It’s true that a Winter trip in your van may present you with more challenges, but there’s no reason to stop roaming until Spring! Some of our favourite van trips have taken place during Winter, when usually crowded areas and campsites are less busy, and we can end a long and chilly day of adventuring with a cosy evening in our van. Below are all the items we find useful in Winter; to enhance our experience, keep us warm or make sure we’re prepared for any cold weather based issues! Whether you’re a full time van lifer or you take short camper trips when you can, read on to find out why these items are essential to have in your van or motorhome this Winter!

Battery charger

Winter is a tough time for your camper van starter battery, so it’s important to keep it in good condition. Your starter battery is in constant use, even when the engine is off, and it only recharges while you drive. If you leave your camper van unused for just a couple of weeks, or if you only do short journeys with the heating and lights on, you might find that it doesn’t start up when you need to use it next. A great way to prevent this is to use a battery charger to keep the battery charged up and healthy. We use a NOCO Genius 5, which we plug into the 240v sockets in the back of our van (powered by our leisure battery) or a normal house socket. It’s particularly useful when we’re staying on a campsite with an EHU as we can use it to charge our leisure battery, which in turn provides power to the starter battery via the battery charger.

Portable jump starter

Keeping your starter battery charged and healthy is important, but in situations when your battery is flat and doesn’t start at all, a portable jump starter is a vital piece of equipment. Nobody wants to be standing out in the cold Winter air waiting for help to get on the road again. We’ve been using the NOCO Boost GBX75 for the past year and have had to use it a few times to help us get going. Each time it has worked flawlessly, it takes only a few minutes and it’s super simple to use! Check out our full review for more reasons why we love the NOCO Boost GBX75 – you won’t regret adding this bit of kit to your van equipment.

Webasto diesel heater

For the nights when it’s lashing down rain and a cold wind whips all around our van, we love to whack on our diesel powered heater to effectively and quickly heat up the space. As our van is small, it’s not long before we’re nice and toasty, even on the coldest nights. We decided to install a Webasto diesel heater for the comfort of knowing that a trusted brand had built and tested the heater. Many people opt for a cheaper Chinese diesel heater instead, but knowing that we could find spare parts and get repairs easily was the deciding factor for us.

Insulated window covers

When we started living in our van full time one of our top priorities was creating insulated coverings for our camper van windows. We spent an eye-watering amount of time sewing water resistant fabric over layers of reflective insulation foil, adding magnets to the edges to keep them in place on our windows. These not only serve as curtains while we’re relaxing in our van, but keep the heat in and cold out too! We spent almost a year in our van without insulated window covers for our cab, using a simple curtain to separate our living space from the cab, but finally invested in some this Winter. Now we have our three-piece set from Fuel Lagoon, we don’t know how we managed without them! They really help to keep the entire space toasty and ensure we don’t get too much condensation in the cab overnight, so we can pull away from a campsite quicker without having to spend a long time clearing our windscreen.


This is a new addition to our Winter packing list and it’s a GAME CHANGER! The Oodie is essentially an oversized fluffy hoodie and it is one of the warmest pieces of clothing we’ve ever worn. Chris loved mine so much that he bought one for himself, so now we can sit on our van, snuggly and cosy, wearing our team colours! We’d heard a lot about the Oodie before we bought ours, and we can confirm the hype is 100% worth it – we’ve hardly taken them off this Winter. If you’re looking for a way to reduce the amount of time you put on a heater in your van, then these fluffy hoodies are the way to go – you won’t regret it! (There are cheaper, knock-off versions out there, but they don’t come close to the quality of the Oodie – we’d recommend investing in the real thing).

Heated blankets and hot water bottles

Nobody likes crawling into a cold bed when it’s time to hit the hay. When the temperature drops, a heated blanket can provide an extra layer of warmth, so you can stay cosy and have a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a heated blanket a simple hot water bottle can do the same job, or if you really want some luxury you can now buy battery powered hot water bottles and cushions!

Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser

Some might consider this a luxury item, but as two people who LOVE a hot chocolate on a cold Winter day, this was a welcome addition to our van kitchen! The Velvetiser by Hotel Chocolat makes the creamiest, smoothest hot chocolates and it’s the perfect way to warm up after a chilly walk. The Velvetiser simultaneously heats up milk and melts the flavoured chocolate flakes whilst swirling them together to create a dreamy, frothy hot chocolate drink. Hotel Chocolat recommend you use their own chocolate flakes and they do sell a wide range of delicious flavours that we’re slowly working our way through – so far, Chris’ favourite is the seasonal Mince Pie while I love the Vanilla White.

Cab mat

Tired of our feet freezing during long drives in our van, we invested in a floor mat for our cab from Stitches and Steel. A simple purchase, but an incredibly effective upgrade for our cab space as this cosy mat completely changed the look of the space – our cab went from from fresh-out-of-the-factory plastic to snuggly and warm. The anti-slip rubber backing ensures the mat stays in place, and it’s incredibly durable. We’ve only had to give ours a quick hoover here and there, even when it’s covered in leaves and dried-on mud, and it’s good as new again! This mat is made to last, which is what you want from something that you’ll be walking on every day!

Window vacuum

Condensation is a big issue for Winter van life. Cooking and making cups of tea in a van puts a lot of moisture into the air, which then touches the cold windows and forms condensation. If you’re tired of having to clear the windows and windscreen cloths that get soggy and take forever to dry, a window vacuum will save you so much time and effort! You simply wipe the windows in a matter of seconds, empty the water container, and you’re on your way.

Fluffy rugs and door mats

We spent a while picking out a gorgeous wood for our van floor, but when Winter rolls around it’s incredibly cold underfoot! Unless you’re looking to splash out on underfloor heating (we rented a van that had this – it’s dreamy!!) a much simpler and cheaper solution is to find a snuggly rug to take the edge off a cold floor. Our first rug was actually an old bath mat we used in the last flat we rented, but we found its strands made from towel material would soak up any water and dirt, and leaves would get lost in it. This Winter we’ve upgraded to a soft, made-for-purpose rug from IKEA, and it’s made all the difference for keeping our toes toasty during cold evenings.

It’s also worth buying a small mat for the entry point of your camper too – we bought this small, cost-effective one from IKEA and cut it down a few centimetres to fit the entry of our van. We now have somewhere to wipe our feet if it’s been raining outside, which stops our lovely new rug getting dirty.

DC-DC Charger

With limited sunlight in the winter, our solar panels aren’t able to cope with the demands of our power usage. To support them, we have a Victron DC-DC charger which connects our leisure battery to the van’s alternator, which charges the leisure battery while we drive. This helps us to stay off-grid in the Winter for longer and means we can keep all our devices charged up too! The Victron Orion is specifically designed to make sure that the batteries only charge when there is enough voltage to give, but also making sure that they don’t overcharge our leisure battery.

Other items to consider:

Foldable spade

In case we’re in for a white Christmas, it’s a good idea to carry a spade in the event you have to dig your van out of snow. Our little spade folds up into a small package making it perfect for travel.

Collapsible water bucket

If you’re worried about your water tank freezing in extreme cold temperatures, or when the pipes and taps at a campsite have frozen (this happened at a site we visited last year!) then it’s a good idea to travel with a portable, collapsible bucket so you can store fresh water. We love our nifty Colapz bucket – it’s well-designed and collapses into a slim shape to save valuable space in our van.

Portable power station

As we mentioned for the DC-DC charger, Winter van life is a hard time for generating power. At this time of year it might be worth investing in a separate power station to give you a little extra boost in Winter. The technology has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years and now there are some very good options for portable battery stations which can also come with USB, 12v and 230v sockets.

Portable shower

We love a good stomp through fields and woodland, especially with four-legged friends by our sides, but to save the light-coloured interior of our van from becoming all shades of muddy brown, we use a portable shower to clean dirt and mud from our boots and dogs’ paws before we get back in our van.

All season tyres

As the weather started to deteriorate in the UK this Winter, we made the decision to upgrade our tyres from the basic Summer ones that came with the van when we bought it, to more well-rounded all season tyres. Typically the weather in the UK is not bad enough to warrant full winter tyres, but all season tyres are perfect for our climate! Not only do they provide better traction in snowy, Wintery conditions, but they also improve handling in the rain while remaining suitable for Summer.

Traction mats

Traction mats are an item that you hope you don’t need to use, but you are glad you have them when you do need them! When the ground starts to get wet and boggy in Winter, you don’t want to get stuck in it with your tyres spinning. Placing a traction mat underneath your tyres will help you get out and onto more solid ground!

Indoor entertainment

On those really bitter Winter days when we just can’t face leaving our camper, we commit to a snuggly, indoor day and have a plethora of items ready to entertain us. From using our Samsung projector to watch films on a big screen, to playing endless rounds of card games, we’ve got everything we need to keep us occupied so we don’t need to brave the elements outside!

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