Now, theres a mixture of ways you can help yourself with this one.
The main ones I’m going to cover are; The van you’re planning on staying in, your winter wardrobe and general common sense!
Our van is insulated with loft insulation wool and it makes a heck of a difference! The Yellow One was fully insulated, carpeted, floor and roof fitted for approx £1000. I know, this seems like a LOT of money, but if you want to be able to use your van as your holiday home on wheels year round, its well worth the investment.
We also have internal and external silver screens. The internal screens are for the back three windows and the external are for the cab and front doors. The internal screens came to approx £100 and were off eBay. The external front screens were £175. These are a god send in the winter months as they help add a layer of insulation and stop heat dissipating through the windows.
If it was up to Em, she would have a FULL down suit and wear it everywhere imitating the michelin man, however she’s currently only got a down jacket and down slippers – THANK GOD!
The down slippers were a new addition this christmas and they seem to have been a huge success – Phew!
What is ‘down’?
A down jacket or item, has been filled with the soft and warm feathers of ducks or geese. This type of filling is one if the best insulators as it creates lots of tiny air pockets that trap warm air from your body and help to keep you warm.
A waterproof coat is also essential as you never know how the weather will turn out, especially in the UK! You’re not supposed to get down wet as it can cause damage and stop it performing properly so this is your next go to item!
Thermal layers are key to keeping warm also. If you don’t have thermal layers then you can just layer up with lots of thin layers. Lots of thin layers is better for keeping warm then one big jumper.
We tend to wear a thermal top, then a T shirt or Poloneck, then a fleece layer, scarf and coat. This has seemed to work well for us. Em sometimes adds an extra layer depending on how far into the minus degrees I’m taking her! Its better to be too hot and remove layers than it is to be too cold and not have enough layers.
Also, a pair of leggings underneath jeans is the best way to keep your legs warm.
Walking boots and thick socks are a must, in our opinion. Trainers or other lightweight shoes do not have a thick enough sole to stop the cold getting through, especially if you are in ice or snow. We have learnt this through very cold and unpleasant experiences.
Hat, scarf and gloves are important – we don’t have a type in particular, just a standard bobble hat and scarf. However, there are lots of different types of gloves. I have down filled mittens, where as Em has knitted thermal gloves. It really is down to personal preference with gloves.
We have stayed in approx -5 to -7 degree temperatures but still only used normal bedding that we have at home and been perfectly fine. We do, however, have a down sleeping bag which we can open up as an extra layer if necessary but we haven’t resorted to this yet which tells us the insulation and silver screens are working well!
Apparently, this isn’t always as common as it should be!
I guess, these are more tips and suggestions which we have picked up along the way!
If you know it’s going to be ridiculously cold, stay closer to civilisation rather than alone by a remote Loch somewhere. It may be a nicer view to wake up to, but its definitely not as safe and not worth the risk.
As mentioned in previous posts, if you are wanting to stay on a hotel or car park, please ask the owners permission first.
Keep the engine running with the heaters on full whilst fitting the silver screens and try to keep door opening/shutting to a minimum, this helps to keep the heat in and makes the van warm to begin with.
If you’re going to leave the van for a while, then come back to sleep, just set the engine running for 15-20 minutes to take the chill off. I know this ‘wastes’ fuel but its worth it.