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Old 10-29-2005, 11:31 PM   #1
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2005 28' International CCD
Las Cruces , New Mexico
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Question Surviving December in Northern Colorado

Since April, we've been full-timing in a 2005 28' International--2 adults, 1 dog, 2 cats. Loving life on the road! Planned to do this for a year, spending the cooler months down south with the snowbirds; we're currently in southern New Mexico.

Now, due to some unforeseen family business/parental ill health, we have been summoned to northern Colorado in late December for at least a couple of weeks. Since we're from that area originally, we know all too well the potential for a Christmas blizzard and/or cold snap (teens to zero). We have already camped with nighttime temps dipping into the 20s, and as long as we keep the heat up, the water heater on, and store the hoses, we've been fine. But not so sure with snow/wind/lower temps, since we know an Airstream isn't designed to be a four-season trailer.

And although we would be at a campground with full hook-ups, it's not like we'd be a "permanent", with skirting, pipe insulation, heat tape, huge propane tank, etc. The main complication is the pets, for which we need to maintain a comfy trailer environment. Otherwise, we'd just park temporarily and winterize the trailer, while imposing on some family member with our own furry "family". But somebody's always allergic to the cats...

Anyway, we're seeking any suggestions from veteran winter campers or other adventurous types. If it seems inadvisable to go north, one of us will critter-sit with the rig somewhere warm, while the other flies north to be with the family. A somewhat unappealing idea during the holidays...

Thanks in advance for any advice,
Wes and Carol
(and Stutz, Bokeh and Rollei)
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Old 10-30-2005, 12:45 AM   #2
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hi wes and carol

plenty of experienced cold weather campers here...but until they respond....i used to take the ar moho for skiing in montana idaho and bc...often zero or lower at night....often 12-18 inches of snow which only caused issues with venting properly....needed a ladder to clear roof vents, windows and so on....don't put your awnings out....

as long as you have ample lpg and keep it coming the trailer can be kept warm. i usually run all the exhaust fans with windows open 2 times per day to deal with the condensation and always use an exhaust fan when cooking making coffee/tea or showering. with so many critters (2 and 4 legged) you may need to exhaust longer or more frequently.

if planning to dump tanks occasionally do it on days above freezing, and use antifreeze when empty....close drain cover and then open gray water for a second to let some antifreeze into the main drain pipe... wear heavy rubber gloves for this process. fill water tank, but open and drain the outside water faucet as this line isnt warmed by furnace.

open cabinets to let room air circulate and run a small ceramic space heater or oil filled space heater so the furnace doesn't have to do all of the work.

another approach would be to just use the tube for heated living space and drink bootled water. then you could winterize the lines, drains and carefully use the holding tanks with some antifreeze...really the water lines are safe as long as the trailer is well heated.

the simplist approach might be to completely winterize the water systems/tanks. and just use the the trailer for sleeping/pets but send all "fluid and solids and washing issues somewhere else.

depending on temps you could go through 2 30# bottles in 2-3 days so it might be worth looking into renting a 100# or 2 for the stay....these are easily delivered and picked up by the local gas service and less expensive than filling yours 6-8 times.

be sure to take photos for us to enjoy.

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-30-2005, 05:55 AM   #3
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Hi Wes and Carol,

I agree with 2air, expecially the ceramic heater. It gets almost as cold in Central Oregon as it does in Colorado. I don't winterize my trailer, it lives in an unheated shop with a ceramic heater that keeps it around 40-45 degrees inside. That is with it turned down about as far as it will go. I leave all the cabinets open, the heat seems to get everywhere. Granted I would have to apply more heat to the thing if it were outside, wind and all, but it has worked well for me. Strangely I just did 'winterize' the thing, I am leaving Tuesday for the high country and an elk hunting trip - boondocking. I am not as concerned about running out of propane as running a battery flat, luckily mine also has a propane light, which will save on batteries as well. Good luck, hope the family health situation turns out o.k.

Les
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great ideas, 2air and igor! Nice to know that it may be possible to do this. I think we will definitely invest in a small ceramic heater (now I know why Camping World has so many of them!) and maybe limit water/tank use (or not). Good to have options.

Undoubtedly we'll make all the preparations and rent larger propane tanks just in time to be rewarded with a lovely week of temps in the 70s...nights should still be cold, though...
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:34 AM   #5
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Yes, if you are at a full hook up place it is the only way to go! Good luck.

Les Brush
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Old 10-31-2005, 08:28 PM   #6
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Beaver Creek , Colorado
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Don't recall which A/S forum it was, but remember an A/S owner in Wyoming who wintered her trailer in the Laramie area. She first placed bales of straw completely around the unit to slow down the wind into the undercarraige area. That worked o.k. but still heard the wind whistling throught the bales of straw. She then decided to soak the bales with water so it would freeze the bales like blocks of ice, a la eskimo igloo. She said that solved the wind whistle problem and added even more insulation to the undercarraige area.
Wish I could find the thread. I'll continue to look around for it.
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:49 PM   #7
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Bella Vista , Arkansas
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Red face Winter Survival

Sorry to hear of your plight. Any chance of storing your trailer in a rancher's machine shed? How about a pole barn surrounded by straw bales? The insulation qualities of an A/S are almost worthless--about 1 1/2" of fiberglass insulation. If it were me, I'd winterize it and just keep some form of heat in it. Best of luck to you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AgZep
Since April, we've been full-timing in a 2005 28' International--2 adults, 1 dog, 2 cats. Loving life on the road! Planned to do this for a year, spending the cooler months down south with the snowbirds; we're currently in southern New Mexico.

Now, due to some unforeseen family business/parental ill health, we have been summoned to northern Colorado in late December for at least a couple of weeks. Since we're from that area originally, we know all too well the potential for a Christmas blizzard and/or cold snap (teens to zero). We have already camped with nighttime temps dipping into the 20s, and as long as we keep the heat up, the water heater on, and store the hoses, we've been fine. But not so sure with snow/wind/lower temps, since we know an Airstream isn't designed to be a four-season trailer.

And although we would be at a campground with full hook-ups, it's not like we'd be a "permanent", with skirting, pipe insulation, heat tape, huge propane tank, etc. The main complication is the pets, for which we need to maintain a comfy trailer environment. Otherwise, we'd just park temporarily and winterize the trailer, while imposing on some family member with our own furry "family". But somebody's always allergic to the cats...

Anyway, we're seeking any suggestions from veteran winter campers or other adventurous types. If it seems inadvisable to go north, one of us will critter-sit with the rig somewhere warm, while the other flies north to be with the family. A somewhat unappealing idea during the holidays...

Thanks in advance for any advice,
Wes and Carol
(and Stutz, Bokeh and Rollei)
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