How to survive living in a campervan for a week in winter

You can still sightsee
We spent seven nights living in Cleopatra in the middle of a cold and sometimes rainy February in the middle of France. Of course I'd have liked it to be sunnier and warmer, but I definitely enjoyed it.

One of the biggest challenges when spending longer than just a weekend is that you need to take more stuff. I mean more clothes really - there was no need to pack more of anything else as we could shop for food and wine as necessary. Not only do you need more clothes for a longer trip, but in winter they have to be warm clothes and you need to over pack in case you get wet.

Cleopatra is a VW T5 California Beach and she can fit plenty in the back. I'm just concious of leaving anything on show. I may know it's a bag full of dirty laundry but to an opportunist it might seem worth a punt. So paring down what we carry to the absolute minimum has been necessary.

Everything in its place
When you spend time in a campervan you also have to stay organised. Everything must have a place and everything must stay in that place until needed. It then must be replaced in its place. If you don't follow that golden rule then you just get in a mess and you can't move.

We've been very good at keeping things in their place but when it's cold, dark and it's raining it can be tempting just to keep something in the living space or put it back where it doesn't belong. You have to resist!

Having the awning open means you don't get wet just by opening the door, plus taking things backwards and forwards to the boot is made more comfortable because the tailgate provides protection from the rain when it's open and you're standing under it.

Ready for dinner
Another golden rule is know exactly what you'll need and get it all in one visit to the boot. We have a storage box for cooking equipment and another for everything else. When about to make dinner we need to consider the entire preparation and eating implements required. We save an extra trip to the boot by making sure we take the washing-up bowl from the 'everything else box' too. Once something has been finished with it can go straight in the bowl to be taken to clean later. If the awning is open then I prefer to keep the bowl just outside the door.

Following the rules of proper storage and proper planning then rain and cold aren't too much of an issue.

The next problem to overcome is keeping the interior clean. We have walking boots and waterproof over-trouser leggings for walks and sightseeing. Being able to keep mud off your clothes is important. When not being worn they are stored in an IKEA blue shopping bag so nothing else gets muddy. For walking around the campsite, to the shower block etc. we both have Crocs. They have the benefit of being easy to slip on and off and take up little space in the living area - in fact they fit nicely in the foot well of the side door.

Playing a boardgame
That's the tidiness and cleanliness sorted. How about what it feels like? Well, once again of course I'd rather the weather be warmer and dryer, but you can still do most of the things you'd do in the summer. Travelling is about sightseeing and with waterproofs and warm clothes you can still do it all.

The only draw back for me is that I'd prefer to spend the evening drinking my glass of wine sitting outside. But we found other things to do, such as reading, playing boardgames and cooking fabulous meals. And remembering that spring and summer will come around eventually and I'll get my evening outdoor chillax eventually!


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