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By: Bjarne Eikefjord
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, December 6

Caravan in hibernation

Some people turn off the caravan completely and let the winter ravage as it pleases. Others want to use the carriage also in the winter season, which can provide many beautiful nature experiences. More and more campsites are open in winter, so the possibilities are many. But regardless of hibernation or use, the caravan requires care and winter preparation like most other vehicles.

Camping in winter is almost like cabin life. Inside it is nice and warm, even though there is a blizzard around the corner. Modern caravans are built to be outside in all kinds of weather, with insulation and heating equipment that transforms even many degrees Celsius outside into comfortable heat indoors. However, some work is needed to ensure a winter camping season with joys and not annoyances. The first piece of advice is to never put a tarpaulin over the whole carriage and think you have solved all the problems. The tarpaulin will collect all the moisture and close it inside and around the carriage. It can give a macabre smell smell when the carriage is to be reopened in the spring.

Efficient heating systems

If you are going to use the trolley in winter, it is also a good idea to unhook the bends on drain pipes from the kitchen sink and washbasin, so that the water has a clear path straight out. If not, water in the pipe system will freeze and effectively plug the drains. Winter tents or nail tents are also a matter of taste, depending on the thickness of the wallet. But there is no reason not to use the pram in autumn and winter anyway. With the heat capacity located in the gas heater, it usually takes around a little half an hour to get the temperature from below minus 10 to plus 15 inside the car. In addition, there are many more or less expensive gadgets that can be remotely controlled via, for example, a mobile phone to turn on electricity and heating well in advance of arrival. But some good advice can be good to take with you to ensure that the caravan gets through the winter well.

Needs maintenance

A caravan somehow needs a car, also care if it is to welcome the owners to a good season next year. It's amazing how fast and how much greenery settles around plate joints, windows and handles, and only during a short summer season. Acid rain ensures that almost everything is etched in the paint. After a couple of seasons without washing, the car often looks like a black-musked wreck approaching retirement age. The gas hoses must always be checked. Already after two to three years, the tiny cracks begin to create uncertainty for leaks that can have dramatic and tragic consequences. A leaky gas hose has turned many a great caravan into ashes and sometimes taken the residents to places you would rather not end up in. A gas alarm and smoke alarms ensure that the person who falls asleep also wakes up if and if the accident should be out.

Water and soap

This is easy to do something about. Good washing with soapy water, preferably with subsequent polishing with wax, prevents growth and keeps the carriage neat and tight, year after year. There are many so-called wonder remedies for cleaning caravans. Certainly at higher prices the more wonderful the advertisement claims they should work. But even here the simplest is often the best. And there is hardly anything better to wash a caravan with than good, "old-fashioned" Norwegian green soap that can be bought in 5 liter jugs for a reasonable price. And as good as it smells indoors after a proper round of green soap…

Give the tent a round too

Not everyone has invested in so-called "thermal tents". Then comes a change to a winter tent, somewhat smaller and with better pitching to withstand snow. Before taking down the summer tent, a solid green soap wash should also be given to remove manure and coating. Rinse well and feel free to apply new impregnation to joints after good air drying. High pressure washers work both efficiently and well, but what about plate joints and window seals? Water with a pressure of 15 kilos in these places has no problem penetrating both sealant and gaskets, with a tragic result for walls afterwards. Here is often also the best: Use a garden hose with a spray gun for even water distribution, and everything will be clean and tidy after prior soap washing.

Water freezes and expands

In school physics classes, we learned that when water freezes, it expands with great force. Before the cold sets in, the water must therefore be drained from water tanks and the internal pipe system so that the frost does not burst, for example the water heater. NB. Check that the water really flows out of it. An ice plug in the drain quickly ensures that the boiler tank bursts, and then many liters of water are lost inside when the temperatures return. At the toilet water tank you can save yourself by simply filling the antifreeze for cars in the tank. A three-liter jug ​​ensures frost-freeness down to a couple of tens of degrees below zero. The toilet tank itself is emptied and filled with some decomposition liquid and some antifreeze. Then it should be safe enough.

Power consumption

The power should be turned off, preferably with the main switch. But NOTE. The battery in a caravan without charging current self-discharges itself, mostly in cold weather. When the charging voltage drops, the battery acid finally freezes, and then the battery is at best damaged. In the worst case, it cracks and spreads the acid across the floor, where it can quickly etch down into the floorboard and insulation. Not pretty. The good winter camper therefore either provides power to the charger in the caravan, or he removes the battery for frost-free storage if electricity is not available. The refrigerator is another power consumer, which many leave on during the winter. If it gets too cold, however, the fridge will also freeze. Those who have encountered forgotten content from a winter-rejected refrigerator wandering around on the floor in the spring solution, are guaranteed to have an experience they will never forget. 

These are just a few, well-meaning and a little moody tips that can help ensure a good winter camping or a good meeting with a caravan to sleep next spring.

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