How To Weather A Winter Storm When You Live In A Van

Illustration for article titled How To Weather A Winter Storm When You Live In A Van
Screenshot: Living The Van Life (YouTube)
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

One of the worst realities of hashtag vanlife, or camping in general, is uncomfortable weather. At least, I sure think so. Granted, I don’t like it when there’s any temp delta between my bedroom and the outside world. And yet I choose to go camping. Hence, this video resonated with me.


Here’s a long, relaxing clip from overland traveler Chad, who has a whole series on the subject on his YouTube channel Living The Van Life. If you made it into work today, I’m guessing you’re dragging ass looking for excuses to procrastinate. So. You’re welcome:

I hadn’t heard of Chad here until stumbling on this video, but the channel is a pretty deep rabbit hole of van life overland tips and adventures you could find yourself stumbling down pretty easily. And maybe you will!

I got hooked by the cinematography here, which actually is quite impressive. One decent thing about the timeline we live in is that video-making equipment is compact, user-friendly, and affordable enough for some bearded dude in his VW to make cool visuals on trips like this. But, before I get too sidetracked, there are some good camping tips in this clip too.

Chad recommends packing some cotton balls rolled in Vaseline for firestarter, which is a great idea when you want to get a fire going somewhere moist and snowy.

You also get to see how well a Solo Stove works for cooking and warming the outside. It seems like kind of a great way to have a trash can fire you can bring anywhere.

He also made a windbreak out of snow to keep his Westfalia protected, effectively turning the van into a cozy igloo. That supplements the warmth from his little diesel heater and allows him to do epic shit like camp in the Mount Baker ski resort parking lot during a big dump. If you’re trying to get first tracks somewhere and you can’t afford a slopeside condo, this is a pretty neat alternative.


It sounds like Chad’s been on the road in his ’91 Volkswagen since 2011, so it makes sense that he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve for being comfortable. I’m going to adopt the cotton ball trick for sure.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles


Worst part of winter car camping (and winter camping in general) is dealing with the moisture buildup. It takes a lot of heat to keep things dry and shaking frost off of sleeping bags gets pretty old quick.