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Old 01-10-2021, 12:22 PM   #41
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2009 19' International
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I use mine the way you propose

Many Airstreamers on this board are very conservative in the ways they use their rigs and warn against winter use. Others of us are a little more aggressive. I think Iím more like you; I have no intention of living in m AS in winter, but from time to time, Iíll brave winter temps for specific reasons.

Iíve enjoyed multiple nights of temps into the low teens on fishing trips to the Bulkley River in BC in late October and early November and to the Klamath River in Northern CA in December.

I keep the propane heater blasting all night with cabinet doors to the plumbing open so warm air gets in. Congruent to that I keep a bathroom or shower vent running to vent moisture, which helps that issue a lot. I have one of those heated drinking water hoses to keep that from freezing. I have the outside shower fixture empty of water and the space stuffed with custom cut foam insulation. On the coldest nights I put a small electric space heater right under the outflow valves to keep them from freezing. As long as the fresh, grey and black water tanks have a good bit of liquid in them, the ASís propane heater will keep them from freezing. Works for me.

On a related note, though, Lance makes trailers that are specifically built for four seasons and Iíve got fishing buddies that love them.
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:48 PM   #42
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Yes, it can be done, but as previously noted, it requires lots of preparation and if you did it all season, you might not want to do it again.

Our first long trip (2 weeks) with ours we went out in subfreezing temps and managed it for several days, but went south of Arizona and the Mojave Desert where daytime temps were above freezing. Sometimes we would camp into early December or start in March, but we left Colorado and always went south then. Airstreams tow well in snow compared to other trailers, especially if you have snow tires on it and have a 4wd drive tow vehicle. I always prefer avoiding towing in snow, but sometimes you haven't a choice.

Airstreams have old fashioned insulation. When it gets wet from leaks, it clumps and becomes even less useful. Single pane windows provide little insulation. It can be argued it is a 2 season trailer because where the summers are hot and the sun intense, it will heat up a lot and the A/C may not handle it very well. With all that metal inside, you will have to fight condensation even when it just kind of cold.

There are as noted several brands that make trailers designed to do better in winter. I believe Bigfoot is a Canadian company, so that explains their approach. Northwood Mfg. makes the Arctic Fox and Nash lines and both have much better insulation and you can get thermal pane windows on them. The waste valves are exposed, but leave the grey tank open when you have hookups and you should be ok. You may have trouble closing it, but the hairdryer is always an option. Keep the knife valves greased to have them shed water droplets which will freeze. Our experience with a Nash is that we use far, far less propane because we don't have to use the furnace as much. The furnace also use a lot of electricity and if you are boondocking, unless you have a generator, extra batteries or solar panels (or all) you will be limited how long before you run the batteries down—perhaps a day or two.

If you use a space heater in the cabin, the furnace may not turn on and heat the tanks. If you isolate the thermostat from the heated area, that may be different.

Like a lot of things, we learned about ours by starting out slow at things and learning how to use the trailer and what worked, what didn't, what needed improvement. Everything is an experiment.
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:53 PM   #43
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Oliver

[QUOTE=Northsite;2448793]For true 4 season, check out Arctic Fox and Lance.[/QUOTE

check out Olivers they make a true 4 season trailer and are streamlined and leak free]
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:59 PM   #44
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Lexington , Tennessee
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Winter camping

We love winter camping. We have camped when it is in the low teens with snow. We leave the Bambi winterized and use the campground bathhouse mostly. We buy a couple gallons water for the coffee pot. Still use the toilet in the Bambi We have actually had to open the door to cool down because the furnace kept it so toasty. We are winter camping this year also.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:43 PM   #45
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Just a little humour for a unusual year. My friend traded his 60 year in for two 20ís, unfortunately he past away a week later.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:48 PM   #46
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We live full time in 2018 30' Classic, we are in our 2nd winter. We've been spending our winters in New Mexico. At times it does get cold we've been as low as +14 but it warms quickly once the sun comes out. The only thing we've done different is purchasing a heated water hose and not had any problems.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:57 PM   #47
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:19 PM   #48
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Winter camping

We camped a couple times in our 25í 2006 Safari. Just cold but not freezing presents all the problems mentioned by others. I spent 3 days at a year round campground in Winchester, Va in 2.5í of snow. My advice...Donít do it. Airstreams are great 3 season travelers but not designed for below freezing temps. Those tin cans can get really cold & condensation on the windows is a problem you donít want.
Airstreams are best for touring & long travel trips. If all you want is a weekend camper that is 4 seasons, look for something like an OutdoorsRV Timberland.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:25 PM   #49
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We winter camp 2-3 days at a time at our local ski resort...temps at night in the mid-teens. We're fully winterized and don't use the water systems. We have 30-amp hookups available so heating with a small ceramic heater is fine. If we didn't have the 30 amps we'd for sure be using the LP furnace...and no problem with battery power for 3 days...which really boils down to about 15 hours of furnace fan time. We bathe using hot water from the stove...a hot wash rag feels great after skiing all day!
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:56 PM   #50
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2003 25' Safari
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Full time

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I've read lots of threads about using an Airstream in colder weather but there is one question I have not yet been able to find an answer to.
?
We lived full time in our airstream for 4 years.

Actually had 2 during this time a 2003 safari 25’ and a 1981 31’ excella.

Everybody says they aren’t built for winter... and maybe there is some truth to that... but they are better than lots of high end 5th wheels, etc that are supposedly built for that.

Here’s the real deal... humidity is a problem anytime you are in there for extended trips, the only reason it’s better in the summer is the AC... you can run ac and heat at the same time, we also ran a dehumidifier in the cold months... and for approx $5 you can buy a humidity monitor and keep it reasonable.. I actually think everyone should do this all year...

Airstreams are sealed better than nearly all travel trailers, and the belly pan has heat blowing in it. As long as you use the factory furnace.

I’ve lived in it when daily high temps stayed at 15 F or below for over a week... nearly every other camper in the campground had problems done more than others, from busted pipes at worst to at a minimum frozen holding tanks. Our holding tank outlet would freeze but the contents of the tank did not thanks to the protected belly pan with heat. 5 min with a hairdryer would thaw the outlet/valve and I could dump every couple days. We kept the water hooked up and in use with a heated hose and some extra insulation around the connections... got frozen/blocked at the valve ok their end once, again 5 min or less with a hairdryer and back in business.

Bottom line if you are using it properly and thoughtfully it’s fine, and in fact way better than most others... our neighbor in the cold snap couldn’t use any water, couldn’t dump grey or black for over a week, and had pipes break. They were in a brand new Montana high country 5th wheel and paid extra for the four season or winter package... don’t believe the hype... but be sure you have plenty of propane and maybe bring a spare in the colder months... you can keep it as warm as you want to in any temperature... the furnaces work great... but you can burn through 2 30 on tanks in a few days if you are keeping it toasty inside when it’s really cold.

Cheers...
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:24 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by david.steed View Post
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. Itís 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, thereís 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! Itís about- 10C atm
Wow! Camping in with an Switzerland. Sounds like winter camping to me. Awesome!

Would you happen to have any pictures to share?

Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:37 PM   #52
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I just watched this video about winter camping in an airstream:

https://www.airstream.com/ask-an-airstreamer/winter-camping/?utm_campaign=Monthly%20Newsletter&utm_medium=emai l&_hsmi=105009505&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--YnTkrRvq3z6LyxxdAhnhDIWxPiUsq0O8s1LEULgHi42W9dbPbY x-l1EJk6nbtHNTI9Xdb7WHsLq3MxvepgazVFKskvQ&utm_conten t=105004317&utm_source=hs_email

People do it. Depends on how much comfort and how much work you want to put into it. Iím a winter lover and I might try it at some point but my wife has no interest and it just might not be worth the effort. I believe even a ďfour seasonĒ trailer would have challenges including towing in winter weather, battery and power management if not on shore power, water and wastewater management and amount of propane use to keep warm! If it just shoulder season use I think you can likely manage with an airstream.
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Old 01-10-2021, 04:42 PM   #53
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Cold weather camping

I was in Idaho this fall for two weeks and had planned for temps in the mid 20s, when a cold front moved through and temps dropped to subzero for several nights and low teens during the day. I had a few days to get ready, and other than the concern over the exterior drains, which I insulated with a pet heater and a roll of insulation, the trailer stayed toasty warm. Trailer was sheltered from North and east winds, with southern exposure. It was just me and my dog, I had plenty of propane and electric, but no hookups for water or the grey/black tank (which faced south). I can see how condensation could be a major issue with more people. Overall, it was a great experience and the trailer did great, given its limitations (metal wall, single glass windows). Solar gain during the day was impressive. I think the bigger issues probably come up trying to move the trailer during really cold temps and keeping lines from freezing. By the time I headed home, it had warmed up. So yes, doable depending on set up. There is quite a bit of info on skirting ideas for traveling and using small heaters if you look around.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:03 PM   #54
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2016 27' International
Princeton , Minnesota
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Winterish

We have camped at temps down to 17F using the propane furnace. (2016 International 27FB) with no issues. Daytime temps in the mid to upper 30s and cold nights are workable. Spring and fall trips are some of the best and we would hate to miss those. Look up Jihong Tang on Airstream addicts. She is a pro.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:22 PM   #55
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I always thought "no" AS did not make a 4 season trailer...but in fact, they did with dual pain windows some years back. Someone on Facebook reminded me of that...not sure if that was an option or what, but indeed. Also, AS propaganda today, does have a recent video on camping in snow I watched a few weeks back. There seems to be a bunch of ASers who go skiing each year or for some other reason, have figured out how to best use your AS in winter. There is a great thread by a young woman Jihong Thang (Snow Leopard) https://www.facebook.com/jihong.nomadic , on Facebook who spends the entire winter skiing with her AS, it seems..this year she is in Utah I believe. (I have no intention of camping in snow, BTW) Anyway, she has some great posts including a 6 minuite install of an insulating belly curtain for your AS among other tips she uses...last year, I thought she was crazy...but after following her posts..I have become impressed. Great read if nothing else!
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:48 PM   #56
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Quote:
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.
Use antifreeze to flush the toilet. Similar with grey tank.
Then the valves won't freeze
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:01 PM   #57
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It can be done. Did it, again and again.

The precautions I listed in my above posting. If safety is the priority, one can stay at home or join a Colette Tour, seat in the bus and sleep in cheap motels (did that too, but donít tell).
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Old 01-10-2021, 06:43 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I don't want to camp in the winter either - my goal is to have be able to extend the season further than what's normally done here in Wisconsin. My current coach is usually winterized by the end of October and I don't de-winterize until the end of April or early May.

Meanwhile there are events and rallies around the country in warmer states taking place every year in March and November. Attending those in with a trailer not suited to cold weather would mean having to winterize or de-winterize while on the road, something we're not at all interested in doing.

In some years getting to the events we want to attend would mean driving a day or more through temps in the teens or lower, not a risk I'd want to take with exposed plumbing. On top of that, when we travel we like to be able to stop for a night or two along the way to enjoy the areas we're passing through, and that isn't possible if you're trying to hi-tail it out of town to keep from having the pipes freeze.

We'd also like to visit some higher-altitude places in the country, and in those areas it can be late May or June and still have below freezing temps, especially at night.

I get it that winter camping is not a thing everyone enjoys, but with the number of threads I see on the various RV sites about how to travel from a cold climate to a warmer one without incurring freezing damage, I don't think I'm the only one wanting to do this.

My point? There are lots of things to do in this country in an RV which aren't really "winter camping" but still require an RV suited for below freezing temps.

If Airstream never made a 4-season model, what about the possibility of doing a renovation to an older one to convert it to 4-season? Is that possible, or does the structure inherent in an Airstream preclude the possibility of making the necessary improvements?
I live in Illinois. I use mine in the winter. I winterize the water system. Then use gallon jugs to flush the toilet (into a a tank that has antifreeze in it) same for grey tank. use sink with jug water. use propane heat as the heat pump wont wont work at that that low of temp. Assuming you have eclectic hookups or decent generator, use an electric blanket at night. I have not had a problem with humidity, but if you do just crack a window.

I dont know about everyone else, but remember tent camping in -5 degrees? I do, my AS beats the crap out of that. Just cant have water in the lines and holding tanks need a lot of antifreeze.

To me the key is not heating the rig super hot and using the electric blanket. Snuggle the wife (or the dog if that all you've got) and be fine.

in short. If there is outside weather you want to be in, you can manage with your AS.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:03 PM   #59
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Airstream webinar on winter camping

There are people who use their Airstream for skiing and other activities. I found the Airstream webinar on winter camping very helpful. They featured two women who winter camp regularly. LINK: https://www.airstream.com/ask-an-air...inter-camping/
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:20 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I've read lots of threads about using an Airstream in colder weather but there is one question I have not yet been able to find an answer to.

We're in the slow process of looking for an Airstream, probably something in the 25 foot range. Since we live in Wisconsin and have hopes of being able to use the Airstream in the colder ends of the season (early spring and late fall) where temps can fall suddenly and drastically, I would really rather have a trailer which is factory equipped for this.

Did Airstream every make a true 4-season model? We'd prefer a used trailer, so if there were 4-season models made at some time I'll narrow my search to just those. Or can one be ordered with a true 4-season package from the factory?
I 4 seasons in my 1998 Excello 34ft from 1999 until 2007. If you PM me I'll go into details.
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