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Noob question -- how cold is winter in a van?

I just returned from a camping trip in southern Arizona. One morning when I got up, it was 36 degrees. That got me thinking...

I find vanlife intriguing, but I wonder how cold it is in winter even when you head south to escape the snow. Is the inside of a van ever warm enough to sit comfortably and use a laptop for hours? Or is it about huddling near a heater in the evening until it's time to crawl into a down bag?

10 Replies

Experience will serve you more than words on a screen. There are conversion van rentals in the Pacific Northwest, in Quebec, and other parts that get plenty cold. These are about the same cost as an expensive hotel room. Keep in mind that the fully built-out standing-height conversion van will cost you a lifetime of occasional expensive hotel room stays. My personal solution has been not using a van. Shrink the convenient stand-up space and use a hatchback, following all of the insulation and leak management methods you see in this thread and that you can most likely figure out on your own, if you’re cut out for this life. Enjoy the risks, don’t exceed your capabilities.