There’s a lot to be said for caravanning and camper-vanning in the autumn and winter – quieter
caravan parks, no scramble for the best pitches, peace and quiet and the chance to enjoy autumn
colours and crisp, frosty mornings.
But the obvious downside of staying in a caravan when the sun has lost is warmth, is you and your
family getting very cold – particularly in the evenings, when you’re sleeping at night or when the
wind and rain forces you to hole up in the daytime.
So how can you be prepared for these chillier times? Here are our tips to ensure you have adequate
caravan heating and the most comfortable stay possible.
Remember that gas and electrical appliances can be dangerous if not used or fitted correctly. A big
danger linked to gas heaters is carbon monoxide poisoning. This happens when carbon monoxide is
trapped in poorly ventilated, contained spaces. It s a colourless, odourless gas which initially causes
headache, mild nausea and fatigue and it you don’t spot the problem, will ultimately lead to
For safety you may want to install a carbon monoxide alarm somewhere in your caravan – travel
carbon monoxide alarms are also available to buy. It’s recommended to regularly check that your
appliances are installed correctly and comply with regulations and the manufacturer's instructions.
Qualified professionals should install and check appliances.
In newer caravan models it’s likely that you will have built-in heating. If you own an older caravan
or need to update the heater you have for safety reasons, it’s easy to have something reliable and
safe installed. The other option is to invest in portable electric devices that can be plugged in
(electric) and fired up (gas) when needed.
Of course to preserve heat generally, it’s important to make sure all window seals are in good
condition, that doors fit as closely as possible, and that roof lights are properly sealed and not letting
too much heat escape. Take plenty of warm bedding with you and hot water bottles can help at
All caravans will have some form of heating as part of their fixtures and fittings. Most offer either
gas powered heaters or those that can use either gas or electric. The ability of the factory-fit heaters
to keep you toasty will depend on their output and efficiency which may vary considerably. You
may want to supplement the caravan’s own heater, or update it. Caravan manufacturers have taken
not of the increased demand for off-season caravanning and are looking at innovative ways to heat
the latest models they are producing.
Gas only – this may get rather expensive. Your consumption will be high due to the fact that you
will have your heating running more frequently and also that gas is utilised less efficiently in lower
temperatures. Butane is not suitable at all for very low temperatures as it will not perform. Gas
alone is rather impractical for winter usage as you will need to constantly replace used up cylinders
and, depending on your set-up, even risk running out completely.
Gas with electric option heaters – these can be powered by gas alone, electric alone or a
combination of the two and are generally better than the gas only option if you are on a campsite
which offers electric hook-up.
A lot of caravans have been previously fitted with a
Truma gas fire. Spare parts for these heaters are readily available or if you want to upgrade the
system you have, by for example, fitting a Lighting Kit so that you can see the indicators in the
You could have the complete system fitted - see the Trumatic S3004 Fire with piezo ignition which
is an economically way of acquiring a reliable and safe gas fire. Another gas heater is the Trumatic
E2400 LP Gas Heater which is the most compact warm air heating system available in its power
Buying a portable heater is a cost effective way of heating your caravan. Many older model caravan
owners invest in these either to upgrade their original factory-fitted heater or to replace a unit which
has failed a safety test/ceased working. There are many options to choose from though, so do plenty
of research before you buy.
These come in a wide range of sizes, are very popular as they are safe and automatically cut-off if
knocked over. They have an immediate heating output, are relatively energy efficient and are
usually small and unobtrusive. Additionally, of all the options, they are the cheapest to buy and
easiest to use with no installation required.
Again there are many options here. The Hotspot Blue Flame Heater has blue flame technology,
which means if cuts off the gas supply if the flame goes out or the percentage of CO2 in the air
exceeds 1%. An electric example of caravan heaters is the Dimplex Cold Watcher which is a low
voltage heater with 500W output.
Many of these heaters which store the fuel in the caravan’s usual gas cylinder compartment, have
the useful option of switching to power by electric. This option is gaining some popularity and there
is some talk of certain new caravan makes factory fitting such systems. One major bonus of a diesel
powered heater is that it can be operated while the caravan is being towed, so you arrive with a
Relatively new to the market, under floor space heating is now being incorporated into several new
build caravan models. The heater itself is fitted beneath the caravan in a weather-proof cover, can be
powered by either gas (propane or butane) or electricity and claims to reduce caravan heating costs
by 25% due to its innovative energy efficiency design. You may have to invest around £500 in this
So if you are committed to caravanning in chillier climes, make sure you invest in the right heating.
Caravanning experts say that having an electric or LPG heating system installed is going to be the
best option. But do your research and get some advice about efficiency, safety and compliance with
your caravan, before you invest in any new system.