Chasing powder and skiing or boarding mountains across the country is a dream of many converted van owners. And, part of that dream probably looks a little something like this.Find a mountain that has a lot of snow. Find a safe spot to park. Spend all day on the mountain. Come back to a cozy van, and have some hot chocolate (or whiskey).
Sounds pretty awesome, right? But, how do you know if your van (or potential van) is truly equipped to support a 4-season, off-grid adventure? Below is a list of things to take into consideration if you want to chase pow throughout winter:
Protecting Important Components From Freezing In Your Van
One of the most critical things to think about when traveling in your van in cold climates is ensuring that essential items will not freeze.
Some van builders will put water storage on the outside of the van to maximize storage inside. Others put tanks wrapped in a layer of thin, reflective insulation. This will not keep your water from freezing, especially if nighttime temps are closer to zero degrees.
You’ll want to be sure that your van has water storage on the inside, and even better, piping that has been insulated. You may sacrifice a bit of space, but if you want running water and non-frozen pipes in the winter, it will be worth it.
Making Sure You Stay Warm In Your Van
When dealing with heating systems, we use the best of the best: Espar diesel heaters. As opposed to a heater that runs off propane, this heater uses the vehicle’s fuel and power supply to produce heat.
From past experience (a few -25 degree nights in Steamboat!), these systems will keep you warm, even when it’s frigid outside.
In addition, you can leave the heater running while you’re out on the hill and come back to an already warm van. If a client is adventuring above 7,500 feet in elevation, we also recommend that you get the high-altitude kit since standard heating systems won’t function as intended at high altitude.
Having Enough Power In Your Van
Heat requires power. So, ensuring you have an adequate amount of it is pretty essential. In the winter, you won’t always have the luxury of hours of sunlight to consistently power a solar set-up, so you’ll want to be sure that your heating source is powered appropriately by an ample battery capacity.
Enjoying Hot Water In Your Van
If you have an indoor shower or want quick access to hot water from your tap, you’ll want to consider having a system that supports that. We like the Rixen’s Enterprise furnace and hot water heater. Because it runs off of diesel, it eliminates the need for propane.
Having Plenty of Space In Your Van
The planning that goes into a van conversion is critical. Less apparent needs are often not considered, like where your season-specific gear will go – skiing, climbing, camping, etc. If you’re purchasing a van to adventure in, you obviously want to ensure that you have space for all of the things you’ll need.
The Altitude Vans team climbs, skis, runs, mountain bikes (pretty much any activity that involves the outdoors), so we understand and advise our clients on what they need for proper gear storage.
These are just some of the main things you’ll want to consider to ensure that your rig is primed and ready for winter travel. Of course, if you have questions about our van conversions, please reach out. We’re here to help you.