Feb. 23, 2021
I grew up in rural Georgia so I had to deal with the cold early on as a child. I guess that is one of the reasons I have been okay out here on the road as a Van Dweller.
However, initially, when I started Van Life, I found myself unprepared a couple of times and had to endure the cold just like I did in the military, which back then was part of the training.
You want to take the following steps to keep warm out there in a Car, Van, RV, or in your home:
–Eat Chocolate: For some reason, chocolate will warm up your insides so it was recommended to me by other van lifers to eat chocolate. I did and it did work.
–Drink Hot Chocolate/Cocoa: I learned from a survival expert at the yearly event for RVers and Van Lifers to drink hot chocolate or hot cocoa instead of drinking hot coffee or hot tea. He said the effect of the coffee and tea would not last as long as the hot chocolate or hot cocoa. I believe he was right. I always keep hot chocolate in my van.
–Buy Sleeping Bag: Most people never think about just having a sleeping bag (or two or more) at home for emergency purposes, but this is a wonderful idea. I would even buy two of them and use the one on top like a tent to bring in instant heat when you get under there. Walmart sells them for $15. Make sure it is 20 or 30 degrees below. Even if the zipper breaks — if you buy a cheap sleeping bag, the sleeping bag will still serve its purpose.
–Wear Long Johns: There are plenty of long johns out there, but the best brand to really keep the cold out is ‘Cuddl Duds’. They are available at Walmart.
–Buy Electric Blanket: If you have any type of power source then Walmart has a $15 electric blanket, but again, you need some type of power source such as a power box, inverter, or generator to plug it up to. Most people prefer also not to go to sleep in an electric blanket because even on the low setting, they can get too hot. Many just use it to lounge around — before they go to sleep for the night.
–Wear Layers: Instead of putting on one big layer — wear layers of clothing so you can take items off if you get too hot.
–Wear Socks/Gloves/Mittens: Wear socks to lounge around in. Many people can’t sleep in socks especially if they are in a sleeping bag. The goal is to keep your hands warm because if your hands freeze then you can be at risk for frostbite so keep them warm by wearing gloves or mittens or just put socks on your hands for warmth if you don’t have these.
–Wear Hats/Scarves: The goal is to keep your head warm because most of the time warmth exits your body through your head and feet. Make sure you wear hats and/or scarves, which cover your ears and neck. The goal especially is to cover your chest area.
–Massage Your Shoulders: If your feet get extremely cold and you don’t have warm water to dip them into then try massaging your shoulders with some type of oil such as olive oil. It will warm up your feet.
–Snuggle Up: Make sure you snuggle up with your mate/spouse, children, or an animal. You can put a tent over the bed and create a wave of heat under the tent. An extra sleeping bag unzippered would work the same way as a tent over the bed.
–Check On Seniors: Make sure you check on Seniors especially elderly neighbors. Most Seniors die due to a lack of air conditioner in the summer and heat in the winter. Make sure the services in charge of checking on Seniors are actually doing their jobs.
The weather is an uncertain today so you need to have survival items at your place of residence at all times – whether you are living in a car, van, RV, or in a home such as:
-Extra clothing (coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, long johns, socks, etc.)
-Extra wood if you have a wood stove or fireplace.
-Power boxes (Jackery.com), inverters, generators, solar panels (small and large), etc. Remember any type of solar panel might not work if there is no sun out so be prepared.
Just because you made it out of this winter – not needing any of these items, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need these items in the near future. It could mean the difference between life and death – so be prepared and stock up. Good luck!