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Old 03-16-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
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Cold weather capable, older, travel trailers

A young relative of my son-in-law's family has asked about a travel trailer he could buy and live in for two years while starting medical school. He has limited funds and has found a park where he can stay for $100.00 a month. He has some money saved and can pay for an older travel trailer but can't afford the $800 a month an apt. would cost.
So, I need some suggestions as to older travel trailers, in the $5000 price range that could handle the winters in the Northern part of Tenn. Did they make some that were better insulated and with enclosed tanks, and maybe better windows? No family, just himself. Thanks
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:09 PM   #2
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More than likely the older trailer won't be 4 season capable. His option would be to winterize it for the cold season but that won't really work for full time use. Will probably need to bunk with several other students to share the costs. He may want to check with the school for help in low cost rooming alternatives.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:01 AM   #3
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I will suggest he check with the school, craigslist, etc for housing help, but not your typical college town. There is a medical school there, not a big name one, and finding a compatible roommate in a strange town will be a challenge.

I know some there are TT that are better than others regarding cold weather. My wife lived in a Spartan for two years in North Carolina in the Sixties. Airstream comes to mind as a possible one as well. Need one with all the plumbing, tanks, etc., that are enclosed in areas that will get some minimal heat. Good insulation in the ways and floor. Maybe one needs to go to a trailer park and drive around to see what TT models one can find set up there. I thought maybe I could find some one on this forum with a positive experience regarding the question. Thanks
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:27 AM   #4
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Enclosed tanks should not be a necessity as long as the trailer is being heated. Just add a gal of cheap RV anti-freeze to the black and gray tanks after dumping. Dump both tanks when at least 1 tank is full. An insulted bottom would be a benefit. also, ensure most of the freshwater plumbing and the freshwater tank is above floor level. Some of the older 22-26 foot Kit, Lance and Artic Fox’s fit the description.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:34 PM   #5
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Arctic Fox, Airstream, Boles Aero, Spartan are all weather TTs.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:04 PM   #6
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Then your going to have the added costs of making it winter proof, like adding skirting, heat tape, propane tanks (larger size). He will have to pay for metered electric, propane. Also how will he get what he buys there. Then have to sell it afterwards. $100 a month in a trailer park seems too cheap. We have a few local tt park here on the lower end variety and they are $300 - $350 a month plus water and electric. The two tt parks by us have used full sized mobile homes for $2000 to $5000. They might be 20+ years old, but are more insulated more than a tt.

When me and the DW first got married we bought a 17 year old mobile home for $6500 (very nice condition ) and sold it 4 years later for $11,000. Lot rent at the time was only $130 - $145 a month (1987 to 1991) . Lived in it to save for a house. We loved it...had a nice awning, covered patio, garden area, tool shed, 2 bedrooms, large living room. Where else could we live at the time for $130 a month and that included water too.

I would look at a mobile home with two bedrooms and pick up a roommate....share the utilities.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:44 PM   #7
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Superslif--suggestion about a mobile home purchase already in a mobile home park is another possible, but bet they are hard to find. Thanks. A travel trailer getting there isn't a problem. His dad, uncle and I have trucks that can pull them. About the $100, that is what he has found, so far, as far as a rental space. Don't know if that includes water or not. It doesn't include electricity. Thanks for the information.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:36 AM   #8
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We have no problems in our 2000 keystone 26 ft with the temps in the high 20's, Just more propane !!!
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:45 AM   #9
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Even a cheap trailer can cost 150 dollars a month or more just for electricity. Add another 50-100 dollars a week for propane in the cold weather and trying to simply keep from freezing to death can be costly. I think he is going to be better off with an older manufacturers home and pick up a room mate. Not to mention a TT is going to be very cramped for living and trying to study, whereas 500square ft of mfg home will give him room to at least walk around a bit.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:35 PM   #10
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You would surprised how much space a mobile home offers. If I remember we had a 1970 12' x 65' with a 7' x 15' living room expando for a total of 885 sq. We lived in it from 87' to 91'. Don't care being called trailer trash (just kidding). Saved enough to pay cash for a house in 4 years.

You look at, say a 30' tt (8' x 26' livable space) = 210 sq. Big difference for about the same price.

I realize your trying to find the cheapest form of housing to attend school. Not sure what the winter temperatures are in the Northern TN. area.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:04 AM   #11
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Probably a mobile home would be the best option, if it could be found. I own a 1979 that is next door to me that my son lives in. Well built, survived 5 hurricanes so far, although if floated in one hurricane but the tie downs kept it in place so when it came down it was still on blocks, but the wooden leveling pegs had floated away. I had to relevel it, and did a roof over about 10 years ago.

Winter temps will get cold, but not too far in the negative readings, nor too often, and not as long a duration as further north, like in upstate Pa. where I grew up. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:05 AM   #12
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You ever try Craigslist? Look under RV's & camps. Mostly park models and or seasonal site.

Online I took a look at a site that lists about 15 different trailer parks here in Northeast Ohio. Most had 3-6 mobile homes listed for sale. Many in the mid teens to low 30's. But some of the parks had some $1000 - $3000 units. Some listed what their lot rents were too. $275 to about $350 a month.
Like I said I had a 1970 and added a deck with built in seating and a large 2 tiered planter box. I drive by it every year or two just to see how my deck is holding up. I over built it, cuz it still looks solid, and that was 1988...
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:17 PM   #13
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Anything will handle Northern TN. I only wish I could find one for $100/month here. We pay $475/month where we are in Montana while in school.

Our first two winters were in a 1978 Tioga Class C. This winter was in a 1992 Dutchmen 30FK TT. The Tioga actually used less propane, but it was a LOT smaller.

It rarely gets cold enough in N. Tenn to warrant much insulation (Spent a winter in Clarksville), but if the park allows it, have them put insulation (such as rigid foam) around the base of the RV, so it closes off the underside. That will make things a lot more comfortable.
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
Even a cheap trailer can cost 150 dollars a month or more just for electricity. Add another 50-100 dollars a week for propane in the cold weather and trying to simply keep from freezing to death can be costly. I think he is going to be better off with an older manufacturers home and pick up a room mate. Not to mention a TT is going to be very cramped for living and trying to study, whereas 500square ft of mfg home will give him room to at least walk around a bit.
No offense, but I find this post to be completely false. They are in northern Tennessee, not Alaska. We FT while in school here in Montana. Even under the harshest conditions here, we might pay $100-$150/month for propane, and that is without using electric space heaters. We also use our stove and oven regularly. These prices are after using two different RV's in the process, and they were close to the same. I don't know what you are doing to warrant those figures, but they are wrong.

Get a tank from a propane company that sits outside the RV, and you won't be filling up every week, and you will get a customer rate instead of a fly-by rate (rates for random one-time customers filling up their small tanks). Electric space-heaters aren't really that economical, so use them sparingly. You should have no reason to go above $30-40/month for electricity. Put skirting insulation around the outside, and you will limit heat loss and eliminate worry of tanks freezing. Take some of that rigid foam and form it to fit in the vent openings. Not the greatest looking, but works great.

I will also say this now: Don't waste the time of "keeping a vent or window cracked" for condensation purposes that most people advocate. Go and get a decent dehumidifier, and use that. Not a small countertop one, either. Get a full-size one, and find a spot to shove it that is at least somewhat out of the way. The electricity cost will be far less than the what the propane would cost to offset the open cold air coming in. Keeping a vent or window cracked is only logical if you are boondocking.

With the $100/month rent included, I see no reason why the cost to live in the RV should cost more than $300-350/month, and that is here in Montana. I'd say Tennessee would be closer to $200-250.
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