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Autumn is just around the corner with its beautiful colours and stunning scenery. Despite the fact that the days are now getting shorter and the nights increasingly colder (and wet), it doesn't mean that you have to wait until summer to go caravanning again!
Plus, modern caravans are equipped with state-of-the-art heating and insulation systems which have turned caravanning into something that you can do at any time of the year.
Caravanning in the autumn and winter months can be a very enjoyable and beautiful experience, although there are a few extra things that you need to be mindful of before you set off on your next trip.
It's no secret that we here at Waudby's are passionate about caravanning, so we put together a checklist of everything you need to know about caravanning in the colder months (with plenty of advance notice so you can plan your trip in advance).
Get the right gas
There's nothing worse than arriving at the site and realising that there are issues with the gas.
If you plan on setting off in the colder months it's important to switch from using butane gas, which is ineffective when faces with freezing temperatures, to propane gas. The majority of appliances in most modern caravans are capable of functioning with either type of gas but what you will probably need is a propane regulator.
If your caravan is equipped with a central heating system, for example, propane is better suited for it anyway. In this case you don't even have to switch back to butane for the summer. It's good to check the type of gas your caravan uses before you set off in the colder months.
In the colder months a porch awning is an invaluable asset.
It can be used to store muddy boots or to dry clothes in as well as a good place to keep some food and equipment. Moreover, having an awning will help reduce the amount of cold air that comes in the caravan once the door has been opened.
However, make sure you check the terrain first. If the ground is frozen or hardstanding you will not be able to pitch the awning properly. We recommend stocking up on extra strong and durable pegs made out of steel for the cold months.
Regular clearing & maintenance
It is very important to always keep an eye on snow or leaves piling under your caravan or around it.
Also be wary of rubbish or foliage blown by the wind that might obstruct the flute of your caravan's flute space heaters causing problems. We recommend checking on these regularly and not leaving them running overnight.
Clearing snow or leaves from under your caravan is crucial because a lot of important air vents and appliance flutes are located there. Having these blocked for a prolonged period of time will cause structural damage.
Despite caravans being suited for use in any kind of weather it is still possible for water containers to partially freeze during the colder months, particularly if located outside the caravan.
A lot of modern caravans have on-board water storage capabilities or allow for the addition of such water tanks (consult your manual and contract a specialist to help you).
Once that has been achieved you can easily transfer your pump to the on-board water tank should the outdoor one freeze.
Water freezes from the top to the bottom so in order to keep the water in your outdoor tank from freezing you could opt for an insulated cover and cover the pipes in foam pipe.
Waste water freezing could cause major issues in autumn and winter as the temperatures drop. To prevent this from freezing you have a few options:
add salt to the container
add insulation to the container
low-power electric heating
glycol-free-anti freeze (recommended choice because this will also help to prevent freezing of the toilet)
Fit for purpose
A lot of items are specifically made to be used in caravans and motorhomes and it's important to use these kinds of products whenever possible, especially during autumn and winter.
One obvious example of this is caravan toilet paper. This is designed to instantly dissolve in contact with water in order to make disposal easy. Using normal toilet paper in your caravan might cause clogging in your pipes which can lead to problems with disposing of waste and maintaining your toilet seals.
It's important to minimise any chance of clogging and blockages during these seasons as ice and frost can cause additional problems which can lead to pipe bursts or structural damage to your caravan.
Preventing a problem is always a lot easier than fixing it once it's happened!
Always be prepared
Pack extras of everything including food, clothing and duvets/blankest! You never know when these will come in handy.
Also remember to pack for the weather conditions outside: always carry snow chains. This is a legal requirement in a lot of European countries and it will save you from being snowed in and stuck.
We hope you find these tips helpful for your cold season caravanning! Make sure to leave a comment in the comment section below if you have any questions, suggestions or if you have any other tips to share.