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Old 12-25-2021, 10:28 AM   #1
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WINTER AIRSTREAM Options... NONE

Wow... read a good thread about Winter Camping in an Airstream or any RV.

Cheaper to rent a Hotel Room and play it wise.

Snowbirds do not go North in the Winter Months. Winter in Florida is not the same Winter in Colorado. Or Wyoming. Or Minnesota... although there are posts of those who do WINTER CAMP and suffered No Consequences.

Well... good for you. You get snowed in... better have 4wd and shovels.

Never camp in the Mountains where it could snow in October... and it may not melt until March. Get stuck... not good news. Camped in March... and it snows... it will melt in New Mexico... but not in the Rockies. But the Sky is clear at -4F.

If things go sour... and they will eventually... you will have the biggest plumbing bill and reconstruction of your Airstream anyone can imagine. This kind of Winter Camping is for Experienced Airstream owners. The Yahoo who believes an advertisement... needs to understand that you CAN do this with Electrical Hookups and skirting.

The 99% who think this is pleasant... try it and tell everyone how pleasant it was.

That is part of the situation. SALTed Roads and Salty water being tossed into every crevice and opening of your Salt Aversion Chemical Reactive Airstream. If you have ever seen a NEW AIRSTREAM at the Dealer's Lot towed from Jackson Center during sloppy highway winter conditions... the CORROSION is an Eye Opener.

Our Winter Camping would be INSIDE our RV Garage.

You can Winter Camp if you are plugged in, have tank heaters, skirting, towels to wipe condensation running down your windows, staining your white curtains...

Wyoming volunteers in the Summers are given large Propane Cylinders to keep from freezing up overnight. The National Forest Service provides them at no charge. That works. Your two Propane Tanks... less than a week and you are in trouble.

We drank the (Kool Aid) Cool Aide with the 2006. Anyone who says it was... wonderful... added Vodka.

Photo 1. June 8, 2006 Wyoming
Photo 2. March 27, 2009 New Mexico
Photo 3. October 29, 2009 Colorado front driveway
Photo 4. December 10, 2015 Nevada

Want to do Winter Camping? Las Vegas works for us.

If you do not know what you are doing... be very careful. I have more insulation in my Sleeping Bags than an Airstream. When the trailer is towed... the insulation creeps down between the walls, if it goes anywhere.
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Old 12-25-2021, 10:52 AM   #2
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So are you for or against winter camping? It wasn’t really clear in your post. Perhaps you are holding back?

Actually, you made it very clear

We see the Bigfoot brand SOB’s out here and those supposed to address the cold weather issues quite well.

There is a lot to be said for Winter camping in Florida. Probably don’t have to worry about the pipes or burning all your propane in 24 hours!
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:18 AM   #3
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Winter camping in the Airstream isn’t worth the risk or the extra work required to make it possible. Camping is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not stressful and filled with worry that a pipe will burst. We did some Rocky Mountain “spring” camping this year in April and ran into temperatures in the mid teens. Our propane usage was considerable, but we got through it. I’ll wait until May for the 2022 camping season to begin.
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:50 AM   #4
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I’m not against winter camping, though I do my best to b-line it south the minute we leave Minnesota in January. The biggest issue I have and agree with Ray is the de-icing chemicals used on our roads. We purchased our 2021 Airstream last February in Oklahoma after it sat for 30 days on the lot covered in muck. The corrosion underneath is insane! The jacks, grounding lugs, anything metal is totally corroded.
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Old 12-25-2021, 11:51 AM   #5
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Magnesium Chloride is nasty stuff
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Old 12-25-2021, 06:06 PM   #6
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This is my idea of winter campin'.

Pic taken December 3rd.

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Old 12-25-2021, 06:48 PM   #7
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Camped near Lyons Colorado many times in December, Jan., FebÖÖÖ.always have a great time. Sustained several days in a row of temps near -0į- f. Camped in several different locations in Colorado during those months over several years. Started our trips from central Illinois.
You have to be smart about it, prepare for it, and donít be an idiot. But we love winter camping in our 1982 Airstream Classic 310 Turbo Diesel motorhome.
Itís just not true to say it canít be done, or it shouldnít be done, or itís no fun, or any other blanket statements about winter camping. It may not be for everyone, but we love it. We also donít like camping in mid-summer.
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:38 PM   #8
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Camp year round in Colorado.
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Old 12-25-2021, 09:32 PM   #9
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Timely thread, we’re just returning from a 3 week stint in Colorado/New Mexico/Arizona. We left Michigan in decent conditions and drove to Salida, CO. Spent a few days there (including 1 extra to let some snow melt from the passes).

All that time was spent flushing with RV antifreeze and not using our water system at all.

Outside Santa Fe and for the remainder of the trip in Sedona and the voyage home via NM, OK, MO we have been able to use the water, no incidents of leaking as of yet. Electric heaters are quite good at saving the propane as well.

The occasion of the trip was a shakedown trip after my stepson & family picked up their Outdoors RV trailer in Salida. This brand is made in Oregon and mostly sold in the West. They claim it is a 4 season trailer with much attention to detail in terms of insulation and heated tanks/plumbing. They had no problem running water through their systems while we were still “dry camping.” Build quality seems decent and the self-leveling system is fantastic. Yes, I’m trailer jealous . . .

Time will tell how it holds up, but certainly it is much more winter ready than our Flying Cloud.
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Old 12-26-2021, 10:28 AM   #10
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mayco, I would guess you get the pick of the campsites with no reservations.
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Old 12-26-2021, 10:48 AM   #11
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You CAN Do What YOU Want... Fine with me

If you have the additional Propane or an Electrical Outlet for HEAT at a RV Park... go for it. That is the one and only good option. At least you can leave... anytime... and you WILL. There is nothing to do... unless at Flathead Lake in NW Montana to ICE Fish, but you are on the ice, in a fish house with a wood burning stove... aaaahhh. I have.

Cross Country Skier... good during the daylight hours as you will be HOT and wet. Not after Sunset... over 10,000 feet in Colorado.

You will not want to spend another night in the Airstream. Nope... fish house (burbot?) is more comfortable.

Then if you have a dog, or two and they want out to do their business and you go out with them... they return WET. You return WET. You hang your coats to dry. The dogs lay there and dry out.

Where does this added humidity go? Now you need to open vents to vent the excess humidity that condenses on the windows behind the curtains. This is RAIN inside your Airstream. This runs along the interior walls... If it does not evaporate and the vent(s) running to pull it out... the Cold Air comes into the trailer and you increase interior temperature.

Now you have created a Rain Forest. You now have condensation running down your windows, some is absorbed by your curtains. The dogs want out... again.

Your Propane use is 24 hours. The humidity is excessive. You will feel cold and wet. You need to open a window to vent, now.

It is warmer in your Tow Vehicle idling with heater. The cost of fuel will 'dampen' your wallet and the trailer is now a refrigerator.

I figured this out the FIRST Winter in a 2006 23 foot. Imagine heating a 27 to 34 foot.

Imagine this... Getting stuck ten miles from the highway, an overnight dumping of snow in November. You have a 2wd or 4wd... two feet of snow, four foot to 5 foot drifts. You cannot drive out. You cannot tow the trailer out with a 2wd. You might be able to get a mile away from the trailer, get stuck... you are now waiting for someone... someone on a Snow Mobile to dig you out?

Donner Party in 1846 also were... optimistic. When you resort to cannibalism... you are desperate. Snow provides NO calories... and lowers your inner body temperature. You will take off your clothes and play in the snow...

Even in the High Country of Colorado... snow mobiles depart from plowed parking lots... like Rabbit Ear Pass. Next to a highway. You try camping there and by morning... you notice the parking lot is empty.

As a youth we lived in a NFS Cabin in NW Montana. We used firewood to get through the winter. Lots of firewood. It was warm, dry and toasty. If the fire burned down overnight with no firewood added... it was cold, damp and miserable. The heat draws out the chimney.

Winter in 'Snow Country'... is not bright. Spend a couple evenings camped outside your home in the snow in your Airstream. Do not go inside the home for anything. Imagine it is not there. Do not cheat. If you do, you already failed the test.

Imagine frost bite. Lose some toes, fingers... This is Real. Not some fiction on a Forum. If you do this regularly in the Mountains, or in the northern States... tell us how you do it. Even I want to hear how much Fuel you used, pets? and how many blankets?

If you survive this... then tow over Mag Chloride or Salt wet roads... you have now an Airstream that will corrode the frame, filiform the aluminum, get into the AC units, corrode the copper wiring, mess up your connector to the trailer... on and on and on.

Of course this does not make any sense to some... go for it. Tell us how it worked out. Photos are nice. A short story does not count. I can make up a short story.

I went Winter Camping. I returned... the End.
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Old 12-26-2021, 11:31 AM   #12
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Never driven in snow and don't plan to start.
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Old 12-26-2021, 11:36 AM   #13
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Ever Towed on SNOW or ICY Roads? How about Muddy roads?

Nope. Never. Well... maybe in 2007 at Medicine Bow, Wyoming in an Ice / sleet /rain on an unpaved road north of town.

Storm began and we ended up with mud stuck to fender wells, rock guards and a filthy mess. What did not fall off when driving to Rock Springs... caught a big rain shower, rode back and forth across the water dips at intersections in town and... Lived happily ever after.

Cleaned up very nice and the running water cleaned the road, as well. Travel on unimproved Rocky Mountain roads during or just after a big STORM dumps inches of rain in one hour.

Some experiences in a 4x4 on muddy roads paid off to clean the Tow Vehicle and Trailer. Driving through a Heavy Rain Storm is a great car wash... if you avoid hydroplaning. But it works. Cleans out the tire treads as well.

When on a muddy road, your tire treads fill with mud... and now you have SKIS.

You do not want to, as well.

Muddy roads. Avoid it if you can. Never tow your Airstream on muddy roads after a rain, or worse, while it is raining.

Towing on any of the above, even with a 4x4... Don't.

Preaching to the Choir? I hope. I experienced an Exodus out of a compact dirt road... during a rain, drizzle, sleet and light snow among a group of Airstream owners. They voted to LEAVE as the weather was not up to... standard.

You know, sunny, warm and pleasant? Not.

This was the opposite. Rather than waiting it out to dry out some... the group voted to LEAVE NOW. A knock on my door, in my underwear... thinking someone needed medical attention. But finding a large group standing outside.

OK... so I warmed up the two vehicle, packed up the trailer and was gone in less than 15 minutes. That pretty much turned me sour about Off the Grid Boondocking with a group.

Sometimes... you have to comply with the crowd, but never again. Had one jack knifed and blocked the road... it would be all over. There were 12 to14 Airstreams. I sure did not want to be the trailer at the end... And these were better than most, as they were mostly dirt and rounded gravel imbedded into the puddles.

Just be careful. If a group wants to do something not to your liking... let THEM do it and use your Common Sense. It is NOT equally distributed.

Once safely back in Medicine Bow... stopped at the Virginian Hotel and had a great breakfast. This was our FIRST TRIP in the 2006 Safari... June 30, 2006. I liked the pancake substituted for... toast. Whooooo Hooooo

Top Photo: May 1, 2007 in our favorite OTG Boondocking New Mexico! Narrow roads make you use strategy when encountering oncoming cattle haulers. You... look for DUST up ahead and find a pull over. Over time you get... smart. But paid for from being not so smart.

Middle photo... central Wyoming near Rock Springs...

Airstreams can go to many places. You just have to know... when to Turn Around or back out and find another route.

Now that I have, no doubt, insulted most on the Forum... I am safe to travel ourselves in the comfort and safety we always enjoy. All of the time...
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Old 12-26-2021, 12:04 PM   #14
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Moral of the story (and all the others)

If Ray wouldn't do it, couldn't do it or just didn't like it.....
Then no one could or would.

I think I understand better now
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Old 12-26-2021, 12:26 PM   #15
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My take on this is to “get the pancakes”.
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Old 12-26-2021, 12:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
If you have the additional Propane or an Electrical Outlet for HEAT at a RV Park... go for it. That is the one and only good option. At least you can leave... anytime... and you WILL. There is nothing to do... unless at Flathead Lake in NW Montana to ICE Fish, but you are on the ice, in a fish house with a wood burning stove... aaaahhh. I have.

Cross Country Skier... good during the daylight hours as you will be HOT and wet. Not after Sunset... over 10,000 feet in Colorado.

You will not want to spend another night in the Airstream. Nope... fish house (burbot?) is more comfortable.

Then if you have a dog, or two and they want out to do their business and you go out with them... they return WET. You return WET. You hang your coats to dry. The dogs lay there and dry out.

Where does this added humidity go? Now you need to open vents to vent the excess humidity that condenses on the windows behind the curtains. This is RAIN inside your Airstream. This runs along the interior walls... If it does not evaporate and the vent(s) running to pull it out... the Cold Air comes into the trailer and you increase interior temperature.

Now you have created a Rain Forest. You now have condensation running down your windows, some is absorbed by your curtains. The dogs want out... again.

Your Propane use is 24 hours. The humidity is excessive. You will feel cold and wet. You need to open a window to vent, now.

It is warmer in your Tow Vehicle idling with heater. The cost of fuel will 'dampen' your wallet and the trailer is now a refrigerator.

I figured this out the FIRST Winter in a 2006 23 foot. Imagine heating a 27 to 34 foot.

Imagine this... Getting stuck ten miles from the highway, an overnight dumping of snow in November. You have a 2wd or 4wd... two feet of snow, four foot to 5 foot drifts. You cannot drive out. You cannot tow the trailer out with a 2wd. You might be able to get a mile away from the trailer, get stuck... you are now waiting for someone... someone on a Snow Mobile to dig you out?

Donner Party in 1846 also were... optimistic. When you resort to cannibalism... you are desperate. Snow provides NO calories... and lowers your inner body temperature. You will take off your clothes and play in the snow...

Even in the High Country of Colorado... snow mobiles depart from plowed parking lots... like Rabbit Ear Pass. Next to a highway. You try camping there and by morning... you notice the parking lot is empty.

As a youth we lived in a NFS Cabin in NW Montana. We used firewood to get through the winter. Lots of firewood. It was warm, dry and toasty. If the fire burned down overnight with no firewood added... it was cold, damp and miserable. The heat draws out the chimney.

Winter in 'Snow Country'... is not bright. Spend a couple evenings camped outside your home in the snow in your Airstream. Do not go inside the home for anything. Imagine it is not there. Do not cheat. If you do, you already failed the test.

Imagine frost bite. Lose some toes, fingers... This is Real. Not some fiction on a Forum. If you do this regularly in the Mountains, or in the northern States... tell us how you do it. Even I want to hear how much Fuel you used, pets? and how many blankets?

If you survive this... then tow over Mag Chloride or Salt wet roads... you have now an Airstream that will corrode the frame, filiform the aluminum, get into the AC units, corrode the copper wiring, mess up your connector to the trailer... on and on and on.

Of course this does not make any sense to some... go for it. Tell us how it worked out. Photos are nice. A short story does not count. I can make up a short story.

I went Winter Camping. I returned... the End.
I guess you have never used a dehumidifier Ray? Summer or winter, this device works extremely well. Never a wet moment.
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Old 12-26-2021, 01:21 PM   #17
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Just what I need is a dehumidifier. Or two flat screen televisions with no tv stations for a hundred miles. ...and a generator idling outside?

At 90% humidity at 25 degrees outside, frost... the humidity inside your trailer is humidity on steroids in rain and sleet and snow... and if not careful your windows are iced up and melting at sunrise into the interior.

Do not need the noise. We travel away from Humidity... Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma... and Texas.... sweating is a hobby.

We need no humidifiers in Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah... the Great American Desert they call it. And other States. We are use to 5% humidity.

I guess we could Plug Into a Rock for a dehumidifier? This Off the Grid Boondocking, not plugged into a RV Outlet and watching television.

Thayne, Wyoming right now... wet and snowy. Have relatives in Thayne. Too many Aspen tells me too Humid. They do not have a dehumidifier... either. Their skin is wrinkled and humidity is welcomed. Shop in Alpine and great restaurant Yankee Doodle and customers come in and have Side Arms, as the sign says Side Arms Welcome.

Relatives leave town in the Winter. Snow Birds... snow will melt in Spring.

We ADDED Water in the SUMMERS of Colorado and Wyoming in the Winter Months.

Having a wood burning Fireplace heating the house, closed system with fans... it does not suck the air up the chimney and add water in pans near the fireplace.

Do not want to damage the woodwork. When you have 5% humidity... Do not need to Take water out as you cannot. Don't have a dehumidifier in my 2016 F350 King Ranch either. Have two Blue Heelers that do that job exhaling.
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Old 12-26-2021, 01:57 PM   #18
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A little Sarcasm goes a long way... when in the Rockies

The Rocky Mountains does not have the monopoly of mountain roads.

Arkansas has some great ones just south of Missouri Border.

Once Arkansas put a modern Interstate north to south... you could avoid the two lane that was full of mischief. We went Crystal Digging in Arkansas. Mountain Home, Arkansas may have been on this two lane.

Coleman's Quartz Mine... Jessieville. It may be closed for crystal digging. I heard it became an Amusement Park over the deep open pit mine. Good camping and showers there for maybe ten smaller trailers in the 1980's. You want to sweat... Summers are the best to do that.
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Old 12-26-2021, 02:56 PM   #19
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Where was this taken? Looks nice.
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Old 12-26-2021, 03:11 PM   #20
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Hey Ray!

This winter will be my lesson winter, then - Although I will have electric hookups at Zion, and a full-hookup the first two weeks at G Canyon (south,) I do have two dry camping weeks scheduled in, at the end of February/March - either likely at the Arizona junction of 89/89A down near the Lake Powell dam; or if I get skittish after two weeks in Zion, I'll head SW and join the throngs at Quartzsite and check that local out for a week. I have no illusion that this is going to be springtime comfortable; and I am bringing the genset for the principal reason to drive the air compressor if I want/need to blow the lines due to a temperature drop.

The Blue Beacon undercarriage rinse is definitely going to be taken any/every chance I get.

I am one of those 5% weirdos you allude to - I already backpack throughout the world in the shoulder or off seasons - not just because alot of things are cheaper, the solace of 'un-crowds' attracts me. I've backpacked into the Grand Canyon in March, only to have two feet of snow dumped onto, and crushing my tent, on the south rim on our exit night. For me, the trailer is just an aluminum variant of my REI half-dome tent - but with a nicer bed.

Oh, and Red Rocks Canyon, Las Vegas is penciled in before I head up to Zion on January 28. I am hoping to make it up Wyoming way in April/May; before my beeline back to Virginia by June for a family beach endeavor on the outer banks.

There are some items to consider from this thread; thanks for that! I'll later be happy to post back about some of my success/failure regarding the warnings.

Ian
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