How to prepare your van for freezing temperatures

It’s getting chilly outside.

Thankfully, all Storyteller Overland vans are four-season camper vans, meaning you can be protected from the elements all year long. 

But before the temperatures drop below freezing, you’ll need to prep your Storyteller Overland adventure van for the weather. If your water system freezes, it could cause damage that wouldn’t be covered under warranty.

How to winterize your Storyteller Overland camper van

One way to prep your van for colder weather is to winterize the systems. You’ll need a few gallons of colored, nontoxic RV grade antifreeze, like this.

Then follow the instructions in the video above. These instructions are also written out step by step below.
  1. Set the siphon port valve on the water control panel to normal use.
  2. Just below that valve, you’ll see the external port valve. Set that to Winterize/sanitize.
  3. Connect one end of the siphon tube to the external water port, and the other end into a gallon of colored, nontoxic RV grade antifreeze.
  4. Turn the water pump on.
  5. Head over to your sink. Start by running water slowly on a cold temperature setting. It will sputter at first, and then you’ll see the colored antifreeze coming out of the sink.
  6. Slowly bring the sink to the hot water setting. Once you see the colored antifreeze again, you can turn off the sink (you don’t have to wait for the water to actually get hot).
  7. Go to the GrooveLounge side of the galley and click the Hot Water Circ. button. 
  8. Wait until the Hot Water Circ light goes out, and slowly open the faucet again on the hot water setting.
  9. Repeat turning the Hot Water Circ button on and slowly opening the faucet to the hot water setting until you see the colored antifreeze at the fixture (usually takes 1-2 times).
  10. Next, go to the HALO shower. Open the faucet slowly on a cold water setting. Wait until the water stops sputtering, and you’ll see the colored antifreeze coming out of the fixture.
  11. Slowly move the HALO shower fixture into the hot water position. Once the system stops sputtering and you see the colored antifreeze, turn the faucet off (once again, you don’t need to wait for the water to run hot).
  12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for the outdoor shower.
  13. Turn the water pump off.
  14. Empty the gray water tank.
  15. Close the gray water tank valve.
  16. Pour a half gallon of RV antifreeze into the sink. Then use the sink drain pump to drain this into the gray water tank.
  17. Pour a half gallon of RV antifreeze into the shower basin. 
  18. Drain the freshwater tank with the freshwater drain valve.
If you use any of your van’s water systems after winterizing, then you’ll need to winterize it again to protect it against freezing temperatures.

Using your van’s furnace to keep systems from freezing

Another option to keep your systems from freezing is to use your van’s heater. This is a great option for those who plan to use their van throughout the winter season.

As you drive, your van’s engine will heat the interior systems. When you park, you can set your van’s thermostat to heat, and this should also keep your water tank from freezing.

Some full timers also use space heaters to keep the van warm and as a contingency plan.

Keeping the van’s energy system from freezing

In addition to your water systems, you’ll also need to ensure that your Volta battery is keeping up with the cold weather. How you do this depends on how often you drive the van.
  • If you’re a daily driver, it’s recommended that you leave the Volta and the inverter on. Check the charge from time to time (especially if you’ll be parking for a few days) to make sure the battery level is above 10%.
  • If you’re parking for an extended period of time, we recommend you use shore power. You’ll turn off your Volta before plugging the van into shore power, and then the Volta should turn on automatically. Once again, be sure to check the battery level from time to time.
  • If you’re storing your van for the winter, you’ll set your van up for unmonitored storage. Begin by charging the Volta to at least 80%. Turn off all electrical items, then turn off the Volta. Be sure to check that the charge is at or above 75% every 30 days. If the system is too cold, it may not operate, but this is normal. System functions will resume when the Volta temperature is above freezing.
For more information on using your van’s energy system through freezing temperatures, visit this user guide.

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