As we had snow again this week, we thought it would be a good time to talk about touring in winter and what you should think about when preparing such a trip.
Some of you probably think that this is not a topic for you, as you might have winterized your motorhome and it is parked up somewhere safe and warm until the better weather arrives again in Spring. But touring in wintertime can be a great and enjoyable experience so maybe one year you might also decide to give it a go!
There are however some precautions which should be taken if you travel in winter, just like you would do when travelling in your car. For example, you should check the antifreeze level in the cooling system of the engine and your windshield washer system. If you really intend to go to the cold regions, you should also check that the oil in your engine is suitable for the anticipated temperatures and also not forget to refill your spare canister with winter diesel once in the region. Depending on where you choose to go there may be certain legal requirements, either in the country of your destination or in the countries you may travel through. For example, your vehicle may need to be equipped with winter tyres and/or you must carry snow chains with you. We drive all year round with winter tyres, as they also give you better grip during the rest of the year for example when you are parked on wet grass. In addition to this it can come in handy having jump leads, a tow rope and perhaps even a shovel.
In order not to get cold in the habitation area, you should check that your heating system works, not only for the heating of the habitation area, but also check you get hot water, as a cold shower may be nice on a hot summer day but not in winter! Also do not forget to start heating your motorhome before filling with water and wait until the temperature is well above freezing point before starting to fill your water tank(s). The reason for this is very simple: you do not want your pipes to burst because they froze, nor do you want to empty your tank, when switching on the pump and the safety valve of the boiler opens. Electricity consumption and especially your gas usage is significantly higher in winter and without electricity and/or gas the best working heating system will fail. We therefore recommend loading your batteries and checking the gas level of your gas cylinder(s) or tank before leaving home. By the way, please make sure that have them filled with 95-100% propane, as butane will not work during cold temperatures. If you have two gas cylinders, it is also a good idea to have an automatic switch from one bottle to the other once one is empty. It is not such a great experience to wake up in the middle of the night because your motorhome is freezing cold and having to get out in your pajamas to switch from one cylinder to the other. You can of course also avoid this if your campsite offers 16 AMP electricity. Some of the campsites we use on our “Amazing Alpine Roads” and “Scenic Switzerland” tours even offer gas hook up at the pitch. Then battery capacity and gas levels are not so critical anymore, but keep in mind that electricity is getting more and more expensive on campsites too and to heat with electricity is the most inefficient way of heating your motorhome or water. Gas is the better option, but we admit that we also use a small but highly efficient electric heater in our bathroom in the morning for a couple of minutes! We ordered this at Obelink, Europe’s largest camping shop, which is located in the Netherlands close to the German border and is worth a detour before the start of our “Majestic Rhine & Moselle Rivers” tour.
As dry air heats up easier than humid air, you should open the windows, vents, or door, to air the motorhome, especially if you shower in the motorhome, or after cooking or boiling your kettle. Ideal is to have a fan over the kitchen or bathroom area and we can really recommend a MAXXFAN Deluxe which will help extract humidity, It also helps to cool down the motorhome in the evening after a hot summer day. The weakest point for thermal bridges are the windscreen and the side windows of the driver’s cab. It is therefore advisable to use external thermal covers which cover the drivers cab and the engine hood, or at least some inside ones on the windscreen and windows. We have closed off the driver’s cab in the past with a simple blanket in addition to the inside thermal mats. Fortunately, we now have a sliding door to the cab and outside thermal covers to cut off the cold.
Loading your motorhome correctly is always important, but even more so in winter, as roads can be slippery, and you might lose traction or even worse control of your vehicle. The same rules as apply as always: heavy gear as low as possible and evenly distributed over the two (three) axles. As most transporters used in motorhomes have front wheel drive, do not overload your rear garage, resulting in your front axle loosing good contact and making steering difficult or even impossible. But also keep an eye on your maximum permitted axle weight.
We hope after this you are not feeling too cold and if so, why not join us in April for our first tour of 2023 – “Springtime in Holland”. You can enjoy the spring flowers in the warmer weather and the beautiful flower parade with its many different floats.
Don’t forget that bookings for this tour will close middle of February!
If you are interested in any other tour, you can find more information on all the tours for the touring season 2023 when clicking on the below links:
Springtime in Holland
Tour date: Sat. 15th April – Sat. 29th April 2023
Tour date: Sun. 30th April – Sat. 13th May 2023
Tour date: Sat. 20th May – Sat. 3rd June 2023
Tour date: Sun. 4th June – Sat. 17th June 2023
Majestic Rhine & Moselle Rivers
Tour date: Sat. 24th June – Sat. 8th July 2023
Breathtaking Black Forest
Tour date: Sat. 8th – Sat. 22nd July 2023
Amazing Alpine Roads
Tour date: Sat. 2nd – Sat. 16th September 2023
Tour date: Sat. 16th – Sat. 30th September 2023
Tour date: Sun. 5th – Sat. 25th November 2023
All information regarding dates, prices, and itinerary can be found on our website. If you have any additional questions or require any further information, just send us an email. If you would like to book a tour you can do this online, or just send us an email and we will send you a booking form.
Best Regards and safe travels
Audrey & Michael