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Old 12-05-2020, 12:01 PM   #1
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Winter Camping - Thx to Winnebago

Because of a medical issue I'm sort of stuck in the north-east corner of Oregon. And we're seeing lows in the 20's F every night this time of year, December. And below freezing until just before ~2 pm when it gets into the mid to high 40's.

I have done 2-3 days of winter weather camping before in this '02 Journey but this is the longest...over a month so far. I just wanted to relay my experiences if you're considering some winter camping.

I do have a gas furnace that works fine, but it really really sucks the propane so I stopped using it so I don't have to break camp to have my tank filled. I'm down to 1/4 tank. If I'd known I'd have medical issues, I would have had the gas company come out and install a hundred gallon tank for me. But I've been expecting to leave for 2 weeks now and departure day seems close (if all goes well with my prostate) so it doesn't seem worth it.

Passive Cold Weather Setup: I have dual pane windows, and only the main passenger side window is still uncovered but I keep the shade either all the way down or just up 1/4 of the way for a view. All the others have that foil bubble insulation plus the day/night shades pulled down. On the front windows I have those summer sun reflectors and keep the curtains closed. Not much, but it's been okay so far. There's 4" of foam insulation in the ceiling. I have two slides and they seal properly. I have a heatpump that works. Step well cover is closed with a blanket around 3 sides and a rug on the transition between the last step and the house.

Active systems: I am currently using 5 electric heaters. I have an oil filled heater in the drivers space, set on high. A ceramic heater next to the sink area also set on high. A small floor resistance heater on low next to the dining room table, another one in the water closet (mine is separate from the shower/sink area and has a door) and I keep the door closed. Then I have the heatpump set on 71 F and it actually comes on sometimes even tho it's 25 F outside. Dunno why, they're not suppose to work under 40 F or so. I don't need to use it for day to day heating but I could if needed. Another floor heater on the nightstand in the BR set on low. And finally, I have an electric blanket.

I leave all these heaters on overnight, and during the heat of the day, may turn off 1 or 2 of them if it overheats inside.

So that's the setup and it's surprisingly comfortable. I am opening the cabinets under the sinks at night, using my onboard water tank and I turn off the water pump before bed. Only hook up the slinky when needed (10-20 days) and then only during the warmest part of the day. Rarely use the heatpump now (because it blows cold for too long after starting). It's getting cold enough (22 F late at night) that I leave all the heaters running all night. I have NOT installed a separate heater in the wet compartment (where the pump and accumulator are) but I carry a 100 watt bulb setup for that if needed. So far just turning off the pump and draining at a sink or the toilet has been working fine.

Thank goodness for 50 amp shore power! And the low humidity (25%) in this area of the country this time of year.

I have to say though, I'm looking forward to heading south next week, if I can. But if I can't, I'll be calling the propane company for sure. Hmm, I just realized, I don't see any propane tanks sitting next to the many RVs in this campground. I better check on that...okay, they deliver here in my area but don't mention leasing tanks (they're closed today). But Home Depot has 100 gallon tanks for $126.

So that's my adventure with cold weather camping. I know there are many brands of RVs with 'cold weather package' installed and I wanted to give lurkers an idea of what it's like in a 50 amp Journey. I've been told the newer Journeys and Bounders are similarly insulated. If I got that 100 gal propane tank, I'm sure that staying all winter would be a breeze. I would hesitate to do this in a 30 amp RV though.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:17 PM   #2
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Doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. I think that's a good price on that Home Depot tank. You must be close to the Dalles?
We sure do love our AquaHot, and yeah, the heat pumps don't work down around freezing. Good luck, hope ya get south soon. If you're heading for CA I read on a thread here there is no place to go due to the stay at home orders by the gov. Las Vegas area might be open.

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Old 12-05-2020, 12:21 PM   #3
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IMHO, only using electric heaters does not protect your basement pipes from freezing because they are not just in the wet bay - had a previous 5'er freeze the shower controls because it was open at the bottom and fridge water connection was a small plastic tube they ran UNDER the slide :(
Saying that though, we LOVE winter camping and don't even ask about our 75 pup - the cold weather is like cocaine to him he runs around like a idiot just for the sake of running !
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Old 12-05-2020, 01:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadmiester View Post
Doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. I think that's a good price on that Home Depot tank. You must be close to the Dalles?
We sure do love our AquaHot, and yeah, the heat pumps don't work down around freezing. Good luck, hope ya get south soon. If you're heading for CA I read on a thread here there is no place to go due to the stay at home orders by the gov. Las Vegas area might be open.

Roadmiester
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I'm in Milton Freewater, but I have spent some cold winter camping time near the Dalles. In my old Bounder. Just a week or three though. I don't recall it being that bad for me but my friend in her 5'er had lots of trouble with freezing sewage and water. She refused to use the parks restroom so their slinky and water hose was out and installed and repeatedly freezing. She drove her BF nuts. He'd work all day installing wind generators, come home to the job of unfreezing the pipes. They went through 5 electric heated hoses, those things are junk. Then went with a wrap method with heat tape and insulation that worked better but then the parks pipes froze. I finally talked them into using their tank instead of a connected hose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBoyToo View Post
IMHO, only using electric heaters does not protect your basement pipes from freezing because they are not just in the wet bay - had a previous 5'er freeze the shower controls because it was open at the bottom and fridge water connection was a small plastic tube they ran UNDER the slide :(
Saying that though, we LOVE winter camping and don't even ask about our 75 pup - the cold weather is like cocaine to him he runs around like a idiot just for the sake of running !
So far it's not been a problem. This Journey design has the water pipe coming straight up from the water pump into the walls of the RV in the water closet where I have that heater so 90% of the water pipes are in a heated space. The other pipe run to the shower and kitchen is under the floor but in a surrounded basement type setup where hot air leaking from the furnace would normally pump hot air if I were using it. Dangerous not running the furnace I know but so far so good.

I always shut off the water pump and drain either the toilet, bathroom faucet or kitchen faucet before bed. So far so good. But I'll probably get my 100 watt bulb setup installed in the wet bay (where the pump is) today.

Pictures of the pup playing in the snow would be cool....
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