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Winter camping is not for the faint of heart…unless you are cozied up in a van. Tent camping has you bundled up in your sleeping bag at 4 PM as the sun goes down, but in your camper van you are toasty in a sweater and a pair of wool socks, a cup of tea in your hand.


Unless you are at a prime ski area, the backcountry has far less people in it when the weather gets cold. Many people do not want to brave, or sleep in, the cold. This opens up a world of adventure options that are generally quite crowded in the summer.


If you are interested in having your van upfit to last the winter months, there are some things you should consider.

Sprinter Basecamp 4 rental van winter camping

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 rental van photographed by Branden Michelkamp

Heaters For Your Van


A vital part of braving the winter is keeping warm. Most all upfitted vans for recreation are insulated, but there are additional components you can add to your build.

You can find heaters powered by a wide range of different fuels, wood, electricity, propane, gasoline, and diesel.


Wood Stove


For a classic, homey feel, vans with excellent ventilation that are not worried about weight can go the woodstove route. Although nothing can beat the warm glow of a woodfire, wood can often leave a mess, and you must be careful with sparks as you open and close the door.



Depending on location wood can be cheap

Warm/dry heat that keeps out damp

Adds ambiance



Wood takes up a lot of space

Fire hazard

A lot of work to set up




Electric stoves are another great option if you have a great system already in place that will not drain your resources.



Safe to use




Needs constant power

Energy drain

Require an electrical hookup




Propane tanks can also be used to power heaters. If you use propane as a fuel source already for your camp kitchen, this might be a great option for you, but it does come with some risks.



Runs off van’s propane tank

Creates condensation




Fire hazard

Very quiet

Carbon Monoxide risk

Sprinter Basecamp 4 Van winter camping

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 rental van photographed by Branden Michelkamp




Our favorite heating option here at VanBuilders connects directly to your vehicles fuel. This option uses only small amounts of fuel to power the heater, so you do not have to worry about emptying your tank just trying to keep warm.


Our favorite brand that makes heaters for vans and RV’s is Webasto. They make high level products for both diesel and gas vehicles. Some models of the Webasto Air Top use less than a tenth (.1) of a gallon of fuel per hour.


VanBuilders can install the Webasto for you, and unlike other brands who have complicated systems that are hard to fix, Webasto makes it easy to troubleshoot their products if complications arise.


Can run off vans fuel source

Able to operate in colder temperatures

Uses low amounts of energy



Can be noisy


Cheaper options of this style of heater are prone to breaking

Webasto Heater in a Sprinter camper

Webasto Heater in a Sprinter van


Winter survival


Aside from equipping your van with a heater, the next best thing you can outfit your van with are blankets, thick wool socks, and lots of them. It is always nice to bundle up after a nice adventure. Having a deck of cards, a table, and maybe a few board games are also must haves in your van for after the sun goes down.

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 winter camping

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 rental van taken by Branden Michelkamp

VanBuilders Installs Heaters


Whether you are looking to create an entire build, or are just looking to add one component, VanBuilders can help outfit you for winter with a Webasto heater. We’ve been though it all at VanBuilders, and we know what works best for staying cozy in the winter months.


Winter exploration is the next great step in any outdoor lovers life, and with summer months being a busy time for upfitters, getting a jump on the winter is the perfect opportunity to beat the crowds!

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 Rental van photographed by Branden Michelkamp

Sprinter Utah Basecamp 4 rental van photographed by Branden Michelkamp

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