With winter approaching your may be wondering, how can I winterize my camper trailer for year-round use? Well tiny home hub has got you covered. This post will take you through everything you need to do to prepare yourself for winter camping in your trailer. After all who says the fun has to stop just because winter has returned.
Why Should You Winterize A Camper Trailer?
For one thing it takes up just as much time in the year as summer, so why not maximise the use of your camper trailer and turn it into a winter camper. Furthermore, there are the shoulder seasons, where it is still quite cold, but the weather is improving. Winterizing your camper trailer will mean you get to spend more time having fun camping.
The winter and shoulder seasons tend to be much quieter than the summer rush. Campsites, trail heads and tourist attractions are all much less busy in winter, making it the perfect time to travel. As a result, if avoiding crowd is your thing then you need to winterize your trailer.
Winter sports are hugely popular, whether that’s snowboarding, skiing, mountaineering or anything else. You could use your camper trailer as a base to get you out in the mountains more often. Moreover, this could save you a ton of money, as resort fees can get expensive if you want to go skiing. With a camper trailer you just need to find somewhere suitable to park up.
Finally, winter, and the shoulder seasons like spring and autumn, are simply gorgeous times to be outdoors. A fresh dusting of snow can give the world an ethereal, enchanting atmosphere. Fall colours can light the landscape aflame with a vivid palette of oranges, reds, and yellows. It’s made better by being able to sit in your cosy camper trailer and enjoy the spectacle of nature.
How To Winterize A Camper Trailer?
If I haven’t sold you on the benefits of using your camper trailer during winter, then no one can. On the off chance that you are interested in doing some winter camping I will take you through exactly how to winterize a camper trailer.
Insulation is your friend. Retaining that all important heat is absolutely vital, and this is one of the most important parts of winterizing a camper trailer. You need every crevice to be stuffed full of insulation. Sheep’s wool is one of the best natural insulators, and it is environmentally and health friendly. However, it isn’t the easiest to come by. Spray foam and rock wool are two very popular choices. Advantageously spray foam is very easy to install and may not need you to strip off much panelling.
Critically don’t forget to insulation the roof and floor. Extra floor insulation can come from cork or foam matting laid down under your normal floorboards. Alternatively, you may opt to get a thick rug while you camp during winter as a simple solution.
Fit Window Covers
Thin windows, especially the plastic variety found in most camper trailers, will leak heat like a sieve. As a result, it’s imperative to insulate your windows during the winter. Luckily, this is very easy to do with thermal blinds.
Thermal blinds have insulating fabric sandwiched between foil reflective material. This helps to radiate heat back into your camper trailer, while preventing cold ingress from the windows. Depending on the shape and size of your windows you may be able to purchase pre-made window covers. Alternatively, you can make custom made blinds as a simple DIY project.
The best way to do this is to use cardboard or newspaper to make a template of your window. Cut your reflective foil and insulating fabric out to the desired shape. Then sew these three layers together. Magnets are a great way to get the blinds to stick to the window frame and are very cheap online.
Install A Diesel Heater
Your camper trailer may have been built with summer camping in mind. As such, it may not come stock with a diesel heater. If you have some basic DIY skills and tools you could install one yourself. There are a lot of heaters on the market, from cheap Chinese knockoffs that cost around £100 to the real deal which can be up to £1000.
The best brand in the business is Eberspacher, which typically run of a diesel tank. A small tank would be easy to install either inside or underneath your trailer. The major advantage with these heaters is that they have an exhaust outlet for poisonous gasses, meaning they are completely safe to run in a small space. Comparatively, some propane heaters are not as safe to run indoors.
Alternatively, if installing one sounds a bit to complicated there are campervan conversion companies that will supply the unit and install it for you. These will typically cost over £1000, so it could get expensive if you chose the professional route.
Tyre Chains and Pressure
Airing down your tyres is slightly controversial when driving on snow or ice. Some claim you should do it some claim you shouldn’t. I’m only going to present the recommendations and you can decide for yourself what to do. The off roading community has long claimed that airing down your tyres is advantageous. Off road tyres can be aired down between 5-15psi depending on the conditions you are driving in.
Most standard car tyres are not designed to be aired down. You should only ever air your tyres down a significant amount if you have off road tyres. It’s also important to note you will get worse fuel economy with softer tyres so make sure you watch your fuel gauge.
The best way to get good traction in snow is to fit tyre chains. A set of tyre chains will only set you back around £100 but they are highly recommended for driving in snowy conditions. Obviously, you should fit chains to your car and trailer tyres to improve traction.
Insulating Tanks and Pipes
If you are going to overnighting in below freezing conditions, it is important to insulate any pipes and tanks that are underneath your trailer. Depending on how your trailer is set up you may have an underslung grey water or freshwater tank, with pipes running to and from it.
Insulation will delay the freezing from taking place, but also increase the time it takes to thaw out. Depending on what the average temperature is going to be you may opt to fit a 12v tank heater.
If you do decide to insulate your tank foil bubble wrap is a very simple but effective way to do this. It is just a case of layering the wrap and securing it in place. Waterproof pipe insulation is the perfect way to protect your pipes from freezing. Fortunately, pipe insulation is very cheap. Any pipe underneath the van that could be exposed to freezing temperatures should be insulated.
Check The Seals of Windows and Roof Vents
Having old or corroded seals will allow moisture and drafts to enter your trailer. Moreover, even if you have window insulation you will find your camper trailer gets very cold if your windows aren’t sealed properly. A quick visual inspection every few months should help prevent a problem sneaking up on you.
In fact, window seals are very easy to maintain and even replace. They often have a long-life span so are not a regular problem area. Window seals are very straight forward to replace so if you do find one look suspect make sure you replace it.
Prevent Humidity Have a Dehumidifier
Your breath, cooking and heating will all release water vapour into the air. If you don’t remove this effectively you could have a plethora of problems start to arise. At night you might get ice forming on the inside of your windows. Alternatively, if your trailer is very warm you might get mould start to grow, which can have serious health implications.
A dehumidifier is the perfect solution to this. They can be run relatively constantly and will remove large amounts of water from the air, helping to keep your camper trailer dry and cosy all winter long. There are a variety of models available, from a small battery powered dehumidifier to one that will require mains power. Subsequently depending on your set up you should be able to find something that will work for you.
How to winterize your camper trailer may seem like a large undertaking, but it is completely worth it. Firstly, your will get so much more use out of your trailer which is always a good thing. Furthermore, you will get to experience different seasons and the unique beauty they have. Finally, all the normally busy places will be much quieter and way more peaceful, a personal favourite of mine.
Hopefully this post has shown you how to winterize a camper trailer. Do you travel in your camper trailer during winter? Let us know via email or Instagram DM @tinyhomehub.