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Winter Camping Guide

Everything you Need to Know For Your Winter Road Trip

Winter in a campervan or motorhome is an unforgettable adventure. Whether your camping in a ski resort, under the northern lights, or by a snow-covered lake, once you try camping in winter, you’ll see that this is something you will want to do every year!

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roadsurfer Van im Skigebiet

© roadsurfer GmbH / Hans-Martin Kudlinski

Is Winter camping for me?

With the right equipment and knowledge, camping in the winter can be a wonderful experience! Here’s why:

The advantages of Camping in the Winter

Snuggling up and reading a book, wearing knitted cashmere socks, sipping a hot chocolate with snowfall outside – that’s the “hygge” feeling. The Danes invented it and this might also be one of the reasons why they are one of the happiest nations in the world. “Hygge” is not only about living a cosy lifestyle, but it is also a way to slow down everyday life. For those who seek speed and adrenaline, there are plenty of winter sports options. Either way, your roadsurfer will warm you up again after a fun day in the snow.

Why you should spend your winter holiday in a campervan

  • It is the ultimate cosy experience. Think mulled wine or a hot cocoa in the campervan with the snow falling outside.
  • Wake up in the morning to a snow-covered landscape, catching a glimpse of the mountains and be one of the first on the slopes.
  • There are less people on the campsite than the summer months, guaranteeing you the best pitch for your stay.
  • Winter camping in Scandinavia is one of the best ways to see the Northern Lights.
  • It is a cheaper skiing or winter holiday option.
  • Park in the ski areas or by the wellness resorts.
  • Combine winter camping with wellness offers at 5-star campsites.
  • Go winter camping with your dog and enjoy the snow together.
  • Experience Christmas and New Year’s Eve under the stars and create new traditions!
  • Spend a quiet New Year’s Eve on a campsite in the middle of nature. A nice and more relaxed evening for parents with young children as well as for anxious dogs who hate fireworks.

Winter Camping FAQS

Will it be freezing?

The parking heater heats up your campervan so that you are always warm and cosy, even at night. In sub-zero temperatures, we recommend you keep the pop-up roof closed for extra insulation and consider using hot water bottles or electric blankets.

Aren’t most campsites closed in winter?

There are many campsites that are open all year round with special offers for winter camping or for Christmas and New years eve.

Will the campsites be grey and deserted in winter?

Don’t worry, the campsites that specialise in winter camping naturally attract many other campers too.

Where do I stow my winter equipment?

Depending on which roadsurfer model you choose, you may have a roof rack or trailer hitch for a box so you can store and transport skis, snowshoes, snowboards and other gear for your winter holiday. Otherwise, hire a larger model which has a bigger garage space (we highly recommend brushing off all snow and drying your sports equipment before storing in your vehicle to reduce damp.

Is it dangerous to drive a campervan on winter roads?

Our campervans are equipped with all-season tyres and can be driven like any normal car because of their compact size. Always bring snow chains if your planning on driving in snow conditions and you should always be driving carefully on icy roads.

Can I go winter camping with children?

We have motorhomes for the whole family. The children quickly make friends at a campsite and the campervan and they will love the adventure.

Wintercamping
© roadsurfer GmbH / Jörg Höfer

Which equipment do I need for camping in sub-zero temperatures?

It is important to have the right equipment in order to have the most comfortable and enjoyable experience. Firstly, hire a motorhome that is the best for winter. But what does being “winter-proof” actually mean?

  • Proper insulation: The insulation must be sufficient so that the heat is retained. Ideally, your campervan, like all roadsurfer models, should have heat-insulating windows.
  • Suitable heating: The heating must be able to heat up the vehicle, keep it warm and have enough power to protect water pipes from freezing. All roadsurfer models have a parking heater that blows warm air into the front and rear of the campervan to warm you up quickly.
  • Frost-proof water pipes: If possible, water pipes should not be laid on the outside of the campervan.
  • Freeze-proof fresh water tank: The water tank should be protected from freezing. Many fresh water tanks are installed inside and are protected from the cold by the heat of the parking heater.
  • Sufficient interior space: While everything happens outside in the warmer seasons, you need enough space in your campervan to make yourself comfortable in winter. Brown all our campervan models and find the best one to suit your winter adventure with swivel seats, integrated kitchen, and some have a bathroom with a hot shower.

These are the optional extras we recommend:

  • An awning: Store ski equipment, hiking boots and all kinds of stuff that you don’t always want to put in the roof box or that has no place in the campervan under the awning. It also keeps the snow where it belongs – outside.
  • Floor mat or shoe tub: A shoe tub for wet shoes keeps your toes dry and the campervan clean.
  • A “hat” for pop-up roofs: A “Thermo Cover” is heat-insulating, waterproof and windproof, but still breathable and increases your comfort on rough and cold winter nights if you choose a model with a pop-up roof.
  • Drive-on leveling ramps: Even in winter, you want your campervan to stand up straight so use leveling ramps to ensure you have level parking where ever you pitch.

10 tips for winter camping with a campervan

#1: First things first: don’t forget snow chains!

#2: Regularly remove snow and ice from the roof and awning of your vehicle.

#3: Prevent the water tanks from freezing! In sub-zero temperatures, use a collapsible canister instead of filling the fresh water tank. You can open the waste water tank and place a large bowl underneath so that it can easily run through.

#4: Air the room! Ventilation prevents moisture and your campervan won’t smell.

#5: Open the storage compartments in your heated campervan every day to let the heat in.

#6: Keep the auxiliary heating on all the time! This keeps your campervan from cooling down and prevents the water from freezing in pipes or in the water tank.

#7: Plan a visit to the petrol station! If you run the diesel parking heater, don’t forget to stop by the petrol station in good time and refill your tank.

#8: Keep the pop-up roof closed in sub-zero temperatures! This prevents heat loss when the temperature drops below freezing.

#9: In thawing weather, it doesn’t hurt to put wooden pallets underneath to prevent your campervan from sinking. You don’t want to be digging in the mud.

#10: Pack warm clothes! In addition to warm clothes and thick socks, you can take cosy blankets or sheepskins with you for that stylish “hygge” feeling.

Wintercamping Österreich

© roadsurfer GmbH / ourmoodyworld

And of course, find a comfortable campsite for your winter camping adventure! Book the perfect campsite or pitch with all the amenities you need to keep you warm and dry with the roadsurfer spots App.

Where and when is winter camping best?

The traditional camping season usually ends in September or October. And that’s exactly when the winter camping season begins! Winter camping is  particularly suitable in the run-up to Christmas, to visit Christmas markets. For those booking a skiing holiday, the best time to travel are the winter months from December to March. Or how about an unconventional Christmas at the campsite or an extraordinary New Year’s Eve under the stars?

Visit Christmas Markets with Your Campervan

Who doesn’t love strolling through a Christmas market during Advent, snacking on roasted almonds or hearing the snow crunching under your feet on a winter walk? Many regions in Germany offer a beautiful Christmas season. The Erzgebirge is the ultimate Christmas region and with a bit of luck, there might even be snow in the Erzgebirge. Or how about a visit to the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany: Nuremberg Christmas Market, Dresden Striezel Market, Leipzig Christmas Market or the Christmas Market and Christmas Forest in Goslar?

Ring in the New Year in Your Campervan

If you really don’t fancy the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks this time, celebrate New Year’s Eve in the middle of nature with your campervan. Many campsites are also open over the holidays and set up snow bars or offer New Year’s Eve programmes. Winter camping at it’s best!

Skiing Holiday with Your Campervan

Almost all ski resorts have winter camping sites. Campsites right next to the slopes also offer you the opportunity to spend the night in the ski area and be one of the first on the slopes in the morning. In addition to popular ski regions such as the German, Swiss and Austrian Alps, you can also experience sledding and skiing fun in the Harz, Black Forest, Allgäu and Vosges.

View our full guide to skiing in Europe with a campervan

Visit a Wellness Retreat With Your Campervan

Winter camping and wellness – just the thought of it makes you feel “hygge”. What could be better when the temperatures outside plummet than being pampered in a warm sauna or with a hot stone massage? Campsites with wellness facilities are open all year round and offer you a luxurious camping holiday experience. Alternatively, you can park your campervan directly next to a thermal bath or a large sauna area. In most cases, the wellness facilities have pitches right next to them.

View the Northern Lights From Your Campervan

You can experience a very special winter camping adventure in Scandinavia! If you want to see an aurora borealis once in your life, you can hire a campervan and visit Scandinavia. Depending on the country, October to the end of March is a good time to see the natural spectacle live. The chances of seeing the Northern Lights are highest in countries such as Iceland, Finland, Norway and northern Sweden. By the way, the best place to see the Northern Lights is deep in the nature, where light pollution is low. Combine your winter holiday in Scandinavia with winter fishing, snowshoeing, skiing and dog sledding.

Our Winter ready roadsurfer models

roadsurfer Road House with pop up roof
  • 4
  • 4

Road House Van with pop-up roof (540)

  • 140 hp diesel
  • spacious kitchen area
  • Indoor shower/wet room (warm)
  • WC
  • Manual pop-up roof
  • Parking assistance, rear camera, Tempomat, etc.
roadsurfer travel home side view
  • 4
  • 4

Travel Home Mercedes Marco Polo

  • 163 hp diesel
  • Integrated kitchenette
  • Outdoor shower (cold)
  • Manual pop-up roof
  • Hitch
  • Park-assist and rear camera
roadsurfer camper cabin side view
  • 5
  • 4+1

Camper Cabin Ford Nugget with pop-up roof

  • 170 PS Diesel
  • Integrated kitchenette (2-room concept)
  • Outdoor shower (cold)
  • Manual pop-up roof
  • Hitch
  • Park assist
roadsurfer beach hostel deluxe side view
  • 5
  • 4+1

Beach Hostel VW T6.1 California Beach

  • 150 hp diesel
  • Big bed (whole vehicle width)
  • pull-out kitchen unit
  • Manual pop-up roof
  • Park-assist and rear camera
  • Cruise and distance control ACC, GPS
  • 4
  • 2

Couple Cottage Van without a pop-up roof (600)

  • 140 hp diesel
  • spacious kitchen area
  • Indoor shower/wet room (warm)
  • WC
  • without pop-up roof
  • Parking assistance, rear camera, Tempomat, etc.

This could be you this winter 

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