Winter camping - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-25-2013, 02:02 PM   #1
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: 1973 Love Bug '13
Posts: 390
Winter camping

Does anyone have experience in primitive (boon-docking) winter camping. Our 3 season tent has an outer fly. Has anyone ever heard of hanging a (fly) tarp over small camper and staking corners to the ground to help insulate from cold. We use 2 five gallon buckets and a 2" x 2" x 12" to tarp now while we are working on it.

Buckets on roof 2x2 under bales (could be attached or tied down with rope to the bumpers). Drape large tarp over 2x2 and tie off corners. Not pretty but could be modified to use as winter tarp. Anybody ever heard of this or done it? Maybe there would be too much air between the camper and the tarp to make any difference?

Not planning to install a heater in the camper (small Boler type), only take a small portable propane to knock off the chill. No plumbing, ensolite wall cover.

Expected night temps low 20s. We have done this in a tent but wondering about practicality and comfort level of doing it in the little camper. In such a small space would a built in heater make much difference.

Your thoughts please.



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Old 01-25-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,543
I winter camp a lot and have found that my propane catalytic heater keeps the trailer plenty warm without an extra cover....of course, I'm too paranoid about oxygen depletion to try using one anyway!


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Old 01-25-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Name: Orlen
Trailer: Eggcamper 2007 ('Wolf's Lair')
Posts: 309
We used to do this with a pop-up camper for hunting camp in the Colorado high country (9.500 feet). Placed a couple of 2x4s padded with pool noodles on the roof and draped a cheap blue tarp over it. The camper was set up so prevailing winds were from the street side of the camper. We let the door side open a bit, using the tarp as a fly. The pop-up had a good furnace so we stayed warm inside (set the thermostat to about 60). Burned two 20 lb tanks of propane in 8 days. The coldest wx was -20F at night and in the single digits during the day. After a couple of days the snow drifted around the tarp to make somewhat of a snow cave.

In our current camper we have camped at -20F without any external fly and stayed warm. Of course the EggCamper has a 17k BTU furnace and double fiberglass walls so we would expect that. Propane consumption was about the same as with the pop-up but I guess that's not surprising since it's the same furnace. We pulled the furnace from the pop-up and replaced it with a smaller furnace before we gave it to our son.

We do a lot of overnight stays at rest stops and Walmarts when we are on the road. Just pull in, cook dinner, and sleep.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Name: Diane
Trailer: u-haul ct13
Posts: 989
Cat, I camp in winter have used a tarp also but found most of the cold seems to come from the ground up. That is why I choose to insulate the floor of my trailer and put carpet over it. I also put closed cell foam under bed mattress, like a back packer does under their sleeping bag. Then close up all holes such as the ones where the water and electric have outlets on side of trailer. Just a few thoughts on keeping warmer.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Name: Hazel
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 529
Good luck if you go ahead and try this. I don't know whether it would help to tarp your camper but it sounds fairly logical.

There is no way in a million years that I would winter camp in our Trillium. Our night temperature two nights ago was -38C - there was a wind too. We camp over a longer season than some in this area - May to Oct - but we sometimes run the furnace.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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Name: Imogene
Trailer: 2013 Casita
Posts: 173
Cathy, I am currently spending most nights in my camper during my lambing. The nights have been in the low 20's to mid-teens. I have winterized my camper and the thought of undoing that and then doing again was too much of a hassle for me. I am plugged into ele. and run a small ele. cube heater and keep the inside temp in the mid-50's at nite. I use a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat for nitely bathroom runs. I have a lite-weight down blanket over my heavy sleeping bag (LL Bean from the early 80's). I sleep in merino wool long johns and turtle neck with heavy wool socks.
The floor gets cold although I have a carpet runner. Last year, I used a couple of old insolite foam sleeping pads on the floor and they worked better (I rolled them too tight when I put them into storage so they just curl up at the present so I haven't messed with them).
Last year i used straw bales around the outside of the Scamp....this year I am using a landscape soft plastic (weed barrier) around the outside of the bottom of the Scamp....held in place with a few straw bales. This is for keeping air from flowing so freely and also to keep lambs from crawling under.
I do have a cover over my scamp, mainly because I am parked close to a black walnut tree, don't know if this helps insulate, just know when the wind blows, it makes noise and often wakes me up. I am not really boon-docking as the house is maybe a 1/2 block away and I take advantage of the amenities it offers during the day. What use to take me 30 minutes or so when I checked on the sheep, now takes me maybe 10 and as a result the body doesn't seem to get as chilled.

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