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Your Winter camping tips?

chockswahay

chockswahay

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T6.1 Coast 150
We have just had a couple of days in the van with night temps down to freezing point. We have a Polar Technologies pop top cover and windscreen cover, these worked well but still a few concerns (in no particular order). This led me to thinking what experience/ advice to others have?

With nice thick duvet we were plenty warm during the night without heating on but cold nose n ears.

In the morning there was a fair amount of condensation on the plastic section of the roof above us. Also condensation alone the bed frame sides and the roof section of the hinge end. Anyone else get this? How do you deal with it?

The windscreen cover stopped all condensation and made it more comfortable to sit in the pax seat without cold draughts. Also we could have the windows cracked open a little bit more (50mm or so)

How do YOU remove condensation? we use a micro fibre cloth but tbh it tends to splash more water around than it removes haha. I’m wondering about one of those portable glass vacuum cleaners?

It was cold enough that when I tried to open the kitchen window it was frozen solid, the condensation on the glass was ice too.

I have tried leaving the heating on but either too noisy or starts to run batteries down a bit quick. I wonder if the heating would be best left on minimum to keep chill out but stop cycling on and off all night?

When opening the cupboards under the sink/cooker ……. Crikey, cold air came out!

None of this is a real issue, 1st world problems I s’pose. I just I’d start the thread topic as it’s getting colder out now.

Of course…….just realised the answer is probably NOT to camping in the winter……. but we can’t help ourselves! :D
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

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I camp all the year round, in fact January historically is my second most popular month for camping.

To remove condensation altogether means increasing ventilation and in below freezing temperatures there is a limit to how many apertures you want open at night. I find external windscreen covers helps a lot.

To stop the van being cold enough for frost to form at night means warming the van up at night, not a bad move if you also have water in the tanks. I always use the diesel heater, the ticking can be intrusive but I found I get used to it very quickly, otherwise find alternative heating such as a small oil filled radiator that is noiseless. If off grid there really is no choice but to use diesel unless you invest in a lithium power station such as Anker or Ecoflow.

I'm afraid I like a warm van, even at night in degrees below, so I just live with the ticking from the diesel heater.
 
chockswahay

chockswahay

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T6.1 Coast 150
I camp all the year round, in fact January historically is my second most popular month for camping.

To remove condensation altogether means increasing ventilation and in below freezing temperatures there is a limit to how many apertures you want open at night. I find external windscreen covers helps a lot.

To stop the van being cold enough for frost to form at night means warming the van up at night, not a bad move if you also have water in the tanks. I always use the diesel heater, the ticking can be intrusive but I found I get used to it very quickly, otherwise find alternative heating such as a small oil filled radiator that is noiseless. If off grid there really is no choice but to use diesel unless you invest in a lithium power station such as Anker or Ecoflow.

I'm afraid I like a warm van, even at night in degrees below, so I just live with the ticking from the diesel heater.
It’s not the ticking that’s making the noise…. It’s the flippin rush of air for the first few minutes each time it starts up. We are nearly always off grid so will only be able to use the diesel heater.
 
Drpps

Drpps

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T5 SE 140
I have a pop top wrap (home made) but I am going to put some vent holes in line with the roof canvas vents to help with ventilation. External screen wrap makes a big difference to front screeen condensation. I also have wind deflectors in front windows so have those open too. There is quite a difference if there are 4 rather than 2 in terms of condensation. It does form a fair bit on the metal below the canvas front and sides in the pop top.

I think some people do use the window vacs with good results. Microfibre cloths need washing without fabric conditioner before first use and should then absorb well.

I sometimes set the heater timer to come on half an hour before we plan to get up to pre warm the van but use a thick duvet/sleeping bags overnight. Once you have done that and boiled the gas kettle for some tea I usually have to open the kitchen slider too.
We also have a small Kampa Cuboid fan heater for hook up but prefer to use the diesel heater as it isn’t in the way!
 
calimera

calimera

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1)Isotop - cant be bothered with external roof covers ! Perhaps if it was snowing really hard / regularly then I would https://vwcaliforniaclub.com/search/386474/?q=isotop&o=relevance
2) External window screen cover
3) Diesel heater
3) Warm and comfy Sea to Summit mattress
4) A good duvet / warm clothes
Agree with the iso top roof linear (expensive) . One of our best purchases for the Cali.
External window screen cover.
Always leave the front windows open a bit ( have wind deflectors)
Diesel heating or a lovely small oil filled radiator ( on hook up)
We enjoy camping in January & February. No real problem with condensation as long as we ventilate.
Recommend St.Ives in January
 
Stu@rt

Stu@rt

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You could always try a couple of the £1ish disposable moisture traps to reduce the condensation. Ventilation is key though. The exhaled breath has to go somewhere and insulating one section of the van will just mean that it condenses somewhere colder.
 
Shorts2000

Shorts2000

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T6 Beach 150
Does any one yes a dehumidifier?
 
kurienp

kurienp

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just realised the answer is probably NOT to camping in the winter……. but we can’t help ourselves!
Camping in Winter is the most fun thing to do! We love it. When everyone else is inside, the outside is all open to explore and enjoy!

As others have said and you also use
- A nice Duvet
- ventilation via the front windows (we have deflectors)
- heater on all the time (we usually start at 5 and then set it to 3 all the way through.

and we have an isotop, so that helps as well. Considering a flexi-tube and related attachments to funnel hot air to the top. Got some parts, need to get other parts to complete it now.

On cleaning condensation, the ever useful blue industrial tissue comes to the help. By next day morning the tissue used is dry to use again (the moisture would have crept into the van anyways I guess).
 
Hawthorn37

Hawthorn37

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Agree with the iso top roof linear (expensive) . One of our best purchases for the Cali.
External window screen cover.
Always leave the front windows open a bit ( have wind deflectors)
Diesel heating or a lovely small oil filled radiator ( on hook up)
We enjoy camping in January & February. No real problem with condensation as long as we ventilate.
Recommend St.Ives in January
Can you use a screen cover and get ventilation from front windows cracked open? Might bye a Noddy question, but all the external covers I’ve seen also cover the side windows. :rolleyes:
 
larrylamb

larrylamb

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Can you use a screen cover and get ventilation from front windows cracked open? Might bye a Noddy question, but all the external covers I’ve seen also cover the side windows. :rolleyes:
Yes, there's room for airflow to come up from the gap at the bottom. Even more room for ventilation if you have wind deflectors fitted.
 
sidepod

sidepod

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The one thing that makes a huge difference to temperature is the roof. Put it down when you sleep.
 
chockswahay

chockswahay

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Scotland
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T6.1 Coast 150
Jesus, turn the heater on.
It will run continuously for 3 to 4 days off grid.
Cold wasn’t the problem ….. and we had volts issue as it happened (other thread). However surely the warmer inside will lead to even more condensation…………
 
DG1

DG1

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107
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East Midlands
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T6 Ocean 150
One of my best buys has been the Brandrup Airscreen, albeit not cheap:


This means you can get ventilation during the winter by opening the sliding window as much as you want without the risk of rain getting in (unless it is very, very window). And at the same time you can have a cover over the front windscreen and doors if required

Also we always sleep downstairs and keep the roof down in the winter.

One issue I have is that the downstairs bed mattress can feel very cold in the winter, due to the cold air in the luggage compartment beneath that doesn't get warm air from the diesel heater. This is the case even with a mattress topper.
 
Stu@rt

Stu@rt

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Kent
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T6.1 Coast 150
One of my best buys has been the Brandrup Airscreen, albeit not cheap:


This means you can get ventilation during the winter by opening the sliding window as much as you want without the risk of rain getting in (unless it is very, very window). And at the same time you can have a cover over the front windscreen and doors if required

Also we always sleep downstairs and keep the roof down in the winter.

One issue I have is that the downstairs bed mattress can feel very cold in the winter, due to the cold air in the luggage compartment beneath that doesn't get warm air from the diesel heater. This is the case even with a mattress topper.
We have this and use it lots. It's quite large though. Where do you store it? I have taken to sticking the suckers to the back of the bench seat when travelling, so it's stored vertically upside down. Do you store it in the roof? Or elsewhere?
 
Little owl1963

Little owl1963

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31
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Walsall West Midlands
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T6.1 Ocean 150
Get an army polyester sleeping bag , never been cold I one even in tent ebay £35 ex arm
Even in tent never cold
 
The Pox

The Pox

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Chorley
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T6 Ocean 204
For me it's use the diesel heater or an electric one when on hook up. Invest in (a) good sleeping bag(s). I have three one for summer one for autumn and one for winter. One sleeping bag cannot perform through from summer to winter. I don't bother about condensation until morning. In the morning I use this to mop up the condensation. It works a treat.
Kärcher WV Black Edition Window Vac, 10 W, 240 V, Black/Yellow
 
DG1

DG1

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107
Location
East Midlands
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T6 Ocean 150
We have this and use it lots. It's quite large though. Where do you store it? I have taken to sticking the suckers to the back of the bench seat when travelling, so it's stored vertically upside down. Do you store it in the roof? Or elsewhere?
At first I kept it on top of items in the boot area, but it got scratched. So now I keep it on top of the downstairs mattress behind the rear seat, making sure it is dry and clean of course.
 
Webbah_in_Switzerland

Webbah_in_Switzerland

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171
Location
Lucerne, Switzerland
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T6.1 Westafalia club joker
I've been using camel hair duvet's for a few years now and would never change. These are really great for winter and summer. Keeps you nice and toasty in the winter and cool in the summer. My favorite is from Billerbeck. Have one for the van and one at home.
 
ejmoore

ejmoore

2016 California Ocean 2.0 TDI
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T6 Ocean 204
We camp all year round and always sleep in the roof bed. In the winter we put the cover on (Calicap Mütze). Have never noticed any problem with condensation. We use good sleeping bags (so no draught round your feet) with a light duvet over if necessary, plus I wear a hoody. Have only once had the heater on overnight, and that was piste-side in Kandersteg ski resort in March, and it was surprisingly toasty.
The other thing that makes the van nicer in winter is to make more space inside by pushing the seat right back (removing the back shelf), as long as you can pack your stuff away in the wardrobe & drawer. And sheepskins & fairy lights. Cosy.
 
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