As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, it’s time to realise that you won’t be using your caravan again until next spring. So that means you need to “winterise” the caravan and arrange to store it for winter.
Winterising Your Caravan
Before storing your caravan, you’ll need to make sure it’s clean and ready, both inside and out. That includes draining the entire water system, plugging inlets and outlets (this keeps all manner of insects and rodents out), removing the battery, gas cylinders, and upholstery, and making sure all internal doors are open to allow the air to circulate.
All that can seem like a chore, but when warmer times roll around again, you’ll be very glad you took the time, since it will only take a couple of hours to have your caravan spick and span and ready to hit the road again.
Storing Your Caravan
What to do with the caravan during those long winter months can be a problem. Having it at the house when you’re going to use it makes sense, but do you really have the room for it in the winter, and do you have somewhere you can legally park it for such a long time? Even if it can fit comfortably in the drive, that might not be allowed by law locally, and the neighbours may not be too happy at the idea. But if you do keep your caravan outdoors, at home or elsewhere, a well-anchored breathable caravan cover can be a good investment, since it will help stop damp.
Quite often, farmers with property at the edge of towns and cities will offer caravan storage in a field, and this can be the ideal solution. You’ll have to pay, of course, although it’s generally cheap for these open air storage sites – look around and you can possibly pay less than a fiver a week.
The best open air sites will offer a hard surface, rather than simply a field, and those have advantages (such as no mud!). However, you need to be aware that the caravan is going to be at the mercy of the elements, so all the fittings need to be secure, and your caravan can also be prey to sneak thieves.
You can fit the caravan with an alarm, of course, and that can be very effective deterrent, but it’s certainly worth going and checking it regularly (this also lets you make sure there’s no weather damage). The vast majority of farms aren’t going to go to the expense of fitting CCTV, so you also need to know what’s covered and what’s not in your insurance policy. It goes without saying that you should never leave anything valuable in your caravan wherever it’s parked during the winter.
The most desirable, and therefore the most expensive option is covered storage. On farms it can be in a barn, or there are also warehouses that have the facilities for storing caravans (and some will even manoeuvre the caravan in and out for you).
The advantages of this are quite obvious. Not only is the caravan protected from the elements, it’s less accessible to thieves and vandals. That security can be a wonderful feeling – and it can also have a positive impact on your insurance.
Covered storage can be difficult to find, and you certainly pay for the privilege, but many people do find it worth the extra expense.