I returned Monday from a 3 day ski trip in Mammoth Lakes California in my 2016 17.5’ Bigfoot
Trailer. A major reason for the purchase was Bigfoot’s reputation for cold weather capability, and it has served me well so far- however as I continue travel, I realize how little I know. On my latest trip, daytime highs were between 20-35F, and nighttime lows were around 10F. Roads were packed snow with occasional ice for the first two days, then with 10-12 inches on-road fresh snowfall when I pulled out of the trailer park in the early morning Monday. Trailer weight
as loaded is 4300 lb riding on a single axle
with Goodyear Marathon 15’’ D rated tires
. Pull vehicle is a 2012 Tundra 4x4 with 5.7L riding on BF Goodrich All Terrain TA M/S rated tires
. I have chains for the truck, but didn’t use them. Here are my questions.
-Low apparent propane
On the last day of my trip, I pulled from the trailer park (where I used 30A electric the night before and a small ceramic heater as my primary heat source. I left my propane furnace
on the lowest thermostat setting, although I don’t know if/when that night it stopped firing), up to the ski resort parking lot (around 9k ft and 10F at the time) where I intended to cook breakfast and wait for the resort to open. As I attempted to cook, I noticed very low propane
flow from my stove to the point that it would only sustain a very small flame at the “lite” setting, then would extinguish if a lower setting was selected. I then noticed the Atwood Furnace
(blower would run, electric ignitor would fire, initial “woosh” from apparent light
off could be heard, then it would go out and cold air blew). My propane fridge
still indicated it was working, although I was not very cold inside. I thought I was out of propane, but upon finding the selected tank nearly empty and switching to my other tank (completely full) using my stock dual tank selectable propane regulator, the symptoms were the same. I drove to lower altitude and warmer temperatures at the end of the day (45F and 2300 ft), and propane flow and full appliance function (stove, furnace
, refrigerator) returned to normal.
Here’s my hypothesis:
1. Propane regulator somehow froze. If this is the case, I’m looking for tips to avoid it in the future, and suggestions for “cold-weather” type regulators that would be less susceptible to this issue. Fortunately this occurred on the last planned day of my trip, but it would have been a show stopper had it have been day 1!
2. Is it possible that I received LPG with a higher mixture of higher temperature liquifying gases such that pressure would be low at 10F? Both tanks were filled at Costco in Lancaster CA, and I don’t know if they’d use some type of a warmer weather mixture.
-Trailer Brake settings?
Is it advised to lower the gain of electric trailer brakes
when towing on ice/snow? I ask for the following reason. If I keep my “dry surface” braking gains, under full braking on dry roads my trailer brakes
should come just short of locking up. In snow/ice, this results in my trailer tires
locking while my truck goes into ABS braking. In my mind, this increases the potential of the trailer losing directional control as compared to gaining the trailer brake way down, such that the trailer wheels don’t lock even when the truck is ABS braking on a low friction road surface. Is there any experience/ recommendations from those that regularly tow in these conditions?
-All weather tires?
Does anybody use/are there cold weather specific trailer tires? If not, has anybody experimented with using a snow-rated off road tire?
-Chaining up a travel trailer?
Does anybody do this regularly? I’m told in road condition “R3” up at Mammoth trailer chains can be required, but I haven’t experienced it. Assuming there are those that do, what type of conditions have you found this warranted? Also, any recommendations on a good “trailer friendly” chain setup?
I appreciate the help in advance, and am hoping I can learn a few things!