The freedom, the simplicity, the cost savings, the new and enriching experiences—there’s a lot to love about the skoolie life. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its challenges. As the fall season begins to wane, one of those challenges is just around the corner. That’s right, we’re talking about winter life on the bus!
Since buses aren’t exactly designed for a prolonged stay, winter skoolie living takes a lot of preparation and, sometimes, creative solutions for staying warm. Especially when temperatures drop below freezing, it’s important that you’ve taken the right precautions to stay safe and comfortable. If this is your first winter season on the road, or your first time spending the season in a colder climate, use these tips below to winterize your skoolie!
1) Have the vehicle inspected.
Your bus may be your home, but remember that it’s also a motor vehicle. The first step you should take to prepare for winter is to have the important components of your bus inspected by a mechanic or, if you know what to look for, do it yourself. The last thing you want is for your bus to give out on a snowy highway or die in the middle of a winter night. Here’s a quick checklist of what your inspection should include:
- Coolant & other fluid levels
- Windshield wipers (visibility)
- Tires (pressure, tread, etc.)
- Spark plugs
2) Insulate your pipes.
One of your biggest concerns for winter in your skoolie is frozen pipes and plumbing. If the water or other fluids running into and out of the bus freeze, you’re either in for some gross cleanup, leaking and damaged pipes, or all of the above. Avoid these problems by using foam pipe insulation and/or heat tape (we recommend both) on your water lines and around your tanks, including your gray and black ones. A heated water hose would be a good idea too.
3) Insulate your windows too.
A lot of cold air will come into your bus through the windows. Reduce these drafts by insulating with Reflectix and thermal-lined curtains. Reflectix is a bubble pack window insulation that you cut to fit your windows and helps keep heat in and cold air out. You can also use it to seal the cracks in your door, if you didn’t swap out your original bus door for an RV one. Insulating curtains will provide an additional layer of protection.
4) Invest in extra interior heat sources.
Relying on the heating system your bus came equipped with is not going to cut it for winter skoolie life. You’re going to need additional heat sources to keep the inside warm, especially at night. You have quite a few options, depending on what type of heat you prefer and how much you want to spend. A space heater, heated blanket, small wood-burning stove, or a diesel heater are a few examples. Just keep in mind as you’re choosing a heat source that wood heat will be your driest and least expensive, propane will be low-cost but produce the most condensation, and electric will be the easiest but most expensive.
5) Park for the weather.
Be smart about where you settle with your bus conversion in the winter. You may want to consider heading south to avoid extreme freezing temperatures and winter weather that is typical of northern climates. That doesn’t mean you can skip the winterization process though—you still may have to travel through winter weather or face freezing temperatures at night, depending on where you go. Wherever you choose to spend the winter, parking in the sun during the day is another good trick for helping to warm your bus before night falls.
6) Keep your feet warm.
Our extremities are the first to lose heat, and breezy bus floors do not help when living in a skoolie. It’s difficult to keep bus floors warm because of the constant drafts moving underneath the vehicle. You’re going to need a little extra help keeping your feet toasty, so it’s a good idea to have a few pairs of thermal socks and slippers you can wear when you hop out of bed. Rugs will also make your space a little more comfortable. You can also try make and attach a bus skirt to the exterior to try to block some of the airflow underneath.
If you’ve just decided you want to embark on the adventure that is skoolie life, Las Vegas Bus Sales has the vehicle you need to get started! Our new and used school buses are ideal for all types of bus conversions. We also carry a wide variety of other models, such as shuttle and coach buses, if you’re looking for something a little different for your home on wheels.
Browse our full inventory online and contact our team with any questions today!