Winter Van Dwelling: Food and Water

Water is so important. Water is the giver of all life, and your water is going to freeze.

If it’s warmer than ten above and you run your van to the point of toasty warmness 2 – 4 times a day and keep your water up off the floor it might stay liquid. As soon as it drops below ten degrees, though, your warming a losing water jug. At ten below and colder, just give up. It’s going to freeze. Accept it and move on.

Interestingly, glass seems to insulate water for longer than plastic. Also, a glass jar of water can be set on the defroster to get hot or thaw out with no worries of toxic chemicals. I’ve been using canning jars, but I’m looking to upgrade to a wine bottle. If your very patient and resourceful, you can even melt snow in your jars on your defroster to make water, but this takes a very very long time and you might as well just boil water from a river or drive to town and fill up your water container someplace.

As for food… think of this as an opportunity to buy all that frozen stuff that you couldn’t eat all summer. Sausage, bacon, and all varieties of frozen meat. You can even eat yogurt and veggies and stuff that needs to not freeze – just keep it under your feather bed down by your feet and try to keep your dog from stepping on the fragile stuff. When canning for the winter, remember to leave plenty of headspace for your stuff to expand as it freezes. To use the stuff, just set it on the defroster until it thaws out enough to get it out of the jar. If your potatoes or other starchy veggies freeze you can still use them, just don’t unfreeze them until you cook them.


  1. Really cool blog…I love your free spirit…cracked up when I read your post about ears…I didn’t even know I had a fetish…my misstress has just the most adorable set of…ears…and other even more attractive body parts that come in pairs…have to pull myself back from thinking about those other parts and mention that when snuggled up I caress ever so gently her portside ear …her (I am sure)equally cute starboard ear is skwinched into my shoulder…anyway

    Following is a well meaning chunk of advice which you may take for what it is worth…not meant to be condescending to women at large/in particular/ as I have 4 sisters who would smack me upside my hatrack if I even hinted that women were not at least equal to my knuckle dragging brethren…

    I have stopped to help folks stuck beside the road quite a few times…in retrospect most of them were actually men with confused looks and poor heuristic skills.

    Your blog about your 98 Astro van…if you already replaced the water pump (I did one similar to this on a friends 1995 GM…V6 engine…2.8 litre…quite a job…especially when it’s below freezing in an alleyway with snow on the ground…cardboard makes a decent barrier to cold and serves to catch dropped parts…(still haven’t found one fastener…turns out it was extraneous).

    If you haven’t already done this then you are probably due for an alternator and a starter…you might consider getting them done at the same time…should save some $ re shop charges, Wallmart probably has the best deal on spiral-wound batteries…massive cranking/standby power and quite rugged.

    No I don’t sell batteries…sure have bought a lot for son and daughter, ex-wives, ex-wifes lover, etc etc…good at fixin’ stuff …really suck at relationships…can’t stand to see folks stranded…

    A fan

  2. I’ve heard that the way ancient people who used to live in the area of Peru used to preserve their potatoes was to freeze them, then thaw them. This would leave them soft and spongy so that the water could easily be squeezed out of them. What would be left would be a kind of dry paste that could be easily preserved.

  3. I grew up in the northeast. During winter, the single worst experience of the day was pouring myself into the cold air of our drafty house from my warm bed. I cannot fathom the shock to the system your reveille must induce! You have such a no-nonsense, positive demeanor about it–especially as regards the physical state of your water supply. Your hardiness is admirable, to say the least.

  4. Putting jars of “hot” water in an ice chest (with a blanket over the lid of ice chest )will grately reduce the water freezing.

  5. Tryingtolearn… I did the alternator a couple weeks ago. It was making noises. I took pics, so I’ll put up a pictorial the next time I thaw out my cam to put the pics on the computer.

    Locke… having accidentally thawed frozen potatoes a few times I can say that it doesn’t really work that way? Once they thaw they’re sour and bad. But if you cook them while frozen they’re still good. Maybe there’s a trick to it?

    Tamara… heh, yeah, sometimes it takes me a few minutes to get out of bed. But if you’re actually *warm* in bed, not just not cold, it’s not so bad.

    Squire… but where would I put the ice chest? My space is already maximized to the fullest! LOL

  6. Wow, Tara…this all just sounds so hard. You are made of sterner stuff than I. We are just now starting our cold season. What’s really hard this year is that the whole dripping the fawcets thing has been complicated by the drought. I’m okay after shelling out 1000 bucks in July to get a new pump and sink it an additional 100 feet…but most folks have wells and springs dry or nearly dry. It gets to be a choice between burst pipes or burnt out pumps.

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