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Old 11-23-2014, 08:55 PM   #1
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Cold weather camping

I'm new to camping and wondering how practical it is to camp when it's below freezing. We like to hunt and sometimes its pretty cold. This weekend it got down to 14 one night and up to 55 2 days later. Even if I insulate and heat the water tank, will my furnace be able to keep up, etc.

I have a dutchmen ls700
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by siucoz View Post
I'm new to camping and wondering how practical it is to camp when it's below freezing. We like to hunt and sometimes its pretty cold. This weekend it got down to 14 one night and up to 55 2 days later. Even if I insulate and heat the water tank, will my furnace be able to keep up, etc.

I have a dutchmen ls700
My propane furnace keeps a large toy hauler toasty warm. You can count on burning through 10 lbs / 2.5 gallons or more of propane a day in freezing temperatures. The problem if you're dry camping without a generator or shore power is keeping the batteries charged. The 12 volt fan on my furnace will run down a single battery overnight. You can run your truck to recharge the camper battery, but that's not a very efficient process.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:16 PM   #3
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Just about anything is possible...

Are you going to use your holding tanks? If so they need to be heated along with the pipes and elbows. If not already enclosed and heated.

Using your city water inlet or the fresh water tank? If you have city water the hose will need to be insulated and heated. Is the water tank above or below the floor?

Do you have slideouts? Quite often they are not as well insulated as the rest of the trailer.

How much propane do you have access to?

How about electricity? How reliable is it?

If the trailer is set up on a regular site underpinning will go a long ways towards making it usable in colder weather.

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Old 11-24-2014, 12:52 AM   #4
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Several years ago, my father was quite ill in Nebraska in December. We borrowed the father-in-law's fifth wheel just to sleep in. We plugged into my sisters house and kept the heat going to be livable for sleeping. I found I was going through a 30# gas tank every other day at a minimum. The folks at the COOP got know me well. When we finally were able to head back home, I had to use all my sister's hot water to melt the ice that built up on the slides so that they could be retracted.


We have friends that fulltime in a motorhome. Where they park they have a residential sized propane tank to hook up to and, of course, 50 amp electric service. The motorhome has two heat-pump type a/c's and a furnace. With all that, they were unable to keep the motorhome at much above 50. They spent the 2 coldest nights in a hotel.


I no longer have the faintest interest in winter camping, well, anywhere north of Texas, at least. These rigs simply are not designed for very cold weather despite what the manufacturers might claim.
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Old 11-24-2014, 01:05 AM   #5
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There are rigs designed for cold weather camping, but you don't see very many of them anymore. Arctic Fox is one that comes to mind. There is a lot more to building a cold weather camper than slapping on a belly cover and adding some tank heaters. IIRC Grand Teton built an cold weather unit too. Most RV's are used in relatively temperate climates. I know that houses built in Minnesota are different from houses built in Florida.

Also just as a reference a 25' Arctic Fox sells for ~28,000 versus the ~$18,000-$20,000 that other brands sell for.

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Old 11-25-2014, 11:01 PM   #6
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I'm just looking to get through a few nights here and there. Using the water holding tank and a generator. Could use electric heat to help
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:37 PM   #7
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I would avoid using the waste tanks if at all possible, if they freeze up you will have a mess on your hands. What I have done in the past is use a chemical toilet and bring my water in a 5 gallon cooler. That way I didn't have to worry about anything freezing up that could cause major damage. We would sleep in the camper, dishes got done in dish pans and the water tossed outside. The chem potty got hauled back and forth in the back of the truck. FWIW this was at our hunt camp, however I have also done it on weekend trips when we went camping and the weather wasn't too cooperative.

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Old 12-11-2014, 01:18 AM   #8
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If it gets below freezing for more than a few hours with no heat on the tank I would be a little concerned. I used my trailer with the slide out for hunting at 10 F and it was great, heater ran a lot and burned tons of propane, I was going through 30 lbs. in 3 days. Cold weather camping is fine, just don't let the water freeze. Your furnace should be able to keep up.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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Another subject I know nothing about & don't want too!! I thought you folks from the cold & snow want to escape it not camp in it. That's why we have so many "snowbirds" here in the winter time around Palm Springs Ca. That's why in the summer when it's 110+ we head to the cold country camp to get away from the heat.
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:59 PM   #10
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I didn't want to know about it... but on the way out to Phoenix last year, I ended up spending 4 days in Beaumont, TX because I got snowed in.
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:11 AM   #11
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We got caught in the west Texas blizzard last year but we were very comfortable in the trailer. Couldn't use city water due to freezing but our internal water and tanks operated just fine. We were in our Keystone Everest at the time.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:34 AM   #12
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We got caught in the west Texas blizzard last year but we were very comfortable in the trailer. Couldn't use city water due to freezing but our internal water and tanks operated just fine. We were in our Keystone Everest at the time.
That only works if you have heated/insulated holding tanks. Mine are completely outside, fresh water does happen to be inside though.

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Old 01-11-2015, 11:50 PM   #13
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I was out of town with our trailer at home when it got down to 8 two nights in a row. I had water in the fresh tank but not in the holdings, and just two electric heaters running. Got home and everything seems fine. Dodged a bullet, I believe!
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:51 PM   #14
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What does it take to heat tanks? Any kits available?
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:44 AM   #15
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Here's one, of course there are others. UltraHeat, Inc. - Tank Heaters
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:14 AM   #16
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Here's one, of course there are others. UltraHeat, Inc. - Tank Heaters
Get the UltraHeats...

Best on the market and money well spent if you want tank heaters.

Aaron
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:39 AM   #17
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Graci! I will check them out.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:12 PM   #18
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I have a 08 Dutchmen Denali. Enclosed belly. 12V tank heaters. I fill my fresh water holding tank up every day and drain the hose so that it will be ready for tomorrow. I have an electric oil radiator that I leave running in the living room (so that the furnace won't run as much) and keep the furnace set on 68F to 70F. I spend a lot of nights below freezing. Just last week down to 11F. No freezes, no worries. Waste tanks have to get REALLY cold to freeze, plus you always have the option of pouring some RV antifreeze in them. I never have, with nights as low as 7F. If your underbelly is not enclosed and heated or you don't want to enclose and heat underneath (think visqueen underpinning and some 500 watt halogen lights) I would recommend against it. As with all things, common sense will play a major role in your success or failure.
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