Winter Camping - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-02-2013, 09:16 AM   #1
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Name: Tony
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Winter Camping

Hello everybody! Looking for suggestions and advice on winterizing a 16' Casita. We live in a very unique area (Southeast Arizona) where the temperature, here at home, regularly drops to well below freezing starting in mid-October and extending into mid-May. We camp in the nearby areas well into December before it starts getting really cold and starting again around March. However, during the extremely colder months ( Dec, Jan, Feb and into March) there is ideal camping (not freezing) not that far from where we live and that is in Southwestern Arizona.
So, as you can see, we are definitely planning on using our trailer year round. My problem is, am I destined forever to de-winterized our trailer everytime we go camping and then winterize it again after we get home. This could mean going through that procedure almost 3 dozen times a year! It seems to me that winterizing/de-winterizing our trailer is going to take up more time then actually camping.
I know one solution is to not use water in our trailer when we go camping, which I can do without EXCEPT that we just have to use the trailer shower regularly because we do a lot of hiking. If anybody have any suggestions or ideas to share on how I can solve or at least minimize this dilemma, I sure would appreciate it - Thanks
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:08 AM   #2
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I wintered in a campground, Monday to Thursday, for 5 years. Wrapped the water supply hose ((Campground to camper) with a heat tape then a foam insulation tube over it all. Note: If you make the mistake of having the heat tape cross its-self, the tape will melt in that spot and short out.

Put rock salt in the grey and black water tanks to prevent freezing.

Had electric heaters running 24/7 in the camper.

When you do that, open the cabinet doors where water pipes are so they stay above freezing. You could do this between camping trips also.

Use a blow-out cap for the water connection and use an air compressor to blow out the water supply lines.

What I'm doing today: I have a dehumidifier running 24/7 inside the camper with a drain hose that goes through the floor to drain on the ground. This keeps the inside dry, mold free and it produces some heat to keep things from freezing.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tony Rubi View Post
Hello everybody! Looking for suggestions and advice on winterizing a 16' Casita. We live in a very unique area (Southeast Arizona) where the temperature, here at home, regularly drops to well below freezing starting in mid-October and extending into mid-May. We camp in the nearby areas well into December before it starts getting really cold and starting again around March. However, during the extremely colder months ( Dec, Jan, Feb and into March) there is ideal camping (not freezing) not that far from where we live and that is in Southwestern Arizona.
So, as you can see, we are definitely planning on using our trailer year round. My problem is, am I destined forever to de-winterized our trailer everytime we go camping and then winterize it again after we get home. This could mean going through that procedure almost 3 dozen times a year! It seems to me that winterizing/de-winterizing our trailer is going to take up more time then actually camping.
I know one solution is to not use water in our trailer when we go camping, which I can do without EXCEPT that we just have to use the trailer shower regularly because we do a lot of hiking. If anybody have any suggestions or ideas to share on how I can solve or at least minimize this dilemma, I sure would appreciate it - Thanks

Depends on where your trailer is stored. If you're like me and store the trailer when not in use beside my house you can do something like what I do. First when you talk about cold does the temperature stay well below freezing during the day also? That might make a difference. If it warms up to above freezing during the day then you don't have as big a problem as you might think.

I keep my fresh water almost full all the time, it takes a lot of cold to freeze a large volume of water. With not quite full there's expansion room if by some freak it freeze.
I keep a heater in the trailer set at around 50, in my case all the plumbing and water system are inside the trailer. I believe you have drains outside that could be a problem.

In the old days people would attach air fittings and plugs and blow the water out so there was nothing to freeze. You'd have to make sure there's no water in the pumps or toilet. But that might be easier than putting that pink stuff in then trying to flush it all out.

One of my favorite places to camp in AZ is Organ Cactus National Monument.

Winter camping is the best, except March when the kids are on spring break.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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Hi Tony,
Have you considered owning a Bigfoot trailer? They are considered more of a four season trailer than Casita. Their design and quality lend to better cold weather camping. Someone on this forum who owns a Bigfoot may be able to give you insight.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:40 PM   #5
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Hi Tony,
Have you considered owning a Bigfoot trailer? They are considered more of a four season trailer than Casita. Their design and quality lend to better cold weather camping. Someone on this forum who owns a Bigfoot may be able to give you insight.
Just remember, not ALL Bigfoot trailers are four season trailers. Most of the early year builds, it was considered an option. Just as Escape is doing now, dual pane windows and extra insulation, etc. are options... not standard. So don't assume if you buy. Know, so you don't get bit.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:34 PM   #6
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To get a Bigfoot all season trailer with heated tanks and thermo windows the later years 2004 to 2009. Years before 2004 not a Bigfoot's had 4 season package, so you would have to look under the trailer and if you see the tanks then it is not 4 season. I have a 2001 21RB that has thermo windows but the tanks on the underside are not sealed.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
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I don't know that much about them Donna. While living in Colorado we looked seriously at buying a new 21 Bigfoot in 2003. I too wanted to extend my camping season. I decided it was too heavy, wide, and above my budget. But from what I saw like their quality and many of their design features.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:09 AM   #8
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I keep my trialer in Prescott, AZ. and we have already had a number of below freezing mornings. I also camp year round, and perfer to camp in the winter time. We like camping along the Colorado River. What I do is take water in one gallon jugs, that I store under the back of table all the way to the rear of the trailer. I don't pour the water into the trailer system, but use it right from the jugs. This serves two purposes, first I don't have to blow all the water out of the plastic water lines each time I use the trailer , and secondly I know how much water I have at all times. The jugs sit in plastic totes so it they crack, I don't have water on the floor. Yes more than one has cracked. I also have installed a couple of eye bolts at the rear of the seats to attach rubber straps to keep the totes in place when towing. Since my wife drinks a lot of milk, We have a never ending supply of one gallon milk jugs to replace cracked ones.

When I return to Prescott, I pour some additional anti-freeze into all the drains. I also add some to the black and gray water tanks to make sure the little water left in them doesn't freeze. I will probably use an additional 2 gals. of anti-freeze this year, but when I can buy it at Wal-Mart for less then $4 a gallon , it is a small price to enjoy our trailer year round.

Where I store our trailer, there are 4 Casita's storied and I have seen that two of them are used a lot, I'm sure that they do something along the lines of what we do to protect their systems.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Thanks to all who posted suggestions and advice. They gave me a lot of good ideas - Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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If you live in se AZ and it regularly freezes you must live at some elevation. Is there any place at lower elevation where you can store the trailer? The water in jugs is a good plan. I do this for the first 3 days when going to AZ from Michigan. As for rock salt in the gray & black tanks, I think this is a bad idea if there is any metal in any fittings, etc. That could mean corrosion. If you drain your tanks after each use, nothing would need to be added because there would be more than enough space for expansion with the slight amount of water in the tanks. For the first time this winter I'm going to flush the toilet with water and rv antifreeze until I get to warmer areas.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #11
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I live outside of Willcox near the Winchester Mountains at an elevation of around 4500'. Ironically, Tucson is only less than 80 miles from where I live and the average low there is usually 20 degrees higher! Close but still too inconvenient to park my trailer there.
Have you actually left your trailer out in very freezing weather with just empty water tanks and no anti-freeze? If that's the case, then that would solve my problems that I first originally stated in this forum.
Thanks for your response and much appreciate advice
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:45 PM   #12
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My trailer is outside my house in west Michigan right now. It is winterized in the lines, traps, and pump, but I never put antifreeze in the any tanks. as I said in my earlier post, if there is very little water in them, the expansion when freezing is not enough to do any damage. Another thought is that water changes temperature more slowly than its surroundings. Even at that, I wouldn't chance the lines and don't forget the toilet flush valve. I did that once, didn't realize until we got to Tucson and hooked up water, First time I flushed water squirted all over. Had to drive completely across the city to get a replacement.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:45 PM   #13
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We just returned from Thanksgiving trip and had been stranded in Las Cruces, NM waiting to go to El Paso and on to Ft Worth. We can attest to ur weather.
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