If you’re anything like me, the winter weather forecast is something of a holy text. Each time November rolls around, I spend hours pouring over the radar, the Farmer’s Almanac and my go-to ski films getting ready for all the winter sports amazingness coming my way. Today, we share our top tips for Winter Sports & Vanlife.
Consider this your crash course on living Vanlife in the winter!
But it’s not always like the movies. Powder days are few and far between, leaving you wanting more fresh turns every time a new storm breaches the horizon. But who’s to say we shouldn’t spoil ourselves a little? What if you could follow the snow, make fresh turns every day, and be ahead of the storm before the snow starts flying?
You can do just that if you own or rent a home on wheels. Campervans like those built at Bemyvan can get pretty close to a cozy chalet or mountain resort. There are still things you need to consider when living and driving your stinky ski gear around in a van.
Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, or just traveling, these tips are sure to help you thrive in your new life on the road this winter.
Weather or not to travel
One of the most important considerations of any Vanlifer is where to go and when. Sure, living out of a car, camper, or van leads to a carefree, mobile existence. You’re free to travel wherever the wind blows and change your mind at a moment’s notice. In the winter, however, you’re chasing the weather (or, more aptly, running ahead of it!).
For the safety of you and your precious mobile home, it’s important to watch the forecast. Leave yourself plenty of time to make it to your next destination before you’re caught in the storm. After all, you can’t arc turns when you’re stranded on the interstate two hours from Crested Butte. We recommend the weather app, Windy, to check the conditions for your winter sport of choice!
It can be easy to get greedy when you’re blasting through fresh, knee-deep snow or climbing your way up hero ice. If the conditions are so good, why would you leave now? With the freedom of a van, you’re on your own timeline. You don’t have to leave, but be ready to stick it out until the next good weather window and avoid traveling in adverse conditions.
My suggestion: Leave just before you get your fill. It keeps you hungry for the next destination, and it gives you a little extra time to explore. Familiarize yourself with a new area, mountain, or resort.
Keep your skis, snowboards, and smelly clothes separate
This may sound obvious, but I’ve seen my fair share of vagrant ski bums, dirtbags, and freedom-seekers sleeping next to their skis, socks, and half-frozen gear. If your van isn’t kitted out with plenty of storage space to stash your gear (like this awesome B-Adventure van), then think about investing in a roof box to stash your things at the end of a long day.
Nothing says home like a comfy, cozy bed. Don’t ruin that feeling by introducing stink, clutter, and, worst of all, water to it! Professional, prebuilt campervans at Bemyvan are built to stand up to any weather. No amount of insulation can keep you from getting cold when your gear thaws all over your sheets.
While you’re at it, it might not hurt to keep a towel or rag dedicated to wiping down your things before you bring them inside.
This brings us to our next point:
Keep that moisture at bay
Not only can moisture in the van cause condensation to build up and freeze on the windows if it’s not removed, but it can also eventually lead to mold and mildew in your walls, cabinets, and clothes. A long day out in the cold can leave your hands dry and cracked. Moisturize them, not your van. Your van loves being dry, and you should love it too.
It’s easier to sleep in a warm, dry van, and taking care of the inside will lengthen the lifetime of your investment. No one wants to spend their money on a new luxury camper van just to have to renovate it once their walls are ruined. Companies that build custom vans try to prevent this by placing vapor barriers between the exterior and interior walls.
This does a great job at keeping water particles from entering from outdoors, but it doesn’t help with water that you bring in yourself. So keep it dry in there!
Here are some quick tips for preventing condensation and moisture inside a B-Van:
Ventilation – A ceiling fan or other airflow can quickly stop condensation in its tracks. Is there a sunny day in the forecast? Leave your windows cracked for a bit! Just be sure to close them before you head off on your next adventure.
Silica Gel Packets – You know those annoying little packets you find in every package you get? They’re designed to absorb moisture, and they’re non-toxic. That means they’re perfect for tossing into cabinets, dashboards, storage bins, or anywhere you’d want to prevent moisture build-up.
Dry Your Gear – This is sometimes easier said than done but spend a few minutes in the lodge at the end of a ski day. Use the time to send emails, download Netflix, or have a drink while your coat and boots dry off near the fireplace.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
One of the many wonderful things about buying a prebuilt or custom Campervan is letting the professionals do the dirty work for you. Regardless of what your setup looks like, proper insulation is essential to living and traveling out of any vehicle in the winter.
The builders at Bemyvan will make sure your van has adequate insulation for any adventure, but if you’re building yourself or traveling in another vehicle, be sure to research the type of the insulation you’re using and the most important places to install it.
Keeping yourself warm and comfortable is important, but don’t forget about all the things inside the van that need protection as well. Those cold winter days can easily freeze water tanks, sinks, and liquids inside your car. This can leave a mess or even major damage to your van. Burst pipes are no fun to fix, especially when your drinking water is all frozen solid.
Bring a book… or go find one
Van life is one of the best ways to experience many new places comfortably and affordably. The snow doesn’t come when the sun is shining. For those days when the weather keeps you inside, you have to have something to keep you sane. Make sure to pack movies, books, art supplies, an instrument, or anything else you’d ordinarily entertain yourself with while you wait for the snow to pile up outside the van.
Indoor activities are also great for days when you can’t be out hiking, climbing, and skiing. Restock your groceries, find a bookstore or cafe, or hit the gym. This is the perfect time to do everything you don’t want to do when the conditions are too good to pass up.
Don’t be sad about having to take a rest day. Be glad that you don’t have to take time away from your hobbies to run errands. Take a shower, cook yourself something tasty, and get ready for your next big day.
Time on the road is never wasted.
Did we miss anything?
Probably! There’s so much to Vanlife that you have to explore and discover for yourself. Keep some of these tips in mind for your next epic winter road trip. For plenty more #Vanlife inspiration, check out our Instagram @bemyvan_outdoors and more of our blog!
We’d love to make those Vanlife dreams a reality. If you’re ready to own or rent your very own van, give us a ring or look at all of our available vans here.