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Old 07-30-2015, 10:37 PM   #1
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What 5ers have arctic/polar package and thermopane windows?

Hi All,

Have a question for all and Many Appreciated Thanks to All who Respond!

We have a '97 American Star 30' 2" 5er and a '11 Sportsmen Classic. We have conservatively 200 miles on the 5er, as it is parked in a park and wasn't pulled by either the previous owner or us ( have owned for 4 years now ), mainly because we didn't have a TV that would pull it. It is supposed to have a polar pack in it, as it has the bottom enclosed. Only problem I see is that it has single pane windows.

The TT just has regular insulation in it. No arctic/polar at all. And this is the trailer that I use to go hunting in the fall with, and with no furnace, me gets mighty cold in there! I do run the genny with a 1500 watt electric heater, but still!

So, DH and I want a newer trailer that has the arctic/polar package with thermopane windows.

Just who makes a 5er with this setup? I am very ignorant on this part, and I've been searching very diligently for answers, and at this point, very frustrated. Any help is appreciated!

Bruce And Sheila
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Old 07-31-2015, 03:37 AM   #2
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I think most RV makers call it four seasons package now, supposed to be good for winter use but even still they need to checked out. We have an Arctic Fox 5th Wheel made by Northwood which is a four seasons RV and you can get dual pane windows with it. Northwood's are a little hard to find if you live on the East Coast as the are made in Oregon.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:56 AM   #3
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Most brands have heavy insulation packages. The dual pane glass will cost you over $1K, and it adds about 350 lbs. to most fifth wheel trailers. Most part timers cannot warrant the expense as it pays off most in the far north and the far south--where temperature spreads are great.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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Beware of what FR calls the "Arctic Pack". It just consists of resistance heaters glued to the outside of the drinking water and grey water tanks. They have only a built-in, non-adjustable thermostat, and are not tied to any kind of sensor to ensure there's liquid in the tank. They're quite small, also, which means the heat is concentrated in a small area of the tanks, which are usually heavy-duty polyethylene. It's quite possible for them to damage the tank if powered up with no liquid in the tank.

The potential for damage and the basic uselessness of the things resulted in my decision to disconnect them. I also took off the mis-spelled label in the kitchen for the "Artic Pack". To a Brit like me, "artic" is the word for a tractor-trailer rig (aka "articulated lorry").
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Old 08-03-2015, 05:55 AM   #5
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We have double pane windows and it's been great. Even in Florida in the winter.
I have been living in our unit in sub Zero temperatures and I have no use for heated tanks. The batteries can hardly keep the furnace powered overnight. The fresh water tank has been my only concern but a good heated underbe!!y works great.
The black and grey tanks are well setup in the warm front and the black tank creates its own heat heating all my tanks.
Windows to me makes better sense to eliminate the moisture that rolls down the windows to the walls.
Will never own an other RV without thermos.
Our unit is the low end full time unit of Heartland and we love it.
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:27 PM   #6
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Manufacturers that come to my mind are Keystone, and Forest River. Several of their upper lines have campers that have heavy insulation and dual pane frameless windows. I camp in the summer and winter. My last was a Keystone Alpine, it even had a Heat Pump for the main ac unit that would heat the unit down to about 28 degrees ambient, then it would switch over to the propane furnace. My new Trilogy by Dynamax has the same setups, but I have not had it long enough to vouch for the winter camping yet, but all the systems are there same as my old unit! Happy Camping.
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:51 PM   #7
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Our Landmark 365 has the dual pane windows, and they seem to work good. We've been down to 27 degF, and it all went well. The basement where the tanks are located is heated with the furnace. The basement cargo area us also heated. It works pretty good. They say it's 4 season rated, but I don't think so. I usually keep the furnace at around 55 degs (just to keep the tanks and plumbing happy), and then run the fireplace heater to keep the dogs warm. If I want more heat (non propane) I run a small ceramic heater in the mst bath. I've also heated the tanks and plumbing by directing the all ceramic heater towards the furnace screen in the steps up to the bedroom to heat everything up. So far so good. Kinda wish I had some decent tank heaters, but the plumbing hasn't frozen yet.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:27 AM   #8
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Thanks to all who have replied.

These are things that I want to know, just who makes the good ones, and who to avoid.

I know that thermopanes and extra insulation will add weight, but that part I just don't care about, I just want to stay warm.

The tanks worry me with a small heater spot. Definately do not want a hole in any tanks.

Good to know that thermopanes will help in any weather keeping out cold, heat and noise.

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Old 08-04-2015, 10:43 AM   #9
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Don't be fooled by the advertised '4 season', 'polar pack', 'all season' packages. For the most part they are advertising only. I am in a 5th wheel with a 4 season sticker on it. It is junk. They put two A/C units on it so it does stay cool in hot climates. It have a fire place that helps keep it warm in cooler temps. I am not impressed with the insulation. I have air leaks under the slides...ugh.

There are probably some trailers that are better than others but none can be in zero degree temps without modifications and added insulation.

A few trailers that are probably better than others are Excel Winslow. DRV Mobile Suits, Keystone Montana.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:41 PM   #10
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True four season use was an issue when we were selecting our 5th. We looked at Artic Fox and Excel trailers at the time. We're in New Mexico at 7,000 ft and camp in some cool places. In the end we selected a 2007 Excel Classic. All the tanks and plumbing is totally enclosed and insulated in a heated space in and under the basement. I know people who lived in their Excels full time with winter lows hitting 0 to -20 F with no problems. I think real experience speaks much louder than marketing claims. I know Excel went out of business last year, but used Excels are on the market and sell fast around here.

Keep in mind how the tanks and plumbing is designed to be heated. If there are furnace ducts into those spaces then the furnace must run enough to pump heat into the required spaces. If you are using electric heat upstairs to save propane you may have unhappy issues below. Just saying your milage may vary.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
The dual pane glass will cost you over $1K, and it adds about 350 lbs. to most fifth wheel trailers.
Kind of false and definitely false. Dual pane windows may be $1k or higher price, but that is MSRP, there is no reason to pay MSRP for options any more than there is a need to pay MSRP for the base trailer. As for weight, one additional thickness of glass adds less than 100 lbs to the trailer weight.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:46 PM   #12
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For OP, advertising claims about 'polar pack' or '4 season' is a bunch of trash. R values are frequently described as 'best case calculated' and never 'average R value' and using Reflectix or similar aluminized bubble wrap provides those big R values on paper but can't deliver in the real world. Besides, even if an RV has super insulation in one area but is drafty or weak insulation in another, then that super insulation is just a waste. Kind of like putting your foot in a creek, it is a great barrier but how much does it really stop the flow of water?

There is no magic solution to higher R values except more inches of bulk insulation. Since the vast majority of RVs have wall thicknesses around 1-1/2 to 2 inches, then they have pretty much the same insulation. There are a few brands like DRV that have 3-1/2 inch side walls, they will have superior insulation. Beyond that, slide out details are important. Are the slide out floors actually insulated with bulk insulation? Are the slide out walls and roof as thick as the main walls and roof? If not, then few or no slide outs is better. Finally, rigid foam insulation has marginally better R values than loose fiberglas insulation.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:00 PM   #13
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Just a comment about Polar/ Arctic/4 season , there are no standards these identifications are compared to,so the best way to judge performance is to ask somebody who has been there and done it. The OP is on target.
I recently purchased an 07 Presidential Suite and intend to be full time in the north east this February. I was happy that windows were thermo but not happy to learn the fold up bay window is single pane. We'll see how that goes. I'm still learning about the features and benefits this rig has. My first 5er. Had a couple class c MH's in previous years..
I see many areas where I can improve thermo barriers and leaks. I do have a question about heating the basement, There is a thin slider door separating the
basement area from the utility room where the tanks and furnace are located. I want to keep the utility area warm to prevent freezing, how about the basement storage area ,should that be heated? the ceiling is the floor of the bedroom. The front of the basement is open to the battery/gen set . Battery should be kept somewhat warm.

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Old 01-04-2016, 08:34 PM   #14
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You can always make thermo Windows with the the little window shrink plastic kits at the hardware store and a hair dryer, or bubble wrap or reflective foil. There are ways to do this. The rest of it is more problematical as only a few units have real bone deep design for good insulation and those include Excel, Artic Fox and a few others. Excel's for example have thicker walls and doors. A lot of it is just rhetoric.
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