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Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 1047
Location: South West Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it be possible, where you are parking, to rig up a more rigid porch to the caravan?

Ours stands on breeze blocks, is not attached to the van and is a timber frame with polycarbonate sheets. It can be dismantle-able for when you move. It will depend on how windy it is at your location and if you've any spare cash, but it was the best thing we did.

You can dry the dogs undercover, you can leave them out there for a bit if they're still damp, feed them out there, dry your laundry and leave wet coats and boots outside rather than trailing mud and snow into the van and kick the dogs out there if they're having a daft half hour, without worrying about them.

Cuphooks, lots of them. If you can identify where the timber is in the walls and ceiling and if you know where the electricity cable run, you can screw in cuphooks to hang lots of lightweight things esp. things you need often, like a torch. Hang stuff where you won't bang your head on it.

LED lights. You can get converters to change most sockets to take LED bulbs and there are now very low wattage but high output bulbs available.

If you dry down the windows daily and then put the cloth/towel outside to dry, you can remove some of the damp caused by the gas. Our cupboards sometime get damp and it does them good to be stood open for a bit in warmer weather. As Richard said ages ago, don't block your vents and open windows when you can.

Best of luck in your new living space; I don't envy you being in 14' with 3 dogs. I hope the winter is kind.


Joined: 27 Jan 2009
Posts: 1782
Location: southwesterly
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in a touring caraven for a year and whilst it wasn't the worst hell in the world, there are a few (lot Of) lessons learnt.

1. ventilation (somewhere else to dry clothes)
2. a hat!!!!!
3. Patience
4. Good cleaning up after cooking skills (I / we learnt this the hard way - you cannot leave washing up for long when you have NO space)
5. a sense of humour
6. SERIOUS downsizing (this was hard, I missed pairs of shoes and clothes especially when going to work and stuff)
7. Storage elsewhere?
8. Never underestimate how small it will be, how much you will need to be supportive and how much you need to keep this 'fun' - I don't mean that in a bad way, but these challenges can make or break!



Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Posts: 626
Location: Galway
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I so love this thread

I am still in mobile homes - two connected with a link structure - and the sacred woodburner is burning logs from the trees that fell in the high winds.

Additional heating is provided by four sleeping salukis - they have a high heat output ratio

For the record the two homes were stripped bare and furnished. One for sleeping quarters one for living quarters. Due to my current Downton Abbey addiction I call them the East Wing and the West Wing

Hopefully the last winter here though....

Rob R

Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many winters has it been now?


Joined: 13 Mar 2009
Posts: 626
Location: Galway
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the sixth

But the site is worth it.


Joined: 25 Sep 2012
Posts: 59
Location: South West Wales
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 12 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

al ot of good ideas and advice here..only one thing I can add..Fire extinguishers ..i have lived in wagons boats and trucks for 25 years and have lost 3 friends in seperate incidents involving candles,gas and carbon monoxide....i have also lost one caravan and saved my truck with an extinguisher...now live with monoxide detector and four extinguishers...these small homes go up in seconds if you are unlucky enough.please take care and good luck.


Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 1047
Location: South West Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 12 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick update given the recent thread.

This will be our 4th winter.

We have now got a back boiler in the stove producing hot water for the winter! No more heating kettles on the stove top and keeping it hot in vacuum flasks (we hope). We'll have to take care if the outdoor temperature drops too low and the vent or supply freezes but have got the option of disconnecting the boiler and running it as space heating only. The cold supply now runs along the caravan ceiling, so it'll be interesting to see how much that helps with pipes freezing.

The rest of the year we still use the solar thermal system which works well even in a lousy summer like this year.

We used the generator 6 times last winter. PV system supplied the rest which was great considering what a grey winter it was. That was its first winter and it performed better than calculated.

Haven't had to clear out the compost toilet bins yet as having changed systems slightly, we've not run out of space in the last set of compost bins. Can probably leave it till next year now.

A 47kg gas bottle lasts 7 months. Our main expense is still wood for the stove, but the first trees are due to be coppiced so we're heading in the right direction.

Hoping for a seasonal but not Baltic winter for all caravan dweller.


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 13 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive just found this thread, so joined the forums

We moved into a static caravan July '12. With our 3 kids and 1 dog
It was FAB in the summer....Winter hasn't been to bad as we have a massive multiburner in the lounge but yesterday the pipes froze, all we have is the loo and kitchen cold tap still working and thats only because we are getting up through the night to turn them on.

We have now put pipe insulation on the pipes we can get too, thinking of buying a load of straw bales to put round the edge.

Is there anyway we can defrost the pipes? Or is it something we have to grin and bear till it warms up?

Oh and Hi all

Even with all the issues we love living in a static van, we couldnt afford to pay the rent and heat our house before.
We have to find something else by April '14 and hoping we can do something similar because living in a house + minimum wage = always struggling to choose between heat and food :/

Downsizer Moderator

Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12918
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 13 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our neighbour llives full time in a static, and he has bales of shavings around the bottem of his van, to help with draughts and to insulate.

Welcome to the forum


Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 8442
Location: Llyn Peninsular North Wales
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 13 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a grid mains supply you could fit some heat trace wire to all the pipe runs & then insulate over the top.

You can set them up with a frost stat but ours is using a time clock so it runs for 15 mins every hour from 6pm till 8am whilst it still gets to above freezing during the day & all day once it does not. I check the weather out to see if it needs to be on for the overnight setting or for the full 24 hours.

We have done all of ours but it does push up our electric consumption which hurts as we are off grid.


Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 1047
Location: South West Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 13 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the site!

I don't have much to add to what's been said. It's a bit easier if you're using a well or water butts as you can fetch water by the bucketful but if you're on mains that's not possible. Hope you get the problem sorted.


Joined: 26 Dec 2010
Posts: 1473
Location: NCA90
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 13 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard Amyw
I been living in a static for a few months whilst I build and I've picked up some useful advice (and the static) on here.
This isn't going to be any use but I deal with the pipe freezing problem by turning it off before it freezes and reverting to containers of water. I don't have it as bad as you proper off-griders as I am in an urban location and can nip down the road for shower and laundry at me mums and there's only me in the static.

Woodburner is a must have. I have added fan and ducting to pump warm air into bedroom.
Lots of shelves but all too small - nowhere for plants.
Things eventually fall off shelves from shutting doors.

Azura Skye

Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 2199
Location: Carmarthenshire
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 13 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this has been interesting reading!
I'm looking to move out of my parents' house. As it definitley feels like my parents' house and not mine.
I have a potential place over at my brother's. He has some land.
I've been thinking of the best way of moving out into a site that probably won't be forever.
Was thinking of a simple summer house to start with, but they are quite pricey. It could be cheaper and easier to get a static caravan. I don't know how much it costs to transport them though. I've seen statics for about 1500 to 2500 (older models) but wooden boxes are 3000+!

Has anyone had any experience in log cabin type houses - actually, log gives the wrong impression - glorified tool sheds more like. I imagine they are slightly easier to insulate. Of course these things are just one room. So bathroom is a head scratcher.
Do I need to start a seperate thread?


Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 6024
Location: Somerset.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 13 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at the Canopy & Stars website.They do "Glamping".Lots of good ideas re sheds/vans etc.
Lots have compost loos and solar showers.
We have stayed at a couple of their places quite comfortably.

Also look at Ginkotrees`s place.

Azura Skye

Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 2199
Location: Carmarthenshire
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 13 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks gardening-girl : )

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