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Old 11-17-2012, 05:24 AM   #43
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1967 24' Tradewind
Telluride , Colorado
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Posts: 49
We winter camp all around the san juan mountains in Colorado. We just have Porta-potti and jugs of water, 5 gallon jug for grey water. I have not bought the vented fan free heater yet so it can get a bit chilly. Yes a bit odd and primitive but I like it.

Dropping water system makes it easy.


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Old 11-17-2012, 09:41 AM   #44
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2002 22' International CCD
San Luis Obispo , California
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Mrs. Mod, I see you're from Fresno. China Peak Ski Area (just up the road from you) has RV sites for winter/ski camping. Check their website,, under the lodging tab. Looks like they have electrical hook-ups only. I've never camped there.... I prefer a nice cozy lodge with a big fire when on a ski trip, but to be honest the winter camping thing looks like fun.

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Old 11-17-2012, 09:52 AM   #45
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Fraser Valley , British Columbia
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One thing I'm freaked about is the possible freezing and cracking of a full hot water tank ( was warned about the $1,000 replacement cost).

However, when I was camping at the Alpine Resort in October (where it was getting down to a few degees above freezing overnight) I would turn the hot water tank on before bed for about 20 mins. and would still have warm water in the morning.
So, I would imagine if you kept it warm while driving (might entail some stops) it should be okay.

Either that or doing the winterization - then you're hauling water in and out in containers (and the nearest tree is your bathroom?). Would be kinda rustic and fun (in small doses).

Oh.....have noticed that some of the RV parks here have heated water connections at every site. That helps the water going in, but not going out.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 AM   #46
Len and Jeanne
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2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
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We normally winterize the Bambi in early October to avoid the risk of damaging the water system. We do use the loo, but if the temperatures are low and we flush manually via water bottles we also add some RV antifreeze or winter-type windshield washer fluid to the tank with each flush. So far we haven't had any valves freezing, but I can see how this could be a problem in truly cold weather.

Possibly we could buy some "biffy bags" designed to handle human waste at a store like REI that caters to outdoors people, as the "pack out what you pack in" mandate for high-traffic, environmentally sensitive areas is taken to the nth degree.

For anyone who has never winterized their AS: our RVing neighbours routinely winterize and de-winterize their RVs themselves. You need to have the capacity to blow out your pipes, and then many (though not all) people would put antifreeze in the water system. It takes a while to flush it all out in the spring and tap water does tend to run pink and fizzy at first, but it's a decent trade-off for those of us living in serious winter places.

We get our Bambi winterized and de-winterized at our local RV service center. It costs about $40 per operation. We don't mind if the mechanics think we're sort of retarded.

We carry water in jerry cans, and these could freeze (at least around the spouts) if they live in the truck, with seriously cold nighttime temperatures. If it's really cold, it's best to keep them inside your AS at night. For routine use, a lot of small water bottles are easier to handle. So being close to a water source is a fine idea. We heat water in the tea kettle, and then try to minimize dish-washing.

For anyone living in places without serious winters, it is really, really important to have warm hats, mitts, and jackets-- the kind you could buy at a ski shop or store catering to hunters, snowmobilers, or mountaineers. Thin city boots and gloves are not going to keep you from freezing.

The interior condensation issue has been mentioned.

Some national parks are open in snow country. Bryce Canyon NP keeps at least one campground loop open in winter, and rents snow shoes to people wanting to explore the trails. (See: Ranger Guided Activities - Bryce Canyon National Park .) It is very popular with cross-country skiiers. Some RV parks catering to skiiers and snowmobilers should be open.

Have a great trip!
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:31 PM   #47
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Sunnyvale , California
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Our neighbor is a winter campground host at Yosemite for 2 or 3 months every winter.. Lower Pines campground there remains open all winter.. He is heading up in a couple weeks for Bracebridge Christmas Dinner program.. I believe there are open campgrounds around South lake Tahoe as well, though drive over Hwy 50 may need some careful weather planning.. We've spent nights at temps as low as 15 degrees in ours, and it is possible without hookups if HD batteries are fully charged to run furnace at night.. You asked for "tips:, and here is a short list of things to focus on:
- In Calif, you may need tow chains for both tow vehicle and at least 1 axle of trailer, both to satisfy CHP and to keep trailer from sliding off road in unintended directions. Have them handy, practice install and removal, and be prepared
- I'd insist on portable generator that works.. It takes a couple of hours each day to recharge batteries to run furnace at night and that is critical if you don't have electrical hookups
- In addition to down comforter, we added electric blanket plus small electric heater as comfort items, to relieve furnace.. Check owner's manual, as you can adjust furnace and thermostat for range of temps and duration of heat cycles.
- When it's gong to be real cold, consider removing and draining hose and relying on water tanks. Below 20 degrees, even "trickling" hoses can burst and become ice sculptures...
- Inside walls of trailer will become cold to touch.. Consider fabric panels along walls next to bed and where you'll be sitting
- DO launch with propane tank(s) full, and systems (furnace/water heater) working well, since failures mean time to return to warm country fast...
- Use care when cooking with stove/oven to make sure there is some venting, to avoid CO buildup inside trailer.. You'll also need bath vent fan open and active to relieve steaming after showers..
- Be sure umbilical to Tow Vehicle is disconnected to avoid any chance trailer might drain vehicle battery and leave you stranded.. Tow vehicle battery will already be under stress in cold weather, and any bonus drains might also leave you stranded..

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:33 PM   #48
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Fairbanks , Alaska
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We have made trips from Fairbanks to the lower 48 and back when it was cold think temps down to -20 F. We have done this both in a SOB without the heated tanks like the AS and in our EB. To keep the waste tank valves from freezing on us add at least a gallon of pink antifreeze to the tanks before we use them. One consideration is if you will be going from a cold area camping to a warmer area on your way home to dump.

At these sub zero temps we carry our fresh water in 5 gal. jugs. and only use the waste tanks. However on our northbound trip this fall it was about 0F and in Dawson when we finally figured we needed to winterize and shut down the fresh water. Not a real fun job at these temps but it went fine. We were able to bring the trailer into a heated space here in Fairbanks after returning and check out the winterization.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:59 PM   #49
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Central , Mississippi
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Gee, I completely forgot about our trip to the 'Can Opener' a few years was in the Teen's during the trip down. no problems...

IMHO, a 'dip' below freezing isn't a big deal...I usually don't even think about freexing and busting unless it's dropping below 25. IIRC, the only time I busted stuff was when I DID winterize...'20 degrees? heck, no worries, I winterized!!!...oops, forgot about the ice maker valve and the shower head...))
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:51 AM   #50
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2012 20' Flying Cloud
Bishop , California
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Posts: 31
Robert Sunrus asked me to start a new thread on Airstream modifications for winter camping. I'll make that post soon and hope others on this forum will contribute ideas and suggestions for using our trailers during the winter months. I am certainly not an expert on winter RVing but will be glad to contribute what I have done.

Bill Dunlap
Mammoth Lakes, CA
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:24 AM   #51
Len and Jeanne
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Creston Valley , British Columbia
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crisen, you live in Fairbanks? Alaska? You get the prize for most extreme winter camping in an Airstream.

Bill, that new thread sounds very helpful.

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