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Old 07-19-2019, 09:10 PM   #1
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Not a four season trailer?

We just got a 23FC RB bunk that we love. It was slightly used 2018 model. One thing I was curious about that I hear often is that AS is not a four season camper.

What exactly does that mean?

We do plan to go camping in the winter in the PNW assuming we get a couple of non rain days...does this mean that we may be colder than normal or does this potentially mean that we may damage the camper, etc..?
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:54 PM   #2
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It means extreme cold and Airstreams do not get along very well without a lot of help. Skirting or hay bales around the bottom of the trailer, huge propane tanks to provide heat, and serious condensation issues inside are just part of the issues you can run into.

Ive used my Airstream down just below freezing, and its rough to keep it warm and dry inside in those conditions.

Look through it search the forums for more on the subject. It can be done, but its not easy not cheap on propane to stay warm.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:00 PM   #3
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Our 19' Airstream is certainly not suited for several days with temperatures which never rise above freezing. We have had any number of nights with temperatures below 20 F without a problem as long as we had hookups. We run the furnace and use a fair amount of propane when it is cold. We also have one ceiling vent and one window cracked open to keep fresh air circulating and to avoid excess humidity in the trailer.

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Old 07-19-2019, 10:18 PM   #4
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Walls and roof of an Airstream have less than 2"insulation. The framing between the inner and outer skins are thermal bridges that conduct the outdoor temperature in. The floor are worse.
Airstreams do not perform well in any temperature extreme.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
Our 19' Airstream is certainly not suited for several days with temperatures which never rise above freezing. We have had any number of nights with temperatures below 20 F without a problem as long as we had hookups. We run the furnace and use a fair amount of propane when it is cold. We also have one ceiling vent and one window cracked open to keep fresh air circulating and to avoid excess humidity in the trailer.

Tim

Ditto with Tim. We've been in the low 20's but I remove an alu cover in the bathroom to expose the critical FW connection/ext shower plumbing and place a 110VAC ceramic heater gfan/heat on low at the opening, just to keep the air moving. Tank heaters on, ele heter on low, furnace as required. Sometimes winterized with air OTR sub 20's. Certainly trips plans delayed to due pending weather.


p.s don't forget wind chill on the plumbing side of the trailer. result, new VAC BW BR/ChVal...not an easy project.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:05 PM   #6
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Also from the Seattle area. We’ve taken our trailers down to 11 degrees overnight in Bryce NP in February. The secret is keeping it warm with your furnace to minimize condensation inside. The heat pump is good only down to about 40 degrees and then it’s furnace from there on down. There’s a woman on Airstream Addicts (Facebook) that spends her winters skiing with her Airstream. You will go through a lot of propane keeping it warm. Also take a space heater or propane catalytic heater to thaw out your sewer valves when they freeze.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:20 AM   #7
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Yeah I think we would only camp in the winter when the highs are in the upper 40s at the minimum.

Mostly we are thinking about camping near the coast or islands around the Seattle area. (Fort Casey, Fort Flagler, etc...)

Other than killing the propane tank, should I worry about anything else if the temp gets above freezing and in the 40s during the day or should I still take extra precaution.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:36 AM   #8
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We are also in Northwest Washington. Usually spend 3 or 4 nights at Fort Casey in Mid November and again in February though last February we got snowed out of the trip and didn't go until March. Just get a power and water site and bring a ceramic heater. We typically only use the furnace first thing in the morning to take the chill off. Once the trailer warms up the electric heater does the job. These are usually our last and first trips of the year. We have friends who own a SOB that spent 1 week a month at Fort Casey this year so actually stayed in December and January. ( they also missed February because of the snow) We also keep the vent cracked unless the wind is high or it is raining hard. It is possible to camp almost year around here in Western Washington, though you may have to blow out your water lines if the forecast shows freezing weather Enjoy your trailer
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:03 AM   #9
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We are also in Northwest Washington. Usually spend 3 or 4 nights at Fort Casey in Mid November and again in February though last February we got snowed out of the trip and didn't go until March. Just get a power and water site and bring a ceramic heater. We typically only use the furnace first thing in the morning to take the chill off. Once the trailer warms up the electric heater does the job. These are usually our last and first trips of the year. We have friends who own a SOB that spent 1 week a month at Fort Casey this year so actually stayed in December and January. ( they also missed February because of the snow) We also keep the vent cracked unless the wind is high or it is raining hard. It is possible to camp almost year around here in Western Washington, though you may have to blow out your water lines if the forecast shows freezing weather Enjoy your trailer
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:01 AM   #10
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Hi

If you have two people and three dogs in the trailer, you will generate a lot of humidity. Toss in cooking and you have even more. Don't even think about a shower If temperatures are in the 40's days and in the 20's nights, you *will* see a lot of condensation on the single pane windows and skylights (even with all the shades drawn). Figure that you will spend a bit of time each morning opening each window and mopping it down with a rag. If you don't the moisture keeps building up and things get even worse.

At some point (depending on a lot of variables) you will start to freeze pipes. In an occupied trailer with the heat on, and no wind, and good ground cover, and ... that may be a pretty low number. In a trailer that is un-occupied / no heat / lots of wind (think towing ....) that might be a much higher number.

In storage, freezing temps are likely to be an issue if the pipes have water in them. Yes you *can* run dry in the winter. It can get pretty old pretty fast. Winterizing the trailer after each trip is a lot of work on top of the usual put away process. Yes, that *assumes* you live where freezes are possible. Around here, November starts to get risky. Putting back in from the first trip in March also is a bit of a gamble. To be "safe" both those dates move at least a month. (put away in October, pull out in April).

In the part of the country that gets snow, winter means salt on the roads. Salt and metal do not go well together. Your Airstream has a *lot* of metal. The same thing applies to storage out in a salt breeze off the ocean. It's a cumulative effect so lots of exposure is the thing to avoid if you can.

So lots of issues. Damage to pipes (and the hot water heater) can be expensive. Moisture is just a hassle until it leads to mould. I suppose it could lead to rot, but that's a pretty big stretch. Chassis and body rust is a "down the road" sort of thing, but it can be costly.

We camp into November some years (depending) and start to get the itch again in early March (if the snow is gone by then). Long term weather forecasts are your friend in this case. Usually we hold off a bit in the spring. That's hard and we may not be able to hold the line Net result is being home for about three months.

Bob
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alreddawg19 View Post
Yeah I think we would only camp in the winter when the highs are in the upper 40s at the minimum.

Mostly we are thinking about camping near the coast or islands around the Seattle area. (Fort Casey, Fort Flagler, etc...)

Other than killing the propane tank, should I worry about anything else if the temp gets above freezing and in the 40s during the day or should I still take extra precaution.
Oh okay, if youre just talking PNW winter than you dont have any worries. Moisture control is probably the biggest thing to deal with. Having a cover on your Fantastic Fan will allow you crack it to help with moisture. Some people have dehumidifiers but we havent had to do that yet since we heat to the SW for the winters. In any case, just go camping wherever you want and have fun.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:39 AM   #12
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What Uncle Bob said - biggest problem is the single pane widows. If you can stop breathing you will cut down on the condensation
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:42 AM   #13
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We get along great down to 17F if we have electric hookups and keep the furnace and tank heaters turned on. We need a dehumidifier, especially in the mornings. We use our fresh water tank and just fill up as needed to keep from freezing our city water hose. Just watch out for the ice and snow on your steps. Treacherous!
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:47 AM   #14
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Go for it

We did winter camping in Breckenridge, CO this past winter. In December we had some nights where the temps hit -15 to -20F. Despite having furnace issues, we learned how to maintain and use the Airstream in these conditions. This involves interior and exterior environmental controls. Moisture on the exterior equals moisture on the interior. Get snow off of the unit ASAP and squeegee the exterior of your windows. All wet gear (including towels) was dried outside. The vent in the shower was always open to allow moisture to escape, even at night. A dehumidifier combined with proper use of vent/exhaust fans can help manage most of the moisture. The furnace is drying, so that helps. We still needed to check for moisture (and wipe dry)in out of the way places to ensure dryness(ie. behind cushions, backs of closets, etc.). We installed reflective, bubble insulation in the two storage units. We installed skirting and even added 2rigid foam around the gray/black/fresh tanks and valve with a halogen light for heat. Also consider how you position your unit (east to west) so that you take advantage of the warmth of the sun during the day. We did not connect to city water and drained/cleared water out of the outside shower and city water pipes. We filled water and drained tanks on the warmest days (which were facing south) in the afternoon when the day hit the highest temp and tanks warmed up.

The PNW should not be as cold, but the moisture will be the issue. There is plenty of info on this sight. Read it all. Dogs bring a lot more moisture inside, try to time their walks so they stay dry.

The on Airstream Addicts was in the same campground and hooked up to city water with the heated gadgets that are supposed to allow for sub 32 temps. The fittings froze.

These units are awesome, but take skill and patience to use outside of the normal suggested range.

If you have a mechanical mind, you will be in good shape.

Do and learn, experiment and enjoy!

Chris
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