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Old 10-10-2015, 04:08 PM   #1
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Airstream Comfort Extreme Limits 40F to 90F?

Chrisy is one brave soul with a Post under Boondocking- Midwest Real Winter with a 2016 27' Eddie Bauer Airstream. This is the Boondocker Attitude we like to see on the Forum.

Even my wife and I were fooled into believing that our 2006 23' Safari was capable of traveling anywhere we could take a trailer and at anytime of the year.

Wrong. The first year and actually the first TRIP to Wyoming April 2006 was the education we needed to be more cautious when seasonal cold or heat force the Snowbirds south in the Winter months and the... well, Snowbirds back north during the Summer months. We caught a Wyoming Prairie rain, freezing rain turning overnight to sleet and snow sticking to the trailer. Sixty pounds of mud on our Safari's rock guards froze on the way out of the Dinosaur Graveyard near Medicine Bow, Wyoming.

After six weeks in the Mohave Desert with our 2014 International, as a test of endurance on our part, the desert was the only winner still standing upright. Daytime temperatures from 105F to 121F were the range. Nighttime temperatures were 85F to 90F in general. These are "outside" temperatures. Those temperatures within the Airstream were higher and for a longer period of time with both ceiling vents running and windows opened. Dry camping, $5 per day at Lake Mead Recreation Area or $28 a day for the weekly rate at a RV Park with full hookups were used and became better options than dry camping in a canyon waiting for AM and PM shade.

We did get use to the temperature range of 105F and 85F for lows. This is after the 121F day at Lake Mead with no wind and no relief at all. But you can survive if you remain hydrated... probably by filling up a five gallon bucket of fresh water with a long straw. This is a "dry heat". That means you will sweat, profusely... while everywhere you look is... dry. Your body does not understand "dry" to keep your body temperature below 100F. So, do not confuse Dry Heat as YOU being dry. You will be very wet. Try it if you are not believing.

This experience pegs 90F as the maximum daily high I would want to comfortably park my Airstream Off the Grid with no hookups or power for Air Conditioning. With Air Conditioning... you will not leave your trailer until sunset. But PAY whatever it costs at a RV Park in 90F+ conditions that are consistent.

Winter Seasonal camping below 40F overnight and warming up during the day... great experience. Once you are below 32F at night... there is not enough propane or battery power to keep warm within the trailer. If you have Solar... your Propane will run out. Either way, it is unsafe to camp with standing snow and below freezing temperatures for more than... one day.

Many tent campers believe a trailer is heaven sent comfort. It is not. The tent and your sleeping bags are more comfortable. Trust me. I know now. We still have one of our "igloo domed tents with top cover" just in case at home. You still need to vent the tent like a trailer to keep the inside humidity down. A coating of snow on a tent insulates better than on your aluminum trailer... which becomes an ice box.

To make this as short as possible... 40F to 90F is the Airstream Comfort Range ACR for us. Lower or Higher evening or day temperatures we are heading UP elevation to cool, or DOWN elevation to warmer comfort zones. This is Off the Grid with what ever Jackson Center blessed your model of Airstream.

This is just part of the flood of information learned from experimentation on our part. The Mohave Desert versus a Wisconsin Winter... give me the desert anytime. What is your experience?

Heat, Cold, Humidity. ALL must be considered when you plan a trip. How do you manage it?
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:40 PM   #2
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It wasn't an AS, but I full timed 3 years in the Mojave (from Newberry Springs to Cajon Pass) and loved it. But I had recently returned from extended tours in SW Asia. After that I returned home to the Colorado mountains and spent the winter full timing, coldest week -20F nights and 0F days.
So it is possible. Would I do it again, or in an AS, probably not.
It is humidity that gets me. Hot, you sweat with no relief. Cold, impossible to stay warm without a fire.
The copilot/navigator is amazed by arid climate - hot but not hot, cold but not cold.
So we've agreed to stay arid as much as possible, and do humid only in the spring or at worst in the fall.
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:50 PM   #3
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You have the right idea. 40 to 90 degrees boondocking. 10 to 15 degrees either way with hookups. Anything more than that, and you need to change your latitude.

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Old 10-11-2015, 09:07 AM   #4
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I would tend to add 5 degrees on either end of your ranges, Ray, but 40-90 is a good range for planning purposes, since that extra 5 degrees is likely to happen from time to time anyway, and it's probably better to leave the extra 5 degrees as a buffer.
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:35 AM   #5
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My range for no air conditioner camping in an Airstream is more in line with about 32 to 80 degrees.




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Old 10-11-2015, 10:21 AM   #6
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J Morgan, I would add that relative humidity can alter that figure quite a bit, especially as the humidity is higher.

Would you be able to sleep at night with windows open at 80 degrees in St. Louis or places further East or South? (Meaning daytime highs in the mid 90s, overnight low of 80?)

But those same daytime high/lows in an arid climate would be comfortable with open windows and a fan.
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Old 10-11-2015, 10:35 AM   #7
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Airstream Comfort Extreme Limits 40F to 90F?

Yea humidity matters a lot...

In any case my above answer was incomplete, I would NEED it to drop into the low 70s to be comfortable at night.

I was thinking of 80 as a daytime high temp. I am spoiled, I don't sleep well in the heat. fwiw,I always carry a generator in case things get uncomfortable...

My trailer is comfortable even in temps well below freezing, but the hassle of keeping the water supply and discharge lines thawed is too much trouble!

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Old 10-11-2015, 10:47 AM   #8
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Our first night of dry camping with our brand new FC23FB in 2011 saw an overnight low of 17 degrees in Chaco Culture Natl Monument. We were very comfortable. Since then we have travelled and dry camped in below freezing temperatures many many nights. No special prep, the furnace does it's job and 255 watts of solar recharges the two AGM's quite nicely. Small electric heaters in the rear bath and front bedroom balance heating and conserve propane when we overnight enroute with hookups. We leave Durango, CO every January to head to our sailboat in FL, and if a snowstorm should catch us, an overnight at Best Western serves as Plan B. Tent and sleeping bag Ray? No thanks. Well, our Travasack is actually a big sleeping bag, and there are a couple of mummy bags and a portable propane heater in the under bed storage for emergencies. Heat is the more difficult issue. A day of towing at over 95 degrees ambient leaves the Airstream like an oven that takes an hour to cool down with the aircon. If only we could run the aircon for that last hour of towing like we do the furnace.

I wouldn't choose to live for extended periods in an Airstream in extreme temperatures, but like it fine for travel and overnight camping.


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Old 10-11-2015, 11:21 AM   #9
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Will adding antifreeze to the waste tanks be enough to protect damage to the tanks or waste valves? We are planning a mid winter trip to Colorado, low elevations nothing up in the mountains. 1982 turbo diesel 310 motorhome. All systems are either new or referbished. Furnace is new and tested through this last winter and we have supplimental electric heaters. Reflectics insulation cut to fit all glass. We will have hookups the entire trip except while actually driving when I will use the on board generator if needed for electric heat along with the furnace. My biggest concern is the waste tanks and valves. My plan is to keep a mix of antifreeze in the tanks to prevent freezing. Do you experienced winter campers think that will do the trick or should I be thinking about adding heat tape or pads to the tanks and valves.

I also have an onboard compressor equipped so that I can winterize the rig in about 20 minutes should we need to.

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Old 10-11-2015, 03:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mayco View Post
Will adding antifreeze to the waste tanks be enough to protect damage to the tanks or waste valves?

Mike
Mike, my Featherlite toyhauler trailer has gray & black tanks under the trailer floor with no insulation & no heat. For winter, I keep tanks drained & use blue windshield washer fluid in the tanks. Costs less ! Good to -50 !

If I'm cold weather camping, I will use more A.F. fluid as tanks fill. It does not take much to make tanks safe to +20. Much colder wx overnight, 0?, I would want to dump tanks before sundown & add fresh A.F.

The A.F. will automatically go down the drain line to the slide valve.

If there's 9 gallons in a tank + 1 gallon A.F.; that's 10% A.F. mixture. Likely good to +20 or maybe mid teens.

Also, without doing anvthing.....low fluid levels in holding tanks won't damage anything if frozen. Just could not dump tanks until drain lines thawed. But I would rather the tank contents NOT freeze, so I use the blue A.F.
Let's Roll !
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Old 10-11-2015, 03:56 PM   #11
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Great idea


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Old 10-11-2015, 04:30 PM   #12
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Winter Precautions while traveling from A to B...

WINTER TRAVELING

Whenever we are getting into below freezing temperatures going from Point A to Point B, our black and grey tanks are empty. I do like Mike's post #9 as I also pour the Trailer Antifreeze into all of the sink traps, shower trap and some into the empty black & grey tanks.

I avoid in winter travel having water pressured in the system. I will keep the fresh water tank full if I am dealing with temporary 25F+ travel as the volume is sloshing around and never had a problem. The water pump door should be left open. The drains for the hot and cold lines should be open and drained. Water pump ALWAYS OFF while traveling.

The Hot Water Tank should have the plug removed and drained.

When parked running heat inside the trailer, open the water pump door to keep air circulating. Below 20F it will freeze up, otherwise. Test it by flipping the switch to ON. If no sound of pump running... OFF immediately!

The exterior shower should be drained and left OPEN to drain.

No need to freeze your water lines. No need to freeze your drain traps. No need to burn out your water pump with the switch ON while traveling... empty or under pressure. Never travel with your water pump ON... never. Cold weather you want the water lines all empty.

Keep those ideas coming! There can be significant expensive damage to your trailer traveling in the Winter than warm months.
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:21 PM   #13
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Summer traveling & camping

SUMMER TRAVELING

Without power, or hookups while Off the Grid traveling or camped:

-The refrigerator will be running almost, if not all of the time.
-The refrigerator fan will be running ALL of the time. Normal.
-The Black Tank should have biotic added to keep the friendly bacteria busy.
-Curtains drawn down to prevent sunlight from entering the windows.
-On pavement with our vent covers, have them cracked open to vent while moving.
-Cook outside as much as possible.
-Open windows to catch any wind flow... through the trailer... if possible.
-Open door and let trailer vent with the screen door when you are in it.
-Shady side... open windows, shades up. Reverse for direct sunlight.
-Humidity inside the trailer will be higher than the outside, vent the interior.
-Find a shade tree to set up the trailer. Avoid those with aphids with sticky droppings.
-Buy a bag of the clearest ice possible as it lasts much longer in your glass. Avoid milky or whitish ice in bags as it melts... fast.
-Dogs prefer a soft rug to a thick pillow when hot and humid. Or beneath the trailer.
-You will sweat onto your pillow making it damp, rotate with two pillows if possible.
-Did I say... ICE? I did. Popsicles are not as frozen hard, but wonderful. Better than beer.
-Orientate trailer so end opposite bed is facing sunset. No sense heating the bed end of the trailer in afternoon.
-Awning(s) are your friend. Secure for windy days and down to one notch.
-Drink all of the water you can handle. Leg cramps are not any treat. Avoid headaches.
-If you crave salt... nuts, chips and ice water.
-Hot? Pour water over your head and tee shirt. Cheap Air Conditioning.

- Wonderful posts adding great opinions on this thread. Keep them coming.

We all live in different climate zones. Each section of the USA and Canada have their own specific tips for comfort. Once you are in the Western USA in Summer... elevation is your temperature moderator.

Higher elevations above 5,000 feet have hot/warm dry days with cool evenings.

Above 7,000- hot/warm days with cool/cold evenings.

Above 8,500 feet... HUMIDITY dripping off the sides of your trailer by morning.

Work with windows and ceiling vents for air flow within trailer.

Camped near a creek, river or lake... very humid at night. Camp higher up above the water for drier air and cool breezes. Camped next or near a river is noisy, humid, insects and a risk of flash floods. Look for the high water line with brush and logs trapped in the underbrush. Most ancient Indian Camps are found on higher ground above water sources. Especially in the Midwest and Great Plains. Florida... just where most are living today... catching ocean breezes. (?)

Where are you Boondockers and Off the Grid trailer/tent campers? I am a 2,500 foot to 9,000 foot +/- trailer camper. What about Sea Level camping or KC, Missouri at 750'?
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:43 PM   #14
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Biggest Mistakes Made in Hot or Cold Conditions:
USA lower 48 States

-Locking the trailer up tight to keep out the Heat or Cold. You need to vent the interior.
-Orientated your trailer with the broadside facing sunrise AND sunset. Bun warmer trailer.
-Venting is more important than interior heat or cooling comfort. Just enough venting, but not too much. You will find a balance with practice.
-Use your awnings wisely.
-Your Dometic AC has vent openings. Use them effectively. Experiment with open and closed vents to get air down to the floor. Direct cool air where you expect to be. It sure works in the Mohave Desert with 30amp power.
-Drink water until you break a sweat in the heat. Drink water in the cold when lips are dry.

So not to overdue this, everyone for their elevation and latitude must have some tricks.

Elevation and Latitude are very important.

If you get stuck in the snow during the Spring...it will melt.
If you get stuck in the snow during the Winter... you are, well, not doing well.

You can find glaciers at lower elevations with higher latitudes. Glacier Park, Montana at 6,000 to 10,000 and while Banff, Canada at 4,800'+ are good examples of extremes. Keep that in mind when traveling long distances. (Not 100% accurate, but you get the idea.)
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