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Old 11-11-2012, 12:04 AM   #1
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A Taste of Winter Living

The trailer is going to the dealership for winterization next week; in the meantime, an unexpected cold snap has hit.

So, am getting a taste of what this winter living is about.

The days have been sunny and cold but above freezing. The merc really drops at night - the big freeze!

The trailer has been doing well on propane. I am keeping the temp. at a steady 60F (at night). That seems to be sufficient. During the day I rely on an electric heater. I am also vigilant about making sure the hot-water tank does not freeze. (It still has lots of water in the tank - I know, I could drain it but did not feel like fighting with that stupid plastic plug today). I find if I turn it on before bed for about 20 mins. then turn it off, the tank stays warm until morning. Last night I ran out of propane at about 4 a.m. I turned on the electric heater, but it really was not enough to keep the entire trailer warm. Woke-up to drip, drip, drip from the fantastic fan over the bed. Condensation.

The outside city water hose froze, but the pipes, hoses, and tanks inside the trailer seem to be doing okay. I did not fill my fresh water tank before the cold snap, so I do not have any water. I opened my grey water tank a bit because I was curious - water flowed freely out. But I can see why getting water into the trailer is the major challenge with winter camping. This is not big deal to me now - I have access to bathroom and kitchen facilities outside the trailer. I like how warm and cozy the Airstream feels when I go to bed at night - even without the water.

This was just a little experiment. It has not been for an extended period of time, and this cold snap is only a teaser - it can get a lot colder for a lot longer.

I have gained a lot of respect for those serious winter campers. It obviously takes a lot of preparation, vigilance, work, and creativity to get through a full winter.

Verdict: Difficult, but not impossible.

I hate to admit this - I do love the FaN - but if circumstances forced me into winter trailer living w/o the outside kitchen/bathroom access, I think I would probably trade the FaN in for an all-season trailer like the Arctic Fox.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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The big thing is to fill your fresh water, then bring your hose inside.

Doug took our frozen hose into the public shower and ran hot water over it once, when desert temps on AZ dipped to 18 degrees. Thawed it right out.


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Old 11-11-2012, 01:21 AM   #3
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Hi, we spent about one week in really cold weather. One more day and we would have run out of propane. It was never above freezing so we left the furnace on 24 hours a day. My water hose did freeze a few times too.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:32 AM   #4
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Leaving the hose attached will probably lead to bad fittings and a weakened hose as the water expands when it becomes ice. Best to disconnect at night and drain the water out. The hose is harder and harder to coil as the temp. drops.

When we are in freezing conditions at night, I take the hose off in the evening, drain it, connect the ends to each other and leave it on the ground if I'm going to connect it in the morning. If we are going to leave in the morning, I'll put it away.

The hot water heater is pretty hard to freeze overnight, but we always have it on during some part of the evening, so we've never given it the ultimate test. The water lines to it are more of a concern in ours—they are under the bed, an unheated space. But they haven't froze even when temps went down to 20˚ or lower at night and stayed low during the day (30's). You're right—winter camping is a challenge and if I had to do it, I'd be thinking of trading too. Or, I'd rebuild the thing and insulate it properly. The windows would remain a problem because replacing them with thermopane would be just about impossible and have it look right.

Bob apparently liked the cold so much, he's thinking of moving north.

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Old 11-11-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
The big thing is to fill your fresh water, then bring your hose inside.

Doug took our frozen hose into the public shower and ran hot water over it once, when desert temps on AZ dipped to 18 degrees. Thawed it right out.


Maggie
Hi Maggie,

Thanks for the good tip. Anything to help another Airstreamer get through winter! It's going to be milder today. I'm going to try to fill fresh water tank and try it out. Believe it or not, I have never used the fresh tank/pump since purchase! I better check it out while under warranty.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, we spent about one week in really cold weather. One more day and we would have run out of propane. It was never above freezing so we left the furnace on 24 hours a day. My water hose did freeze a few times too.
Hi Bob,

Propane is a big expenditure, that's for sure. With the sunny days/cold nights, the electric heater seems to suffice during the day. But any colder, and I would be doing same.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Leaving the hose attached will probably lead to bad fittings and a weakened hose as the water expands when it becomes ice. Best to disconnect at night and drain the water out. The hose is harder and harder to coil as the temp. drops.

When we are in freezing conditions at night, I take the hose off in the evening, drain it, connect the ends to each other and leave it on the ground if I'm going to connect it in the morning. If we are going to leave in the morning, I'll put it away.

The hot water heater is pretty hard to freeze overnight, but we always have it on during some part of the evening, so we've never given it the ultimate test. The water lines to it are more of a concern in oursóthey are under the bed, an unheated space. But they haven't froze even when temps went down to 20˚ or lower at night and stayed low during the day (30's). You're rightówinter camping is a challenge and if I had to do it, I'd be thinking of trading too. Or, I'd rebuild the thing and insulate it properly. The windows would remain a problem because replacing them with thermopane would be just about impossible and have it look right.

Bob apparently liked the cold so much, he's thinking of moving north.

Gene
Hi Gene,

Thanks too, for sharing your experiences.

I really would hate to give up the AS for an Arctic Fox. After an AS, the Fox would look like one fugly sucker to me, inside and out.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #8
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After another night: The furnace at 60F keeps it warm enought for me - but I am a Canadian polar bear. Matter of fact, it was too hot with the heated mattress pad.

Not wanting to trudge out to the barn bathroom again in the middle of the night for a wee-wee, came up with the idea of putting a small pot in the toilet bowl. All I had to do this morning was take my half-filled pot to the barn bathroom, and down the loo she went. Voila!

My mom would be happy. She always said people who were not careful with their money would end up "not having a pot to p!ss in."

I was also thinking about those padded elevator liners that apartment managers put up when people are moving so the furniture and elevator walls are not scuffed. Something like that on the inside of an Airstream would work wonders, especially in the bedroom. All you would need are the knobs at the top of the walls to hang the riveted panels from.

I wonder if the mothership ever thinks of some modifications like that to make the AS more attractive year round?
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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If you are wintering at the same place all the time, you can hook up a larger propane tank to take the annoyance out of running out of gas from those small tanks in the middle of that cold night. (Those small tanks will lose pressure and run dry prematurely in the cold.)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f313...ml#post1097298

Dave

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Hi Bob,

Propane is a big expenditure, that's for sure. With the sunny days/cold nights, the electric heater seems to suffice during the day. But any colder, and I would be doing same.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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I have not even had the hose hooked-up here at Flag for the past few days, it's been so chilly. It was in the low teens last night and even with the fore and aft radiators on, the Suburban was cycling. Supposed to be in single digits tonight, I think we've reached our tolerence level. W're heading "down the hill" southwest to Cactus Hug this afternoon!
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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Hi Fly at Night:
I'm just 10min. South of the Peace Arch from you.
Was wondering what kind of electric heater you have as I have one of those little ceramic heaters and it keeps things toasty in the temps we've had these past couple of days.
Caviate: my AS is IN the barn where I've full timed through the past two winters...if you can move inside your barn things would improve as you would'ent have the wind sucking the heat out of the TT. Keeps the TT clean and dry too.
Only when we get a winter storm (snow, wind and no sun light to heat up the barn for a couple of days) do I use the furnace and that's only just before my evening shower for 5-10 minutes. In winter I only go through one propane bottle a month....in summer one bottle lasts over 2 months.
I plumbed the barn for toilet and shower but quickly realized that by installing the septic field service right out side my back door I need only to dump tanks every three days....so I'm self sufficient in that respect and using the TT and barn to their fullest potential.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #12
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Hi Fly at Night:
I'm just 10min. South of the Peace Arch from you.
Was wondering what kind of electric heater you have as I have one of those little ceramic heaters and it keeps things toasty in the temps we've had these past couple of days.
Caviate: my AS is IN the barn where I've full timed through the past two winters...if you can move inside your barn things would improve as you would'ent have the wind sucking the heat out of the TT. Keeps the TT clean and dry too.
Only when we get a winter storm (snow, wind and no sun light to heat up the barn for a couple of days) do I use the furnace and that's only just before my evening shower for 5-10 minutes. In winter I only go through one propane bottle a month....in summer one bottle lasts over 2 months.
I plumbed the barn for toilet and shower but quickly realized that by installing the septic field service right out side my back door I need only to dump tanks every three days....so I'm self sufficient in that respect and using the TT and barn to their fullest potential.
Hi Del,

My heater is old. I want to upgrade to a ceramic heater - one that is more energy efficient.

You are lucky; that is my dream scenario - to move the FaN into a heated barn-like structure with all the hook-up ammenities so I do not have to worry about winterizing the trailer.

As you can see, my barn does not have the clearance. It is the centre-aisle style with horse stalls down either side. The loafing shed attached to one side has even less roof clearance.

Like your name "Tinbad the Trailer!"

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Old 11-11-2012, 12:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post
If you are wintering at the same place all the time, you can hook up a larger propane tank to take the annoyance out of running out of gas from those small tanks in the middle of that cold night. (Those small tanks will lose pressure and run dry prematurely in the cold.)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f313...ml#post1097298

Dave
Hi Dave,

Gee, I did not know that was available. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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I have not even had the hose hooked-up here at Flag for the past few days, it's been so chilly. It was in the low teens last night and even with the fore and aft radiators on, the Suburban was cycling. Supposed to be in single digits tonight, I think we've reached our tolerence level. W're heading "down the hill" southwest to Cactus Hug this afternoon!
Hi Mike,

I understand - "tolerence level" being the key words.

Cactus Hug sounds appealing. Never been there, but the image that comes to mind is margaritas and sunshine.
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