Preparing the Van Habitation Area for Winter

a clean van deters vermin
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Is it worth preparing the van for winter if you use it?

Well, how quickly can mice eat into your motorhome food-stocks and soft furnishings? How fast does mildew form on damp bedding?

We would rather avoid it than find out!

Winterizing a motorhome that is used regularly throughout the colder months seems like a waste of time. But preparing the van for winter is important. It takes very little time for vermin to sniff out your biscuits. And they will nibble – and piddle on – your towels and bedding.

As soon as you park your prized van in storage or the drive, it is open to attack from creatures seeking food and shelter and from damp. Two weeks later, you could find nests made amongst the chewed-up foam of your sofa, mould marks on your sheets and just crumbs in your food packets.

Time to prepare the van for winter

After a lovely Welsh road trip which Gav talks about in our latest newsletter, we decided to implement our winter cleaning routine.

The motorhome had sprung a leak in the onboard water system on an earlier trip, so that was already drained down. We poured a little saline water into the plug holes just to be safe…why? Read our page on winterizing a motorhome!

Gav cleaning the van before winter

Hobo Gav got on with cleaning the outside of the van whilst I dealt with the cupboards and onboard facilities. Deep cleaning the cooker and hob, I found crumbs left in the grill pan. I always forget the grill pan!! An open invitation to a hungry mouse!

I also made sure that any stored food was either in tins or placed into plastic tubs. In the cupboards, I found grains of rice which had spilled from a packet. It is so easy to leave a welcome mat out for unwelcome guests.

Removing spare towels and bedding is necessary as they will soak up excess moisture only to let it out again slowly or become mouldy. I left what we needed in a large laundry bag which seals with a zip to keep it dry.

We could take all the linen home and only return it to the van when we need it…but I would not want to be without bedding if we forgot!

I dried the places I had cleaned – both to prevent damp and to ensure I did not leave a drink for mice or insects. Don’t get me wrong, I love wildlife, but I don’t want them to ruin my van!

It all took a few hours but it is well worth the effort.

preparing the van for winter

A chance to reduce weight too!

Cleaning out the storage areas gives me a chance to remove some of my many spare or “might come in handy” items. After writing a blog post on the dangers of an overweight motorhome, I took out quite a few of those, but it’s always good to get into the back of the cupboards to root out the extras which have crept in.

I could, as I go, note the “best before” dates on my stored goodies….nah, they’re fine!

A deep clean also shows up any leaks or cracks. Or bubbling or discolouration in the walls. Check before your expensive investment rots away! Dramatic? No! Ours was a rotten mess behind the walls in one corner. The rippling of the wall board gave away its soggy secret!

Check out our page on winterizing your motorhome. There are tips for those who use their vans, and for those who don’t.

Drop us a comment below if you have any tips we have missed on our page. What do you do in preparing your van for winter? We appreciate extra information – and your tip may save someone else’s van from the scrap heap!!

We take our motorhome out during winter but are careful to leave her clean and dry afterwards. Cooking is kept to a minimum if it’s just a day out – condensation soon builds up. No point preparing the van for winter then undoing the hard work – although we use her all year round. It does her good to stretch her legs and get some moving air inside.

She’s our travel companion, our “safe space” – and our biggest expense these days! We try our best to look after her!

Autumn Break in our Motorhome

We have just enjoyed a lovely autumn break in the Brecon Beacons which we will write more about soon. Gav drove the whole way across the country without much of a rest as we realised we ought to reach our first camp before dark. As part of the dark sky park, it was not going to be easy to negotiate our way around it once the sun dropped.

Enjoying a hike across the mountains the following day, we found out that we were near the crash site of MF509, a Wellington Bomber. The stricken plane smashed into Carreg Goch in November 1944. We were keen to pay our respects to the Canadian airmen who lost their lives.

Respect is also due to the people who keep these sites sacred and clean. We sat, silent amidst the stunning scenery and rusting wreckage, regretting the loss of life. No matter which “side”, every death was someone’s child.

Hiking back across the stunning Brecon Beacons in the softly failing light gave us the space to assimilate our feelings.

We visited several fabulous waterfalls, enjoyed some wild camping and drove the A4069…why that road? Gav will tell you in The Freedom Trail our monthly newsletter! Sign up and get a free road trip ebook too!!

In the bleak midwinter…

Going into winter seems a little more bleak this year despite the unseasonably warm weather. So many people will struggle with bills. We still saw diesel at over £2 a litre in one place despite others being 20p less. And what’s with petrol being so much cheaper than diesel now? If you know why this is, drop us a comment! Keeping diesel prices high will hit businesses hard – which will raise prices for everyone again.

However, this isn’t the place for politics. We hope that you stay warm and well fed this winter and manage to get out on the road to enjoy the autumn colours and the crisp winter mornings.

Are you itching to start your motorhome journey but don’t know what to buy…where from…and how not to get ripped off?

Grab a copy of our ebook HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT MOTORHOME and let the adventures begin! RV prices will be at their lowest at the end of the season, perhaps you can find a bargain using the advice in the book!

Pop the link across to someone you know who is searching for their perfect van.

And talking of “the end of the season”, you know what’s looming….Chr- ok, shhhh! But if you want to start the shopping, here’s some suggestions from our Motorhome Gifts and Accessories Pages. Get your favourite van-nut something they’ll treasure this Chris…ooopppsss, nearly said it!

May the road ahead excite you …. Trudi and Gav Roberts, Motorhome Hobos.


Read about our road trips

One thought on “Preparing the Van Habitation Area for Winter

  1. motorhomehobos says:

    In response to our comments about using old towels to help the drive-wheels escape slippery glass and mud, we received the following email:

    I use (finished-with in the kitchen) old plastic chopping boards, those very thin, brightly coloured ones. I gaffer-tape a couple together. Put them under front wheels. They have never failed me. They are lightweight, easy to clean and simple to store in the van.
    Here’s a story. Last year (on Fakenham racecourse site) … for 3 days it never stopped raining, I was parked on grass … you can guess the next bit … all my friends laughed at me using my chopping boards & brought over their proper millenco mats. Lots of people pushing no joy. So I put my chopping boards back on top of their branded mats, and hey presto, once again they worked.
    After that I was very kindly given the branded mats as a present, they are heavy, more difficult to store (but excellent for parking on, on grass) but I never fail to pack my old chopping boards.

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