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  • Writer's pictureMax & Sophie In A Van

Our Winter Vanlife Essentials

Winter van life is HARD and this is our comprehensive list of how to make it a little bit easier!

Winter van life is HARD and this is our comprehensive list of how to make it a little bit easier! - Max and Sophie In A Van

Featuring all our favourite vanlife buys to help you through the season and the best tricks and tips we've learnt so far. Some big and some small, but all should make your winter vanlife a little bit more bearable!

Cobwebs - Our Winter Vanlife Essentials

Diesel Heater

We wouldn't have been able to survive this season in our van without our diesel heater. It may seem like an obvious choice, but the dry heat created by these marvellous machines help keep the humidity in your van low over the dampest part of the year.

It means you won't have as many issues with condensation or mould - which in turn keeps you healthy during this time of year! We also used ours to turn the bathroom into a drying room, so when we have wet boots/coats we can keep the moisture down in the van by drip drying into the shower tray and blast it with dry heat!

We made a few modifications to our Diesel Heater - you can see what we did here!

Rainy Days - Our Winter Vanlife Essentials


I (Sophie) wouldn't be able to continue this lifestyle with out a crazy amount of layers. Its a miracle what an extra pair of decent thermals can do to change your mood when its freezing outside! It also means you can conserve diesel when you're running out (which totally hasn't happened to us... promise!) They double up a decent/comfy pyjamas as well as base layers for hiking or just sitting and working in the van.

Make sure you have a couple of decent jumpers and long-sleeved t-shirts, we've found going old school and adding a vest helps a load - it also helps to cut down on your clothes washing, by keeping your outerwear cleaner for longer!

Van Slippers

The temperature of your van floor cannot be explained accurately in this weather, it usually lands somewhere between arctic tundra and lost bag of frozen peas, but your greatest weapon against this evil is the humble slipper. A solid pair of slippers (with a decent rubber sole) are essential Winter Vanlife survival tools. I have a great sheepskin pair that also double up as those slip on shoes you just NEED when you live in a van (and its too cold for Crocs!).

The only problem we have found with slippers is they need a home in the van otherwise they are just floating around, however at this time of year they literally never leave your feet (aside from sleeping!)

Fluffy Rug

We have a sheepskin that lives under our dinette and the difference it makes to the workspace is phenomenal, it keeps your toes toasty and warm (and away from the icy floor). It also can be used to stop nasty drafts from the door/footwell that we seem to get in our van!

We also have a coir rug that runs down the centre of our walkway. It was difficult to find one the correct width for the space but its super hardwearing and helps keep the floor safe from dropped items. We honestly thought it would be a winter only feature in the van, but it has become a permanent fixture in our van. Highly recommended if you needed to leave out the floor insulation in favour of headroom like we did!

Karcher Window Vac

Now even though we have a dry heat source we don't always leave the heater running all night, which means, inevitably, we end up with dripping windows. Enter the Karcher - something I (Sophie) had to convince Max to buy, but has since become an essential of winter van life. It is so nice to know that once we suck the condensation off the windows that liquid is leaving the van - instead of sitting in a damp microfibre cloth or in the bin on a square of kitchen roll. We want to remove as much moisture from the living area as possible and being able to send it down the sink or just straight out into the wild makes a big difference!

Hot Drinks - Our Winter Vanlife Essentials

Little Treats - Max needs his HOT CHOCOLATE

One of the reasons we are constantly fighting condensation is definitely Max's obsession with hot chocolate... that kettle needs to boiling at all times!! And we may joke, but it's so important to have some of the little luxuries when you are tackling winter vanlife. It can be hard to be cooped up in the van for many days at a time and you need to make sure you are giving yourself a little self care! Why not add whipped cream and marshmallows to really give yourself a treat...

Warm Bedding - Our Winter Vanlife Essentials

Extra Blanket

The one thing that has made a massive difference to our sleeping habits has been a thick heavy blanket that goes over our duvet. We haven't felt the need to buy those fluffy sheets because the heavy blanket keeps the duvet pushed down around you, removing the cold rush of air when your partner rolls over and keeping your toasty all night long!

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