Selecting a camper that's good for winter camping - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:28 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Joe
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 4
Selecting a camper that's good for winter camping

Hi all -

I am in the market for a fiberglass camper and part of its use, in addition to camping with my son, is for some cold winter camping. I live in Montana and would be using this during hunting season....snow, often down to zero or lower at night etc.

My assumption would be that at such times I shouldn't even be using the water systems, for fear of bursting a pipe. But this is pure assumption based on nothing I've read or seen.

I'm guessing that certain fiberglass campers are better (and worse) for these issues. I'm looking for (and appreciative for!) that perspective.

I imagine this has come up before so perhaps someone will simply point me to a different thread. I tried doing some searching on the site and didn't see anything regarding recommendations at the level I'm looking at.

The campers I've been considering are the Casita 17', Scamp 16', Escape 17' and R-Pod 172.

Again, thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:52 PM   #2
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Name: Joe
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 4
BTW I did see the winter camping tutorial

I did see the winter camping tutorial linked on the homepage....That's helpful for tips but I guess to be clear, I'm looking for recommendations for features, packages and specific campers that are better/worse for winter camping.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:57 PM   #3
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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I'd call Scamp and Casita "two-and-a-half" season trailers. They're not really intended for winter use in cold climates. They have minimal insulation, exposed plumbing, and single pane windows. That said, if all you want is a warm, dry place to sleep, and given a good supply of propane, they'll do. Fresh water tanks and black tanks are inside the cabin, but grey water tanks hang below the floor.

Escape is more of a three season trailer, especially if you order the optional underbelly insulation and double pane windows. Not sure about tank location, but I'm guessing at least some of the plumbing is outside the cabin.

All the above trailers would be used dry in the kinds of temperatures you describe.

For a true four season trailer- more insulation, double pane windows, fully enclosed holding tanks and ducted heat- look to Bigfoot 2500 series trailers. They're very well made, but heavier and more expensive, as you would expect. The smallest is 17.5'. You might actually be able to get a hot shower in winter. Of course, you have to winterize it between trips.

Here's a nice one that may still be on the market:
2008 Bigfoot 25B175GX Xtreme | Southern, IL | Fiberglass RV's For Sale
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:03 PM   #4
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Posts: 1,533
Winter camping using water means $ to protect them. Bigfoot and Oliver are 4 season campers with enclosed heated tanks underneath in a plenum space.
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design:
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:05 AM   #5
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: '16 Parkliner
Posts: 1,258
Think of your camper as a hard side tent. It keeps out the wind and snow.
But, dress for the outdoors and sleep in your thermal drawers.
An electric heater will help to cut the chill, Or, you can burn LP in the furnace.

Keep water for drinking in thermos jugs. Add RV antifreeze the toilet and grey water tanks.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:33 PM   #6
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Name: Lapsley
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:57 PM   #7
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Old 09-08-2016, 02:53 PM   #8
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
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You can buy large sheets of styrofoam insulation material at Lowes or Home Depot and cut up custom panels to lay on the floor under cabinets; just be careful you aren't putting something flammable near a heat source. You could make insulation curtains out of reflectix insulation and thick fabric and hang them up between the furnace vent and the unused space in the trailer so the furnace is heating less space in the trailer. Also buy a couple extra LI battery CO and smoke detectors to put near where you are sleeping just in case.
Just looking at the 1, 1.5 and 2 inch pink styrofoam boards at Home Depot should open up all kinds of possibilities in your mind.
You still need ventilation no matter how cold it is.
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Old 09-08-2016, 04:26 PM   #9
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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If you want to know what it is like camping in a Casita (or similar 3 season camper) in the dead of winter, see:
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:28 PM   #10
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Name: Jason
Trailer: BigFoot
British Columbia
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AFAIK, only the 2005+ Bigfoot are 4 seasons. The older ones don't have as much insulation, and they are lighter.
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Old 09-08-2016, 06:00 PM   #11
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
If you want to know what it is like camping in a Casita (or similar 3 season camper) in the dead of winter, see:
Thanks for posting those links. It was a very interesting read although the Continental Army had it worse in Valley Forge.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:05 PM   #12
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Trailer: Sold the last Bigfoot after 15 years
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The 2500 series Bigfoots are all four season trailers no matter what year. The 1500 series are three season trailers.

I winter camp in my Bigfoot in temps as low as zero Fahrenheit. The water system is fine as long as the trailer furnace runs frequently and water heater is on. I have never had a line freeze. Even at zero the trailer will be warm and comfortable inside and you can take nice hot showers.

There are some limiting factors to know about when cold weather camping in a Bigfoot:

First; the furnace is necessary to prevent a frozen water system because it blows warm air around the enclosed water tanks and plumbing. The hot water heater has some insulation but it is not enclosed. It is basically outside with only a vented sheet metal door between it and the elements. So it must be kept on. If you are towing a long trip in extremely cold weather you either have to run these systems while towing or stop frequently and warm the trailer up or you will likely have frozen water.

The furnace blower uses up the lone battery quickly. Even with the thermostat turned down and the furnace not running continuously a good single deep cycle battery is only good for five or six hours before it gets really low. There is not room for a second battery under the standard Bigfoot tank and battery cover unless you remove one of the propane tanks.

Second; the battery must be recharged some way every day, either by a generator or plugging into shore power or one heck of a solar system.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:01 AM   #13
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Name: Joe
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 4
This is all great information

Thanks for all the helpful info. Alas I think a Bigfoot is out of my price range (topping out around $15k and I haven't even seen a decent used one down around that range) and I know I won't see the inside of an Oliver that I call my own.

I've thought pretty seriously, and this thread supports the thinking, that I perhaps should get a camper with no head. Seems to me like more hassle than it's worth in a lot of cases.....summer camping I'm often at campgrounds where there's a latrine, and winter camping it would be a huge challenge to ensure that the system doesn't freeze up when I'm out hunting all day. I'm a guy though. My mom tells me I'm crazy.
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