Camping in the shoulder season . . . water questions - Fiberglass RV
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:16 AM   #1
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1999 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Lawrence
Posts: 46
Camping in the shoulder season . . . water questions

We're leaving soon on a 1-week trip with our Casita to Texas. I live in Kansas. Last night, our temps dropped into the 30's - abnormally cold for the first of October.

In the middle of the night, I started worrying about water issues in the Casita, which I've not winterized yet since we're heading south to Texas soon. My worry brain works overdrive in at 4:00am in the morning! This is our first year with a trailer so are new to all of this.

My questions:

1. When camping in the shoulder seasons, when it could potentially freeze, what do you do differently compared to warm season camping

2. Do some people winterize and then use bottled water

3. Do you avoid water hookups at parks which are clearly exposed to external temps more than systems inside the trailer?

4. Do you add antifreeze to the black and grey tanks and continue to use them

I don't know what other questions to ask, but I suspect the collective wisdom here can offer some insights.

TIA
R.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:59 PM   #2
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
Trailer: Parkliner
Iowa
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Your black and grey tanks will have a lower freezing point since it is not "pure" water - which freezes at 32įF - and as long as they are not full, should do no damage. The drain valves may stick. Yet, go ahead and pour some antifreeze in the sink, shower, 7 toilet traps.
Travel with empty fresh water tank. But, as long as the temp inside stays above 33į you should be OK.
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Old 10-03-2020, 04:32 PM   #3
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Colorado
Posts: 427
Camping in the Colorado mountains, it's not uncommon for the temperature to reach freezing at night--even in August. In my experience, there's seldom any problem with fresh water freezing until it gets down below 25 F or so. There's enough residual heat in the trailer and most people run their heaters anyway. The one time my water system did freeze, the temperature was 20 F. The water pump froze but apparently, there was no damage and it worked fine once it warmed up.

One thing you can do to prevent freezing is to open the access door into the back drivers-side bench since that's where the pump is located. And if you're camping at a site with electricity, a small (very small) electric heater is a great accessory. I was camping recently at 35F and even at the low setting (750 watts), I had to open a window so the trailer didn't turn into a sauna. So make sure you buy one with a thermostat.
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:25 PM   #4
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
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Every knows that the moment the air temperature gets to 32įF a;; water freezes.


Now for something a bit more real. The freezer part of fridge is around 0įF. Think about how long it takes to freeze ice cubes in th freezing compartment. Then you'll know if really have something to fuss about.
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Old 10-04-2020, 05:56 PM   #5
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Name: Tony
Trailer: Scamp
Ohio
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Byron makes a good point, exposure time and temperature are both factors in freezing water. I donít worry much about a brush with 32 deg F (0 deg C)in the early autumn when temps during the day are around 50 deg F (10 deg C).

Thatís not to say donít be careful, pumps and water lines are fully exposed below the floor, at least they are on my Scamp.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:20 PM   #6
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony D View Post
Thatís not to say donít be careful, pumps and water lines are fully exposed below the floor, at least they are on my Scamp.
The Casita fresh water tank, along with the water lines, are above the floor. They snake through the various cabinets and dinette seats on their way to the taps. The biggest exposure appears to be the water heater since it vents to the outside through a metal door.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:21 PM   #7
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
Colorado
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We have done a lot of shoulder season scamping. If the temperature drops to 30F or 28F for a couple of hours in the morning and the days are in the 70's, it should not be a problem. If it gets to 28F in the evening and stays till morning, be careful. In any case, to be on the safe side, disconnect and drain the water supply hose and re-connect in the morning. I had mine freeze once and had to wait a long time before the Sun warmed it up. That was a spring trip in New Mexico. The frost also busted the plastic pressure reducer. The black and grey tanks should be OK, they are filled with warm fluids. The fresh water tank is in the heated space, so it should be OK as well.



On two occasions we left Vermont on a spring trip south and de-winterized when we got far enough south, away from the cold.
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Old 10-07-2020, 11:52 AM   #8
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
Texas
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I was in 8 below once and did fine. Of course, the heater was going all the time.
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Old 10-07-2020, 11:52 AM   #9
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Name: John
Trailer: Aliner
Minnesota
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Carry a gallon of pink just in case.

First week of Nov. last year we got hit with a cold front, temp dropped from 60F to 18F overnight. Made it to a Walmart, but they were out of antifreeze.

Gray tank froze but plumbing made it OK. Did not sleep well.
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Old 10-07-2020, 12:04 PM   #10
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Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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Winter Camping / Living

I lived in a 37ft, insulated camper 4 days a week for 5 years in the bitter cold of winter and found it is quite necessary to prepare the camper and the connections.

I had 3 electric heaters going 24/7 and the propane furnace set should the electric heaters go out. (Furnace ran off of the 12VDC system). (Electricity was provided free at the camp ground).

Leave all cupboard doors open where water pipes are located. Put heat tapes on the outside exposed pipes of the camper to include fresh, Grey, black in and out lines. Even with all that heat there were times that I had to leave the faucet in the kitchen dripping to prevent freezing.

Be sure to put a heat tape on the water supply hose that goes from the camp ground to the camper otherwise that will freeze and burst. I know it says on the heat tape to not cover with insulation or to use on a hose however I put the foam water pipe insulation over the heat tape that was wrapped around the hose and had no problems. You CAN NOT have a heat tape cross or overlap the heat tape because it will melt and short out at that crossing.

I also put rock salt in the grey and black tanks and had heat tapes on them also. They were exposed underneath the camper.

Because I was there for so long, in year 3 I put a black, bendable, semi-hard PVC from the camp ground connection (bib) to the trailer along with the heat tape and insulation. This was possible because I was not moving the camper and it gave me a little more protection. I had a 50psi limiting device at the camp ground bib so it would limit the water pressure to the hose and camper. If you install this device at the camper instead of the camp ground bib, you stand the chance of the water hose getting hot in the summer and pressure over 50psi may balloon and rupture the hose.

Good luck and good camping.
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Old 10-07-2020, 01:31 PM   #11
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Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Tennessee
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Thumbs up Good Thinking

You are so right to think about temperature issues before they cause a problem. The sad truth is that few owners do that and live to regret it. Perhaps the most important decision a buyer makes is, how many seasons he wants use of his trailer? The blogs have many examples of owners driven to extremes by their trailer not being able to survive conditions they either want to operate in or accidentally get exposed to. If you can, I suggest you assemble a list of fixes and strategies and then test them on your trailer to see if they are effective in the conditions you are contemplating on the road. Keep careful records as to what works and what doesn't. If this turns out more trouble than you'd like, then you may be in the market for a more robust trailer. , Stephen
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Old 10-07-2020, 06:55 PM   #12
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Name: Lisle
Trailer: 2018 Casita Spirit Deiuxe
Massachusetts
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I’ve camped in my 2018 Casita in the shoulders. As above, no problems as long as daytime temps are well above freezing and nights dip no lower than 25 or 26. At night I put the thermostat on it’s lowest setting which keeps the inside of the camper at 50. Have disconnected city water overnight if much below freezing. Even when there was an unexpected freeze and snowstorm in Texas last year, the only problem was the grey tank outlet valve froze up til the sun warmed it up about 11 AM and all was well.
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