Have you thought about how to make your van adventures in the cold months cozy and comfortable? It is not fun to have cold toes and a cold nose when you are trying to sleep in the mountains. There’s no need for that if you take the right approach in preparing your van for winter escapades.

Let’s note a couple of small things that could make a big difference in your set-up. They may sound obvious, but could save someone from the chilly willy’s. 

  • When you are driving to your cold location, blast the heat. Blast the heat from your engine to get that space nice and warm, and then do your best to keep it trapped. It will be easier to keep this little space warm than it will be to heat it back up. 
  • Metal transfers heat easily. Take a look at any spots of the interior with metal exposed. For example, the front cab, driver and passenger door might have lots of metal exposed. Consider a thick curtain blocking off the living space of your van from the front cab. 
  • Don’t use your sliding door. Go through the front doors or a rear door. The sliding door will quickly let all that heat blow out and the cold air to blow in.
  • Make sure to cover any other openings in your van such as; vents, fans, gaps, etc. If you have roof vents consider fitting a piece of insulation to cover the vent or fan
  • Following this last point, it is a safe choice to crack to have a small amount of ventilation if you are running any sort of heater that releases co2. Also, if condensation is building. 

    Let’s talk more about how you’ll keep those toes warm:

    • Insulation
    • Heaters
    • Window Covers
    • Warm Drinks, Cozy Blankets, Cozy Rugs


    Insulation is the most important aspect of managing temperatures in your van. Maybe your van is already built and insulated and you have got this step dialed. If you are still considering your build, then make sure to take the time to get it well insulated. There are many routes to take in insulating, some more expensive than others. If this is solid then you have a good foundation to keep those warm vibes in the cold months. 

    Insulation is actually helpful in keeping cool in the summer, as well. You can read here in a previous Freedom Vans blog post on ‘Strategies for Keeping Cool in the Summer’. 


    There are also many options for heaters. Our preference at Freedom Vans has been Webasto Heaters. They are very efficient, they tap into your gas line to run, and they adjust effectively to changes in altitude as you travel. A Webasto Heater can run for 24 hours off of one gallon of diesel. If you are looking to create an easily heated environment in your van, then a thorough insulation and an efficient heater will get you there. 

    Of course, there are other options for heaters out there. Each van and owner will go with the route that best suits them. There are small space heaters, but they do emit harmful gases and good ventilation is required. There is also a propane heater option that can be installed with proper ventilation, the downside is that it creates wet heat rather than dry heat. You could consider electric heaters, but those tend to suck up your energy source. Although, there is an efficient option of installing electric heated mats that sit under your flooring and are powered by 12v DC. And, you may have heard of vanlifers using candles in a pinch – which also emit smoke and can be a fire hazard. Whatever heater option you go with, practice safety!

    Window Covers:

    If you have a few windows or many, window covers are a must for keeping that little space warm. A cargo van with less windows will actually give you more control in managing the temps inside. More windows can also be nice for natural light and waking up to those good views. If your van has many windows, it will be especially helpful to get good window covers for each window. Consider using strong magnets sewn into the material to help tightly secure the covers. It doesn’t hurt to make them look nice, since you’ll be looking at them a lot.

    Warm drinks, cozy blankets, cozy rugs:

    This is pretty self explanatory. But, make a real difference! A cup of tea or hot cocoa to hold close can make all the difference in feeling cozy. A stash of nice, nighttime teas can come in handy. And, who doesn’t love a host who can offer some hot cocoa and marshmallows. 

    There are some #vanlifers that go with hardy sleeping bags. Don’t forget that in the van you can set up flannel sheets, a comforter, a wool blanket and five pillows. A warm blanket to sit with can improve a chilly evening after adventures. Also, you can take a look at electric heated blankets. You can find low amp blankets and even battery powered ones. 

    Lastly, what’s on your floors? Hardwood floors in a van look fantastic, don’t get me wrong. Although, those toes might appreciate a soft, cushy rug to hang out on. Unless, you are fancy and you go for the heated floor install. 


    Some of us are sun bums and are not going to bother with that silly, snow stuff. Many of you out there though have way too much skiing, snowboarding, and mountaineering to do and the temps are not going to hold you back. Freedom Vans fully supports your adventures and we hope that a few of these tips offer you a cozy evening after a full day of ripping.

    Thanks for checking in on our Freedom Vans blog. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts. We are always up to something here! Don’t worry though, we take breaks to get ourselves out into the mountains too. 😉