Big Little Guides

How to campervan cosy in winter

Navigating New Zealand's winter landscapes presents unique challenges, but the rewards of  this Southern Hemisphere gem are worth it. A cosy, self-contained campervan is the best way to get closer to magical, snow-covered landscapes and ski resorts.

May 6, 2024

Keep cosy in your self-contained campervan: winter survival guide

Navigating the winter landscapes of New Zealand presents a unique set of challenges, but the rewards of visiting this Southern Hemisphere gem are well worth it. A cosy, self-contained campervan is the perfect way to get up close to magical, snow-covered landscapes and ski resorts.

To help you safely experience the magic of a New Zealand winter from the road, here are eight top tips for renting campervans and winter camping.

Gear up for wintry conditions: New Zealand’s winter can bring chilly temperatures, especially in the South Island’s Alpine regions. Invest in quality cold-weather gear. Big Little Campers provides winter-ready duvets, but if you’re pushing your adventure limits, bring an insulated sleeping bag and layers to stay warm during frosty nights.

Check weather conditions: Stay informed about weather forecasts and conditions for your chosen camping area. New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, and winter storms can affect roads and accessibility. Be prepared for changes and have a backup plan. Check with DOC rangers or tourist info sites when you can.

Plan your permits: Many popular camping areas in New Zealand require permits or booking, especially during winter for DOC huts. Research and get the right permits in advance to avoid disappointment on popular routes. A self-contained campervan means you always have a safe, warm place to sleep.

Layer up: Dressing in layers is crucial for managing body temperature in varying conditions. Opt for NZ-made merino, which keeps you warm and dry.

Fuel and Hydration: Winter camping demands extra energy to stay warm. Bring high-calorie, easy-to-cook meals to make the most of your campervan’s stove. Our campervans are all self-contained, so they have cooking facilities and water capacity for two people for three days.

Choose the Right Campsite: Select a campsite strategically, considering factors like wind protection and proximity to water sources. Avoid camping under trees in high winds, and choose high ground to avoid flooding from streams, rivers, and tidal fluctuations.

Emergency preparedness: Expect the unexpected and carry a well-stocked first aid kit (all our campervans have one), a reliable communication device, and a paper map. Let someone know about your itinerary and expected return time. We’re always happy to check in and chat with guests, so give us a call.

Respect the environment: Winter is a vulnerable time for ecosystems. Be mindful of Leave No Trace principles, minimising your impact on the environment. Respect local wildlife and adhere to campsite regulations and local self-contained by-laws.

By following these tips, winter camping in New Zealand can be a safe, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You may also grab yourself an off-season bargain with a cheaper than average campervan rental. Leaving you more in your pocket for ski hire and fancy hot chocolates.

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