Starting Vanlife after living in a spacious apartment is not that easy. It takes time to adjust to a smaller place, less storage and being more aware of water consumption, energy, waste, etc. We made it even more challenging by starting this journey in Wintertime. We were expecting warmer days as March approached but Winter was not ready to leave yet. That brought some issues like frozen water tanks, no solar energy, and even frozen locks. Our first week as nomads living in a van wasn’t exactly a fairytale but the enthusiasm of this new phase in our lives didn’t disappear.
We wanted to make the most out of our first week even in such weather and we went exploring! Why not go out there even on a snowy day with -15 °C when having a tiny and warm home on wheels coming along where we can quickly get in to grab a hot cup of tea or coffee.
We learned right away that van life pushes us to spend time outdoors more than before. We feel the need of moving and since the tiny space doesn’t allow us to do so, we are going out regardless of how the weather is like. Sometimes to explore, sometimes to get water supply or make adjustments to the van. Luckily, the endless beautiful scenery Switzerland has to offer makes the van life in wintertime actually look like a fairytale and in days like these ⬇️ it feels like we have our own cottage in the mountains.
We explored Innerthal which was beautifully covered in snow. A great chance to also have a bit of fun taking some nice shots with the van.
And when we felt like freezing, it was coffee time! We have a nice sitting area inside the van, which serves as a dining place, coffee place, office or lounge. We are also happy with the gas heater that keeps our van warm even when there are extreme temperatures outside.
As for the issues we encountered, we found ways to overcome them. As we couldn’t use the water tanks, we kept water supplies in big bottles that we filled up from water fountains. For showering, we got to frequent more the gym and sauna. Finding running water fountains in winter is not an easy task either. Most of them are off as the water gets frozen.
As there was no sunlight to charge our battery, we had to charge our devices while driving and used led lights on batteries for lightning the van at night.
The funny part was when we couldn’t open the sliding door as the lock got frozen. Luckily we could still use a front side door to get in and out the van although was not that convenient, especially with bags of groceries.
But let’s look at the bright side. There’s also a plus of such cold weather. We don’t have to worry about power for running the fridge. The trunk is cold enough to store our food.
We knew that there will be challenges and we are learning every day something new about this lifestyle, how to adapt and also what improvements our van needs.
For example, we could barely see the road at night with the original lights. We change them with these bright led lights and the difference is remarkable.
Next on the list and a very important improvement will be to replace the battery we currently have with a more powerful lithium one. Also, to add more solar panels to the roof. This will provide us with enough power for running the fridge, use the lights and charge our devices. And let’s hope the sunny days are on the way.
That’s all for now about our van life experience in winter wonderland.
We are happy and excited about what comes next.
Lots of love,