The best tips for campervan breaks in the winter, including the most important things to pack to stay warm

The best tips for campervan breaks in the winter, including the most important things to pack to stay warm

Driving on the road in a motorhome was the great success of the summer holidays last year. With more people opting for self-catering in their own little home on wheels, campsites experienced record bookings and motorhome sales and rentals reached a record high.

But while the warmer months may be the obvious choice for a camping trip, there are plenty of good reasons to vacation outdoors in the winter.

At this time of year, one could see nature at its raw, frost-clear finest with snow-capped hilltops and even the opportunity to spot the northern lights. In addition, there is always a pub in the countryside with a roaring fireplace to pull in along the way.

With the motorways free of holiday twists and the campsites much quieter, road trips become much more relaxing, although of course you have to check the weather forecast so you do not get stuck in the worst winter weather.

Out of season, campervan rentals are cheaper due to lower demand, so you can make a bargain and choose the models offered.

However, for those of you who are considering your first entry into the van business, organizing yourself can seem daunting.

So we’ve teamed up with the RV Rental Marketplace Indie Campers to share some top tips on how to turn an off-season road trip into a great adventure.

Keeps warm

No one likes the idea of ​​defrosting windshields with frozen fingers, condensation trickling down walls and damp bedding. But it’s surprisingly simple to stay cozy in your vehicle.

It does not take too much to make a campervan feel warm and cozy in winter, but the right set can help


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What to pack

Make sure you have warm clothes and plenty of removable layers. Woolen bottom layers are best paired with down pants and wool sweaters. Hats, scarves and gloves as well as a pair of sunglasses to cope with the low winter sun are also recommended.

A sleeping bag for four seasons is the ideal space saver. Many versions can also be zipped out to form rugs.

Keep toasty from the inside by filling up with hot drinks and soups that can be cooked on a camping stove. A hot water bottle is another great piece of set for the colder months.

Glass is a bad insulator, so keep the windows covered at night


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Warm up

Electric heaters are easy to use. Look for a portable version with a load of 2kw or less so you can use other electrical equipment at the same time. Indie campers can add these to your campervan package at a small extra cost.

Finding a campsite with an electrical connection allows you to use a campervan’s built-in heating system while keeping your battery fully charged.


Cover windows from the inside of the van after dark to keep the heat in, as glass is a bad insulator. Close any curtains or blinds, or use a foil windshield screen, which is usually stored for the summer months, to help reflect the heat back.

Storage: Choose a campervan with an all-weather awning as this will provide a useful place to leave wet or dirty boots and protect them from being rained or snowed on.

Stay safe

Having a variety of tools and equipment will help tackle tight spaces and varying weather conditions.

Winter equipment for your van: Make sure you have an ice scraper to remove ice, snow and condensation from motorhome windows, though a credit card will do the job if that’s all you have on hand.

Kit for travel abroad: Some countries and regions, especially Scandinavia and the Austrian Alps, require the use of winter tires and / or snow chains, even for those just passing through. If you are unsure how to check which tires are fitted, keep an eye out for the letters “M + S” or the image of a snowflake inside a mountain top on the tire walls.

If you intend to drive through mountain ranges, you can use snow chains at any time from November to April.

Before you go, it is important to know how to assemble them properly. You can swot up on this via Indie Campers blog.

The rental company will supply snow chains, as well as all other safety equipment that is legally required in the country where you start your van rental, at no extra cost.

When the rain stops play

If the weather is not playing ball and there are no options other than to stay inside, there are plenty of ways to have fun right there in your van.

Pack cards and board games if the weather does not play ball


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Movie night

A campervan gives the cozy feeling of a home with the extra charm of cozy rooms. After a long day out in the fresh air, you can cuddle with pillows and blankets on the back seats and enjoy a movie marathon or a box-set binge. The best way to enjoy a movie is on the big screen, so invest in a portable projector. Many can be connected to a laptop, mobile device or streaming stick.

Portable canvases in different sizes are cheap to buy, but white sheets are a suitable alternative.

If the sound from a laptop is not enough, Bluetooth speakers can provide something closer to a cinema feel.

Add some hot chocolate, popcorn and fairytale candles and you have the perfect setting for a magical evening.

Old-fashioned fun

Walk away from the screens and hand out the cards. Whether it’s a standard game for a few rounds of whist or family favorites Uno and Dobble, a pack of cards takes up very little space but can provide hours of entertainment. Keep an eye out for other small games such as dominoes, Pass the Pigs or mini Jenga.

If it’s loneliness you’re looking for on your journey, then escape the outside world for a while by getting lost on the pages of a book.

To be prepared

Thinking ahead of a situation that is more serious than bad weather will give you peace of mind while driving. Should the worst happen, the first priority in an emergency is the safety of the driver and passengers. Once secured, shift your focus to the vehicle.

Make sure you have help at hand: Rent a van from a company that includes roadside assistance around the clock, no matter where you travel, and make sure you have the relevant phone numbers you can call for breakdowns and recovery .

Make sure you have the right insurance if things do not go exactly according to plan


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Vehicle insurance

Insurance is a necessary journey. You may already be covered by medical needs and personal belongings, but the van needs the same protection.

Indie Campers includes a basic insurance package for all camper van rentals, including coverage for accidents caused by a third party.

There is also a premium package available with more comprehensive coverage. Drivers should purchase the appropriate insurance package based on their expected use of the vehicle.

Emergency kit

A motorhome emergency kit should include tools, lights and other repair equipment. You can customize yours based on where you travel, but the essentials to have in each set are: jump leads, tire repair kit, spare tire if full replacement is required, multi-tool or Swiss Army knife, bungee cords, whistle, burner and first aid kit.

Also, consider packing other useful items such as a fuel can, powerbank, hi-vis vest, and flashlight. Indie campers provide a jack and an emergency triangle. Be aware that some countries, including France, require all vehicles to carry emergency kits that include hi-vis vests for use in the event of an accident.

Book your holiday

The only thing left to do now is to order the van.

Indie Campers has its own fleet of vehicles available for pickup in centers in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as dozens of cities across Europe.

Or go further afield to rent a van from the newest center in Los Angeles.

You can find out more at

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