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Old 01-25-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
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Ottawa , Ontario
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Hello from Ontario!

Hi everyone!

I am new to AS and am just fascinated! Have thought about getting one in the future, to live in potentially full-time before i purchase my first home. (beats paying rent every month) I have some concerns when it comes to Ontario weather though, as i'm sure a lot of you know we get both extremes, so, -30 C in the winter and +30 in the summer. So far from reading this forum, it seems like winter airstreaming is quite difficult for most. especially in the temps that we get up here! i'm guessing even if it DID work out alright i'd be spending a ton on propane, as there seem to be no other options? anyone in Ontario have a success story to share? lol!

another thing i wanted to ask is this- i've heard talk of solar panels on RV's and i'm just wondering what exactly it is they do? i know they keep the battery fully charged at all times, but what does this mean?! does this mean you don't have to use hook ups for electricity? what about heating? propane? i'm sorry if this question is completely stupid, i'm new to all this!

thanks so much for the help! and for this awesome forum!


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Old 01-25-2010, 06:25 AM   #2
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Welcome Shannon,

There are many members from Canada and the Northern US who can share their experiences with the climates you're referring to.

In the mean time...Welcome again and good luck,



"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

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Old 01-25-2010, 06:39 AM   #3
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Ottawa , Ontario
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Hi Shannon - welcome to the forums!

There's lots and lots of info here, and everyone is willing to lend a helping hand.

I'm from Ottawa as well - though I don't winter camp, so can't answer any specific full-time winter camping questions.

I can however, answer a few simple questions such as hook-ups. The easiest situation to camp is to have hookups of course, where you're plugged in. If you're not hooked up to power, then your battery can handle some of the load for a period of time, but unless you're going to recharge it somehow, eventually you're going to run out of juice.

You could hook up your trailer to a generator and as long as you've got fuel for that, then you could theoretically camp pretty much anywhere.

Your heat comes from the furnace, which runs on propane. Air conditioning is electrical - but you're going to need to be plugged into a good electrical source for that.

I had solar panels in my last Airstream, and while it was a nifty option to have, it didn't quite do the trick. Even on sunny days, there's a limit to how much it'll charge the battery. And of course, at night, it does nothing.

Winter living up here - I would imagine it to be tough, but that's just me. All your water lines and tanks are underneath the trailer, so I'd tend to think that your water lines and tanks would all freeze solid - so you wouldn't be able to use the sink, toilet and shower. When I winterize the trailer to put it away for the season, I remove all the water in the lines, blow out all the remaining drops with an air compressor, and then fill the lines with an RV antifreeze. Come spring it gets drained and rinsed and filled again for the camping season.

At any rate, good luck in your search.

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Old 01-25-2010, 07:41 AM   #4
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No recommended. Frozen water lines, electric supply, lack of insulation in the walls of the airstream to winter standards all make it very problematical.
Other than winter, they are a great trailer.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:46 AM   #5
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Shannon, winter in your Airstream is the best time to use it. Because it has wheels you take it SOUTH. Keep going till you find the weather you like.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:52 AM   #6
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I would agree with others. We are full-timers and while we do our best to avoid winter, we have had some run-ins with early snow in Colorado and ice in Kansas. It was not fun. We went through propane quickly, faced a lot of condensation inside the trailer, and at one point, our water line froze. That being said, maybe we're just wimps, dislike the cold, and were not prepared for that early dose of winter we faced.

As for solar panels, we have them and while they are fabulous in recharging batteries, they don't fully recharge the battery nor does everything operate when you are boondocking and only relying on solar. Plus, it has to be a pretty sunny day to really get a good least that's what I've experienced.

Good luck!
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:33 AM   #7
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Hello and welcome to! I think that the best one can expect of an Airstream in our part of the world is to use it as a way to see our country during the warm period, and/or to keep it parked on a nice vacation area to use as an inexpensive cottage replacement.

If you take the time to read some of the stories people have posted where they "full-time" all winter in one, you might think they read like a rendition of Scott's trip to the Pole.

They really aren't made for our winter climate, and as such, require a lot of extra attention to get them in some kind of condition to do so, and then put you at risk if the systems you build to support you in winter should fail.

It's not impossible, but far from being a pleasant "walk in the park".

I would concur with the comment, "not recommended".
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:52 AM   #8
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Vassar , Michigan
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Hi Shannon and welcome. We are close neighbors living in mid-Michigan. We store our AS in our poll barn for the winter as it is very difficult on furnace, waterlines, sewer lines etc. With single pain glass you will also find that condensation can be a big problem we the temp drops. Many do go south for the winter so a little bit of really cold in transition would be doable....Tim

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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Cobourg , Ontario
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An Airstream is not made to sit still and live in, especially in an extreme climate. Below freezing weather is very difficult and uncomfortable to deal with. Pretty much out of the question to spend the winter in an Airstream in Ottawa unless your only alternative is a cardboard box on a heating grate.

There are other more permanent type mobile homes made by Northlander and other Canadian builders. They cost no more than an Airstream, in fact usually much less. They have way more room inside and are made for year round living.

One of them would be a better choice.
Living in the trailer park of sense, looking out the window at a tornado of stupidity.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:18 AM   #10
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That's right, Keep it moving.

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