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Old 11-30-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Oakland County, MICH
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Camping in the cold

Greetings JOF members. Our first season with an RV is over, sad to say, and all in all it was a huge success. A few small problems that I own up to as rookie mistakes. I thank all of you guys/gals for your knowledge and expertise, as the information I have gathered from you all is invaluable. THANK YOU!! Last week, over the Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I took our final trip of 2012. Being that this is Michigan and late November, we expected cold temps. Over 4 days it never got above 28 degrees and we had snow. At first I considered leaving the TT winterized, but I decided to de-winterize it and use it like it was the summer. Everything worked great until the last day, when the pump started to (for lack of a better word), "surge." It seemed as if it was working real hard, then barely working--kind of an up and down cycle, and our water pressure was not good. The low point drain line was frozen, although everything else was fine. We kept the furnace blazing away, the portable electric heater was on for four straight days, and we had a ball!! Does anyone have an opinion as to winter camping? Should it be avoided? Should I have left the TT winterized and just operated out of water bottles/jugs and not the fresh water tank? Is there something that can be added to the fresh water tank to keep it from freezing, yet still provide safe drinking water? I re-winterized it before we broke camp and returned home, and thought I would take it to the dealer for some very minor warranty repairs. The mechanic/service department called to say that they needed to fill it with water to run the pump and faucets, so I'll be winterizing it for the third time this month as soon as its repaired and ready for pick up. What is the general consensus on winter camping operations, and are there any tips from you experts on things I can do to avoid expensive damage next time? Happy Camping!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:47 PM   #2
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I camp all year long in PA. I did it in my PU and I do it in my htt. I don't use the fresh water system when it gets really cold. You can install a tank heater to keep your water from freezing. I use toilet bags in my toilet. I drain my grey water into a portable tank. Popup Gizmo's solar covers on the bookends, and their bunkend liners to line the inside of the bunkends. Insulated curtains help too.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:59 PM   #3
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It really depends on the rig you have...some are better designed for colder temps.

Not sure about yours but in ours we have heated areas to help handling colder temps.

With that you have to use common sense and have alternatives in constant freezing temps....bottled water etc.

Furnace running is fine...for the inside...but if heat does not get down below where your tanks, pumps are you will have freezing issues.

Hope this helps and camping in the late Fall early Winter is awesome!!
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlhdoc View Post
I camp all year long in PA. I did it in my PU and I do it in my htt. I don't use the fresh water system when it gets really cold. You can install a tank heater to keep your water from freezing. I use toilet bags in my toilet. I drain my grey water into a portable tank. Popup Gizmo's solar covers on the bookends, and their bunkend liners to line the inside of the bunkends. Insulated curtains help too.
Insulated curtains sound like a great idea, and a tank heater is exactly what I was wondering about--I'll look into them because I didn't know such a thing existed. For the record, we were so warm in the TT we had to turn the furnace down!! Portable heaters and electric blankets are great. I was surprised as to how much fun the whole family had; I was sure that either my wife or one of my daughters would have been miserable, but we all had an excellent long weekend.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Larry G. View Post
It really depends on the rig you have...some are better designed for colder temps.

Not sure about yours but in ours we have heated areas to help handling colder temps.

With that you have to use common sense and have alternatives in constant freezing temps....bottled water etc.

Furnace running is fine...for the inside...but if heat does not get down below where your tanks, pumps are you will have freezing issues.

Hope this helps and camping in the late Fall early Winter is awesome!!
LarryG......We were as warm as warm could be; my concern was for the plumbing, and if any of you discouraged winter camping. Myself, I thought it was a complete blast! As much as I love people, it was kind of nice to be in a 180-site CG with 3 other TT's beside mine. It was like the whole place was to ourselves!!! You're absolutely right--Winter camping IS awesome!!!
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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I keep my TT winterized when I camp during the winter months in Michigan. There are just to many spots within the plumbing system that could be effected by constant freezing temperatures. I don't even pour water in the toilet or sinks because the chance of the dump valves freezing is a real issue (if a dump station is even open).

I will take a couple 2 1/2 gallon jugs of spring water, and a 6 gallon plastic container of tap water (washing, etc.) with me and works fine for a long winter weekend. I use a rubber dish pan tub in lieu of the sink(s).

Bob
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
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We camp year round - our best annual trip is New Years in the campground. Trailer, however, is winterized, with no water in the pipes. We carry in our own and use the outhouse (including to dump the dishwater). Victoria is pretty 'tropical' with only a few freezing nights but it's cheaper to camp without plumbing over the winter then it is to repair plumbing in the spring!
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:30 PM   #8
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To enjoy the indoor toilet during the winter I use these http://www.cleanwaste.com/toilet-in-a-bag. I put the open bag in the toilet. Remove when full and dispose of it.
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2010 Jayco 17Z Ex-Port
2004 Ford Explorer V8 with the tow package
2010 Camping Stats
Nights Camping 132 - Nights Camping in My Z 102
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2012 Camping Stats
Nights camping 133 - Nights camping in my Z 128
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:49 PM   #9
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I live in NM - so not that cold - but still cold enough to freeze stuff, especially where I camp

We use the black tank - but use the pink stuff to flush. Between that and our body heat have not had the valve freeze up. Even on trips that get down well below 20F.

Like others, we use jugs and whatnot for fresh water - and typically don't use the gray water system. Although I'm not opposed to using it with plenty of ping stuff, just hasn't worked out that way.

-Chak
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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We love winter camping were from Ohio and the last few winters been mild so sometimes we put water in, sometimes we don't. We plain on going this coming weekend but its not supost to get any colder then 25. What we do is when its going to get real cold and we got cabin fever so bad from winter we go to state parks some of them are set up for winter traveling and have heated showers. There are two parks in Ohio less then 40 miles from us we go to and they our great. Alumcreek & Delaware state parks. we've stayed there alot of times just to get away for the weekend
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