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Old 08-25-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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Are some models better for -30 than others

Example: the new u tube video of the " Airstream, Inc :: Eddie Bauer

Shows is AMAZING for WINTER living travel.

I also heard some Excellas have padded roofs is this standard in all?

I wounded if its better for winter. Either way we are installing a wood stove

Advise anyone plssssss

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Old 08-26-2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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When it comes to keeping an Airstream warm in the winter, or cool in the summer, it is mostly a matter of brute force. Stock trailers generally have relatively poor wall insulation (based on fairly thin spaces to put insulation, and aluminum inner and outer skins), so getting one cool in the summer is mostly about having a high BTU AC, (or multiple ACs), awnings on every window, and a shady place to park.

Keeping it warm in the winter is just the opposite, lots of heating capacity will get it warm, it just won't be particularly efficient. The other thing to be aware of in the winter is the holding tanks. A lot depends on the location of the tanks (above or below the subfloor). Some trailers are plumbed so that the furnace blows warm air down below the subfloor to warm the tanks and keep them from freezing. Sometimes folks install electric warming blankets under their tanks to keep them from freezing. Others simply don't put any liquid into their tanks (perhaps with the exception of an above-floor black tank).

The average Airstreamer probably doesn't spend much time in their trailer in the dead of winter, so if you intend to camp very much (especially at -30), you will likely have to make some winter mods that aren't typical of any stock model. IMHO Airstreams are not really an "extreme temperatures" sort of trailer. The Arctic Fox trailers are known for their low temperature performance.

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Old 08-26-2013, 08:33 AM   #3
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When I was a wee lad, my dad was stationed at Loring AFB in northern Maine. We lived in a 38-foot (uninsulated) mobile home seventeen miles from the base because there wasn't enough base housing available. Some of my earliest memories are of frost— frozen condensation— on the inside of the walls all winter; wearing sweaters and coats indoors, and even heavier coats outdoors; getting bathwater by melting snow on the stove because there was no plumbing that wasn't frozen; and "helping" pile snow against the walls of the mobile home to turn it into an igloo— not that I was a lot of help at that age, but building a snow tunnel to our door was fun. And it never got down to -30F, more like 0F.

We eventually insulated the mobile home, if you can call it that, by drilling holes near the ceiling and filling the walls with sawdust. Back in the early sixties, that was state of the art in mobile home insulation.

I can understand the appeal of briefly camping in sub-freezing temperatures so you can play in the snow, but sub-zero? Not a chance! Unless you like living in a refrigerator, because your furnace, running 24/7, probably can't keep the inside temperature much above freezing. On the other hand, you'l have more propane for your furnace because you won't need to run your fridge! A wood stove will help, but stoves put more of their heat out the chimney than into the trailer.

So, having done my duty by trying to dissuade you, here are some potentially helpful suggestions since you'll probably go ahead anyway…
Park where you've got lots of sun exposure. Especially morning sun.
Coat the trailer with something dark that you can remove later, so that it will absorb more heat than it reflects.
Make sure you've got a windbreak in the direction of prevailing winter winds.
Put a skirt around the base of the trailer to keep wind from blowing under it.
Use a heated freshwater line. Assuming, of course, the municipal service you're hooking up to isn't frozen. If it is, then even a heated hose won't help, and you'll be left with using bottled water bought at a store and carried back to the trailer inside the cab of your tow vehicle where it won't freeze en route.
Don't even think of using an awning. In fact, remove the awning and store it somewhere safe and warm.
No matter how cold it gets, leave at least one window cracked open for ventilation so you don't asphyxiate yourself with your wood stove.
Add the highest R-value insulation you can get, regardless of cost. Two layers of 10mm Prodex at a minimum. Don't forget to make insulated covers for your windows, too.
Don't use your holding tanks. At all. Even if they don't freeze, where will you dump them? The dump station will be frozen, and they won't have running water to rinse the hose. But if you do have a place to dump the tanks, store your slinky inside so the plastic doesn't crack from the cold.

Sub-zero camping will be a whole lot like living in a cave. Except you'd have fewer problems living in a cave.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:44 AM   #4
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The Eddie Bauer is standard Airstream windows, walls, and insulation. I don't know if you mean -30 C or F. Doesn't matter, Airstream living would be virtually impossible and maybe dangerous. They're three season campers.

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Old 08-26-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
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I full-time in southern New Mexico. I wouldn't consider trying to winter where sub-freezing is the norm for day time highs. You couldn't pay me to winter where sub-zero is the day time high. As long as daytime temps climb above freezing you are ok. When there is a chance of sustained sub-freezing temps, I disconnect the fresh water feed and live off the internal tank. Lots of neighbors deal with frozen city water lines in the mornings while I just fill up the tank in the warmth of the afternoon sun.

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Old 08-26-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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I spent half-weeks during two winters living in my Limited in western Idaho. Not sub-zero, but a lot of sub-freezing. I skirted with foam board; one inch the first winter, then two-inch the second. Worked pretty well. There are challenges, some averted by common sense, others only learned by bitter experience.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:29 AM   #7
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Airstreams are not designed to live in during the winter. They do not have enough insulation and the windows will cause massive condensation. The wood stove heating will kill you. CO generated during the burn will poison you. The only kind of stove for a tight confined space like an Airstream needs to have a sealed firebox and uses outside intake and exhaust air. The standard propane furnace offers that. Some people get by with catalytic's but it can be risky. Buy a mobile home built for your area and forget the Airstream.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:46 AM   #8
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I wouldn't trust my house in -30 degree weather (C or F). I'd never attempt to use my trailer in it... and I do camp in temperatures below freezing - usually lows around the 20 F (-6 C) range and up. At those temperatures, you need a LOT of heating to overcome the losses. In what I deal with, I usually go through a 30lb propane tank in 2 or 3 days.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:07 AM   #9
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It seems it's that time of year again...time to re-post this old Winter Living thread. I know I find it an enlightening (and somewhat entertaining ) look at the chilly life in an Airstream. I find it very interesting how upbeat & excited Ruby is in the begining and how quickly the tone of her posts degrades when the chill of winter sets in.

We camp for a couple of days in sub-freezing/sub-zero temps...but I sure wouldn't want to have that as my only option for living.

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Old 08-29-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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Thanks EVERYONE!!! I will look at my options now further
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:54 PM   #11
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Imagine living in a tin shack at the corner of Portage and Main on December 20 th. Now think of all the options. All of them are better I bet. Jim

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