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 > How cold can you go?

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Burlington ON CDA

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Posted: 10/16/19 06:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Algonquin a few years ago it hit -32C/-25F in February.

Froze the hot water line in a 3 season camper set up for winter camping.

Not everyone's idea of fun but it is actually ours [emoticon]

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Wild Bill 888


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Posted: 10/16/19 06:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with Dutch.
You can use the toilet by using winterizing fluid instead of water. When it’s time to dump, first add a few gallons of warm water, drive several miles to thaw solids and mix.

* This post was edited 10/16/19 06:13pm by Wild Bill 888 *


Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 10/16/19 09:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was FT in my TT for 2 Alberta winters. Got a little dicey at minus 33C for a while but I made it. Propane didn't flow too well, had to open cabinet doors to get heat in to my pipes, had the occasional freeze up....
No heated or enclosed underbelly. Single glazed windows.
Dumping was a real going show. But I made it work.

But that was minus 33, not just a few degrees into freezing.

I wouldn't think twice about camping in the temperatures you mention. That's still almost t-shirt weather!! [emoticon]

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Southern California

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Posted: 10/16/19 10:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We really like winter camping -- the cold weather holds the crowds way down!

The Achilles heel of most trailers is the outflow tube under the water tank -- it's thin and freezes sooner than the rest of the water system.

If it is in the high 20s, we usually don't worry.

If it is in the low 20s, we use both of the tricks described in these blog posts:

Heat cable blog post

Hot water recirculator blog post

Those tricks work till about 15 degrees. Then they don't. So that is our practical limit.

We just got back from ten days of sub-freezing camping in the Sierras -- no problems at all.

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Southern California

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Posted: 10/16/19 10:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been down -10F with minimal issues. Open belly with added Ultra Heat tank pads and circulating hot water. Had 30 amp utility power.

Most RVs are fine down to at least 25 while in use.

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Posted: 10/16/19 11:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We came back from Florida during a polar vortex event, forgot to blow out the lines before we left so in Georgia I turned the furnace on to 50. By the time we got back to Ohio it was -10F. Blew the lines out in my dad's heated factory shipping bay the next day, no issues. We were only in the camper at about 0F in Kentucky but the trailer survived -10F. Ours is a very basic model with no heated underbelly. We might have just been lucky, ymmv, etc.

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Posted: 10/17/19 05:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With so many RVs being called 4-season, or even 3-season, there is no written guarantees that I have seen. Mine being a 4-season, I can see many things that are of good design, such as the routing of the heat duct piping. Mine has one right next to the water pump, several running in the enclosed,insulated belly, and a duct pipe that runs right through the kitchen cabinets. There is a smaller heat duct pipe that empties into the tank area. I do have a few flaws, that were easily corrected.

The actual season use, depends on where you camp, and climate, which can be too extreme to still be able to use all the RV systems.




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Posted: 10/17/19 05:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


So, how cold can we reasonably expect to camp without disaster striking? Would high 20's/low 30's be OK or is anything close to freezing too risky?

There is no generic answer to your question. To many varibles...
camper insulating value
tanks locations
under belly enclosed
3 season vs 4 season
not all 4 season campers have the same insulating values or same type of heated tanks.
There all different.

We livid in a so called 4 season 27' 5er for one winter while the house was being built. Underbelly was not enclosed.
It had two grey and one black tank exposed. We had a heat blanket on the bottoms and then had them encapsulated with expanding foam.
Heat tape with a thermostat for the fresh water hose.
The unit was permenant with mobile home skirting all around so no issues with zero temps and 40 mph winds.....other than severe interior sweating on all the outside walls.
Two dehumidifiers cured that issue fast.

"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

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Posted: 10/17/19 05:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our first trip not in tent. Bought pop-up Thanksgiving, was Christmas present to us. Hooking up Christmas eve for trip to local county park. Back in house, looked at outdoor temp, 2. The only issue was I poured a cup of cold coffee in the sink, "Oops, have not hooked up drain jug!" By the time I got the cap off the drain was froze for the weekend.
BTW, we have camped every Christmas Eve from 1995, tent until 2004.


Camano Island, WA

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Posted: 10/17/19 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just a thought.

If your RV is stowed on your property could you do your 4 year old’s birthday “camping trip” there, instead of venturing off with all the concerns and parameters that freezing temp camping entails? Keep the propane furnace running, cart needed supplies in and out of the house, spend the night, and have fun. The little tyke is on the short side of 4, and I’ll bet those memories will stick just about as well as if you went far afield and maybe ended up with frozen pipes out in the country. Back in the day it worked when mine turned 3, and he still talks about it. He’ll be 30 on his next birthday.

Just a thought.

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