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Old 01-02-2011, 12:28 AM   #1
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Extreme Cold Camping

Does anybody else take their RV camping in extremely cold temps. If so, what is your experience. Here is our recent experience with our 98 Monaco Signature DP.

We have been in Leadville, CO. since Dec. 27th. We enjoy snow skiing, snow boarding, snow mobiling, dog sledding, etc. The temps have ranged from +40 to -15. We have one oil filled electric radiator heater and two small ceramic electric heaters. The AquaHot has been a wonderful piece of equipment. The AquaHot has two ways of making heat: 1) a diesel burner, and/or 2) an electric element. We have both on. It has 3 interior zones, and 1 basement zone. We have set the AquaHot interior thermostat at 62 for all three interior zones. The separate thermostat in the basement is set at max temp. During the day, it is rare that any of the interior AquaHot zone fans turn on because the 2 electric heaters we are using inside the coach keep the temperature above 62. At nite it occasionally has to run the 3 zone fans. The diesel burner at nite fires up about 10 mins of every hour. During the day the AquaHot electric element and our ceramic electric heaters do the work.

We had the Norcold icemaker water valve crack from freezing shortly after we got here. The problem is that it is located near the exterior of the coach, just inside the refrigerator air inlet vent. We turned off the icemaker water supply at the Manablock and all is well. In the future, it will be turned off sooner, and/or I'll relocate it to a place that doesn't freeze.

Even though the AquaHot radiates a lot of heat into the basement compartment where it is located, I decided to put one of our electric ceramic heaters in with it to help to keep the water pipes near that compartments exterior door from freezing. So far so good. Better safe than sorry. I keep the engine block heater plugged in anytime the temp is below zero .

We hope this helps.

Don
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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We hope this helps.
Don, One of our friends told me about the time that his jacks froze to the ground. Apparently when he got to where he was going there wasn't a problem. When he was ready to leave some few days later he found the jacks frozen to the ground. Just another thing to consider when camping in the deep freeze. I'm not shocked to hear about the icemaker, there isn't a lot of heat behind the refer. Perhaps an incandescent bulb will hold it if it doesn't get too cold. -15 F is cold. Brrr! I've camped out to the low teens and that was cold.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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While I can't describe it as extreme cold weather, it was in the twenties the other day when we were out. The thermostat was set at 68. I moved around the coach and measured the temperature with an infrared thermometer. All I can say is WOW! The only place where the temperature was 68 was at the thermostat. The temperature ranged from 58 to 65. The temp inside some of the overhead bins was around 50.

I don't think this coach was designed for cold weather. Then again, it really wasn't designed for hot weather either. That's why I had to add another roof air conditioner.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
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Well you don't want to come this way... Jan. 1, 2011...



Just not even a good idea to try with my Jayco Eagle. On a slightly warmer day around 16*F I went out and fired up the furnace and a electric heater (1200W) and the furnace never really could keep up soon as it shut down it would pop back on because the temperature would fall quick inside...
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:54 AM   #5
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One fella I met, who workamped for a longer period would use straw bales around the outside perimeter of his MH to create a better insulated area under the coach. Less than $100 worth of straw.

Gotta worry about the possible fire hazzard, but he swore by it for longer term stays...
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:22 AM   #6
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is that picture in Idaho somewhere? I live in Idaho and it's been just as cold new meadows is about 437 miles from me. temps here are not that extreme right now, but it's now 7 degrees outside. Your a little more extreme up there.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:03 PM   #7
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is that picture in Idaho somewhere? I live in Idaho and it's been just as cold new meadows is about 437 miles from me. temps here are not that extreme right now, but it's now 7 degrees outside. Your a little more extreme up there.
Goto Idaho Transportation Department - Division of Highways and look for New Meadows, ID there is a camera and weather tower just north of New Meadows, ID on US95 and just south of Smokey Boulder Road... I'm only 8-9 miles from that tower...
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:45 PM   #8
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In Michigan through December ....Jack froze to ground....also check where the cold air return was and it goes outside above the gas heater...We have a 1990 Winnebago 36.....Can I enclose the area above the heater and get away from the cold draft on the floors....any suggestions...Lew
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:11 PM   #9
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I do a lot of boondocking in the winter. I love to go to ski resorts and just park in the parking lot and ski for a few days. I also seldom use an RV park when on the road I stay outside the homes of family or when traveling I like to drive late so I just stay at a roadside park or Truck stop.

My last RV a 1996 Itasca Suncruiser was pretty good at keeping the basement water running when the furnace was on.

My current coach a 2002 Itasca Horizon is horrible about freezing. I had to move the accumulator off the floor of the water compartment and insulate the compartment, run heat tape around the lines and put in a 60 watt light bulb. I put in a contractor pigtail plugged in to the block heater outlet. I use the three outlets for heat tape, a 60 watt light bulb and to plug in the block heater a couple of hours before starting the coach. This has worked at 17 below.

I had to run the Generator 24/7 to run the bulb and heat tape and keep the heat up in the water compartment. So I installed an EC30W automatic Generator Starter. Now I can sleep at night or leave the coach to play without having to leave the gen set running. It monitors the batteries and starts and stops the gen set when needed. Probally saved me 16 hours a day in run time on my gen set. This summer it has a setting to monitor the heat inside and start the gen for AC when it gets too hot inside.

I run the gen set on manual when i need the Microwave or Block heater to save on overloading the inverter and batteries otherwise I set the Auto Start and let it do its thing.

To avoid jacks freezing to the ground I have made jack blocks consisting of a 1' x 1.5' x 2" block with a one foot 2 x 6 screwed to the bottom. In winter I set the 1x6 down and the 1'x1' block up so it rocks on the 2x6. When it freezes I just step on one side and it breaks free. On soft ground I flip it and have the large block down. They are also great for leveling when the slope is more than the jacks will handle. (scraps from door or window headers make great blocks).

Winter travel and camping takes some special considerations but I did not buy a Motor Home to winterize it and leave it during the cold months. I use it with full use of sinks, shower and toilet. year round.

A little pink anti freeze in the holding tanks keeps them from freezing when it is time to dump, or if they do I put some salt in the tank while traveling and it melts the ice.

Take care with hoses, plastic is very brittle in below freezing weather.
Carry chains just in case, also a couple of small ceramic space heaters just in case.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:17 AM   #10
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but I did not buy a Motor Home to winterize it and leave it during the cold months. I use it with full use of sinks, shower and toilet. year round.
Stogie
Thanks you sharing your experience. GOOD INFO! We couldn't agree with you more. Year round use of the MH is where its at. We have the auto gen start feature too on our Signature, but we haven't used it yet because we stay at a RV park with electricity once we get to our destination. We do boondock a lot while traveling(WalMart,etc), but we have enough battery power to get us thru the nite.

In post #1 above, I stated that the icemaker water valve cracked. I was wrong. The problem was that the fittings on it were lose. But, next time we are in extremely cold temps, I'm gonna make a change so the ice maker valve doesn't freeze. The easiest thing to do would be to put a low wattage light under it.

Our Signature has air leveling, so jacks sticking to the ground isn't an issue. The previous 2 yrs we took our 98 DutchStar DP. It has a propane furnace and hyd jacks. The furnace did an adeqate job, but the block of wood we put down under the jack pads did stick to the ground. But, we carry a long handle shovel with us and were able to pry them up without much fuss

We do have Z cable type chains for the MH & Toad just in case. We haven't had to use them yet.

We're planning to head back to Leadville, CO for more winter fun in March to ski, etc, then again in July & Aug to climb/hike,etc some of the 14,000 footers in the area, and to escape the TX heat.

Thanks
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:50 AM   #11
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Found another cold weather camping accessory. Its called a Thermo Cube and plugs into your outlet and gives you a thermal switch for your outlet.
I plan on putting one in the water compartment and plugging in a 60 watt trouble light. When the temp gets down to 35 it will turn on the light bulb and heat the compartment, when it gets up to 45 it turns off. Great for boondocking to save battery. Also for use when at home and plugged in but not being used. I do not winterize my coach I want it ready to go.

I found this at gun dog supply, they are put in dog houses with a light bulb to keep fido warm on those cold nights.

I am also replacing all inside incandescents with LED's. More savings on battery power.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:25 AM   #12
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Stogie
Thanks you sharing your experience. GOOD INFO! We couldn't agree with you more. Year round use of the MH is where its at. We have the auto gen start feature too on our Signature, but we haven't used it yet because we stay at a RV park with electricity once we get to our destination. We do boondock a lot while traveling(WalMart,etc), but we have enough battery power to get us thru the nite.

In post #1 above, I stated that the icemaker water valve cracked. I was wrong. The problem was that the fittings on it were lose. But, next time we are in extremely cold temps, I'm gonna make a change so the ice maker valve doesn't freeze. The easiest thing to do would be to put a low wattage light under it.

Our Signature has air leveling, so jacks sticking to the ground isn't an issue. The previous 2 yrs we took our 98 DutchStar DP. It has a propane furnace and hyd jacks. The furnace did an adeqate job, but the block of wood we put down under the jack pads did stick to the ground. But, we carry a long handle shovel with us and were able to pry them up without much fuss

We do have Z cable type chains for the MH & Toad just in case. We haven't had to use them yet.

We're planning to head back to Leadville, CO for more winter fun in March to ski, etc, then again in July & Aug to climb/hike,etc some of the 14,000 footers in the area, and to escape the TX heat.

Thanks
Another Texan here, adding his gratitude. I say this as us Neophytes are enjoying a gorgeous view of the mountains overlooking Santa Fe, with the TV weathermen all doing extra coverage of a winter storm bearing down on us with 9F temps, winds and snow.

I'll pick up an oil-filled radiant heater for the upstairs today, retire the workhorse ceramic to the water bay below. Also, thanks to the posts here, put some antifreeze into my grey and blackwater tanks, which are nearly empty. We're not hooked to city water, and are testing the onboard capacity of the rig. As for the icemaker, I disconnected it and drained the valve body in December, for the season. We buy a bag of ice at a time, putting half in the bin; the other goes into the toilet right before departure so our blackwater indicators stay squeaky clean.

Beyond that, there is a crockpot full of beef stew, great TV reception, WiFi.

Thank you all, for your counsel.
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