For those of you reading this in Europe chances are the weather has turned distinctly wintery now and with it the temperatures have dropped rapidly and you’ll be experiencing freezing temperatures on a regular basis and will do for several months ahead.

For some who aren’t so keen on getting out wild camping during these colder months it’s perhaps a time to repair and maintain kit ready for when the Spring comes round again and with it the warmer days to enable you to head back out there in more comfortable climes. However, for many of the more hardy amongst us, or perhaps just slightly crazy, the winter weather simply provides us with a different dynamic to deal with when it comes to getting out into the wilderness and can give us some beautiful experiences when Mother Nature is at her most bleak and testing.

One’s thing for sure, the freezing temperatures are a real test for your vehicles battery and this is due to a culmination of reasons. Firstly in the cold weather, we tend to be asking much more from our battery. We’ll be running more accessories such as heaters and fans, defrosters and in the darker shorter days we are using our lights much more at this time of year as well as having to run windscreen wipers and washers more in bad weather conditions. Added to this, when it’s cold the oil in the engine thickens and offers more resistance against forces trying to move it around – all of which puts your battery under added stress. Then there’s the fact that the majority of vehicle batteries hold their charge using a liquid electrolyte solution – and this solution is affected by temperature. Although it takes extremely low temperatures to cause the battery to freeze, cold conditions can reduce the electrolyte solution’s ability to transfer full power and this is why you’re more likely to experience trouble starting your car when temperatures start to tumble.

Of course there are several things you can do to try and protect your battery from the cold weather, the simplest being to make use of a garage or car port if you have one to help shield it from the extreme cold. Also to conserve battery power make sure you switch off all power loads before you turn off your engine at the end of a journey such as lights, wiper blades, radio and heater. And conversely when you come to start your vehicle ensure that all things are switched off before you turn your ignition on and once driving be sure to switch off heated screens and heated seats etc when not really needed. And of course, always remember not to leave the dreaded interior light on overnight… we’ve all done it!!

Even when you’ve taken all this into consideration however there will be times when your vehicles battery fails to deliver the power needed to get your vehicle going. Now this is inconvenient enough when on your driveway or the car park at the shops, but if you’re out in the middle of nowhere on a camp trip and come to leave only to find that the vehicle won’t start it can potentially have more serious consequences.

This is where the clever piece of tech from the battery maintenance guru’s at CTEK in Sweden comes into its own, otherwise known as the CSFREE. I’ve had this brilliant bit of kit in my vehicle for just over a year now and carry it with me wherever I go. I’ve used it several times to start my vehicle after and aging battery I had ran flat, a task that takes the CSFREE a little under 15 minutes to achieve. And on many trips over the summer I used it to power up various electrical items I had with me such as iPhone and iPads and recharge my digital camera batteries.

Measuring just 25cms x 10cms x 8cms and weighing only 1.4kgs this sturdy, portable box of tricks means you can head off grid for as long as you wish safe in the knowledge that this piece of kit will not only make your stay more comfortable but will ensure you don’t get stranded in whichever far- flung place you’ve found to camp.

I can also highly recommend you also pick up the solar panel charging kit that makes up part of the CSFREE group of products. Not only is it beautifully made, easily stowed away in its’ own carry case, its efficiency with which it can recharge your CSFREE unit is really impressive and even in the watery light of a harsh winter’s day can still draw enough power to keep your CSFREE unit fully topped up. Real peace of mind when you’re out on an adventure away from the creature comforts.
I can safely say it’s become one of my favourite bits of kit and I love travelling around with it knowing I’m not going to be caught cold, even in the worst of weather.