Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Extreme Winter Campervanning Tips

  • Thread starter BMVS-Camper-Hire
  • Start date
A great writeup there @BMVS-Camper-Hire . Thank you. Getting ready for a fortnight long Europe Christmas Market trip in a hired Cali in Dec and helps us to plan out trip much better. :thumb
Hello all

I am a seasoned camper, and have camped in all seasons and weather conditions, probably like most of yourselves. However after my recent trip to Alpe D'Huez, with temperatures down to -25 degrees, I thought I would share some of my findings and tips with you, as it was quite a different experience to your usual winter camping. And obviously others can add their tips to this thread :thumb

1. Winter tyres/snow chains - We had winter tyres fitted but no snow chains, and I felt the tyres were essential, especially as we had 60cm+ snow in the four days we were there. Had we not have had the snow tyres fitted, then I would definitely have taken snow chains. Remember that it is actually law in certain European countries, to have snow tyres fitted between November and March.

2. Silver screens - To be far I think the silver screens are essential in all camping conditions, hot or cold, they insulate in the winter and keep the camper van cooler in the summer. They also go on the outside, so there is no chance of condensation build up on the inside, like with the standard screen covers.

3. Vanorak/Cali Topper - This was definitely a must have, and just gave an extra layer of insulation, and wind protection. It also meant that the roof and all it's fitting were protected from the snow and ice, so when it came time to pack away, you just needed to remove this and the roof went straight down, no need to clear the mechanism of ice or snow.

4. Bedding - Obviously take lots. We had four season sleeping bags, but also had a spare duvet and blankets, but never felt cold enough to use it all. The sleeping bag with the duvet over the top was nice and snug.

5. Heater - I would recommend setting the programme on constant and level 1. We had two adults and an 11 year old in the camper van, and never felt we needed more. We left it on 24hrs a day. We occasionally turned it up but this was usually when we'd got back to the California after boarding or dinner, just to get it toasty, but soon turned it down. Im not sure if it was a one off but we just turned the heating on normally the first night and it turned off after a couple of hours, however when we reset it using the programme, and on constant, we never had any further issues (anyone else found this?) Cost wise, for four days we spent approx £30 on fuel for the heating, but this also included the drive from Grenoble(where we filled up) to ADH, and back again, which is an 80 mile round trip, so we probably only used approx £15-£20 for the heating, for the four days.

6. Water tanks - We kept both empty all the time, we didnt want to have any freezing problems. We took bottled water to drink and any waste water we had went straight down the drain, at the aire.

7. Drying Clothing - After a days boarding we would get back to the California, change into normal clothes. Pull down the top bed, and open up a vent in the roof. The we hung all the snowboarding gear off the top bed, turned the heating up to 10, then went and had a shower and dinner. On returning, the gear would be perfectly dry.

8. Local Diesel - Just to be safe, fill your tank up before parking up in resort. If you buy locally in resort the fuel will have an additive to stop the diesel sludging/freezing, which my effect the heater and the engine. We didn't have any problems at -25, although when starting after this particular night it was a bit lumpy to begin with.

9. Snowboard/skiing equipment security - We took our bike rack, and overnight used a bike lock to padlock the boards onto this. This gave us piece of mind for security of the equipment. You could also strap the gear onto the rack for travelling, but the snowboards fit perfectly down the left handside, in the back, with the rear seat in the forward position.

Hope this helps, with any of you that are thinking of doing this, and please ask any questions if you have any. Oh and would I do it again - YES!

I will upload some photos to this htread when I get a chance. :thumb
Thanks a lot for the info!!