the van if you can.
Most caravans now have central heating systems, but any
gas appliance could be dangerous if left on overnight.
Low wattage electric convector heaters are a safer option,
and can be used all day for background heat.
Butane (blue cylinder) is liable to freeze when temperatures
fall below zero, so you would need to carry propane (red
cylinder). Modern caravan appliances work equally well
on butane or propane, however you will need a different
regulator, as these are not interchangeabe. Propane can
be used all year round so there is no need to switch back
to butane for the summer
In sub zero conditions, the outside water container may
well freeze so you will need a secondary container inside
the caravan. There are several commercial kits available
to help you achieve this. If you have a big enough caravan
you may want to install an onboard water tank. Many new
caravans and motorhomes are fitted with a fresh and waste
water facilities inside a locker, accessible from outside
the caravan, which should protect against freezing.
To prevent freezing of the waste tanks or porta-potti,
it is acceptable to add car-type anti-freeze. Salt is
an alternative for plastic waste containers, but it is
corrosive and should not be used in toilets with valves
etc. Waste pipes should be lagged, and kept as straight
as possible to avoid them holding pools of water with
Make sure you fill the kettle at night just in case.
At least you can face the morning freeze with a cuppa
Most modern caravans are double glazed and have well-insulated
walls, floor and roof. A porch awning would be useful
as an 'air-lock' to prevent winter winds entering the
caravan or motorhome direct when the door is opened. A
porch awning is useful for storing wellies, winter coats,
Condensation can be a problem, so bowls of moisture absorbing
crystals (available from DIY outlets) could be placed strategically
around the van.
Avoid excessive moisture production. especailly when cooking
or washing. Even if it is cold, ensure free ventilation
when cooking or showering.
High-tog quilts or arctic sleeping bags should ensure a
warm and cozy night, even with no heater on.
With extra electric appliances in use,
make sure that adequate fire safety equipment is to hand.
Thoroughly clean the fridge/freezer with bicarb of soda
or anti-bacterial liquid. Leave the door propped open
to avoid pressure build up and a stagnant smell.
Plug all water inlets and waste outlets to avoid smell
and creepy crawlies coming in
It's a good idea to place your van on
axle stands, thus removing the weight from the suspension
and giving it a rest so to speak, but more important,
it takes the weight off the road tyres there fore alleviating
the flat spot, wall damage and possible tyre renewal in
the new year Just do a check with your insurance company
both van and household to ensure you are covered
Before doing this check your insurance as most policies
say you need to have wheelclamps fitted .Do not leave
the caravan on the corner steadies
Why do I need a Caravan Cover?
When laying your caravan up for the winter, it’s
important to remember that a good deal of damage can
be done whilst it’s not being used. If your
caravan is stood outside, it is open to damage from
UV light, frost, wind and general wear and tear the
elements throw at us during the winter months.
If you are lucky enough to have undercover storage,
you still need to consider the amount of damage animal
faeces can do or just dirt and grime collecting on
the outside of the van. Dust is great scratching material
if someone rubs along side your caravan.
So What do I Need to Look for When buying a Cover
for my Caravan?
First and foremost, the cover needs to repel rain,
water, snow and ice. Not only that, you will also
want to protect your investment by stopping bird excrement
and tree sap getting to the painted surface of your
caravan as they can cause irreparable damage to your
Secondly, it needs to be breathable. Please be aware
that there are many cheaper covers available that
are made from materials that will cause your caravan
to sweat which does cause long term damage. This can
lead to damp which will adversely affect the residual
value of your caravan dramatically.
Finally, you need to make sure the inner layer is
made from a soft and lightweight material that will
NOT scratch the paintwork of your investment. This
is crucial as a number of comments have been posted
on forums and caravan news websites where owners have
complained about terrible scratching on windows and
doors of their caravans.
Ultimately, using a good quality caravan cover will
protect your investment from the harshness of winter,
potential damage from tree sap, animal excrament and
it will make your job of cleaning and polishing the
outside so much easier in the spring.
If you would like to maximise the residual value
of your caravan when it's time to trade it in, click
on the link that suits the size of your caravan and
be safe in the knowledge that your van is well covered
and protected this winter.
your van for winter
Laying up a tourer for the winter is simply a mix
of common sense and good housekeeping.
Start with the interior - give it a scrupulous hovering
and wipe down plus remove anything that will go off
as well as giving the cooker and fridge a thorough clean.
Leave the fridge's door open along with the cupboards
to help prevent musty odours.
Cut up an onion and place it around the interior as
it absorbs odours. A dehumidifier is a fine investment,
and it also helps combat dampness.
To keep the van's interior free from mildew, remove
and store as much of the loose furnishings as you can.
Remove all linen, blankets etc. Open all cupboard/locker
doors. Ensure all rooflights and windows are shut. Check
fixed ventilation points are not obstructed
Drain out the water tanks. Remove the showerhead and
tap heads open all taps to reduce the chance of them
cracking up over the winter.
The water heater must be drained - depending on what
type of heater you have the drain plug valve is located
either externally by the bottom corner of the heater
or under the bed locker next to the water heater. When
the plug is removed or the valve opened the water heater
should then empty.
The submersible pump should be stored in a dry place.
Drain all water carriers completely and leave the
plugs off to avoid unwanted smells
The top tank should be drained (the drain point is normally
inside the external door).Empty and clean out the toilet
but refrain from using strong bleach as it will leave
black residue stains.Leave the toilet slide open to
stop it freezing to the base.
Shut off the gas supply and remove the tourer's battery.
The latter requires regular trickle-charging from a
It used to be advised that the caravan should be supported
on axle stands to take the weight off the suspension
and tyres. If possible, then do so, but it's not strictly
essential for such a short period of time.
Do ensure, however, that the tyres are correctly inflated
so flat spots can't easily occur.If possible, leave
the handbrake off so that it can't seize on, plus grease
the mechanism as well as the van's corner stays. Other
maintenance points include the jockey wheel if it hasn't
do I need?
There are many good gas supply companies, but for use on the move
the best choice is one which distributes nationwide, especially if
you can only use the smaller bottles. Calor is the market leader and
the company supplies both Butane and Propane. Butane, usually in blue
bottles, is heavier than Propane, and more energy can be stored in
a given bottle size. Propane, although lighter than Butane, has the
advantage of remaining usable under freezing conditions and is therefore
the best choice for winter motorcaravanning. Butane stops working
as the temperature falls towards 0° C whereas Propane works well
at very low temperatures indeed. Since Propane also works OK at normal
temperatures many motorcaravanners like us use Propane all year round
BP launched the revolutionary new BP Gas Light propane cylinder to
the UK caravan market at the National boat, caravan & outdoor
leisure show at the NEC Birmingham in February.BP Gas Ligt cylinders
weigh approximately half as much as traditional steel cylinders because
they are made of ultra-tough composite materials rather than metal.
The attractive design is also semi-transparent so you can see the
gas level at a glance and know when you need to change the cylinder.
BP Gas Light is available in two sizes - the larger size contains
10kg of propane and the smaller holds 5kg of propane. 10kg cylinders
are currently available through a nationwide network of stockists.
From April, the 5kg cylinder will be gradually rolled out across the
country, exclusively for the caravan market. In addition, April 2006
will see the launch of a new BP Gas Light website where customers
will be able to order and pay for a cylinder to be delivered straight
to their door. If you can remove all gas cylinders do so and store
in an adequately ventilated location. If not ensure that all cylinders
are fully turned off and the gas compartment is locked. Remember when
storing Butane gas, it begins to freeze at temperatures below 4 degrees
C. Propane does not.
allow snow to collect under the caravan, and keep the mains
cable free moving or it may become frozen to the ground.
Keep moving parts of the caravan, like the handbrake, jockey
wheel, corner steadies etc. well oiled to prevent seizing. If
it is safe to do so, leave the caravan handbrake off to avoid
cover the chimney cowl on the caravan roof with a small plastic
bag to prevent rain, sleet or snow from entering and causing
damage. Secure bag with either a plastic tie or wire strap.
(Rubber bands work ok but they easily perish and fail). Using
a brightly coloured bag is a visible reminder BUT always attach
a note to the fire to remind yourself to remove the bag before
putting the heater back into operation.
Care of your tyres If your caravan is parked in
the same position for several
months the tyres may develop flat spots.To avoid this happening,
remove the wheels or raise them off the ground. But, before
doing either check
with your insurance company that you will remain insured. Some
companies insist you must have a wheel clamp fitted when the
caravan is not in use – you can’t fit one if the
wheels are not there.They may also object
to some types of winter wheels that interface with the chassis
If you can’t remove the wheels move the caravan occasionally
to reposition the tyre load on a different part of the tyre.While
the wheels are removed take
them to your nearest tyre specialist. They will give an expert
inspection of the tyres and re-balance the wheels as well. Ensuring
your caravan wheels are
balanced will help the handling of your unit and reduce tyre
Cover the fridge vents with winter covers to prevent
overcooling. With Thetford 400 series toilets rotate the filler
neck to drain out the 150cc that remains even if the tank itself
is empty. If using gas for the Truma heater, ensure the top
of the chimney stays free of snow. Buy some oil filled radiators
for the van and awning. These can be left on, unattended, as
there is no flame or hot element and are ideal for drying towels.
Boot sales usual have them, the 500 & 750 watt versions
are ideal. Use car lock anti freeze sprays to keep locker locks
free of icing up. Scrounge a small, solid top pallet for outside
and put an "astroturf" type mat on it.
Completely drain off the water system after
each trip. Dont forget to leave ALL your taps open with mixers
set in the mid position.
Again after each trip, drain off WC flush water or use a Thetford
approved anti freeze additive - NOT CAR ANTI-FREEZE.
Whilst away, at night bring your pump indoors so it doesn't
freeze up, and put it back on first thing in the morning.
If snow or frost on the ground, regulary lift your electric
hook up cable to stop it from sticking to the ground.
If using the gas water heater, don't forget to take the flue
terminal plastic cover off first!
Personally, I would NOT have the gas fire on whilst we are asleep
in bed. If the flue outlet becomes obstructed or blocked with
snow, ice, or what have you, you might not wake up again.....
ever!Open all internal doors and cupboards to allow the air