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Old 12-25-2016, 12:34 PM   #15
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Camping in winter

Great video, thank you!

In CO is not as cold but we had nights and days below zero ahead of the official start of winter.

Covered in snow and with icicles as well, not winterized, making full use of shower, sink, toilet etc. AS can handle it. Only addition as a precaution (maybe unnecessary) is a cheap heater (pic attached) so propane last longer, a heating lamp under the rig and a heated hose to get city water. One propane tank is still enough after 4 days, not sure how much longer it will last.

Today wind is on the 25 knots range spiking to 75 (per forecast). Filled the fresh water and gray water tanks to capacity plus black tank to 50% to add weight, don't want to be blown over. Maybe unnecessary but for caution.

Do we tend to underestimate the capacity of our Airstreams to fully function and keep us warm? BTW, home is Florida
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Old 12-25-2016, 12:39 PM   #16
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Wink

BTW, this $24 or so cheap ceramic air heater does shut off on tilting. Tested numerous times. Tempted to get the Dyson but can't justify the extra $300 as of yet, working on it...
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Old 12-25-2016, 12:41 PM   #17
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Skirting For Winter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitaver View Post
...
Today wind is on the 25 knots range spiking to 75 (per forecast). ...
Thanks for the photos. You would notice a huge improvement in comfort and a savings in fuel if you constructed a skirt around the bottom of the Airstream. This would shield the floor from the wind which creates massive heat loss. The floor would be much warmer.

Here is a list of tips that you may find useful. (Some are more for dry camping and may not apply to your full-timing situation.)

1. Tow for at least several hours with the furnace on so that the trailer is already warm when you get to your campsite. The goal is to get everything warm inside - counters, walls, bedding etc., not just warm air as otherwise it takes too long to warm up the thermal mass.
2. Have lots of propane.
3. An electric site is ideal to keep the battery charged as you need 12 v power to run the furnace, fridge etc. If you have 30 amp power you can also run some portable electric heaters. An electric floor mat near the door is great for adding heat and also melting the snow from your boots.
4. Use Reflectix and cut to fit your windows, Fantastic vents etc. for use at night to keep the heat in and reduce drafts. I have considered using indoor shrink film kits, but haven't yet as fitting them around curved windows might be tricky.
5. I have blocked off most of the fridge vents to stop drafts and to allow the fridge to work better at low temperatures. Be sure and keep some venting to the outside for the propane exhaust if using LPG.
6. Cover the water heater hatch from the outside to prevent drafts (as you won't be using it during winter camping.
7. Use disposable cutlery and paper plates to avoid the need for washing dishes.
8. Bring enough drinking water in jugs (or empty jugs if water is available from the camp ground and keep it inside the heated space.
9. We use "Wag Bag" human waste kits. The bags fit inside the toilet bowl and have double zip-lock bags for disposal in garbage cans. I know others who use a plastic bag and cut up diaper.
10. An old fashioned hot water bottle is great for sleeping. Fill with hot water and pre-warm the bed for an hour before bedtime. Re-fill with hot water and they are good for the rest of the night to help keep you warm. Keep it next to your body and the temperature of the water stays at body temperature and if you need to move the bottle to another spot it is still warm all night.
11. Install a Dickinson boat propane fireplace. They add dry heat and ambiance and don't require any 12 volt power (although there is a circulating fan that can be used.)
12. Ventilate. In the winter the cold outside air is dry (even if the relative humidity is high). When you allow your moist inside air out and replace it with the dry outside air it will reduce the inside relative humidity as it warms up.
13. In hanging closets and drawers where you store clothing and linens, use desiccant de-humidifiers like Eva-Dry which absorb moisture and can be re-activated at home by plugging them in. Damp-Rid also works, but is meant to be disposable.
14. Have warm slippers for wearing inside as the floor is usually the coldest spot. As mentioned in # 3, above an electric floor mat can also be used under the dinette too as they only use 90 watts of 110 volt power.
15. Enjoy a fire in the outside fire pit. Make a wind screen with reflective Mylar and it will direct the heat to you.
16. Please don't bring a generator as the sound will destroy the peaceful tranquility associated with winter camping.
17. We are considering having a canvas shop fabricate a skirt to go around the bottom of the trailer that can be fasted on with dome fasteners at the campsite. Stopping the wind from blowing under the trailer will stop a huge amount of radiant heat loss from the floor and make the trailer feel more comfortable.

Remember when you are planning for your outdoors camping adventure (any season) that there is no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothing.
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Old 12-25-2016, 02:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitaver View Post
. . .
Do we tend to underestimate the capacity of our Airstreams to fully function and keep us warm?
. . .
Probably, yes, but you are pushing the limits of your Airstream's ability to handle extreme cold and strong wind IMO. It will be instructive if you avoid any freeze-ups.

Admirable pioneer spirit though . . .

You realize that the economy of using a portable electric heater carries with it a corresponding downside of allowing your main furnace (and ducted air?) to remain off for longer times, with no-demand-from-thermostat, thereby robbing your remote pipe and tank locations of the heated air they need to ward off the cold?

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 12-25-2016, 03:07 PM   #19
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:27 AM   #20
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Thank you for the great advice, I will be using a lot of it. Just to clarify so my 'experiment' helps others.
1. I am not winterizing: I am in full use of the shower, sink, toilet, water heater, fridge, etc.
2. Connected to city water though a heated hose (blue from Camco with the addition of insulating material and gorilla tape around the inlet, see photo).
3. I placed this pace heater at max now. It's thermostat allows to setup fan speed and temp, but I don't think it shuts off when a certain temp is reached. One that does may allow to setup a point bellow that on the AS thermostat, so it will start and blow air into the pipes while saving propane when temp is higher thanks to the space heater/sun.
4. The skirt... I love the idea, what I don't like as much is so much more stuff to carry. The skirt itself must be pretty long (on my 27FC that will be at least 70 feet long) plus enough width to raise on the walls of the RV to reach the domes and bellow to fold on the ground and (through groomers?) be held in place with stakes (also carry 40+ of those). Is there a simples solution?
5. I placed one $10 heat lamp under the carriage close to tanks. Of course with winds, probably not very effective but if it stays in place, the actual irradiated light, independently of heat that would be blown away by the breeze, should still have an effect (I hope).
6 Gray tank filled to 88%, fresh water to 100%, black tank to 25%: all that to add weight because of CAT I hurricane winds forecasted last night. I cleared the area around my ring from anything lose I could find.
7. Taking chances, I know... but what if we found out that we feared (and limited our enjoyment) of our rigs in winter, unnecessarily? I think Churchill said 'I spent half of my life fearing things that never happened', of course he won the war but lost his re-election. . Will keep you updated.
8. Read on this Forum that iit is easier to keep a full tank warm than a half empty one. Makes some sense as water (obviously) comes at above freezing temp, so at least for a while, it ads heat to the rig.

9 With me luck
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitaver View Post
Thank you for the great advice, I will be using a lot of it. Just to clarify so my 'experiment' helps others.

1. I am not winterizing: I am in full use of the shower, sink, toilet, water heater, fridge, etc.

2. Connected to city water though a heated hose (blue from Camco with the addition of insulating material and gorilla tape around the inlet, see photo).

3. I placed this pace heater at max now. It's thermostat allows to setup fan speed and temp, but I don't think it shuts off when a certain temp is reached. One that does may allow to setup a point bellow that on the AS thermostat, so it will start and blow air into the pipes while saving propane when temp is higher thanks to the space heater/sun.

4. The skirt... I love the idea, what I don't like as much is so much more stuff to carry. The skirt itself must be pretty long (on my 27FC that will be at least 70 feet long) plus enough width to raise on the walls of the RV to reach the domes and bellow to fold on the ground and (through groomers?) be held in place with stakes (also carry 40+ of those). Is there a simples solution?

5. I placed one $10 heat lamp under the carriage close to tanks. Of course with winds, probably not very effective but if it stays in place, the actual irradiated light, independently of heat that would be blown away by the breeze, should still have an effect (I hope).

6 Gray tank filled to 88%, fresh water to 100%, black tank to 25%: all that to add weight because of CAT I hurricane winds forecasted last night. I cleared the area around my ring from anything lose I could find.

7. Taking chances, I know... but what if we found out that we feared (and limited our enjoyment) of our rigs in winter, unnecessarily? I think Churchill said 'I spent half of my life fearing things that never happened', of course he won the war but lost his re-election. . Will keep you updated.

8. Read on this Forum that iit is easier to keep a full tank warm than a half empty one. Makes some sense as water (obviously) comes at above freezing temp, so at least for a while, it ads heat to the rig.



9 With me luck

Good luck and happy winter camping, Vitaver.

I appreciate sharing practical winter use experience. We will soon depart SW CO bound for FL, and will travel fully operational, as we have done for years.

Our most significant adaptation for winter travel is heat management. We tow with the furnace set at 50 deg, and stop about an hour from destination to turn it up to 75 deg for warming bedding etc. I activate the water heater at the same time. I'll also do this during a lunch stop. Never a problem with the furnace or water heater. I do turn it off during refueling.

We use CGs with electricity throughout the cold portion of the trip. One1500w Lasco electric heater midships, one tiny 200w Lasco 'My Heat' personal heater in the both the bath and bedroom (each seated on velcro) work for heat and air circulation without adding the humidity that propane heat creates. The furnace remains set at 60 deg to help protect the plumbing, but I suspect that the flooring transmits enough heat to keep plumbing and water tanks from freezing. I would like to run 110v heat cables around the tanks and plumbing, but access is daunting.

In my untested opinion, additional window coverings and skirting aren't worth the bother for travel and overnight camping. We want light and solar gain as available from the windows, (sure I wish they were double pane) and blocking under chassis wind with cloth should have minimal advantage. Wind chill effect applies only to human skin.

Safe Travels, JamuJoe
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:04 PM   #22
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"...and blocking under chassis wind with cloth should have minimal advantage. Wind chill effect applies only to human skin."

Yes but....

Wind chill factor expresses the effective temperature on a human body as a result of wind speed in cold weather. It represents the temperature that would remove heat from a human body at the same rate if there were no wind. The difference relates to issues such as hypothermia where the wind chill reduces the amount of time before hypothermia sets in. Wind does not, however, have the capability to lower the temperature of an object below the temperature of the air. Water, for example will not freeze at a windchill of 25 degrees if the actual air temperature is above freezing.

Air flow over heat-conductive surfaces carries heat away faster whether that surface is a human body or the skin of a trailer. That is why there are fans on automobile radiators, refrigerator and air conditioner coils, etc. The heat transfer effect of air movement is significant. The internal temperature of a trailer depends on the balance between heat loss and heat gain. Heat is being added by the furnace, heaters, human bodies, appliances, etc. Heat is being lost through the body of the trailer at a rate in proportion to the difference between the internal and external temperatures and the thermal resistance between the inside and outside. Insulation between the skins increases the thermal resistance, air movement on the outside surface increases the thermal conductivity of the skin to the air, decreasing the overall thermal resistance and increasing heat loss. Think of the floor as an automobile radiator with the heat on the inside and the cooling air on the outside.

That said, I have no idea as to the effectiveness of placing a skirt around the trailer, but I doubt it is insignificant as so many people do it in really cold weather locations.

Al
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:24 PM   #23
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Pics of cheap heater with thermostat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitaver View Post
BTW, this $24 or so cheap ceramic air heater does shut off on tilting. Tested numerous times. Tempted to get the Dyson but can't justify the extra $300 as of yet, working on it...
It does shut off upon tilting and actually the thermostat will also shut off the heater when the temperature on the setting is reached.
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Old 12-26-2016, 11:35 PM   #24
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1. I am not winterizing: I am in full use of the shower, sink, toilet, water heater, fridge, etc....
Hat’s off to you! I want to believe I will do the same as you if the opportunity presents itself. I want to know the capacity of my trailer to provide me comfort in various extremes.

Granted your AS and my Avion are constructed differently, but according to their literature, both trailers should be comfortable in any weather. When we travelled this fall, we were mostly in chilly weather, with a few cold days, but only two or three nights below freezing, and then barely below 32. Following our owner’s manual, we set the furnace thermostat so the trailer would be comfortable at all times; 72 when we were home, and 68 at night, or when we were out (traveling down the road). We used the stove every morning for breakfast, and even did a little baking once. We took all the long hot showers we wanted too. The propane lasted close to two weeks. The only cold weather precaution we took was to disconnect hoses when the weather was near freezing.

You have no cause for alarm in high winds. Your trailer was specifically designed to slip through a steady 65 mph head wind. Few places you can be that will be less ruffled by a strong wind than in your AS. If you are concerned about wind whistling under your trailer, just shovel a snow berm on the upwind side of your trailer.

High five, for requiring your trailer to perform according to manufacturer’s designs, and enjoying the services your well built machine was meant to provide.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:05 AM   #25
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Looking forward to updates about weather conditions, and propane usage, as our trailers' insulation is not really designed for such extreme cold weather. I forget what the R-factor is, but R-13 would be an optimistic rating for the walls and ceiling IMO. It may be less. With the outside air at 0 F, heat is air-streaming to the outside at a very fast clip, and it is sheer folly to ignore this cost.

Thus, it is only the massive infusion of carbon-based petro-chemicals which sustains an AS through such bitter cold: propane for the furnace; and coal/oil/etc-fired electrical generators to power the grid.



Can this experiment in challenging the limits of winter airstreaming be done successfully? Maybe . . . but at what cost to The Earth to prove the point?

High fives and manic ebullience do not change the laws of physics.

In depleting the Earth's resources to prove points like this, we should -- indeed must -- question our motives IMO.

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Old 12-27-2016, 05:37 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Thus, it is only the massive infusion of carbon-based petro-chemicals which sustains an AS through such bitter cold: propane for the furnace; and coal/oil/etc-fired electrical generators to power the grid.



Can this experiment in challenging the limits of winter airstreaming be done successfully? Maybe . . . but at what cost to The Earth to prove the point?

High fives and manic ebullience do not change the laws of physics.

In depleting the Earth's resources to prove points like this, we should -- indeed must -- question our motives IMO.

Massive infusions of natural gas or red oak keep us warm at home during the winter.
I'm doing the earth a favor by going camping.

I'll give a high five to anyone, anywhere, who goes out and enjoys God's creation in their Airstream, Avion, etc.

If I imagined that I was damaging The Earth that much by using my Avion any time of the year, I'd keep it parked in the back yard.

See you down the road! (Getting there with our Avion and an awesome 3/4-ton diesel!)
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:16 AM   #27
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When traveling in winter, even in areas that should not have sub-freezing temperatures, one must always be prepared with....microfleece.

It takes up little room, may be worn during the day and slept in at night.

Warm, warm, warm, and toasty warm....add something equally warm for your feet, and the cold can't touch you.

True.

We/I have accidentally been camping in temps in the teens, once while boondocking, and lived to tell the tale.

Microfleece. It's the answer to keeping your body warm.


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Old 12-27-2016, 06:49 AM   #28
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Looking forward to updates about weather conditions, and propane usage, as our trailers' insulation is not really designed for such extreme cold weather. I forget what the R-factor is, but R-13 would be an optimistic rating for the walls and ceiling IMO. ...
I am hoping that your post is in jest ... otherwise I gather that you don't use your trailer in the summer when it is hot and there is a need to use an air conditioner. Insulation (or the lack thereof) have the same properties for keeping heat in or out. In a hot climate (or summer) your coach will need more btus of air conditioning than a well insulated structure and consume the same equivalent of energy summer cooling vs. winter camping heating.
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