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Old 05-12-2011, 05:53 AM   #1
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Name: Josie&Craig
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Cooler/Cold Weather Camping and Winter Packages

"Regarding the travel trailer, I forgot that I own a Bigfoot with a winter package. Sorry! My pipes are encased in fiberglass and the cabin is double insulated. As a result, I was very comfortable camping in the Rockies with a malfunctioning heater and only sleeping bags to keep me warm. And the reason I bought a Bigfoot over a Scamp or Casita is that I planned to do winter and spring camping in colder climates."

This quote from JaneP on another thread got me to thinking. I dint want to hijack the other thread, so thought posing the question on it's own might bring discussion that would enlighten me.

When Mr. 2yax and I began thinking "full-time" one of the things we kept looking for in the stickies was Canadian style winter packages.

Li'l Scamp is nicely insulated on the inside, but JaneP's post reminded me all her main supply pipes are underbelly and exposed.

Are Bigfoots the only ones set up for cold weather camping?
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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In stickies they refer to all weather as four season.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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There is or was a Canadian manufacturer called Travelair or Travelaire. I saw one at a dealership in Alaska in 2004. It was a stick built and I believe it was fully insulated.
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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Other than Bigfoot (not all Bigfoot trailers!) the only currrent manufacturer that's coming close is Escape. Fully tubbed and they offer double-pane windows (COOOL!) as an option on most of the models.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 2yax2go View Post
! My pipes are encased in fiberglass and the cabin is double insulated.

Li'l Scamp is nicely insulated on the inside, but JaneP's post reminded me all her main supply pipes are underbelly and exposed.
?
If the pipes are not locater inside a heated area the trailer, it does not matter much if they are insulated, they will still freeze. Insulation only slows down the rate of heat transfer, if there is no heat source for the pipes, it would just take a little longer to freeze with insulation than without it, but they would still freeze over night.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #6
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Mr. 2yax and I aren't planning on overwintering in Yellowstone or anything (although once upon a long time ago I'd have been game to try), but I can foresee that we might catch a late or early snow at some point in our adventures.

Our goal is to sort of do a reverse follow the seasons travel plan and be in cool places while it's hot and warm places when it's not. (or snuggly esconced in one of our various children's homes along the East Coast.)

Me and he were talking about electric heat strips for the underpipes. Which, of course, would only be workable having electric hook-ups.

He did say though, that he thought only the drains and grey water were vulnerable...still...it could be an issue. We'll have to do a little underbelly examination.

Eascapes, huh? I rather like those little rigs...would love to see one up close and personal, but are not available for long hauls yet where we might catch up with some of y'all at a gathering. I still owe the man 8 hours a day for a while longer yet. But, soon.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:14 PM   #7
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Yep, in Wyoming it might snow anytime.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:17 PM   #8
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Night time temperatures dipping to slightly below freezing generally wont' cause a problem. Open containers of water will freeze but pipes under a trailer won't freeze. Surfaces will radiate their heat into the space while under cover areas stay a bit warmer. Also snow can happen when air temperature is as high as 39F. A light dusting won't cause your pipes to freeze. When we were in Big Bend the temperatures got down to 5F at night, I think was one or two RVs that had the gray water valve freeze. As soon as it warmed up everything was ok. We were in a NO hookup area.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:28 PM   #9
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"Yep, in Wyoming it might snow anytime."

Yup...and Flagstaff gets right chilly even on summer nights...as do some of the high desert places we hope to go.

Would some kind of underskirting help keep pipes any? I had a hair-brained idea of underskirting with a small ceramic heater underneath to keep them warm.
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:29 PM   #10
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Our goal is to sort of do a reverse follow the seasons travel plan and be in cool places while it's hot and warm places when it's not.

We follow your plan when traveling.

Though we have been in cold and ice for a week or so at a time, we have never had any pipe freeze in our trailer. Our Sunline, thinly insulated, had an external grey tank and external grey and black drains we have never had them freeze. I will say we prepare for cold weather by not keeping our grey and black tanks full, dumping a little more often.

The most vulnerable piece is the outside water hose. We have used an electrical tape on it once while stuck in an unusual extended freeze in Seattle. In general we do not keep our water hose pressurized at night; as well we do not keep the internal water lines pressurized at night if it's a significant freeze. Not pressurizing the water lines gives a little expansion margin in case they freeze.

We typically do not run our heat at night though on occasion we will turn on a heater around 4AM. When we do we prefer a small electric heater. We usually carry an electric blanket to keep us warm and the rig quiet.

Obviously when we expect cold weather we prefer to have an electrical hookup.

Norm
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:27 AM   #11
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The Bigfoot "winter package" is multi-faceted. The most critical feature is a ducted heating system that provides warm air to the enclosed areas around the tanks and water lines. That is why I run the gas furnace when I am camping in sub-freezing temps. My electric heater heats the cabin area, but doesn't provide heat to the plumbing. The insulation and double pane windows are great, too, for holding the heat.

That being said, whether anyone really needs a true 4-season trailer is very subjective. Just about any trailer can survive in conditions where the overnight low dips below freezing for a short time. I had a Casita in Alaska for several years and stayed comfortable. But I had to quit using the water system when it was freezing 24 hours a day. The furnace cycled on and off frequently due to the thin walls and single pane windows.

Another 4-season trailer that comes to mind is the Arctic Fox. It is a stick-built that is very popular in the far north.
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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David,
I agree that few trailers are designed for a continuous freeze. Fortunately most of us do not camp in a continuous freeze however many do camp in a night time freeze. Most rigs are easily capable of withstanding night time freezes. Our goal is to avoid cold weather but sometimes ......

Safe travels.

Norm
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Other than Bigfoot (not all Bigfoot trailers!) the only currrent manufacturer that's coming close is Escape. Fully tubbed and they offer double-pane windows (COOOL!) as an option on most of the models.

Escape does off an insulation package for the tanks that includes heat tape etc. It is not (yet) on the website but available on request.

Apparently it does not have to be installed as part of the initial build so it can be added later.

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Old 05-16-2011, 05:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2yax2go View Post
Mr. 2yax and I aren't planning on overwintering in Yellowstone or anything (although once upon a long time ago I'd have been game to try), but I can foresee that we might catch a late or early snow at some point in our adventures.

Our goal is to sort of do a reverse follow the seasons travel plan and be in cool places while it's hot and warm places when it's not. (or snuggly esconced in one of our various children's homes along the East Coast.)

Me and he were talking about electric heat strips for the underpipes. Which, of course, would only be workable having electric hook-ups.

He did say though, that he thought only the drains and grey water were vulnerable...still...it could be an issue. We'll have to do a little underbelly examination.

Eascapes, huh? I rather like those little rigs...would love to see one up close and personal, but are not available for long hauls yet where we might catch up with some of y'all at a gathering. I still owe the man 8 hours a day for a while longer yet. But, soon.
If you are in a Scamp then he is correct the only thing that is really valnerable is your grey water tank and the pipes leading to it. You could keep it drained to avoid any big problem. If its got a bit of water in it you can also add some anti freeze to it if your worried. You can avoid having a city water hose freeze up by not using it and just filling your water tank - its inside so it would have to be pretty darn cold with little or no heat in the trailer for a while in order for it to freeze.
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