View Poll Results: Have you ever towed your camper in the winter?
Yes 62 68.89%
No 28 31.11%
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Old 11-10-2004, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71_safari
I have been camped for the past month or so in areas that have been getting down into the low 30's at night - Idaho in October and now southern Oregon. Even a few nights below freezing where I was a bit concerned about the water lines. Seems to work fine, but at night the trailer gets cold and the furnace runs a lot if you try to keep it as warm as a house. Much easier to wear a fleece and leave it at 60-65 deg, then let it drop down while sleeping to about 45-50, which it will do pretty quickly if it is near freezing outside.

The furnace does warm the tanks and lines fortunately, so as long as you run it, nothing should freeze up. But the insulation is not nearly as thick as a house, and the aluminum probably helps conduct the cold in. I think the CCD's, with bare aluminum on the inside would be even worse. Another interesting thing is that mine starts to creak and make little sounds of aluminum contracting as it cools off late at night, and then again when it warms back up in the morning with the heat on. The skin must really expand and contract.

My propane use seems very reasonable, and I have considered wintering in the Airstream, if not for some other priorities. It would be tolerable, and fun I think, if you have a good spot. The main thing, as has been mentioned in other posts, is to make sure condensation is not excessive. I am just one person, yet I am careful to crack windows and use the exhaust fan when cooking, warm it up in the morning, and always open it up a bit when it gets sunny mid-day, to dry it out. I have had to leave it for a few days at a time while I run off on business, and when I do I leave a small flat plate heater on (about 100w), designed to dry the air in RV's and boats. It works fine and I never find any condensation when I get back.

I do not think that an Airstream would be happy in really cold weather, as found in the mountains of the West, the Midwest or the Northeast. Maybe for a few days of winter camping, but after that I think one would have to bolster the insulation, close up the bottom, etc, and use auxiliary electric heat.

-john
Your use of the hotplate is a good one. I'm currently testing a couple systems to make life easier in the AS including an outside air exchange dehumidifier and a low temperature detection system I designed and installed in my '72 Overlander. Four sensors in the underfloor and service areas detect temps below 38 degrees and first turn on a set of 12VDC fans that blow interior heated air into the rear and side areas. If any of the temps are still low in 15 minutes, the system also over-rides the AS thermostat control and turns on the furnace until all temp detectors read above 38 degrees. I'm hoping this will help folks who use space heaters as their primary source. This of course keeps the interior too warm to trigger the furnace and therefore does not force heated air to the underfloor tanks and piping. This results in cosy interiors and frozen tanks! While there are many other ways to control freezing, my goal was to come up with a system that did not require installing heater lines, tapes, or pads.
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirConditioner
Your use of the hotplate is a good one. I'm currently testing a couple systems to make life easier in the AS including an outside air exchange dehumidifier and a low temperature detection system I designed and installed in my '72 Overlander. Four sensors in the underfloor and service areas detect temps below 38 degrees and first turn on a set of 12VDC fans that blow interior heated air into the rear and side areas. If any of the temps are still low in 15 minutes, the system also over-rides the AS thermostat control and turns on the furnace until all temp detectors read above 38 degrees. I'm hoping this will help folks who use space heaters as their primary source. This of course keeps the interior too warm to trigger the furnace and therefore does not force heated air to the underfloor tanks and piping. This results in cosy interiors and frozen tanks! While there are many other ways to control freezing, my goal was to come up with a system that did not require installing heater lines, tapes, or pads.
Have you thought about getting a patent on that?
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:18 AM   #17
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I think a small air-to-air heat exchanger, a smaller 12 V version of those now installed in houses as "heat recovery ventilators", would solve the condensation problem without losing so much heat from an open window. It could be plumbed into the furnace/ductwork just like in a house. Does anyone know of one?
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:36 PM   #18
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This is a good thread to keep on-going. We camped two weeks ago in Central Wisconsin. The event was a WBCCI luncheon and we took advantage of the location. The experience was so good we are planning a trip over New Years to visit a friend and see the Rock & Roll Hall Of fame in nCleveland,OH. What better time with no crowds and empty state parks?
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Old 12-17-2004, 06:41 PM   #19
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I'm sort of winter camping (see photo below) as I continue to work on our new shop/rv port/garage/storage/ building. We have had some very cold weather off and on and as I have taken no special steps to retain heat, I've had to give some consideration to lp consumption.

Our 25' coach heats up quickly - it will warm up from, say, 40 deg. in just 10 or 15 minutes. I have been taking advantage of that to roll the thermostat back to its minimum setting when I am going to be away from the trailer for any length of time - usually during the day. Then I crank up the heat at night.

I have no figures to share, but the reduction in lp use since I started doing this has been dramatic. Even with temps in the 20s it does not seem to take a lot of gas to keep the coach from freezing. But boy does it run through it when I set the thermostat for 70 deg.!!

Mark
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Old 12-18-2004, 04:50 AM   #20
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Does the driveway count?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyfuson
...But, it beats letting it sit all winter. What a waste. Life is too short. Get out there!
My four year old, after helping me do some Airstream odds & ends yesterday afternoon, wanted to sleep in the Overlander last night. With the temperature in the high 20s, I grabbed a couple of quilts while he rounded up his choice of music & movies.

The furnace kept us nice & toasty all evening while we enjoyed his tapes, and into the night as we both slept very contentedly.

Tom
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Old 12-18-2004, 05:59 AM   #21
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i use my trailer for deer hunting every year in november and stay in it on new years for our new years celebration.

i have wet camped in temps down to the low teens with no problems. the furnace does keep the tanks from freezing.

as for towing on snow, you need to pay patricular attention to how hard your trailer brakes are set. too tight and you will get the trailer sliding sideways, too loose and you can jack knife very easily.

and of course, you want the friction sway control set at a minimum or just take it off. you don't want the trailer steering the tow vehicle.

good tires and four wheel drive is a must.

john
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Old 12-19-2004, 05:22 AM   #22
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We went to FDR State Park (Warm Springs, GA) earlier in Dec.

I am sure that we will make another short trip in Jan. as well. I just don't know where yet. That is part of the fun of owning an Airstream. You know that you will be having a great time somewhere, sometime.

Kinda like waiting to open a Christmas present.

Merry X-mas to all.
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Old 12-19-2004, 07:03 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
The experience was so good we are planning a trip over New Years to visit a friend and see the Rock & Roll Hall Of fame in nCleveland,OH. What better time with no crowds and empty state parks?
Check ahead, a lot of parks (public and private) in the frozen north are closed this time of year. Too much work and expense to keep them open for the few campers they would have.

John
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Old 12-19-2004, 07:46 AM   #24
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Last January, I left Ohio with the Airstream for Florida. It was 12 degrees out, and the tires were frozen to the ground. We had to jack the frame up to pop the tires off the ground My planned 9AM departure time ended up being 4PM. Well it started to snow. And snow it did. Blizzard conditions all the way through Ohio and part way through WVA, on I77. Stayed in 2 WD for most of the trip. Never made it above 50 MPH, until halfway though WVA. After the Viginia-North Carolina border the rest of the trip was a breeze. Coach was a mess from all the salt and crap in the northern states.
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Old 12-19-2004, 08:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
Last January, I left Ohio with the Airstream for Florida. It was 12 degrees out, and the tires were frozen to the ground. We had to jack the frame up to pop the tires off the ground My planned 9AM departure time ended up being 4PM. Well it started to snow. And snow it did. Blizzard conditions all the way through Ohio and part way through WVA, on I77. Stayed in 2 WD for most of the trip. Never made it above 50 MPH, until halfway though WVA. After the Viginia-North Carolina border the rest of the trip was a breeze. Coach was a mess from all the salt and crap in the northern states.
Towing in the winter is a bad idea from the start. Hope you didn't try to sleep in it. Remember that the framee /interior/and the outer skin are aluminum. conducts the heat and the cold like ....well you know what.. Be sure towash the salt from the trailer or the salt will change the aluminum to aluminum/chloride and like rust it will dissappear..
Iam sure you enjoyed the Florida winter. I do in Key West Florida., but I come before tand after the snow.

Rae Baker Key West Florida.
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Old 12-19-2004, 09:05 AM   #26
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We just got back from Mrytle Beach. We had temps in the low 20's and the water hose did freeze. Went to Lowes and purchased some 3/4" pipe insulation and placed it over the water lines feeding the trailer. Used a ceramic heater and the "Wave 6 catalyic" heater and turned the furnace thermostat to 55. Stayed nice and warm in the trailer. Day time temps were in the low50's.
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Old 12-19-2004, 03:55 PM   #27
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Of course!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
My four year old, after helping me do some Airstream odds & ends yesterday afternoon, wanted to sleep in the Overlander last night. With the temperature in the high 20s, I grabbed a couple of quilts while he rounded up his choice of music & movies. The furnace kept us nice & toasty all evening while we enjoyed his tapes, and into the night as we both slept very contentedly. Tom
To my mind, that's what it's all about! WHERE or HOW doesn't matter as much as: making memories.
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Old 12-20-2004, 10:38 AM   #28
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Even with unseasonable temperatures down here in NW Florida it's still
pretty good living. I have to thaw out the hose every morning before I take
a shower. But a few small electric heaters and the big bad gas furnace
will make the Airstream more than comfortable. Eating warm food also
helps greatly, easy to sleep with a belly full of stew.

I did move to a park that has a lot of tree's and that helps a lot. Blocking
any amount of wind helps the Airstream stay much warmer.

Lows in the high 20's though so it's not really that bad.
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