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Old 11-07-2022, 09:44 PM   #1
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2019 16' Sport
Wimberley , Texas
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First Trip into the Cold

Hi, I'm a first-time owner of a 2019 Bambi 16. I live where it is warm (Central Texas) and this weekend am making a first outing to Colorado, where I'm expecting temperatures below freezing at night.

Some friends are advising that I should remove all water in the trailer (fresh, gray/black) and simply plan on bath and toilet in places where we stop.

Never having done this before, I'd like your suggestions on how to make this a good high altitude/cold weather trip without either being miserable, or ruining something expensive. Thanks in advance...
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Old 11-07-2022, 09:56 PM   #2
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You'll be fine if you use the furnace to keep the trailer warm. The furnace has some outlets into the belly pan to keep the tanks from freezing.


Lowest I've been is 19 F. I'm sure others will post their experiences.



Steve
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Old 11-07-2022, 10:43 PM   #3
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We regularly experience below freezing temperatures at night when we are in West Yellowstone, Montana in September (now 20 years of doing that). TitusNW is correct in suggesting running the furnace, including at night. You use a bit of propane, but the trailer's tanks are kept warm and so are you. Running the furnace does assume that you have an electric hook-up or a very good bank of batteries.

The coldest we have experienced was 9 F at night and, with the furnace running, nothing in the trailer froze. Of course, disconnecting the city water hose is a good idea. Continuous freezing during the day after a cold night can result in gray and black water valves freezing shut so dumping isn't possible.

Tim
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Old 11-07-2022, 10:46 PM   #4
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Right, the key here is to use the LP furnace, which circulates a portion of the warm air into the tank area. Below freezing is very possible as long as you do that but how far you go below 32F and how many hrs you stay there is harder to quantify. Ive been in the mid 20s myself, for an overnight low, with no issue (I run the LP furnace with temp set to high 50s to achieve this) but Ive not personally been where it was below freezing all day and all night.
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Old 11-08-2022, 05:28 AM   #5
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Ditto.

Follow the suggestions above, use your furnace and maintain the relative comfort of a trailer vs an aluminum tent.

I have overnighted in temps down in the teens many times, without freezing up, and last winter lasted thru a blizzard in a parking lot.

Take warm clothing and bedding, and enjoy your adventure.

Maggie
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Old 11-08-2022, 07:31 AM   #6
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Our first (only) trip to Colorado in Oct. 2019 was unfortunately timed with an arctic blast. We ended up staying 3 nights in Pueblo because that is as far as we could get (Breckenridge was the target). I don't know if it was a blizzard - but the overnight temperatures in Pueblo were below 5 degrees and my truck bed was full of snow. The second night was actually -7 - which is the coldest temp I have ever been in.

We kept the furnace on and had no damage caused by freezing. The biggest problem was that the dump handles were frozen and required a space heater / hair dryer to get them unfrozen.

We had a heated hose - which worked perfectly - however their heating element around the faucet malfunctioned - so having water in our tank actually worked out for us.

Thanks,
Scotty
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:53 AM   #7
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Newberg , Oregon
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Can't add anything other than keep the dump tank valve closed. Better they freeze in the closed position than the open position. Though it's got to get pretty cold to freeze soapy water.

Fresh water tank should be all the way full, or all the way empty. Water has a lot of thermal mass, so it probably won't freeze as you drive down the road.

There's a lot of nuances to below freezing weather and Airstreams. Yes, they can be comfortable below freezing, but there's magic involved.
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:59 AM   #8
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2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

As mentioned above, it's best to disconnect all hoses ( fresh water and drain ) if it will be getting cold. They can / might freeze quicker than anything in the trailer. Having the fresh water hose freeze and burst gives you a skating rink next to the trailer.

Assuming the ground isn't frozen ( and this time of year that's a good bet ) the hoses likely will be ok even if you leave them out. In the spring, with frozen ground .... there's a bit more risk.

Bob
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitusNW View Post
You'll be fine if you use the furnace to keep the trailer warm. The furnace has some outlets into the belly pan to keep the tanks from freezing.

I believe only the 2020 (or maybe 2021) to present models have a heated underbelly.
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:17 AM   #10
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No water
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
I believe only the 2020 (or maybe 2021) to present models have a heated underbelly.
My 1966 Overlander had outlets from the furnace to keep the tanks from freezing. The fresh water tank was inside the coach so no issues there.
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
I believe only the 2020 (or maybe 2021) to present models have a heated underbelly.
I believe this is incorrect. My 84 and 05 both have smaller 3 outlets that go down to belly
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikingcamera View Post
I believe only the 2020 (or maybe 2021) to present models have a heated underbelly.
Not true - our 2016 Flying Cloud 27FB has ducting that sends some heat to the tanks.

We've been down to approx 19F overnight, above freezing daytime, with no problems.

In addition to unhooking water hose, drain valves closed, we also keep the 6-gal water heater on all night to add a bit extra heat under bathroom sink area.

Also we keep any interior doors/access panels with plumbing behind them a bit propped open to let cabin heat circulate, like around the water pump & kitchen sink area.
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Old 11-08-2022, 10:59 AM   #14
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Careful running the furnace UNLESS you are on shore power - the furnace uses lots of power and the battery output is reduced by low temperatures. If you have shore power go ahead and enjoy.
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Old 11-08-2022, 11:00 AM   #15
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I, personally, think it is good to put all of our rigs systems thru their paces periodically.

To see how they do, fine tune our technique, learn what works best, etc.

Better than suddenly needing to overnight without hookups in freezing temps, be stranded somewhere for a few days and needing to keep our battery charged so the water pump, frig, furnace, etc., will work, and having to learn during a crisis large or small what works and does not.

Even in a campground, power can go out for any number of reasons.

Be prepared. ☺️

Maggie
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Old 11-08-2022, 11:04 AM   #16
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Agree- for the most part; the onboard furnace will keep your underbelly warm. We have run the furnace in storage down to +6 degrees with no issues using on board water supply. 50 at night setting and 40 when just leaving in storage and not living inside. I also leave the cupboard doors open when the furnace is on below 20 outside to help circulate the heat inside.

I know some folks here also insulate/protect the underbelly using enclosure sheeting ground to bottom of AS, when camping/staying in very cold areas for extended periods. Airstream Airskirts as an example. Here is a great post:

https://support.airstream.com/hc/en-...s-Cold-Outside
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Old 11-08-2022, 11:24 AM   #17
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Wink winter? dry camp!

Personally, I think winterizing your rig and just dry camping in the off seasons is a less stressful way to go.

You can still use your furnace, the fridge, stove, etc..
And you can even use the toilet, just put some RV antifreeze in the black tank and use a gallon of bottle water to flush. ( I keep several old ones to refill for this purpose).
Then use bottle water for your own needs.

Now you can camp in any weather (with electricity, generator, or a good battery set up) and not have to worry.
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Old 11-08-2022, 08:29 PM   #18
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Great suggestion on adding anti-freeze to the black tank and gray tank to keep from freezing. One of those things I think, I should have been able to think of that. Brilliant!
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Old 11-09-2022, 07:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDSinTX View Post
Hi, I'm a first-time owner of a 2019 Bambi 16. I live where it is warm (Central Texas) and this weekend am making a first outing to Colorado, where I'm expecting temperatures below freezing at night.

Some friends are advising that I should remove all water in the trailer (fresh, gray/black) and simply plan on bath and toilet in places where we stop.

Never having done this before, I'd like your suggestions on how to make this a good high altitude/cold weather trip without either being miserable, or ruining something expensive. Thanks in advance...
NDSinTX - after 4 very cold nights dry camping in Crater Lake National Park two years ago (18 degrees at night), I started packing a down sleeping bag. Icy cold temps make it hard to sleep in the trailer and waking up to see your breath in the air is depressing, so how you heat is important. I didn't dare run my propane heat at night for long because the charge in the AGM batteries would plummet. When first light came and the solar panels started charging again, I'd turn the furnace on but always with a close eye on the battery monitor. This first experience in the cold motivated me to upgrade to lithium and on my most recent trip, I kept warm on propane without worrying about what was happening to the batteries. The lithiums do not discharge near as quickly as AGMs and you can run them down to zero repeatedly with no ill effects. Whether you have solar panels or not, get a site in full sun. Norwegians say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing; so layering with merino wool clothing and flannel lined travex pants will keep you comfortable, plus the right outerwear. If night temps are getting to the freezing mark, remove your water hose and store in the shower for the night. You can lengthen the time to dump the gray tank by using a bowl in the kitchen sink to catch the water as you use it and dumping it in the black tank. Wear warm socks and open-toed shower shoes in the trailer to keep feet warm as the floor gets really cold. Keep your lower cabinet doors open to the heat at night, so tanks stay warm enough. An oscillating 'tower' heater (Lasco makes good ones) plugged in at night works well. Once you've set up camp, find a local source for propane refills. When you switch from an empty propane tank to the full one, get that empty one filled as soon as you can. In cold weather, I go through a tank about every 3.5 days; and nothing feels more desolate to realize you have no propane at 3 a.m. because you forgot to fill the other one. If you have electric, you can use it as your heat source until temps drop to low 40's at which point, propane is your heat source. Propane heat is a nice warm heat, so you don't need to keep thermostat at 70 or whatever at night; more like 60 or lower. This is a very scattered post to share 'lessons learned' with a warm-blooded Texan but I hope it helps. I hope you have a great adventure!
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Old 11-09-2022, 09:10 AM   #20
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Multiple replies here talk about how the propane furnace heats the tanks. I just want to point out that in some of the smaller Airstream trailers, electric heating pads are used instead of having furnace ducts beneath the floor.

Also, in the more recent Classic trailers (and maybe Globetrotter?), the heating system is hydronic, not forced air. I don't know what these trailers do for heating the tanks.
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