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Old 09-30-2004, 10:35 PM   #1
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Winter Camping

Hi Folks,
I would appreciate some advise from the forum. My wife and I recently bought some land in Vermont, and I would like to leave our Airstream there for occasional visits this winter. Clearly water cannot be in the lines, my question is, can the bathroom still be used along with antifreeze. I realize this is not exactly dinner conversation, and I apologize, but this forum is the place to get answers......Thanks Al
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Old 09-30-2004, 10:56 PM   #2
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I think your waste tanks will survive as long as you don't let them get more than a quarter full. But even that might be a risk depending, maybe.

The pink stuff (RV antifreeze) is rather expensive, but, if you have a bypass kit in use on the hot water heater, a few gallons in the fresh water tank would allow you to thoroughly winterize the plumbing and have a bit for the toilet.

Do make sure you bypass the hot water heater and pull the drain plug so it is safe from freezing damage.

Don't forget to put antifreeze in the drain traps.

Don't forget to run antifreeze through both the cold and hot side of each faucet.

You can use bottled water for hand washing or even the moist towlettes (baby wipes) that are available in a number of different forms, scents, and containers.

see also keeping warm:
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Old 10-01-2004, 06:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ajjohnsons
.....question is, can the bathroom still be used along with antifreeze......
Sure - as long as the fresh water tank is adequately freeze protected by the appropriate level of "pink stuff" the flushing process will insure that the black and gray water will also be freeze protected (assuming you use the freeze protected (antifreeze) water for flushing and whatever goes into the gray water tank). I would, however, check on what level of “pink stuff” dilution is recommended when you dump the tanks to a sewerage system - don't know at what concentration (or total amount at one time) that the "pink stuff" would affect the "bugs" in the septic system. If you bring clear water for washing (gray tank) purposes, just pour the appropriate amount of “antifreeze” down the drain to protect the amount of “fresh” water you added to the gray tank. It should mix well enough via dispersion to not have to agitate the tanks that the concentrate was added to.

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Old 10-01-2004, 09:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ajjohnsons
My wife and I recently bought some land in Vermont, and I would like to leave our Airstream there for occasional visits this winter.
I think the problem is going to be the severity of the cold. Last winter, we had a spell of several weeks where the high temps never broke zero and the lows were routinely in the -20s. In such temps, you'll never keep the Airstream warm enough for comfortable habitation -- much less toilet flushing.

So if there's a nasty cold snap, you would probably just stay home. But then, if you've previously used the trailer with antifreeze, the problem could arise from having diluted antifreeze in the water lines or tanks. The Wal-Mart variety says it protects down to -50 but gets slushy well before that temperature. It also says "Do Not Dilute." This means you'd need to be sure all the antifreeze in the lines is 100% pure before you leave the trailer each time.

Plus, flushing the toilet with antifreeze is going to be expensive if you do it more than once or twice. Not to mention the likelihood of secondary problems, like frozen you-know-what in the black tank, or the dump cap freezing in place. And where can you dump the tanks during the frozen winter in Vermont? All the campgrounds will be closed.

There's a whole host of other problems, too. For example, in winter temps, condensation inside the trailer is going to be a BIG problem. Entire threads on the subject of winter camping can be found on these forums.

My feeling is, once in a while in a mild winter is OK, but central or northern VT are just too darn cold from late Dec through early March. Airstreams just aren't built for it. I'll be in Florida ... maybe we'll see you there?
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Old 10-02-2004, 11:31 AM   #5
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Bryan 'Leipper' has a great resource. I imagine you've used the search function on these forums. A megapost exists here. There are a few more Rubyslipper posts 'out there.'

Also take note of the 'Similar Threads' feature at the bottom of any thread you may be browsing.

Enjoy the skiing!

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Old 10-07-2004, 07:42 PM   #6
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Thanks, Dennis, Bryan, Rluhr, and Bob for the advice and the links. Al...
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