GGC – 47 – Top 5 Tips For A Warm Sleep In A Van During A Canadian Winter

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Now that we've settled in to a typically cold Canadian winter, we get asked a lot of questions about how we stay warm at night while living full time in our Camper Van. Here's our top five tips on how to have a warm sleep in even the coldest of weather.
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Hey guys derek and i hear from a guy a girl in a camper van so we get a lot of questions about how warm it is in our van at night now that it's a really cold winter and exactly how we stay warm whenever we get home from work we're really lucky because we have propane furnace that pumps out a ton of heat usually whenever we get home from work it takes about 5 to 15 minutes for its a to really warm up in here i typical routine as we walk in and it's really cold we turn the furnace on and we actually standard from the furnace with our coats on until it actually warms up after that we can adjust the thermostat to suit the outside temperature and then it pretty much takes care of itself that's when we cook dinner or we heat water for our dishes that also add additional heat to the van on most nights we can regulate the temperature starts that i'm comfortable in a t-shirt i'm comfortable and it's where however once we go to bed at night it's a bit of a different story i mean sure we could just leave the thermostat turned up really high but we found that there's a few other things that we can do to keep us really cozy and warm while also being a little bit more energy efficient so we thought we would give you our top five tips for staying warm while sleeping in a camper van during a canadian winter all of these tips fall under two categories either are providing heat or retaining heat so tip number one this happens to be my personal favorite tip and it's simply find somebody to sleep with we're not that kind of channel but it is true if you share body heat you do stay a lot warmer derek is like a furnace and i'm sure there's a lot of people out there that have similar partners where one just generates a lot of heat you know and the other is always cold i'm always cold so when i get too cold i just snuggle up and decide derek and i warm right up and then if we both get a little bit too warm we just spread back out again so we're kind of like an automatic thermostat we can just kind of roll in and roll out as we get cold and it just sort of seems to happen even while we're asleep we just sort of do it automatically it's interesting because there are times when derek may not be be home when i go to bed or vice versa if i'm not working and and he goes to bed before i get home i it's definitely different with just one person yeah that's true i've spent a couple of nights here alone whenever you've been out and it is way cooler and that's funny because i'm the one who typically is is usually a lot warmer than you are but but i still find a lot cooler whenever you're right away they often safe if you're out stranded somewhere in the winter and somebody's suffering from hypothermia to crawl into a sleeping bag together i did but it really really does make a big difference yeah and when derek stop for the night and i get too cold this is who i can do that again well they're welder he doesn't provide any heat but he certainly makes you feel better and you yeah so tip number two is very similar to tip number one but if you don't have a person to snuggle up to there's a lot of other things that can provide you some warmth and the thing that we have found is the most useful is this it's a heated sleeping this one happens to be made by a company named brunton but i'm sure that there's probably a lot of others out there as well the thing we love about this is it is on my side the thing we like about this is that in this little pouch we've got a few things first of all we've got this long cable and you'll notice that at the end of it is a typical usb connection so basically you can plug this heating pad into anything that gives usb power so such as a computer or laptop lots of plugs on your wall these days are coming with little usb connections as well what we use because of our situation is this little portable battery pack we can plug this into the usb connection and on a full charge of this battery we can actually run this heating pad on medium for get all night something like 10 hours or something like that and essentially it's just like a heated blanket electric blanket there's a circuitry that runs through the whole thing and it creates little warm spots all the way down it and so we place this underneath the sheets on paula side of the bed and it's just keeps her warm throughout the night and it's crazy because we actually have had a few nights where even when it was like - - 30 temperatures we were able to keep the furnace off the whole night and just use that and we were still surprisingly toasty warm did i mention it's on my side of the bed its own policy side of the bed but believe it or not actually get a lot of warmth from it as well it may be small but it pumps out a lot of heat and so we find that to be super helpful it has a little heat control button on it right here on the side and whenever you press it it turns on on high which is red press it again yellow which is medium and one more time for green which is low when we could heat it up and the bed gets nice and warm i i can't even handle that the higher the medium huh i often sleep for the the rest of the evening on love and the great thing about this little light on here is that even when ever we have it underneath the fitted sheet around our mattress on the bottom this light actually glows right through it and so we can control it and see exactly what setting it's on even though it's buried underneath the sheet and that's good for x 4 girls over on it and turned it off a quick look and let you know that it's often the airbag on that's right if you don't happen to have a battery-operated heating pad there are other options as well first of all we've got just your standard hot water bottle if you feel this with really hot water before getting into bed as long as you make sure that the sealed is nice and tight this will actually release heat for several hours while you sleep and so you can move it to your feet if your feet get cold you can kind of cuddle up to it if you're just feeling cold overall but this is a really good tip for keeping warm especially if you're by yourself and if you don't have a hot water bottle then even just a regular old nalgene bottle will work too it doesn't have to be a nalgene brand but now jean happened to be a heat resistant and we know that they've got a really nice tight seal so they're a really good one to look for but any other bottle that you feel comfortable putting hot water in will work as well but if you don't have a hot water bottle or you don't have any ability to make hot water we do have one more suggestion for you and it's these little guys these are little hand warmers you open the package and it has a little chemical filled packet and whenever you give it a shake it starts to heat up so if you were to put that in your pocket it would contain the heat and you could put your hand in your pocket of your jacket we found that if you put that inside your bed it will do the same thing and it these ones stay warm for 10 hours some stay warm for 12 hours 16 hours summer shortest four hours so make sure they look at the pockets whenever you buy them and these we bought a pack of i think i think twenty of these for about eleven dollars so they're fairly cheap i love these things because not only do they keep you warm when when you're holding them but you can easily throw them in the bed to warm up the bed before you even probably absolutely that actually brings us to tip number three which is start warm to stay warm so whenever you crawl into bed if you're crawling into a cold bed then you're gonna have to use a lot of your body heat to warm that bed up that's no it's not so if you've got a heating pad if you've got a hot water bottle or the hand warmers that we talk about then just throw those into the bed about ten minutes before and you'll be crawling into nice cozy warm sheets instead of frigid cold bedding but you also need to make sure that your body temperature is already up before you crawl into that bed and so one of the ways that we found to do that is actually to just have a nice hot cup of tea there's differing opinions about exactly how that works in your body some say that it was your core temperature some say that it doesn't but either way it definitely makes you feel a lot better and it keeps your hands water but while you're making sure that your body temperature is up it's also really important to make sure that it isn't too far up to the point that you're actually sweating because we go to bed when you're sweaty or feeling a little bit damp that will actually pull the body heat away from you a lot quicker so if you're let's just say wearing socks that are a little bit wet from being outside earlier in the day i'm it's best to make sure that you replace those with socks that are nice and dry and clean and friendly yeah but i like fuzzy socks and last thing if you did you just drink a big cup of tea it's also best if you do your best to go for a pee before you get into bed that serves two purposes first of all if you've got a bladder that's just full of liquid eventually your body is going to have to spend a lot of energy time to keep that warm throughout the night and while it's keeping that warm less attention is being spent on keeping things like your fingers and your toes one so it's best of you can empty out that bladder before you get into bed the other reason why that's important is because if you've got a full bladder whenever you go to bed chances are at some point during the night you're going to get out of bed to drain that bladder and that's not know especially if you've got the thermostat turned down on the furnace and so in order to make sure that you don't have to get out of bed or at least not as frequently it's best if you can do your best to to drain that before you actually climb in and now tip number four number four is a pretty standard tip for any time you're outside in the winter and it simply make sure you've got layers but in this case we're talking about layers on your bed this is where the heat retention comes in you've got a warm body you've got things that are producing heat for you now you need to make sure that you've got something that's actually holding all of that warmth in and so in our case in the winter we've got a sheet on our bed followed by a blanket followed by another blanket and then followed by get a blanket on me another blanket a fuzzy blanket on paula side and then we also have started using a sleeping bag as well i just opened up completely to make it kind of like a quilt the reason why layers are really important is because first of all one of you got all of them on there you've got up really massive amount of insulation on top of you to keep all that body heat in but if you do get too warm then you can actually start peeling some of those layers off and then if you get too cold again you can start putting the layers back on it's really important that you make sure that you are able to maintain the optimal temperature because too cold means obviously you're cold to warm though means that you start to sweat and once again sweating is the last thing you want another thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to actually cover your face at any point with any of those blankets that you've got on top of you because unfortunately whenever it's cold outside and you put blankets over your head all of your breath is going to form condensation on the inside of your blankets and once again dampness is bad in the cold weather i'm so instead you should try to if you need to try and wear a tube or a bella club or something that covers your face if if you find that your face is getting cold but still allows your breath to come out on top of the blankets instead of underneath the other thing i like to do is layer my clothing so i like to have like that long sleeve t-shirt and then maybe a sweatshirt and then my fuzzy pants and my 30 saw nothing cut that that's not a good tip i don't like that trip through go to bed with his little holding as you possibly can again not that kind of janet moving on to tip number five so tip number five is actually just a great tip for keeping your van or camper warm i while you're sleeping and even while you're still awake we've got insulation in our van and we actually added a bunch of insulation whenever we first renovated our van before we moved into it however the installation that's in here still nowhere near as much as what would be in a typical house that's in this kind of i'm it and so whenever the wind is blowing outside it it's able to pull a lot of that heat that's escaping through our insulation and it pulls it away and it cools us down here a lot quicker so we have to keep our furnace going to do a lot of other things that are going to keep it a lot warmer than we would have to if that he wasn't drawn away so the thing that we recommend for that is actually just to do your best to park your camper or your van in a way that the wind doesn't hate you as much and so when we happen to be parked in a walmart in a parking lot where there's other people like us we do our best actually get to know some of the other people and park in a group if possible so that each of our vehicles block the wind from each other in the summer typically one of your parts out of walmart people like to keep their distance a little bit to have their privacy and but in the winter people just seem to pull together a lot more than a game yeah and it and it becomes a little bit more of a little mini community for the couple of nights that you're all together and so if you're not in a parking lot though then you know let's just say you're out in the country somewhere do your best to park next to some trees or some other building that you can find anything that's going to cut down on that wind yeah i wouldn't break is really important but if all else fails just camp yourself in front of that furnace for a little while and you'll warm right up you're gone yeah
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