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Old 10-23-2008, 09:41 AM   #1
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HeadnOut's Avatar
2005 25' Safari
Ruther Glen , Virginia
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 51
Advice on wintertime use

Hi to all,
Im a new owner of a 05 25'ss safari and purchased this in one part due to Airstream being a 4 season trailer. I plan to do alot of late season use from now through...well really all winter long. I plan to use the camper for my base camp hunting and fishing trips to the mountains of VA. This season is aready showing temps droping below freezing at night in the mountain regions. I would like any advice from the seasoned vets of winter time use of there trailers. Note: I will be using Genorator power at camp, and taking my own fresh water. Do I have to worry about pipes freezing at night as long as I keep the camper heated???
Im leaving tomorrow for my first late season trip..
Thanks in advance
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:00 AM   #2
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2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
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As long as I have heated the trailer things have been fine. The furnace is a pain when on generator power, as it eats 12 volt power(good batteries will last 1 night, maybe.) A free standing radiant heater is better.

Some fashion of skirting would help make things toasty. If you are going to be setup for a while in one location, hay or straw bales along the edge of the trailer will keep the heat under the trailer. A tarp or other fabric skirt would work, too.
Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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It's news to me..............

I didn't know that Airstreams are a 4 seasons camper. I was under the impression that even 4 season campers aren't 4 season campers. I think
that the only way to make a camper 4 season friendly is to make it a stationary basecamp, with an insulation skirt, insulated water supply and sewer. In which case, why use a travel trailer. Why not buy a shed for half the price.
Another concern that I would have is pipes freezing in the event of furnace failure , or a depleted fuel supply.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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2002 19' Bambi
Lafayette , California
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We have used our 2002 19' Bambi for years in West Yellowstone in September, when night-time temperatures can easily be in the mid 20s. As long as you have 120v power for the forced-air furnace and disconnect your water hose at night, you should not have problems with cold overnight. With temperatures below freezing during the day, things get a little more difficult. If the forced-air furnace is providing the heat, the tanks are heated, but the gray and black-water dumping systems can freeze enough for the valves to stick. There are after-market heating elements to take care of that, but they take enough power (even though they are 12v) that you will want to have 120v shore power.

If you try to do everything with 12v battery power without a 120v connection, you can easily have problems quickly. Please don't forget that the batteries produce less power at lower temperatures.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:29 AM   #5
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The generator should do the job if it is at least a 3000 watt? Watch your propane use if it is a gas furnace.zz
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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2005 25' Safari
Ruther Glen , Virginia
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 51
I guess I should clarify that my "base camp" is only for 3-5 days at a time in the National Forest...I can only get up there maybe twice a month. The trailer gets towed home in between trips.........A shed is a great idea, but land is very expensive along with installing power and having a well dug and lets not forget about the drain field.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:56 PM   #7
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2005 28' International CCD
Willoughby , Ohio
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Posts: 543
Here are a few thoughts for you....

Use the furnace, not a space heater - there are ducts from the furnace to the tanks to prevent them from freezing.

The windows on your unit are like mine - single pane glass - and there are lots of them. You may want to fashion some sort of insulation for most of them.

Ditto for the skylights and the fantastic fans. We use bubble wrap that is silvered on both sides - cut to fit the openings in the ceiling and cut to fit the window openings tightly, open the window and fit between window and screen, close the window.

I agree with disconnecting the water input.
I'd also get some insulation for the dump valves - they are plastic and will probably get very brittle in the cold.

Finally, get a good sized pot and make some stoup, chili or stew!
A bottle of Yukon Jack couldn't hurt either!
Steve & Susan
WBCCI# 03876
AIR# 6511
2005 28' CCD, 2011 Sierra 5.3L, Equal-I-Zer
Empty Nesters - spending our money on OURSELVES for a change!
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:57 PM   #8
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Common Sense , Texas
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I've done freezing weather camping in hunting season in West Texas, but it was a SOB, at the time. Doesn't matter, same freezing problems exist. As long as you don't leave it with water in the pipes without heat, you will do OK. The others are right about the holding tanks freezing. I used a 100 watt light bulb close to the tanks to keep them liquid. If you do it for more than a couple of days when it's really cold, it's not a lot of fun.
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:27 AM   #9
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2006 25' Safari SS SE
Eden , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 22
Winter Living

We live in our Airstream 12/7. We have been as far east as New York and also in the Midwest from November-February. It is hard, a lot of work but can be done.
The biggest issue of course is water. We have had running water from a outside faucet running to our trailer up to 3 degree's. You just need to have all faucets trickle the water.
Any colder than that and it freezes. Once it gets to 0 you really can't have running water.
We purchased "Water Heater" insulation and cut it custom for each window (several per blanket) and taped the edges and put in the windows. It keeps us toasty. We do have to put a throw rug down when it starts getting in the 20's to keep our "footsies" warm.
Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:52 AM   #10
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Ajo , Arizona
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We travel during the winter, too & everybody has good ideas on how to survive. We have
two liquid-filled radiators that keep the humidity down & the heat up.
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:05 PM   #11
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1985 25' Sovereign
1966 17' Caravel
Philly , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 45
We live in our '86 25 footer year round and move around regularly. We are currently in PA, getting some snow and very cold nights (18 ish). The tips we have are:

1. Keep the furness going, as someone said before, space heaters are great but they dont heat the tanks or the pipes that run under your floor.
2. Use heat tape (you can get this from lowes or home depot) or a special RV tank heating pad and apply some direct heat to your tanks. They run on 120v and are good safety net.
3. If your worried about the generator cutting out and thus everything freezing while your out (we worry about this too when on self power), its going to be a good idea to drain some of the major components of your water system, esp. those parts that are hard/expensive to replace. When we go away over night, we open the taps and drain the system. Open the fresh tank drain, the main system drain and hot water tank drain. To make this easier I put taps on all these drains with big, easy to use handles. It takes use about 20 mins to dump all our water, enough that if we do freeze its not the end of the world.
4. Lagg your pipes. I went around and insulated all the internal pipes, it might buy you some time if you do have a power cutout.
5. Skirts: these are supposed to work great, but as we move so often I've never bothered.
6. Keep your blinds down at night and the curtains closed, provides a bit of extra insulation.
7. Block the roof vents with some foam, again better insulation
8. I popped the belly pan and put some extra insulation under the floor and around the tanks, the stuff in our floor was old and better stuff is on the market today.

People say winter living in the AS is hard, but to be honest we have found it to be a pretty snug place when the snow was coming down.

Have fun

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:38 PM   #12
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 138
Since the date of your post is late Oct, I sense you were preparing for the rut hunt around mid Nov. As an avid bow hunter, I hope you enjoy your time in the NF. My wife allowed me to take our 6 Metre Argo hunting this year. It was the BEST! I could get a great night sleep, wake up way before dawn, shower w/ scent removal soap, eat a decent breakfast...and most importantly, gauge the number of layers to wear to deal w/ the morning chill.

Since I don't have the resources of Team Realtree, my hunting is confined to the NF as well. Besides, as corny as it may sound, I enjoy the challenge of finding game sign and pitching my wit and experience against nature's best. So far this year, I've been skunked!

The first day of buck season I put my blind in a spot that had plenty of sign. A doe a spiked buck (both illegal) came within 10 yards of the blind and gave me a fashion show. Of course I was salivating, but I knew that in just 3 more weeks, my "either sex" tag could be used.

I sat on that sight for 1 month during the "either sex" season. The doe has not returned. I'm still planning to check w/ F&G to see if the doe called in to get the dates for the seasons.

If you get any pics of you and your AS in the mountains, there's one guy out here on the left coast who would enjoy seeing them. Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #13
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2005 22' International CCD
Woodland Park , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 114
running water not a necessity

alot of good advice here on keeping your pipes from freezing during winter outings. FWIW, I would like to offer another alternative. Instead of running your furnace all day while you are not in the camper and worrying each night whether you will wake up to frozen pipes, go ahead and winterize your camper and just bring your water in 5 gal jugs. Especially if you are using is as a basecamp for hunting, odds are you are used to roughing it. Set the jug on the countertop (if you have room) over the sink and place a small plastic basin in the sink. Use water as you need it, then just dump the basin outside (be sure to use biodegradable soap, etc). All you are really losingg is the ability to take a shower or use the toilet (but that is what shovels are for).

Also, to save on battery power and propane, keep the trailer "jacket comfortable" while you are using the trailer and don't run the furnace at night, if possible. Use heavy blankets or comforters or a good sub zero sleeping bag, if you have one. If you wake up cold, just turn on the furnace to the lowest setting. The furnace in my 22' warms things up quite quickly in the morning and, being very conservative, I am usually able to go 5-7 days without firing up the generator boondocking with nighttime temps into the upper 20's. How cold you can go without running the furnace depends on your body and how insulated your bedding is. The savings in propane and electricity will be tremendous. Running a generator 24/7 is a pain and unnecessary in my opinion. Then again, if you have electric hookups, there is less need to rough it.

A catalytic heater can also help save battery power and propane when boondocking in cold temps. Be sure to read the warnings and take the proper precautions. If you do a search you will find varied opinions on the use of these devices.

Enjoy the hunting! jk
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