Being from Minnesota, we know a thing or two about preparing for winter. In fact, we’ve spent at least half our lives scraping ice off our cars (and vans) while dreaming of sunshine and warmer temperatures. It’s cool; we’re basically winter warriors at this point. Struggles and all, winter holds a special place in our hearts and we’d feel like fools if we didn’t make the absolute most of it. Winter campervan travel might sound like an oxymoron to some, but we can’t encourage it enough.
Regardless of just how cold your winter is, a properly stocked van and some tips and tricks for the road will have you well on your way to enjoying the outdoors, toastier than your favorite breakfast with jam. Here are 7 ways to make your experience a comfy one:
Bulk up your bedding with warm sleeping bags
Nothing screams “insta-cozy!” like a pile of blankets in the wintertime—so why not make it even better by throwing a sleeping bag in the mix? Our vans come fully equipped with fluffy bedding and pillows, but we recommend bulking up for those traveling in winter temperatures. If you don’t already have one, we can connect you with a local outfitter to get a rental. Just ask us; we’ve got you covered (literally).
Bring some hot water bottles
Looking for a boost of heat on a budget? Say no more—hot water bottles are cheap, endlessly reusable, and the perfect accompaniment to your toes under the covers at night. With surprisingly long-lasting heat retention, they’ll keep you cozy for longer than you’d expect. Just pop some water on the stove, wait for it to get hot (but not boiling) and pour it in. You can get them online for under six bucks. It’s like a van-sized hot tub; what can we say.
Stick to warm foods for all meals
As tempting as those gas station sandwiches may be (not), you’re going to want to stick to warm meals during all winter van travel. A steamy bowl of broccoli and cheddar soup will keep you warmer and regulate your body temperature way better than a sad PB&J that you quite literally picked up on the side of the road. Stock up on your favorite soups and warm dishes—and check out our favorite recipes from the road for some extra inspiration.
Dress for success from head to toe
No—we’re not talking about that career fair during your freshman year of college. We’re talking thick wool socks, gloves, hats, and thermal clothing. Never underestimate the power of layers, no matter how unfashionable it might be to stack 4 flannels on top of each other. Fear not, the road doesn’t judge your style.
Warm up a little extra before sleeping
While we definitely hyped up layers in the last section, truth is, they only work well if you’re generating enough body heat. For this reason, warming up right before bed is the best thing you can do to ensure a seamless night of sleep. Cozy up by the fire or take a jog around the van—your unencumbered zzz’s will thank you.
Check up on local weather and road advisories
Snowstorms happen, and you don’t want to get stuck in unsafe road conditions. Stay up to date on local advisories and road conditions as much as you can, and avoid treacherous conditions at all costs. As much as we love a good spontaneous adventure, stick to main roads and plowed highways instead of wandering off-grid while the weather is inclement. RadarNow! is an easy way to keep track of local conditions while traveling, and in our experience, more trustworthy than your average built in weather app.
Don’t forget the hot chocolate!
We’d be lying if we said Bailey’s has never made it into our hot cocoa mugs. Props to Swiss Miss for being our campsite bartender for the winter months. Travel safe and enjoy the ride, fellow winter warriors!