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Old 10-26-2015, 10:14 AM   #1
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Name: Ralph
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Cold weather camping...

We picked up our little 13 ft SCAMP last June in Backus Mn and have had one thing after another keep us from camping much this summer. So we have done a lot of back yard camping.
We will be taking it on a trip to Florida over Thanksgiving for about two weeks so we will be actively using it as the weather gets colder on our return trip home.
We had two nights here in Kentucky recently that went below freezing so I emptied the tank and left the pump off and the faucet open as we camped in it over night in 28 degrees. ( no hot water heater and no toilet or shower ) We had the propane heat on during every minute of freezing outside temps.
I have been reading a lot of posts about winterizing our campers... but I am a bit hesitant to do so.

Let me explain a bit:
We plan to camp/sleep over night fairly often throughout the winter in our yard.
We can leave the water tank empty and use containers of water for occasional use, and the gray tank left open to drain if used, and bottled water for overnight thirst.
We have the SCAMP plugged in all the time (we do have the Charge Wizard for protecting the battery).
We can use the A/C heater strip to get the chill out... but since it doesn't have a thermostatic control it can get way too hot inside.
We can use the propane heater during our sleeping times.
I have found the temps swing about 10 degrees on the thermostat for the propane heater, (61 turns on and 70 turns off) is this normal such a wide swing of temps. Anyone else experiencing this?
Also... I am concerned about the propane heater being so close to the bed and blankets... anyone have any problems with possibly getting a blanket too close to the heater????

Does anyone keep a small electric heater ON during the day or maybe thru the night in the camper during the winter months??? (even during the times that the camper is not occupied????)
I also read something about some kind of moisture absorption and can't find it now.

Anyone have any advice about winter use and how best to heat and maintain the camper and not winterize with RV antifreeze, during periodic use in cold weather?
Thanks in advance!
Ralph & Peggy too!
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:15 PM   #2
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I found a small cube electrical heater very useful during cold weather camping....if electric power is available.

Bill
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:46 PM   #3
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It sounds like you have the shower..remember to at least run some antifreeze through the shower pump
...remember it's physically outside the trailer and is prone to freeze up

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Old 10-26-2015, 07:15 PM   #4
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Cold weather camping...

I use my camper all winter. I winterize all the plumbing with antifreeze.
If there is electric I have a small cube heater that works fine if not I use the propane furnace and yes it cycles on an off just like yours. I take gallon jugs of water for drinking an cooking. As for the bathroom and trying not to be rude I have a one gallon bottle for #1 and a 5 gallon compost toilet/bucket that sits on the shower floor. I only take that if there are no pit toilets available.


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Old 10-26-2015, 07:26 PM   #5
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Let me see if I can answer some your questions.
Heater close to fabric - I did a temperature profile on the furnace that you could get to including the grill close to cushions. I could not find any temperatures close to the ignition point of paper.

Temperature swing... Your observations aren't far off.

Electric heater - When my trailer is parked at home there's often an electric heater inside to keep the trailer above 45 to 50F.

Fresh water tank and gray water tank freezing. - The fresh water tank is inside the shell, with the inside temperatures kept above 45F the fresh water tank isn't going to freeze. I also keep the fresh water tank full. That makes it even more difficult to freeze. The gray water tank is usually empty, but with soapy water and coffer water in the gray water tank the freeze point is lower than water. Remember 32F (0C) is the transition point where liquid water starts to turn to a solid and where a solid starts to turn to a liquid for distilled water at sea level. Stuff in the water, like Fluoride and chlorine along with other minerals will lower the transition point.

FYI we camp year around even in cold weather. Coldest was 2 nights at 5F and several nights in the teens.
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:04 PM   #6
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Byron,

Are you saying you camped for several hours at 5F and still nothing froze? I'm asking because I'm in a Casita in Montana where tomorrow night it might go down to 25. I will unhook the outside water source and fill my fresh water tank. Is that how you managed at 5? Thank you so much!

WendyW
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyW View Post
Byron,

Are you saying you camped for several hours at 5F and still nothing froze? I'm asking because I'm in a Casita in Montana where tomorrow night it might go down to 25. I will unhook the outside water source and fill my fresh water tank. Is that how you managed at 5? Thank you so much!

WendyW
I don't use an outside water source, I camp in a Scamp with no outside plumbing except the gray water tank. So yes, nothing froze. I doubt anything will freeze even it the low in the morning is 25F. If the lows are going to be around 20F and the highs below 30F fpr several days then you might want do something. If the outside water source is not protected by the campground management I certainly wouldn't worry about. On one of my early trips we were in an RV park. The water supply froze, but nothing inside the trailer.

I keep my trailer above 40F inside 24/7.

Casita is a little different than a Scamp in the insulation department and I'm in a 13' with no toilet or shower or hot water heater.
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:37 PM   #8
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At one of the tech talk sessions at a recent rally, someone recommended a temperature controlled outlet thermostat for the space heaters that seems to give much better temperature control.
There have been times where we just use the heat strip to keep the camper warm if a freeze will occur between camping trips. We don't usually winterize here in GA until after the last trip in Nov, and then hit the road again in Feb.
You should be able to somewhat adjust the temperature of the heat strip, although you pretty much have to guess where to put the heat/cool dial since it's not numbered.
Our gas furnace thermostat on our 16 is usually covered by my pillow so the temperature moderation with that is not very consistent.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:52 AM   #9
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Name: Ralph
Trailer: SCAMP 13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Nolen View Post
I found a small cube electrical heater very useful during cold weather camping....if electric power is available.

Bill
Thanks Bill... I had not planned on using one during outfitting the new SCAMP... but I think there is a definate advantage for using a small thermostatic electric heater, over using the A/C heater strip with no thermo control and the propane heater with the 10 degree swing in temps. And I might be able to use it to just keep it above freezing while not being used.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:54 AM   #10
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Name: Ralph
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Briantb View Post
It sounds like you have the shower..remember to at least run some antifreeze through the shower pump
...remember it's physically outside the trailer and is prone to freeze up

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Thanks Brian
No hot water heater... no toilet.... no shower... no outside water lines...
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:00 AM   #11
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Name: Ralph
Trailer: SCAMP 13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkman View Post
I use my camper all winter. I winterize all the plumbing with antifreeze.
If there is electric I have a small cube heater that works fine if not I use the propane furnace and yes it cycles on an off just like yours. I take gallon jugs of water for drinking an cooking. As for the bathroom and trying not to be rude I have a one gallon bottle for #1 and a 5 gallon compost toilet/bucket that sits on the shower floor. I only take that if there are no pit toilets available.


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Thanks...
Yep... gonna look for a small cube heater! Do you still use the RV antifreeze even tho you use it all winter? Is your camper heated during the below freezing times? I am trying to avoid using the RV antifreeze if I empty the lines or keep the fresh water tank full and a small heater keeping things above 40 degrees.
Are most folks using the RV Antifreeze in the tanks and lines if they intend to use it during the winter... and just carry water in and out of the camper for daily use etc.?
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:15 AM   #12
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Name: Ralph
Trailer: SCAMP 13
Kentucky
Posts: 71
Thanks Byron...
Glad to hear about the fabric not causing problems so close to the heater! THANKS!
I am going to find one of those little cube heaters!
We are looking forward to some cold weather camping over this winter. just trying to make sure I get this right. After this trip to Florida over Thanksgiving... we plan a trip to somewhere over Christmas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Let me see if I can answer some your questions.



Thanks again!


Heater close to fabric - I did a temperature profile on the furnace that you could get to including the grill close to cushions. I could not find any temperatures close to the ignition point of paper.

Temperature swing... Your observations aren't far off.

Electric heater - When my trailer is parked at home there's often an electric heater inside to keep the trailer above 45 to 50F.

Fresh water tank and gray water tank freezing. - The fresh water tank is inside the shell, with the inside temperatures kept above 45F the fresh water tank isn't going to freeze. I also keep the fresh water tank full. That makes it even more difficult to freeze. The gray water tank is usually empty, but with soapy water and coffer water in the gray water tank the freeze point is lower than water. Remember 32F (0C) is the transition point where liquid water starts to turn to a solid and where a solid starts to turn to a liquid for distilled water at sea level. Stuff in the water, like Fluoride and chlorine along with other minerals will lower the transition point.

FYI we camp year around even in cold weather. Coldest was 2 nights at 5F and several nights in the teens.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:22 AM   #13
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Name: Ralph
Trailer: SCAMP 13
Kentucky
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Thanks for your info... do you mean the heater strip inside the A/C is what you use for keeping the camper warm during freeze temps???
I tried mine a couple of weeks ago and it raised the temp to 78 degrees without shutting off, at the lowest setting. Way too much to even sit inside. I can't see using mine for keeping a minimum temp. It just doesn't seem to shut down.
I will look into that outlet Tstat! Might be a good idea for us.

Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar1 View Post
At one of the tech talk sessions at a recent rally, someone recommended a temperature controlled outlet thermostat for the space heaters that seems to give much better temperature control.
There have been times where we just use the heat strip to keep the camper warm if a freeze will occur between camping trips. We don't usually winterize here in GA until after the last trip in Nov, and then hit the road again in Feb.
You should be able to somewhat adjust the temperature of the heat strip, although you pretty much have to guess where to put the heat/cool dial since it's not numbered.
Our gas furnace thermostat on our 16 is usually covered by my pillow so the temperature moderation with that is not very consistent.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:23 AM   #14
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Name: Lyle
Trailer: Scamp 16, previously Scamp 13
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Anyone tried these ceramic panel heaters?

http://www.amazon.com/Econo-Heat-060...3JJTQH1KJEP48E

Can be mounted to a wall, so take up virtually no space. Can be painted to compliment decor or blend in. Get moderately hot, but since they are mounted off the floor, less possibility that something would fall onto them. Plus, you can get either 400 or 600 watt versions.

I've seen videos of folks with Tiny Houses who use two similar (maybe more powerful) panels for their primary heat in Washington, D.C. and are happy with them. Seem like they could work well in a small RV as well.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:43 AM   #15
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Winter Camping in a Casita

Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyW View Post
Byron,

Are you saying you camped for several hours at 5F and still nothing froze? I'm asking because I'm in a Casita in Montana where tomorrow night it might go down to 25. I will unhook the outside water source and fill my fresh water tank. Is that how you managed at 5? Thank you so much!

WendyW
Hi, Wendy. In your Casita, the fresh and black tanks are inside; only the gray tank is exposed. You might want to add a bit of RV anti-freeze to your gray tank (via the drains). Also, check out this old article written by someone who camped in a Casita in Illinois, during winter. Winter Camping, by Charles Watts. I'm not sure why he didn't use the water heater in sub-freezing weather, but bypassing it obviously worked for them.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:25 AM   #16
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Triple E
British Columbia
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If you are going to use a small electric heater to keep the chill off you may find that the thermostatic controls on small heaters can be unreliable. I keep a small fan heater in my rv to keep the temperature around 55. Sometimes I would go into it during the cold months and find the temperature rather high. So, I took a line voltage thermostat, wired it to an outlet, and plugged the heater into that. Now the temperature is very stable. You might also look at getting a dry pot to keep the humidity down. This helps maintain the moisture down to a comfortable level, and avoid mold and mildew. If you live in a dry climate area the dry pot would probably be unneccesary
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:40 AM   #17
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Name: Marcia
Trailer: '00 Burro 17' WB
Seattle, WA
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We camp year round in our Burro, and have never winterized it. When it's below freezing we simply empty tanks and lines and use bottled water. When parked at home the best help is our little electric heater with a thermostat. When temps will drop below freezing we set the heater thermostat to lowest temp (50) and we have one of those wireless weather/temp monitors set up. I can stand in the kitchen and see the temp inside the Burro parked in the driveway. Granted, we don't get deep freezes here in Seattle.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphieboy View Post
Thanks...
Yep... gonna look for a small cube heater! Do you still use the RV antifreeze even tho you use it all winter? Is your camper heated during the below freezing times? I am trying to avoid using the RV antifreeze if I empty the lines or keep the fresh water tank full and a small heater keeping things above 40 degrees.
Are most folks using the RV Antifreeze in the tanks and lines if they intend to use it during the winter... and just carry water in and out of the camper for daily use etc.?
Yes I do use RV antifreeze even if I am still using it. You only put the antifreeze in the water lines not in the water tank. My water tank and water heater have a bypass so I can fill the lines without filling the tank or the water heater wit it.
You could always get a blow out plug for you water system from a RV dealer and blow all the water out of you lines instead of using the antifreeze.
I do not keep my camper heated when I am not using it.
I don't know about every one else but for me carrying water in ether 1 gallon jugs or a five gallon container Is a lot easier.
Some Times I am camping in temps as low as -10.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:16 AM   #19
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Thanks, Mary F.!
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:07 PM   #20
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To winterize or not winterize has a lot to do with where you live & where you intend to pull the trailer in winter.

I would at the very least make sure I had either blown all the lines out or pump some anti freeze through the water pump and dump some down the sink drain as both can hold water. Know of way to many instances where someones first trip of the spring has been interrupt due to the need to go buy a new water pump as theirs was not winterized properly during the winter.

I live in an area that historically has very mild winters by many peoples standards. For example the City does not own a dedicated snow plow and flowers are blooming by February. :-) Last winter for example I could have very easily gotten away without winterizing the trailer BUT mother nature has been known to throw a curve ball or two. LOL We have winters where the temps have gone well below freezing into double digits and stayed that way for a week or more. Mother Nature also likes to throw a wind storm or two at us, knocking out power - which means that heater in the trailer is not going to be working - we can go without power for a number of days as a result. What happens in that situation if the temps also fall below freezing?

With the wind comes the added issue of windchill factor. In those situations a thin wall of fiberglass and thin layer of foil insulation is not going to stop items inside the trailer from freezing particularly if the trailer is not moving so the liquids are not moving. If your going to be towing through areas with freezing temps keep the wind chill factor in mind in those situations as well, as the heater in the trailer is not going to be on then either.

For example, one year coming from the South in December (I know going totally the wrong way at that time of year - was not my plan) the temp reading inside the trailer when I pulled into Champoeg State Park near Portland Oregon for example read 10 degrees below freezing & the park itself had a nice thick layer of frost across the grassy areas.
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