Oswestry is a nice quiet little site and is one that we will add to the list of “will go again”. The eco credentials of the site seem to be good too, all the lights on the bollards have been converted over to LED and the facilities block has a large solar panel array that must offset the carbon footprint of the site. We left around 11:40 and the temperature hadn’t dropped below zero overnight, so no problems with frozen waste-hog or aquaroll. As this was our first trip in cold weather, we were on a bit of a fact-finding mission. Just how practical was it to use the caravan in winter? I had fitted a digital thermometer with an outside probe (Maplin £9.99) to be able to check with a bit of accuracy. What we did find out was that it was quite easy to keep the caravan 20 degrees C above the outside temperature with just the heater set on 1000 watts. Set on 500 watts, the temperature dropped to about 15 degrees above the outside temp. The other thing we picked up on was after arriving on site, put the heating on full blast.. gas and electric for about an hour and we can raise the temp from zero to 20 degrees C. With the heating set to 2000 watts, it was easy to maintain the inside temp about 24 degrees above outside temp.
The heated towel rail we installed last weekend worked really well. It’s only rated at 60 watts, but it managed even with the blown air vent closed in the bathroom to keep it at a similar temperature to the rest of the van. However, it did need the help of the blown air system to raise the temp from zero to 20 degrees.
The “quick” mod (see “Oswestry…. arrival“) of redirecting the hot air pipe to blow into the space under the seat where the water pump was seemed effective. Although the temperature dropped below zero at night, we didn’t have any further issues. It looks like that will become a permanent mod. I’ll just need to do a bit of tidying and relocate one of the clips that retain the heating pipe in place. I have been reading on one of the forums about insulating the blown air pipes in the caravan and especially under the van where they pass across the door threshold under the floor. Having had a quick look, it looks like there is some insulation already in place but needs beefing up. Reports are this is a worthwhile project. It’s now on the list!
The trip home was uneventful, and only took 1:30 minutes to do the 78 miles back to the storage compound. We were amazed however on the number of caravans on the road. I know it was the start of half term, but I think we must have seen 70 or 80 vans on the move. Looking at them too, they were on their way to sites…. they were all very clean, on the other hand, ours was filthy from the trip on Friday. It was embarrassingly dirty actually. Unfortunately, there are no cleaning facilities at our storage compound, so I need to think of getting a couple of water containers for our trailer this week and I have an idea for using an old 12 volt water pump… watch this space.
One of the ongoing improvements has been the use of storage boxes to organise some of the things in the caravan. We had picked up some boxes from Office World for Sue to store her cleaning stuff in and one for me to store things like spare pig tails, continental EHU adaptor, pegs, mallet etc. Well they worked very well, and we will probably be expanding the number of boxes to store some of the other stuff… The boxes we used can be obtained from Really Useful Box and the quality I have found is excellent. There are over 50 sizes in the range, so hopefully a box for every need.
A couple of people have contacted me asking for a closeup photo of the WiFi aerial. I have updated the “Bear Extender review” with a photo. As the aerial is left in the van, I’ll get a more detailed image on the next trip.