Moving into the van in the winter time I knew was going to be rough. This will make me or break me. Did I mention I do not like winter? I am not a snow bunny! Cold blowing snow is only to be enjoyed through a window with Hot chocolate and maybe some Winter Jack Daniels to give you that extra bit of warmth.
Since it was February when I moved in I would only have a couple months and it will be April. That was a long couple of months!!! LOL! My van has no generator and the “house” portion runs on a 12 volt battery. It has a propane powered furnace and that works great!!!! But there is an issue….the fan for the furnace runs on battery power so having the lights on and the furnace running runs the house battery down quickly. First lesson….All about WATTAGE!!! First purchase a battery powered lantern. Still when it gets really cold -20 (Celsius) and such the battery will not run the furnace all night. I have a 300 watt inverter plugged into the house portion of the van. That will give me an early….you are not going to have heat soon warning. So when that goes off the only thing I can do is get up and start the van. The colder the night, the more times I need to do that. Note: DO NOT LAY DOWN AFTER I HAVE STARTED THE VAN. LOL! A couple of times I fell asleep with it running and a quarter tank of gas later I woke up. It takes about 15 – 20 min of running time to fully charge the house battery. Not long most times unless you are sitting on the side of the bed in the middle of the night.
Making sure you hit the right control. One night parked in a winter campground out in the woods I realized I was a little chilled. Reaching up to adjust the thermostat, I hit the air instead. When I realized I had ice cold air blowing on me I tried to turn it off. I had not used the air yet and it took me a few minutes to figure out how to turn it off. Oh my stars now I was awake and laughing in a freezing van!!!
The one thing I had to deal with is no running water. Heating water for dishes, and cleaning. Just a note…I do not use the water in my tanks for consumption. I buy bottled water or fill my bottles from a purified source. I have lived in the country all my life so not having running water at times was something I was used to. But for months at a time????? HAHAHA! I lived through it.
Something I did not count on was Spiders. Spiders LOVE propane. During my second winter my furnace would not work. Minus holy crap and no heat is no fun!! With no generator to be able to plug a heater in I bought a buddy heater for the short term until I could get it fixed. Only to find out that a spider and fried itself on the control board. You have got to be kidding???? A Spider???? The house I had on the lake I was constantly in a spider war to keep them out of the house. It was probably the brother of one of the many I killed at the house. Payback is a bitch! LOL! $1000 later and a new thermostat because the control board is now different than mine and it would not work with the old one. I had heat again. I also am now spraying my van propane areas and vents with water and peppermint extract to keep the spiders at bay! Works so far!
I have never camped in the winter before. The main issue is not to get snowed in someplace or be in a parking lot that plows you in. Yup had that happen a few times. I must admit though I enjoy winter a little more. Maybe because I am forced to deal with it instead of hibernating in the house. I try to find beauty in everything and now taking a walk in the woods on a beautiful winter day has taken on a new beauty I never saw before.Now going into my 3rd winter I am still not a snow bunny but I do see a different kind of beauty around me. Make no mistake though the first chance I get I will become a snow bird!!!!