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Old 01-04-2014, 08:21 AM   #1
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Extreme Cold Weather Camping Tips?

Can anybody make any suggestions on how to deal with camping in extreme cold? My wife and I shall by necessity be camping out in our Tiffin Allegro Red at least one night in single-digit temperatures—we are attending a dog show in central Virginia where the temperatures are going to be around 6-8 degrees on Tuesday night. I recognize that these units really are not designed for that sort of cold, but we have little choice, short of blowing off the dog show, which is not an option.
I am taking as many precautions as I can think of. We do have some things going for us:
- Our fresh and holding tanks are in a compartment heated by ducts from the front furnace.
- We can top off diesel and propane shortly before we get to the show.
- We will be dry camping, so we don’t have to worry about the fresh hose freezing overnight.
On the down side, dry camping means that we’ll be without shore power, so I’ll have to run the generator all night to keep the furnace fan from draining the coach batteries dead.
In any event, does anybody have any suggestions on how to make sure that this experience goes well for us and for the coach?
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:40 AM   #2
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We stayed a few night in S Dakota last year at 9 degrees and 40 Mph winds. Propane goes down quick at those temps. Added 3 ceramic heater to supplement furnace. Put a 100 watt bulb in wet bay which didn't do the job. Ended up putting one of the heaters there and that worked fine. In those temps from Monday night thru Thursday morning. Good luck. Jack
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rshinva View Post
Can anybody make any suggestions on how to deal with camping in extreme cold? My wife and I shall by necessity be camping out in our Tiffin Allegro Red at least one night in single-digit temperatures—we are attending a dog show in central Virginia where the temperatures are going to be around 6-8 degrees on Tuesday night. I recognize that these units really are not designed for that sort of cold, but we have little choice, short of blowing off the dog show, which is not an option.
I am taking as many precautions as I can think of. We do have some things going for us:
- Our fresh and holding tanks are in a compartment heated by ducts from the front furnace.
- We can top off diesel and propane shortly before we get to the show.
- We will be dry camping, so we don’t have to worry about the fresh hose freezing overnight.
On the down side, dry camping means that we’ll be without shore power, so I’ll have to run the generator all night to keep the furnace fan from draining the coach batteries dead.
In any event, does anybody have any suggestions on how to make sure that this experience goes well for us and for the coach?
Hi Ralph, I assume you have dogs that you are taking to show? If so/ if not....You might be a lot further ahead just to find a motel that accepts dogs and leave your Coach sit at home. Just about guarantied no problems this way.......
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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as long as you are running the generator, an electric blanket will save the day. nothing like a warm bed. ceramic heaters inside, and light bulbs in the compartments. i have been out in below 0 weather many times over the last 15 years, and havent frozen up yet. notice i said yet?
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:25 PM   #5
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If you are really worried and it is only overnight, skip putting any water in the system and just use bottled water to flush the john. That means no shower, but at least you only have to keep yourself warm (and plenty of blankets will work for that). Then you can run the genny until you go to bed and just turn the heat down to 60 or lower to conserve battery. I worry more about carbon monoxide running the generator while sleeping.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:31 PM   #6
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If your wet bay, tanks and pipes are heat protected, and monitored, you are good to go. I have been in sub zero temps without any issues. I did not put the slides out because that could complicate things (seals could crack when cold) and with slides out it make heating more difficult. If the gen is running then making the most of electric heating devices makes sense and save your propane. All of my wet bay and tanks were protected by 12v powered devices. Yours may require the furnace to heat the water areas.

I have run my gen all night when I was in extremely cold weather. I had baseboard heating and it was silent and efficient. It was controlled by thermostats on each heating unit, thus was independent of the propane furnace. Great arrangenent. The propane furnace only came on when an extra boost of heat was required.

Never worried about CO because I had 3 detectors and I never had any indication of any CO in my coach.

Good luck, you should be fine as long as you can keep the vulnerable places from freezing.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:41 PM   #7
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:01 AM   #8
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Heated bays, no problem as long as you keep your furnace on.
CO, as mentioned above, won't be a problem either...you have detectors that will let you know if there's a problem. We dry camped last year along the coast in RI, and everyone was running their gensets. It was about 75 deg out, so everyone had their doors open with just the screens closed, and several of us had constant CO alarms until we closed our doors, due to genny exhaust. Was a true test of the CO alarms.

You may want to swing by Walmart and buy a case or two of RV Anti-freeze ($2.98/gal) and use that to flush with. That way your black tank is protected when your genset/furnace is off.

Jim
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:25 AM   #9
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You might want to keep your blockheater on your engine on. Starting next day could be a problem. You also will have a lot of humidity.Cheers Gerald
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:25 AM   #10
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When you top off your diesel fuel, add an anti-gel first. Avaliable at truck stops. Even if the diesel fuel is winter blend, what is in your tank now may not be. Also, I hope you have a block heater, as diesels don't like cold weather.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:09 PM   #11
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All excellent advice. We are doing an extended stay in Oklahoma for a few months. ( about 4 or 5) We have encountered single digit temps a few times in December this morning it was -4 degrees. We have also camped quite a bit in the winter in Arkansas but usually did not see temps that were in the single digits. We have found when camping for a weekend or something we just fill our fresh water tank 3/4 full and use it no hose to worry about freezing.

YOu are only going to be camping for one night in these temps. Fill up the propane tanks and run the furnaces. Make sure your CO detector is working and run your generator all night. You will have to run at least the furnace that is vented to your wet bay area to keep the water lines warm.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:31 PM   #12
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Park in full sun with your coach with your large windows facing the sun. This helps tremendously, seal every orfice in basement, close the AC vents in ceiling to retain heat. Insulate the skylight over shower, there is a LOT of heat lost here. Blinds up during day and down at night. We're in Tn with single digits for the next few nights with high's tomrrow of 12 with wind as high as 40mph. Go through your coach and if you feel cold spots.......remedy it! Insulation from Lowes is cheap and easy. Good luck (we're here for memorial service for a rv friend if you are wondering why we're camping in these temps)
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
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Park in full sun with your coach with your large windows facing the sun. This helps tremendously, seal every orfice in basement, close the AC vents in ceiling to retain heat. Insulate the skylight over shower, there is a LOT of heat lost here. Blinds up during day and down at night. We're in Tn with single digits for the next few nights with high's tomrrow of 12 with wind as high as 40mph. Go through your coach and if you feel cold spots.......remedy it! Insulation from Lowes is cheap and easy. Good luck (we're here for memorial service for a rv friend if you are wondering why we're camping in these temps)
Are you sure you get enough heat from the sun to make opening your blinds worth while. There is a lot of loss through the double pane windows. I measured the temp of the windows with the blinds open and the other side of the blinds with them closed and found I get a lot of insulation from the blinds. We actually went to lowes and bought the silver sided insulation to put over the windows and we see a lot of help from that especially the front window. We are camping in single digits and yesterday we hit -4. The number one biggest loss I am seeing is the steps going down to the door. I do not believe there is any insulation alongside the steps. I am going to cut a piece of foam to put over that opening today and see if that helps
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:32 AM   #14
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Some threads in this link may answer your question.
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