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Old 08-25-2014, 07:23 AM   #1
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Living 24/7 in 5th wheel?

Hi there everyone!

Do you or anyone you know live in a 5th wheel toy hauler 24/7 in cold climate?

My fiance and I are looking at buying a 2013 Forest River XLR 380amp toy hauler with the Arctic package (r40 insulation and heated tanks, etc). We are in northern Alberta (Grande Prairie) where the temps get to -45c (-49f) in the winter months. We are looking at living in this toy hauler 24/7...

I know there are lots of threads like this online but I haven't found one where people have talked about extreme cold temps, which is why im posting on here.

Just looking to get any and all information we can on full time living in a toy hauler in extreme cold temps with lots of snow? is it even do-able? or is it a huge hassle...
Thanks SOOO much!


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Old 08-25-2014, 07:33 AM   #2
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I do not know of anyone doing this type usage in any sort of RV. My gut feeling is that you are going to have to do a lot of prep type work and take some mitigation steps in order to not have major failures or risk to you and your fiancé.

Ie...you will likely need shelter for the 5th wheel....roof at a minimum and wind blockage on at least 3 sides to protect from wind chill and snow build-up on roof. This would help tremendously with maintaining heat. Speaking of heat, you will need a large remote propane tank supply and reliable service to keep it filled up during the season...and back up supplies of propane in the event of a storm emergency that delayed re-supply.

You would need to enclose the entire underneath portion of the unit as well, to include under the pin box area to help with heat loss as well. The final area of concern would be how to properly insulate your utilities for water supply and tank dumping...you would have to have a septic system even capable of being utilized in that sort of freezing cold.

Bottom line is that this would be extreme usage for any RV out there that was not specifically custom built for this type environment....don't let the "Arctic Package" labeling on any unit out there fool ya!!

Be safe my friend....

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Old 08-25-2014, 07:33 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I'm sure some of our fiver experts will chime in soon but I'm guessing that even that Arctic Package can only go so far and fifty below zero might just be beyond the feasibility range.

Best of luck.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 08-25-2014, 07:44 AM   #4
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It can, and has been done. Saying this, it can be a hassle, depending on how you feel about doing a few things to help winterize the unit. Insulating skirting around the undercarriage, extra insulating the outside compartment doors to help keep out the air movement. Most that have done this in the winter enclose and insulate the entire area by the fifth wheel pin to help keep the bedroom area warm. Extra insulation over the windows and in the vent covers. Hook up to large propane tanks, the RV ones don't last very long. Also have auxiliary heat, like a couple electric heaters to supplement the units furnace. Heat tape and insulate the fresh water hoses and also the waste hose. All the above came from posts that I have seen on here from people that have stayed in their units in below 0* F weather. Do a search on cold weather camping or similar to see what posts are available.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:45 AM   #5
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I'm sorry, but there are limitations in life. It's bad enough living in a super insulated house in such -45 degree climates, but you've far exceeded the comfort level of any fifth wheel trailer or recreational vehicle that far north.

Now if you spent winters in Florida like so many other Canadians, it'd be a different story.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:47 AM   #6
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Haha I wish I could spend winters in Florida! Too young to become snowbirds, still gotta work LOL
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:55 AM   #7
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We did it for one winter about 10 years ago, and let me tell you it ain't fun.
I am not familiar with the trailer you have in mind but what the salesman tells you about R40 insulation that is 'bull'.
We had a 29' Vanguard Legend 5th wheel at the time and had the dealer (Tailblazer RV) spray foam the entire bottom of the trailer, they installed heat pads under the tanks and wrapped the freshwater lines as well as the drain lines in tin foil then heat tape then insulation. We also had double pane windows installed. You can not leave any hose outside for more than a few minutes at most, sewer or fresh water.
You need to have a spot out of the wind, inside a shed would be better but you need sunlight to keep your sanity, the days are short enough in the winter already.
We ended up putting plastic film over the windows to keep condensation in check but you need to keep one roof vent cracked open ever so slightly to let moisture escape. We did run into problems when the cable to dump the tanks froze up on us, I don't remember how we solved that.
Oh, and ask for a volume discount on propane, because you're gonna need a lot. If I had to do it again, I would put skirting around the entire trailer and place an electric heater under the trailer. Remember in the old days when they lit a fire under the tractor (or truck) to thaw the oil so the engine would turn over?
I almost forgot, you need an electric heater in your front storage compartment on thermostat and find a way to run the furnace fan continuously at slow speed. Don't listen when someone tells you a 60 Watt light bulb is enough in the storage bay - it is not! Place thermometers with remote readouts in all critical areas, like in the storage bay, on the ground, under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom sink - you get the idea. Let the snow accumulate around the trailer skirting, not so high that it reaches the trailer side walls of course and get mouse traps, you're gonna need them.
Travelaire in Red Deer used to build trailers specifically for the north, but they are long gone. If I had to do it again, I would go to Tee Pee Trade & RV Centre in Camrose, they sell the Excel which is highly rated by fulltimers. Talk to Rob, he is the owner and deals with this on a daily basis.
Hope this helps and keep us posted.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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If your still shopping I would also look at the new Evergreen Tesla that has been out for a few months. The quality of construction is superior to the XLR, Cyclone, and Voltage. I looked at all the toy haulers, and fell in love with the Cyclone and Voltage until I started do more research on all of them. I wasn't aware of the Tesla, but found out how well built they are...needless to say I changed my mind and bought a Tesla. Very happy with it...and you can get a dishwasher and residential fridge with the Tesla..along with King bed with Denver Mattress..pillow top mattress. Standard on on the Tesla. They don't offer as many models as the others do, but they will. Right now they have 3 models 3912, 3950, and 3970 and are coming out with the 3914 in October. The 3950 we bought did not come with the residential fridge but we asked our dealer and Evergreen sent the same model fridge that their Bay Hill 379 has..with icemaker and large bottom freezer...nice to have! The dealer installed the fridge and larger electrical converter (fridge needs this) before we took delivery.
Do your homework before buying any of the larger manufacturer products...the Cyclone and Voltage are having many quality control problems due to high demand.
Just do your homework with the manufacturer and your dealer before you buy...good luck!

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