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Thread: Winter Camping in the Travel Trailer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    3,045

    Default Winter Camping in the Travel Trailer

    Haven't had the old girl "Waltzing Matilda" out for winter camping yet.

    For any that don't already know, this is my mid-90's 25 foot camping trailer that I've been fixing up and improving over the past 3-4 years.

    Trailer Upgrade thread:
    http://www.whenshtf.com/threads/5317...trical-Upgrade

    It serves as our "mobile bug out location" so it's legitimately a part of our over-all prepping strategy. It's still very much a work in progress. So far I have gotten (almost!) all the major systems operational, expanded the battery bank, added solar power and re-configured how the electrical system works. Still need a new awning (maybe this year) and a lot of smaller fix-it and cosmetic chores. I've used it for off-grid camping the past 3 years in the middle of summer, and have had it out for a fall fishing trip with my daughter. But never towed/camped in winter before, so that's next on the list it seems.

    We typically do not get snow and ice, but it still gets cold and frosty... I had to scrape the windshield this morning and it's not the first time this year. We had the old girl parked out front of the house and plugged in as a portable guest room for some friends to use, if needed, when they came to celebrate New Year's Eve with us last week. I am planning to take a short trip with her next week for two nights, to get a taste of camper living in January. I'll be headed up to the "gold country", about 2500 feet above our elevation in the land of tall pines. It's not uncommon to get snow up there and we supposedly have a monster storm coming over the next week. I just checked the forecast and it's looking like it will be in the 40's overnight there, not bad. Records do say the average overnight low is 31 and typically 5.7 inches of snow in January.

    Sadly, the central furnace I have still hasn't been installed. It's one of those things I keep putting off. I'm waiting for inspiration to strike on how to get the exhaust properly vented, I think. Maybe spending a weekend in the trailer without it will motivate my synapses a bit.

    In the meantime, I have a couple of small electric space heaters and a Mister Buddy portable propane heater to use. Plus electric blankets. This will be an "on-grid" camping experience as opposed to my normal boondocking so this will practically be the lap of luxury as far as utilities go. I won't need to give a second thought to using the electric coffee maker, for instance - a high-wattage appliance that typically makes short work of the battery charge.

    Not expecting any surprises on this trip... however, that's what I've said about every trip so far, and every trip has had it's own share of learning experiences... "surprise!"
    Last edited by bruss01; 01-06-2017 at 01:08 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sweet Tennessee
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    2,084

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    Good luck! I tend to " hibernate" during the winter and spend the rest of the year preparing for my hibernation.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    TN mainly, on the road alot.
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    Blew the motor in the rover, been hanging out in the cold waiting on recovery. Make sure you pack for colder weather even if the temps aren't bad yet. 7 degs in the sun yesterday.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alredneck View Post
    Blew the motor in the rover, been hanging out in the cold waiting on recovery. Make sure you pack for colder weather even if the temps aren't bad yet. 7 degs in the sun yesterday.
    Roger that Alred. Redundancy rules. On our fishing trip I hadn't expected it to get down to 39 degrees, but had the on-board propane stove to warm it up a bit in the AM... plus we anticipated a chilly morning and had brought heavy over-shirts. I keep a fall/winter coat in the trailer too, "just in case". This trip I don't expect to be out in the weather much BUT if camping has taught me anything, much of what happens will be stuff you didn't expect. Ah, memories!

    Seven degrees hm, that's pretty cold. My last real winter was 1997-98 in Chicago. I haven't forgotten the single digit temps there. Twice in my life I've been out in -25 - that's just STUPID cold. Glad I haven't had to deal with it for nearly a couple of decades now.

    BTW good luck with your Rover. Bad time of year to have a hoss go down on you.
    Last edited by bruss01; 01-06-2017 at 02:26 PM.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Thanks Bruss, hadnt had any luck with transportation last few months.

    Not sure how cold last night but sure it was below 0. Another reason got dogs, portable space heaters.

    Some places ya never know how fast the weather can change.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    NW Ohio
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    Yea, 7 degrees in the sun here today also, but then it clouded up and started snowing (about an inch). I sure wouldn't want to stay in our 1997 30" Dutchmen travel trailer with alot of blankets, and a souce of water and heat. There is virtually NO insulation other than 1" thick foam board in the walls, and nothing in the floors to protect the water lines or keep your toes warm.

    Being on blood thinners, and being hypothyroid, I can't stand being cold (which I am constantly this time of the year). More power to you if you can brave the chills.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
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    Seven degrees would make me rethink this trip a bit. The space heaters I have are little champs, but I have a feeling anything under 20 and they might have to struggle a bit. Even with the central heat, that would go through an awful lot of propane over a couple of days, I'd bet.

    Most camper trailers are intended to be "fair weather friends". If I were to build or restore one from the ground up, it would be great to go through the plumbing system with heat tape and pipe insulation from stem to stern. They make larger heat-pads for the tanks too, that keep them from freezing up. Another issue is the windows aren't double pane and aren't especially air-tight. Some clear tape and bubble wrap both inside and out would help a lot in that regard. Some of the newer trailers and motor homes are designed to be a bit more comfortable in the hot or cold weather. Some folks live in them year round. The entry-fee for that level is out of my league at the moment however. Ah, well! At least this little excursion will give me a taste of what to reasonably expect in the climate we have here. We all say that testing our preps is important and we don't really get to choose what time of year we may need to bug out. If we can deal with the worst of conditions for our area, anything else should be a piece of cake.
    In a crazy world, it's the crazy man who can get by - and it's about to get cray-cray up in here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Montana
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    Winter Field Day is coming up! A great chance to test your gear.

    https://www.winterfieldday.com/
    Good medicine in bad places

  9. #9
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    Jan 2014
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    Canadian border state that begins with a "M"
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    "Waltzing Matilda", like that name a lot better than the other one someone suggested. Good luck on the trip bruss, including getting pleasantly/comfortably snowed in for a few extra days of vacation (and winter BO testing) if that's agreeable to you. Would be to me lol.

    Just picked up a Big Buddy heater last year for combo ice fishing and outhouse heating at the guest house, bought an adapter for the gas connection and "T"'ed off the copper tubing in the outhouse to run it off the 500 gallon house tank. Works great for heating a 10X12 insulated outhouse (wooden polebarn) even down to the teens, no one complained the toilet seat was too cold anyway. Easy disconnect for taking ice fishing with the 1lb tank too. Only regret was I couldn't find a propane heater that size with a thermostat since leaving it on constantly is a waste of propane when it gets too hot in there, but a PITA to relight it every few hours too. Wouldn't be surprised if that heater alone was enough to keep you warm in Waltzing Matilda.

    Have fun, stay safe, and looking forward to the trip report.

    *Just saw Fidel's comment on Field Day, great idea that.
    Everything marked, everything 'membered. You wait, you'll see.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    Heading to the Ozarks for 4 days in a tent next week...First sub freezing camping in 20 years... This has been planned for some time... we'll see how this goes...
    leave the gun... take the cannoli...

    In times of strength prepare for times of weakness...

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