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Old 09-17-2019, 08:39 PM   #1
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Basecamp in Alaska

I'm moving up to Alaska and plan on taking my Basecamp winter camping. Are the tank heaters sufficient to keep the tanks from freezing in interior Alaska? Does anyone have advice on what kind of generator to get? I'm looking at 3500W models but concerned about whether electric start will be reliable in super cold weather, or whether I'll have to make additional modifications if I'm going to leave it outside (battery/oil heater).
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ally1234 View Post
I'm moving up to Alaska and plan on taking my Basecamp winter camping. Are the tank heaters sufficient to keep the tanks from freezing in interior Alaska? Does anyone have advice on what kind of generator to get? I'm looking at 3500W models but concerned about whether electric start will be reliable in super cold weather, or whether I'll have to make additional modifications if I'm going to leave it outside (battery/oil heater).
There have been many discussions relative to the challenges of winter camping in airstreams. Go to that search bar and seek them out.

Not to be crass, but you'll most likely run in to problems.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:10 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!

By "interior Alaska" do you mean somewhere like Fairbanks? Here is the December forecast for that location, with the min/max temperature lines at the bottom of the page:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/fa...6836?year=2019

With a projected temperature range of minus 18F to positive 18F +/-, would you please confirm that your questions are serious ones?

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Old 09-19-2019, 06:43 PM   #4
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Yes, my questions are serious. I've tent camped in -15 so a camper seems like it might be nice in comparison.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:44 PM   #5
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I haven't seen anything on the forums that deals with winter camping below about 20 degrees. If you know of a post, please send the link.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:05 PM   #6
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"can" and "should"

By all means, it can be done. Folks camp outside in tents (the Arctic Oven is a favorite) and some even live in yurts year around in interior Alaska. The fundamentals apply universally:

1. All water lines and water appliances must be drained and winterized. Get over the idea of heaters keeping water liquid in the Basecamp. Even if you have prepared for the cold, you will wake up one morning surprised by an extreme drop in temps, wreaking all kids of havoc. In marginal conditions, you will need a bunch of fossil energy to keep up with the heat loss, and if it turns even colder, it is too late to try to winterize on the fly. And too cold. Your hands are not nimble in the cold and your air compressor will pick that time to form an ice blockage.

2. By all means run the furnace and/or stove. Just be sure to leave adequate venting for moisture to escape. Either that or find a Dune still suit. It is so incredibly dry in the cold that moisture gets pulled out of everything - including you. And it will condense on that nice shiny single pane window and metal skin. We used to ice fish in a plywood shelter at -30F with a heater going. The trick was air circulation to prevent the interior icing up.

3. Bring your Wiggy's or equivalent cold weather sleeping bag just in case. Know that propane quits flowing in the extreme cold. Also, caring for your TV can be done but will require a generator big enough to heat the engine block, battery and oil pan. You can use a catalytic heater. In either case a big blanket or your sleeping bag over the engine helps greatly.

Winter camping can be fun - just don't expect too much of your machinery and be prepared for the unexpected.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:06 PM   #7
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P.s.

Welcome to The Great Land. It is a hoot! Just don't look for me camping outside in interior weather conditions. I've done my time. (smile)
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:07 AM   #8
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Be careful. Interior Alaska cold is serious and you need to know what you’re doing. People die when they don’t. -40 and colder is a lot different from -15. The physical properties of things are different at those temperatures from what most people are used to and what most things are designed for. Propane stops boiling at those temperatures, so a propane tank heater won’t work unless you heat the propane tanks. Generators or any other engine (your car) must be kept running continually or heated. If let get cold, they will not start again.
Pjshier’s advice above is good. Especially the have a Wiggy’s with you.
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