I’ve spent the last few winters in the Duluth & twin cities area, and heading back once I wrap up things here in Florida.
I suggest a good heater that doesn’t require any power. I use a 23k BTU kerosene wick type heater, totally reliable, and it will run on diesel too, and it’s totally silent. Between there, N. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, & Alaska I’ve done winters down to -60°f with windows all around, and no added insulation. I don’t cover my windows either. The key is in having good heat, and enough of it.
Keep in mind that you still need ventilation, and you need enough heat to compensate for it. Because of the required ventilation, insulation doesn’t do much good anyway. A fan up towards the ceiling aimed downward can really circulate the heat, since it rises, and you can even have warm floors. I use a heat powered woodstove/fireplace fan placed directly on top of my heater, and it circulates the heat really well with no power required.
You need to be prepared though, heaters can break, batteries can die, and you better have backup plans and the money to execute them. I have USB heated clothing, and even a wearable sleeping bag. A ski mask & goggles, or a sleep mask can keep everything covered but your nostrils. It’s Hawaii inside my van, but if you need to be outside much, you better be prepared, and make sure your outdoor wear is both windproof & rainproof. Know how to build an emergency camping heater for if the need arises, the dollar stores have everything you’ll need. One old guy I know who does cold winters says “Be Prepared or Be Dead”. Good advice.
Solar doesn’t work well, and any plumbing must be winterized and not used. For this exact reason, I have neither. I charge my house battery with an isolator while driving, or via a generator when that isn’t enough.
I tend to park in middle class neighborhoods, and get to know the neighbors, and try to be a good neighbor. Since I’ll be there for ~6 months, I don’t want to continually be looking for new places to park. For the last 3 winters, I’ve been parking on the same street, in the same block. The neighbors all know me by name, and I am always welcomed. I’m somewhat of a handyman and worked on many of their houses & cars for free to be a good neighbor.
Last winter when the power was out for a week, I used my heaters & my generator to power a house, and we had a week long block party in that house. Actually a good time for everybody. Good food, good company, and they even taught me how to play pinochle.
Life is what we choose to make it. Being a nomad may make it slightly harder, but I’ve had my best luck by just being up front & honest with everyone. Even in places where what we’re doing is technically illegal, if you’re friends with the neighbors, nobody complains & you’re golden. I’ve had neighbors give their contact information, and tell me that if anybody complained, tell them I was visiting them. I’ve even had countless offers of driveways.
Living by a few simple rules has always done me well… Be a good neighbor, leave it better than you found it, and leave no trace except waves, smiles, kind words, & goodwill. We all have the ability to be someone’s guardian angel, and the rewards are absolutely amazing.
"There are those who learn, and those who wish they had learned." ~ Good2Know