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Old 01-05-2021, 08:04 AM   #21
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It is a bit frustrating to see Airstream promotional material that shows their trailers in snow, or shows people using them as a base for winter activities. I wish it was possible to easily use our Airstream in colder months, but it isn’t easy. My last trip of 2020 was in late October in the mountains, and it got down into the mid 20s at night. Fortunately it was sunny during the day, and the temperature got into the mid 50s. We had no problems at all. My first 2021 trip here in Colorado is planned for the end of April, and I expect similar conditions.
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:15 AM   #22
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I assume then that the waste gate is outside the enclosed area?
Yes, they hang down below the belly pan.
We are getting ready to head southwest. Our plan is just to carry water on board to wash and flush. RV antifreeze in the black & grey tanks. No water in the pipes.
The parts of AZ and TX we are heading to have nights in the 20s (occasionally). We are just going to burn through propane. Will keep up with elec by using generator and lithium batteries.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:11 AM   #23
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:45 AM   #24
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I would never call the airstream a 4 season trailer, but I’ve camped with it in sub freezing temperatures. It’s cold and there are both low and high effort ways to mitigate being cold. It is what it is; it’s only as disappointing as, say, a screen porch not being a four season room.

I’m in Wisconsin as well. I probably would not take it anywhere in January but in November and most of December? Late March? Absolutely. My only conditions would be that the roads be safe and I have at least 110V electrical (it’s a lot easier and more efficient to keep the bedroom warm enough with electric space heaters at night and leave the furnace at 40 to keep the tanks from freezing).

I used to winter camp (in a tent) regularly so it’s hard for me to understand how something like an airstream is unusable in the winter and as such, roll my eyes when I see words like “disappointing” or “frustrating”.
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:07 AM   #25
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Also understand that your furnace is a necessary unit to run in order to protect the plumbing in your trailer. While you can put electric heaters in the trailer, the heat from this will not penetrate to the areas that the fan powered Airstream furnace can. The other factor is that you will be surprised how often your furnace will run. I remember a late October camping trip to Springfield Illinois that was unusually cold with strong winds. The temperature in my Classic only held at set point for about 5 minutes before the thermostat called for heat. So while the furnace was adequate on supplying enough heat, the insulation is woefully inadequate in being able to minimize furnace operations. I remember we used 3/4 of a 30 lb bottle of propane on that 2 day trip.

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Old 01-05-2021, 10:31 AM   #26
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Another consideration for winter/snow camping is road conditions. The chemicals they put on the road to deal with ice are not good for aluminum. They get in any breaches in the clearcoat and start filiform corrosion - or for a vintage non-coated trailer permanent spotting & corrosion until you re-polish.

We have gone out in mid-winter (think New Years Eve in Rocky Mountain National Park) staying warm was a bit tricky in -3 temps with no hook-ups, but we used down comforters, wool clothing, propane heater, bottled water & the park's vault toilets.

I know in some 70's trailers, I believe the International upgraded ones, they have snap on fabric/insulated wall panels on the bed surrounds. This would be something to make the aluminum skins a bit more comfortable even in new trailers.

Another option as others have mentioned if you are traveling to a warm destination, is to just stay winterized until you get there. Once you've done it a couple of times, it really is no big deal to winterize/dewinterize - usually only takes us about 30-60 minutes. Added onto part of the set-up/hook-up routine a couple times a year - no big deal for an adventure away from the cold.

But there is no getting around the chemicals unless you can travel on dry roads...

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Old 01-05-2021, 12:31 PM   #27
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Definitely agree on the road salt issue. Our current rig is winter hardy, but we park it when the salt starts being used and won't take it out again till after the first rain washes the salt off the roads in the spring.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:56 PM   #28
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We dry camp in our AS from Feb to Nov here in MT.
All water lines are drained and no use of the heat pump - generator or plug in ...
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:51 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
We dry camp in our AS from Feb to Nov here in MT.
All water lines are drained and no use of the heat pump - generator or plug in ...
mefly2,
so to clarify your post, you mean that you DO use your generator or plug into shore power, but don't use the heat pump or water?
Assuming that you do this and you use space heaters or your furnace for heat, how do you deal with the interior frost, and/or condensation issues?
I know it can be brutally cold in MT in Feb & Nov so just curious as how you deal with that.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:54 AM   #30
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GettinAway

You might google UltraHeat.com and take a look at their valve heating options. I haven’t used any of their products but they look like they would work. Perhaps someone else has installed and will let us know if they work. Good Luck.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:33 AM   #31
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I assume then that the waste gate is outside the enclosed area?
Yep they are. Anyone have ways of keeping them warm? (25foot RB)
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:38 AM   #32
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There are Airstream full timers who have spent winters in them, for years, in and around ski villages. Check Facebook groups for Jihong and Diane- both women have written articles about their experiences in winter, with their families. It’s a challenge and a choice, and they embrace both. Jihong is in Utah skiing at the moment, I think. Both are very helpful and can answer all your questions. You need to be as determined as they are!! Btw, there’s one at the top of the local camping spot here in Switzerland now and the site is jam packed full with campers of all types and even tents! It’s about- 10C atm
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:45 AM   #33
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For true 4 season, check out Arctic Fox and Lance.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:49 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Thanks for the information. Guess I'm somewhat surprised, both that in all the years Airstream has never found enough of a market to do a 4-season model and that in the absence of a factory 4-season option no one else has produced a mod kit to accomplish this.

I've seen lots of SOB trailers with 4-season packages, but none of them have that special something inherent in an Airstream.
The "special something inherent" makes you want an Airstream That is all. If you need true 4 season year round capability, there are other brands. That said, no RV is perfect. You can find fault with any brand or model. Bad layouts, no slides, too many slides, too heavy, not enough sleeping areas etc. An Airstream is an Airstream and no apologies are needed. It seems your answer is in the 3 words I quoted. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:14 AM   #35
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You will be sorely disappointed if you camp in cold weather in an airstream. We switched to a Lance trailer Which is true for season and are very comfortable when temperatures drop into the 20s.
Cooling the camper when it is hot is also much easier.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:18 AM   #36
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How exactly did you use the water in the belly tank to keep from freezing?
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:19 AM   #37
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Not A Four Season Trailer; But ......

There is no such thing as a 4-season Airstream trailer. But for us, we've been successful camping in single digit temperatures with no problems when plugged into shore power which allows us to keep the trailer warm inside with an electric heater. Based on our experience, the biggest thing to consider are daytime temperatures. It's much easier to do what we describe below for an extended time period if daytime temperatures are above freezing than when daytime temperatures remain below freezing and things never get a chance to thaw out.

Here are some of the steps we take to insure that we are keeping ourselves and the trailer warm when plugged into shore power:

Before cold weather hits:
1) dump the gray and black water tanks
2) fill the water tank
3) disconnect from water source

During the day:
1) open the bathroom door to create a partition for the back of the trailer where we spend most of our time and use our electric heater to heat that partitioned area
2) wear merino wool socks, slippers, base layers underneath regular clothes and if necessary to maintain comfort, a down jacket
3) only run furnace when below 50 degrees inside (which seldom happens when using electric heater)

At bedtime:
1) continue to run electric heater
2) open kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets to keep plumbing warm
3) set furnace thermostat to 43 to keep pipes and tanks warm
4) set electric heater thermostat to 50
4) turn on heated mattress pad
5) spoon underneath down comforter if necessary

This works for us and so far, we've experienced no damage to our plumbing. Plus we use minimal propane to run the furnace during the day and at night.

Our biggest cold weather fear is being forced to drive in icy conditions. We will avoid that scenario at all costs: so far, so good.

Hope this helps. Cheers!
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:33 AM   #38
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Reasons why classic Aluminum Airstream isn't made for cold weather camping

While you can winter camp in an Airstream above the 30th parallel, as folks here have noted, it isn't as easy or effortless as in other seasons. Or, as I like to say, many do it once.

But why can't Airstream be made into a four season camper? It probably could, but such a transformation would be inefficient and cost-prohibitive, compared to a clean-slate design.

Here are just a few of the reasons/challenges/problems-to-be-solved(or ignored, or worked around):
  • Alumium construction offers no thermal break - the outer skin, AL ribs and AL inner shell conduct tremendous thermal loads with only minimal foam tape to break the direct transfer of thermal loads.
  • Airstream uses fiberglass batt insulation in the walls which could be improved (Aerogel would be awesome but super expensive) but you still only have a few inches to work with
  • LARGE single pane windows - nuff said
  • Tons of condensation on inner skin during winter camping (can be dealt with by opeining windows or adding dehumidifer, which takes energy to run and would have to be emptied often)
  • Pretty AL outter shell does not like road chemicals used to keep the highways ice-free
  • Indoor plumbing has outdoor supply and drain lines fully exposed to the elements.

None of these issues are insurmountable, but by the time you fully solve them you realize that you've spent a great deal of time that you could have spent doing other fun things, and/or you've spent a great deal of cash that could have been spent doing other funner things, and/or what you have still doesn't work all that great, and/or what you now have doesn't look or feel like an Airstream, and you have made trade-offs that create their own issues for summer camping.

So, I suspect the reason that things remain as they are is that folks have come to accept that an AS is what it is, and there are other more viable options for winter fun than camping in the north during winter in a tin can.

But all this you will have to experience and realize yourself after you camp your first winter in your wonderful AS trailer.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:34 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markf004 View Post
We just got back from a trip to Arizona from Minnesota for the Holidays. Both Colorado and New Mexico had very cold nights. (13-19 degrees) We used the water in the belly tanks and the gas furnace to keep them warm. Even when we got to Iowa and Mn with temps down to 7 degrees this worked fine.

The issue we had was the waste gate valves froze up at night. If I could figure out a way to prevent that I would be in Colorado more often.
Tank and elbow warmers working out of 12V are one way of keeping all from freezing. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 For the elbows and same brand for the tanks and the controller.

If the plan is to stay put in one place longer, then a snap-on skirt. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...Z2RHW3DL&psc=1 With a heat lamp and/or cheap ceramic heater with manual (not digital that reset when power goes off) controls underneath, connected to a thermostat plug https://www.amazon.com/HEATIT-Freeze...NsaWNrPXRydWU= Will do the trick

You can have a warmed water hose (blue) , or you can just connect a hose to fill the tank, then disconnect, drain it, and use the water in your tank. Same for dumping. The only outside connection I get is power, to city or generator,depending on where I am. A Honda Handi 3000i will run 12 hours with 1.6 gallons that fit in the built-in tank. One can connect the genset to an additional 6 gallons (or larger, but then you have to lift it) that will refill itself from the external tank automatically, giving you a total 36+ hours of uninterrupted juice unattended.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Plus: https://www.amazon.com/Attwood-93806...3743PV80ZB95GX and https://www.amazon.com/attwood-8838U...A8MT94T3J4VCMM
And

https://www.amazon.com/Attwood-93806...3743PV80ZB95GX

Depending on the model of your AS, newer models offer better protection for the tanks. If you are running the furnace (connected to city power or running a generator) or not, depends on how you will keep tanks and discharge elbows from freezing.

We used a FC27 and Bambi 19 in single digits, learning how to do it well, and we can handle while is still a pleasure, including that camping grounds are almost our exclusive domain, very few others, or none, around. Good for my dog off-leash.

Another issue is driving while it is icy/snowy. While the trailer tires are not driving tires, they don’t need traction to move, they do need it to stop, you don’t want to see your trailer riding at your side... 3M makes socks for tires, used by 18 wheelers as well, that don’t risk hitting the aluminum frame or the other tire in tandem. I use a pair on the second row, and on the F150 plain diamond pattern chains. Not just what you can pull... but what you can stop!

I believe and practice on 4 seasons camping on my AS, now a GT23 2021
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:37 AM   #40
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We have used ours comfortably to around 30-32F. If you have electric at your site, the heat pumps in our HVAC work OK to about 35-40 degrees. One time the waste valve did freeze when it got into the 20s and needed a hair dryer to thaw. Based on other trailers we have used, true winter camping in most trailers requires heat tracing water lines (or not using any water), more than the trailer's propane heater (unless you have lots of propane), and ways to minimize condensation on trailer walls and windows.
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