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Old 10-04-2015, 06:56 PM   #1
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Two southerners that don't have a clue!!

My husband and I have lived in central Florida our entire lives and have hardly even seen snow let alone pulled a travel trailer. We are planning to spend Christmas in Asheville, NC and would sure appreciate any help and advice from all of you experts. One place we are staying say we could hook up to their water if we had heat tape. What the heck? We have NO CLUE! Please, any help you all could give us would certainly be appreciated!! Thanks so much!


Laura & Tom
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:01 PM   #2
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Heat tape is used to keep your water lines from freezing below 32F. Cold weather creates all sorts of challenges when camping in an RV. We are new to our Airstream, but have had lots of experience camping in cold weather.

A bigger concern to me, driving your tow vehicle and trailer in potential snow or ice conditions. Particularly without the past experience. We've camped in the Ashville NC area and you can get some nasty weather.

Maybe not a great time of year to take your AS there.

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Old 10-04-2015, 07:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Remax gal View Post
My husband and I have lived in central Florida our entire lives and have hardly even seen snow let alone pulled a travel trailer. We are planning to spend Christmas in Asheville, NC and would sure appreciate any help and advice from all of you experts. One place we are staying say we could hook up to their water if we had heat tape. What the heck? We have NO CLUE! Please, any help you all could give us would certainly be appreciated!! Thanks so much!
Instead of heat tape, get a pre-made heated hose; much easier for the non-do-it-yourselfer. Camping World sells one, made by Pirit. I have used one when camping in below-freezing temperatures. However, the best thing is to use said hose to fill the on-board fresh water tank, and use your trailer's heating system to keep the water from freezing. After all, even though your freshwater hose may be heated, that doesn't mean it will keep the campground's plumbing from freezing.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:23 PM   #4
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Two cardinal rules (my cardinal rules) for cold weather RVing.
1. Connect your water hose only to fill you fresh water tank, disconnect & drain & store it. Same applies to your sewer drain hose, dump, drain, store. The only umbilical left connected is your power cord.
2. If it gets icy & snowy stay put, don't pull anywhere.
Another couple tips, have an electrical space heater onboard, open cabinet doors under bath & kitchen plumbing & last but not least always have an ample supply of Dr Jack Daniels Tennessee medicine in case of illness. Follow these simple rules & you'll have a very merry Christmas.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:28 PM   #5
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Hi,
We visit the Asheville area quite a bit. It can snow in December and ice storms are a real possibility. If you do encounter either, stay put with the trailer. Snow and ice generally do not stay on the ground for a long time in North Carolina in December, even in the mountains.

We have stayed at campgrounds before that just ask you to disconnect your water line from the campground water supply and hook it back up when the temperature is above freezing. Also make sure you have plenty of propane as the gas furnace is what you need to keep on to keep everything warm especially the water lines. In cold temperatures, the furnace can really go through with some propane.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:32 PM   #6
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I camp in the Asheville area often in summer, but not in winter.

95% of the time in winter the roads to and in Asheville will be good to tow on. It's that other 5% you should be worried about. Anytime after about the first of November snow and ice is possible. Even when it just rains, the water can freeze on the surface in the cold mornings. (black ice). Just be aware of what is forecast to be coming while you are traveling and be careful. If bad weather is in the forecast, be flexible with travel plans.

That campground is just telling you that your hose might freeze if you leave it hooked up. If it's freezing at night, do not leave the water hose connected. Fill the FW tank and use the pump. Drain the hose after each use and keep the hose inside the storage compartment or you might find it frozen hard. Do not leave the gray water valve open. Dump waste water whenever needed then make sure none is left in the hose.

Wherever you park in or near Asheville, it will be best to have electric hookups. You most likely will need to run the furnace full time, definitely you will at night. Maybe you will need to run the furnace even while you travel, to keep things from freezing. Or, you will need winterize before you reach freezing weather and again as you travel home.

I also carry a small space heater, place at a distance from the furnace thermostat. I run the electric heater at a very low setting at night. Then I set the furnace thermostat on a temperature that we feel comfortable at. That combination keeps the pipes and tanks from freezing and makes the propane last a little longer.

Don't forget to fill the propane tanks. It's less expensive in FL.

Hopefully I'm way off base and it's in the 70's while you visit, NC. It's possible!
I'll be in Sebring for Christmas, where it's warm.

add edit:
If it happens to get really cold while I have electric hookups, say down in the teens, I leave the lights burning inside the storage areas. That little extra heat from the bulbs in those storage spaces helps make the trailer more comfortable, especially those under the beds. Also slightly open the cabinet doors at night so that those areas with plumbing get extra heat. Don't turn off the water heater it can freeze too.
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:56 PM   #7
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You are all great! Thanks for the information! A W Warn, where are you going to be in Sebring? We live in Lake Placid, so about 20 minutes away! You are right! You will enjoy your winter in Sebring!


Laura & Tom
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:01 PM   #8
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As mentioned.... Do not tow where there is ice or snow. Unless you just like crashing and stuff like insurance paperwork.

You may want to get some spare Propane cylinders... Or rent a big one while you are parked... Can't tow one of those around, easily.

A water line need not be "heated" if only using to fill the fresh water tank. But you must drain immediately after use.

Presuming you guys like each other it is great snuggle time... Of course snuggling for survival should be used only on the special occasions like "I can't live without you....or your body warmth!"

Having electric space heaters is a good idea, to supplement the propane heat.

Do NOT use any open flame inside to heat your trailer. It uses all the oxygen, snuggling will be useless in that case.

Your breath, cooking, showering, even snuggling can put lots of moisture in the air inside your Airstream. Running a dehumidifier can help. Look for water running down interior Windows, walls, exposed metal... Etc. under your bed mattress is a great place to find lots of moisture as the cool underside of your bed contacting the moisture in the mattress from normal body moisture given off can cause moldy stuff. Get a barrier bag for the mattress which can be removed and laundered occasionally. You will have to buy a bigger one than the mattress you have and just tuck the extra under the mattress. We added a "memory foam topper and have a bag for it when camping in really cool weather (rare in Central Texas) but it happens.

We also put "reflectix" on our windows and between the bed base and mattress... Much more comfy.

For your roof skylights they make foam wrapped in fabric to press into the opening.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:42 PM   #9
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You are all great! Thanks for the information! A W Warn, where are you going to be in Sebring? We live in Lake Placid, so about 20 minutes away! You are right! You will enjoy your winter in Sebring!

Laura & Tom
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:23 PM   #10
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one more thought:
If you have a generator, bring it along even if you do not plan to use it. If you happen to get caught by snow and ice, it is not uncommon for the power to go off for a while. A generator to charge the batteries and keep the furnace going might save the trailer and you from freezing.
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:43 AM   #11
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There is a You Tube video by the RV nerds that explains how to camp in the winter. You might want to look for,it.
Dell
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Old 10-05-2015, 01:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Remax gal View Post
My husband and I have lived in central Florida our entire lives and have hardly even seen snow let alone pulled a travel trailer. We are planning to spend Christmas in Asheville, NC and would sure appreciate any help and advice from all of you experts. One place we are staying say we could hook up to their water if we had heat tape. What the heck? We have NO CLUE! Please, any help you all could give us would certainly be appreciated!! Thanks so much!


Laura & Tom
At the risk of dropping freezing rain and sleet on your parade -- some words of caution.

You might consider flying north for Christmas and renting accommodations IMO. The combined weather and other risk factors could align to make your trip not just challenging but downright expensive, if you hit bad weather. As Florida residents with apparently little experience of what freezing weather can do to a residence (whether mobile or not), you may not appreciate how quickly matters could spiral out of control if you hit a deep freeze. And once damage occurs inside the coach, the time and cost of repairing it can be both unexpected and disconcerting. Trust me, I have been there . . .

Everyone's advice so far is good, but you should be prepared to spend most of your Christmas vacation having to deal with a series of cascading problems, which your life experience has not prepared you for. Lack of knowledge can catch up to you fast . . .

"Oh, I didn't even consider THAT could happen . . . !"

If the weather is mild, obviously, all of this caution will be for naught, so have a great trip and a Merry Christmas, if this is the case!

Good luck . . .
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:32 AM   #13
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We spent Christmas '08 in our then Class A Motor Home in St. Louis, MO. The overnight temp dropped to +4 degrees. We had a water line freeze inside but not burst & defrosted by noon. Do as I mentioned in my earlier post & you'll be fine.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:23 AM   #14
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Laura, are you staying in a park or at someone's home? You mentioned having a possible water hook up but not power. It might make a difference in your options. That time of year Ashville weather can be finicky. It could be anywhere from cool to below freezing. Be prepared to winterize if necessary. If just around or slightly below freezing I have found it adequate to crank up the heat, open inside compartment doors and turn on the tank heat strips. My heat pump works well down close to about 35 and then the gas heater is needed. The heater is a gas and DC power hog. Some sort of alternate power might be necessary. Solar, generator or Plug in AC.
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