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View Full Version : Lowest temp you've camped in, and stayed warm!


RVDad89
02-08-2021, 08:38 AM
We just bought our 1st TT, Outback 341RD, and are eager to take it out! I've read all the forums about protecting for freezing pipes and such. My question is a bit different, at least in my mind! What's the lowest temp that the furnace can keep up with in these TT? I was told the Outback has very good insulation but can you stay comfortable in below freezing temps and even below 0 at night?

Thanks in advance for your help!!

wiredgeorge
02-08-2021, 09:00 AM
We just bought our 1st TT, Outback 341RD, and are eager to take it out! I've read all the forums about protecting for freezing pipes and such. My question is a bit different, at least in my mind! What's the lowest temp that the furnace can keep up with in these TT? I was told the Outback has very good insulation but can you stay comfortable in below freezing temps and even below 0 at night?

Thanks in advance for your help!!

Welcome! What Fredericksburg do you hail from? TX? VA? Anyway, take a sec and go to the UserCP at the top left on the black bar and make a signature with camper year, make and model and same for you tow vehicle. Questions will have more context. Take a sec and fill out some of the "ABOUT ME" stuff as well.

In any case, we have camped when temps got down into the 20s early morning and have used our fresh water tank with the water hose rolled up and stowed so it isn't frozen over night. The stuff on the side of a camper like ARCTIC and the other claims of zero degree camping are sort of exaggerated and your main issue will be fluids in your sewer hose and your water hose freezing. They do sell heated water hoses but often the hose bib will freeze as most have no insulation so get ready to use your fresh water tank. To keep your underbelly hoses from freezing, you will need to run your propane heater OR some folks put electric heating pads in strategic places to keep things from freezing below deck. There are folks who do camp in really cold weather and I am sure they will chime in soon! Good luck!

Lare
02-08-2021, 09:16 AM
We just recently finished our last cold weather week this year in the GA Mtns. near Senica Ga. in our 2011 Premier Bullet. Temps were mid 20's to 32 for 3 days and not much above 35 the remainder, on a lake with wind gusting 25+. We stayed warm and cozy but used 2.5 20 gal. lp tanks. No h2o freezing issues, but only hooked water up when needed (city supply). Read a lot about "thermal" packages here, but I can say that "if" ours is true, it seemed to work.

RVDad89
02-08-2021, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the suggestions wiredgeorge , done!

Javi
02-08-2021, 09:29 AM
We camp every year in temps of high teens and up at night.. The colder it is the more propane you use... I have put water in the fresh water tank but mostly I use a heated hose and don't worry about it freezing.

Coldest temp I've ever camped in was minus 24 degrees F... spent 10 days and nights where the lows were hovering around negative 20 and highs at 10 to 20 above.. 4 of us were in a Coleman popup hunting Elk and even with the heater running all night water froze in gallon jugs sitting on the floor... and ice formed on the walls from out breath...

wiredgeorge
02-08-2021, 09:35 AM
Well, here come the "when I was a lad I walked 7 miles through 3' of snow drifts to get to school every day" stories.... bwhwhahahaha BTW: I have a daughter who lives with her family in Winchester; beautiful country! Too darn cold for my old bones.

BrooksFam
02-08-2021, 10:07 AM
We are getting ready to have a stretch of 20 degree lows with mid 30's highs for 3-4 days. I just filled the fresh water to use while the wile the hoses are disconnected which will happen this afternoon. Will initiate the water conservation regiment tonight. We have 2 electric heaters in the camper (bedroom and living room) that keep the temp reasonable inside overnight and I'll run the furnace just before bed and first thing in the morning to take the chill off and maybe a couple of times during the day depending how long it stays below freezing. I also leave the sink and bathroom cabinet doors open where the plumbing is) to help keep those areas above freezing.

Javi
02-08-2021, 10:14 AM
Well, here come the "when I was a lad I walked 7 miles through 3' of snow drifts to get to school every day" stories.... bwhwhahahaha BTW: I have a daughter who lives with her family in Winchester; beautiful country! Too darn cold for my old bones.

Not a lot of snow in Central Texas... but I did ride a bicycle 7 mile each way if I missed the bus... :D :whistling:

JRTJH
02-08-2021, 10:17 AM
There is only so much insulation factor that you can pack into a 2" (budget construction) wall. Add R-1 single pane windows, 5" ceiling rafters with a hollow A/C duct running down the middle, holes two or three times the required size through the floor and into a "essentially unheated space with minimal insulation and rails forming the sides and ends"... Then add a 35K BTU furnace that loses about 30-40 percent of the available heat as "exhaust" to the outside. There's very little a 1/4" mylar film "bubble wrap" can do to keep the remaining heat inside a 3/4" (otherwise not insulated) slide floor or to keep the 1" foam filled slide walls warm.....

Then add "dry camping" to the mix: There's not enough battery provided by any RV dealer to run the furnace all night with the "taped on tank heaters" also operating.

So, much of the "survivability" of cold weather camping relies as much on available "outside energy sources" as it does on the R value of the walls and the amount of "unintended leaks" throughout the RV....

Then, "winter comfort" for one person may mean 2 sweaters, fuzzy slippers and a blanket over their shoulders while another person may expect "warm floors for barefoot walking and an RV comfortable to walk around in skivvies when getting out of bed or sitting in the recliner watching the late news before bed.... In other words, 58F is OK for one camper and 78F is cold for the trailer parked in the next site.....

JRTJH
02-08-2021, 10:19 AM
Well, here come the "when I was a lad I walked 7 miles through 3' of snow drifts to get to school every day" stories.... bwhwhahahaha BTW: I have a daughter who lives with her family in Winchester; beautiful country! Too darn cold for my old bones.

You forgot the "uphill both ways, in shoes with cardboard insoles to cover the holes in the bottoms"... But, every year those same kids got a "new hand-me-down coat" from their older brother....

wiredgeorge
02-08-2021, 11:06 AM
Not a lot of snow in Central Texas... but I did ride a bicycle 7 mile each way if I missed the bus... :D :whistling:

When I was a kiddo in grade school, we lived in the LAST house out on West Broadway that the bus wouldn't stop at. It was about 1 1/2 miles to walk to school. I could walk to our nearest neighbor's house just farther out than us and catch the bus but only did this when the weather was really bad as the walk to school was the best part of my early academic life (wasn't much good at school except looking out the window and dreaming of playing baseball).

jasin1
02-08-2021, 11:22 AM
There is only so much insulation factor that you can pack into a 2" (budget construction) wall. Add R-1 single pane windows, 5" ceiling rafters with a hollow A/C duct running down the middle, holes two or three times the required size through the floor and into a "essentially unheated space with minimal insulation and rails forming the sides and ends"... Then add a 35K BTU furnace that loses about 30-40 percent of the available heat as "exhaust" to the outside. There's very little a 1/4" mylar film "bubble wrap" can do to keep the remaining heat inside a 3/4" (otherwise not insulated) slide floor or to keep the 1" foam filled slide walls warm.....

Then add "dry camping" to the mix: There's not enough battery provided by any RV dealer to run the furnace all night with the "taped on tank heaters" also operating.

So, much of the "survivability" of cold weather camping relies as much on available "outside energy sources" as it does on the R value of the walls and the amount of "unintended leaks" throughout the RV....

Then, "winter comfort" for one person may mean 2 sweaters, fuzzy slippers and a blanket over their shoulders while another person may expect "warm floors for barefoot walking and an RV comfortable to walk around in skivvies when getting out of bed or sitting in the recliner watching the late news before bed.... In other words, 58F is OK for one camper and 78F is cold for the trailer parked in the next site.....

You know I never took into consideration that running the tank heaters while also running the furnace on battery power would kill the batteries quickly.. anyone have any experience with this ? I have two golf cart batteries... I did not include that in the equation when boondocking

JRTJH
02-08-2021, 11:51 AM
You know I never took into consideration that running the tank heaters while also running the furnace on battery power would kill the batteries quickly.. anyone have any experience with this ? I have two golf cart batteries... I did not include that in the equation when boondocking

A Bristol 12x18 thermostatic heating pad turns on at 45F and off at 67F (or so the spec sheet says), It consumes about 100 watts, so that's about 8.3 amp/hours. Using 3 pads, Black, Gray1 and Gray 2, is about 25 amp/hours of battery power. So, with a 100 amp/hour battery bank, the furnace uses about 35 amp/hours when running, the heating pads add another 25, that only leaves about 45 amp/hours of energy. Key, at least for me, is "amp/HOUR".... that's 60 minutes of continuous use for over half the battery power...

When you consider most recommendations are to not deplete a wet cell deep cycle battery below 50% charge... Well, that doesn't leave a lot of "reserve battery power"... Most people really don't "drill down that deep" into winter camping, but essentially, if you're going to "survive in below freezing temperatures" (in a comfortable trailer temperature) given the reduced battery performance when the battery is cold, combined with the increased battery consumption from increased electrical component use, there's not much way to dry camp without a generator or a shore power connection. A couple of golf cart batteries are OK for an overnight, but without recharging, pretty much the second night will be dark and cold..... That means, frozen tanks, frozen valves, frozen plumbing and frozen, unhappy occupants.....

Frustrating part, at least for me, is that once those pipes get frozen and the valves along with them, if you're lucky enough not to have something break, it's going to be spring (or an extended inside storage at above freezing temps) to get the trailer ready for another round of cold temp dry camping....

jasin1
02-08-2021, 12:00 PM
A Bristol 12x18 thermostatic heating pad turns on at 45F and off at 67F (or so the spec sheet says), It consumes about 100 watts, so that's about 8.3 amp/hours. Using 3 pads, Black, Gray1 and Gray 2, is about 25 amp/hours of battery power. So, with a 100 amp/hour battery bank, the furnace uses about 35 amp/hours when running, the heating pads add another 25, that only leaves about 45 amp/hours of energy. Key, at least for me, is "amp/HOUR".... that's 60 minutes of continuous use for over half the battery power...

When you consider most recommendations are to not deplete a wet cell deep cycle battery below 50% charge... Well, that doesn't leave a lot of "reserve battery power"... Most people really don't "drill down that deep" into winter camping, but essentially, if you're going to "survive in below freezing temperatures" (in a comfortable trailer temperature) given the reduced battery performance when the battery is cold, combined with the increased battery consumption from increased electrical component use, there's not much way to dry camp without a generator or a shore power connection. A couple of golf cart batteries are OK for an overnight, but without recharging, pretty much the second night will be dark and cold..... That means, frozen tanks, frozen valves, frozen plumbing and frozen, unhappy occupants.....

Frustrating part, at least for me, is that once those pipes get frozen and the valves along with them, if you're lucky enough not to have something break, it's going to be spring (or an extended inside storage at above freezing temps) to get the trailer ready for another round of cold temp dry camping....

I have a generator and a 200 amp suitcase solar system (for what itís worth). I guess I will use the propane furnace for most situations and leave the heating pads off unless itís below 20...I can only imagine doing this getting to and from Florida in dead of winter. What I havenít thought about is just driving with the rig dewinterized.. probably not a good idea... winter travel does leave a lot to consider. I was going to keep some water in the onboard tank for rest stops but may need to reconsider

JRTJH
02-08-2021, 12:48 PM
With the exception of this past year (COVID restrictions) we usually leave northern Michigan in late March/early April for a month or two in warmer weather. We tow with the trailer winterized until we get to mid-Tennessee or further south if it's still "below freezing" for much of the day. I've found that holding tanks and under-floor plumbing is the first to freeze, so empty tanks, empty P traps and empty water lines mean a functional trailer when we do de-winterize in a warmer place. We just stay in a motel (with unlimited hot water/unlimited heat) along the way down.

The problem for us is returning home, if it's still snowy/icy. That means salted roads with no way to remove the corrosive ice from the bottom of the trailer as well as "when to winterize the trailer again"....

So, for us, leaving is not really an issue, we just leave the trailer winterized and use a motel on the way down. Coming home is the biggest hassle for us. And, after we do get back, it's park in the road blocking traffic, get the tractor out of the pole barn and clear the driveway/parking spot so we can get the trailer unloaded before putting it back to bed in the pole barn....

Coming home is, for us, definitely the biggest hassle....

We have some friends that just leave their trailer at a campground half way home and go back to tow it home in June or July...

Ultrakodiak
02-08-2021, 06:40 PM
We have a Montana 3120RL and are presently living it it at a temperature of 12F (-11C). The RV is skirted with silver bubble wrap insulation, and we are plugged into 50 amp shore power so we supplement the furnace with 2 portable electric heaters. We have a city water line connected that is heat traced and insulated. We are using approx 30 lbs of propane every 5 days. We have had no issues with staying warm or anything freezing thus far.

Lare
02-08-2021, 07:06 PM
Well, here come the "when I was a lad I walked 7 miles through 3' of snow drifts to get to school every day" stories.... bwhwhahahaha BTW: I have a daughter who lives with her family in Winchester; beautiful country! Too darn cold for my old bones.

I actually did. I'm 72 from WVa and went to the last 1 room schoolhouse grades 1 thru 5, (just like the one you see in story books, not red but white) in WVa. It was 1.4 miles uphill and the same downhill. There were 5 grades, 16 children and 1 teacher. Dirt road, and a well pump for water, with a big pot bellied coal stove in the middle of the single classroom and a big bell to call the kids from recess & start school. We all walked to and from school regardless of weather. Bet you don't know many people who can truthfully say this.

rhagfo
02-08-2021, 09:32 PM
With the exception of this past year (COVID restrictions) we usually leave northern Michigan in late March/early April for a month or two in warmer weather. We tow with the trailer winterized until we get to mid-Tennessee or further south if it's still "below freezing" for much of the day. I've found that holding tanks and under-floor plumbing is the first to freeze, so empty tanks, empty P traps and empty water lines mean a functional trailer when we do de-winterize in a warmer place. We just stay in a motel (with unlimited hot water/unlimited heat) along the way down.

The problem for us is returning home, if it's still snowy/icy. That means salted roads with no way to remove the corrosive ice from the bottom of the trailer as well as "when to winterize the trailer again"....

So, for us, leaving is not really an issue, we just leave the trailer winterized and use a motel on the way down. Coming home is the biggest hassle for us. And, after we do get back, it's park in the road blocking traffic, get the tractor out of the pole barn and clear the driveway/parking spot so we can get the trailer unloaded before putting it back to bed in the pole barn....

Coming home is, for us, definitely the biggest hassle....

We have some friends that just leave their trailer at a campground half way home and go back to tow it home in June or July...

Have you considered running the furnace at 50 to 55 degrees while traveling?? We have done in the past when headed out on a cold day so the 5er is pre-heated when we arrive.

Laredo Tugger
02-09-2021, 07:21 AM
I woke up one morning in a tent to 16 degrees, and this was in the "Golden State" where it is supposed to be warm. I put a large tarp over the tent for extra insulation. It actually hurt to move.
RMc

JRTJH
02-09-2021, 07:53 AM
Yes, Russ, we've considered that, but vetoed the idea for several reasons. First, we don't even unlock the trailer since we're staying in a motel. There are two floor vents under the slide, so I'm reluctant to run the furnace with 50% of the vents covered. Finally, for our "way we use the trailer during that time" the extra propane would only keep the possible "extra passengers" (mice) warm during the trip.

So, we've more or less decided not to use the furnace on those types of trips.

Ken / Claudia
02-09-2021, 08:00 AM
I think the question is very much subjective as others said. But, with that said in current RV 3 times it's been in teens F at night 15-18. Much warmer by midday. Past RVs around 0 f and truck said -3 lowest in the mornings. I was comfortable. Advice is you need to plan for cold temps by wearing more clothes. I suppose this was as much about the unit as the people. If temps do not raise above freezing daily the RVs start to have freeze problems. I dry camping in cold temps while hunting, you use more power and propane and plan for that also. Leaving the furnace all day will kill the batteries, we have though about leaving generators on all day while no one is at camp but that could cause other safety problems. So, when freezing is a 24 hr event, winterize the water system or plan on freeze breaks.

Tigger too
02-14-2021, 10:36 AM
Currently in our Sprinter 5th wheel. Lowest temp so far this winter has been 12 degrees. Staying quite warm with the thermostat set at 73. (Burning tons of propane). We would back off of the temp, but have already lost water to the bathroom. First cold, next day hot. We finally got it flowing again and are leaving the faucets on a trickle. We have a heated freshwater hose and the pipe stand has heat tape. Not sure how this trailer is 0 rated. We froze up at 16 degrees ��

xrated
02-14-2021, 01:37 PM
When I was in my thirties and an avid deer hunter, we almost always hunted in the Dec. 2nd season in IL. Somewhere along in 1985 or 1986 myself and three of my hunting buddies took our tents and headed to Southern IL for the Dec. hunt. Pitched our tents and on opening morning work up to 15 degrees. Fortunately, I owned a great sleeping bag and I had a Coleman propane lantern in the tent, so when I woke up that morning, I slipped my hand out of the sleeping bag, fired up the lantern and waited until it was maybe 50 degrees before I crawled out and got dressed. I can only think of one reason for what I did.....young and dumb!

Jim2366
02-14-2021, 02:46 PM
Winter camping, 10 to 30 degrees we stay winterized and just use the toilet. I make sure the propane is full, bring an electric heater, electric blanket and down blanket. Dishes are washed outside just like tent camping. Hot Coffee and we are good to go. Also I bring water in 5 gallon jugs.

Coyote1969
02-14-2021, 05:11 PM
Iíve been camping in my 2015 Keystone Cougar 28RLS at 1F kept the place toasty at 70F with the furnace. Not gonna lie, went through a lot of propane! Learned My lesson and now we supplement with a small 750 watt heater. No issues and had the whole campground to ourselves! I love camping in the off season in BC at Provincial parks :-)

Laredo Tugger
02-14-2021, 05:29 PM
While we are on the subject of fuels that keep us warm, here is an interesting article.

https://www.rvtravel.com/rvers-propane-shortage-affect-you/

RMc

DDuncan51
02-15-2021, 05:35 AM
It all depends on the RV. I don't know about your Outback, we have a 2012 Keystone 1/2 ton 5th wheel w/Arctic Package. It's amazing. When I first bought it, I noticed the heater didn't seem like it was putting out much hot air, but it does the job. We live in the Uinta Basin in Utah. In winter the temperature regularly drops into the single digits, frequently below zero. Many times, we've used it as a guest house when friends and family visit. Everyone has stayed comfortable. Personally we've camped out when it was in the teens. There was no problem. It keeps the temperature comfortable.

Danimal713
02-15-2021, 06:09 AM
We upgraded our 2005 RVision C243 hybrid ast Spring during early VID season. We found a little-used 2017 Crossroads Sunset Trails 291RK on side of road for sale and the poor guy was just furloughed from work (jet engine mechanic) and upside down on the trailer. We helped him out and saved about $10K on an upgrade. It "claimed" to have Extreme Weather Package (BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA- and I saw a pig fly by too!). We had it out in just below freezing last Oct and it was comfortable but a little chilly. We used 1/2 of a 20# propane tank over night! I have since opened the underbelly and added foam pipe insulation to all the pipes and some extra insulation left from adding some to my shop. It is closed cell foam with foil on both sides (claimed R-17). I added to inside frame rails and a sheet across bottom under the sheet of plastic. I also foamed all holes from belly into trailer (there were some extra large ones) which also will help stop vermin from intruding. The other improvement was to add a space heater inside (750/1500W does add some heat and cuts propane usage). We opted for one that looks like a fireplace for some added ambiance. We also found the small space heater we used to use in old trailer so will find separate circuit and run both when in cold temps. When DW retires, we will also upgrade tanks to 2-30# for added capacity and decent dual batteries if needed. I do have HF solar panels that actually worked very well when we camped in Elkmont in Smokies (we live close) and it kept the battery cranked. It didn't do quite so well later in season at Cataloochee in heavy trees and many clouds. I had to connect truck to trailer to get slide in. But it is quite possible to camp in cold weather but as someone stated, comfort levels differ from person to person. Don't expect bare feet and T-shirts.

Avman2119
02-15-2021, 07:42 AM
We had a 2010 Keystone Laredo and recently purchased a 2021 240URS. Weíve used both now in below freezing weather. Iíve always ran the heater and water heater while driving to my destination if the temps are below 40 degrees. I have 2 6V golf cart batteries and typically run the heater around 60 degrees day and night. While weíre gone for the day, hunting/hiking, the 100W solar panels charge the batteries. If we know itíll be a cloudy or snowy day we run the genny for 15-30 minutes in the morning to charge up the batteries and typically run the genny for an hour or so before bed to make sure the batteries are topped off and to charge our phones, etc. This year I plan on either making a skirt or buying a custom one just to keep the cold air from circulating around the floors. The key is to dress for the weather. We walk around in house shoes and wear sweats/layers to keep warm.

nitrohorse
02-15-2021, 03:11 PM
There is only so much insulation factor that you can pack into a 2" (budget construction) wall. Add R-1 single pane windows, 5" ceiling rafters with a hollow A/C duct running down the middle, holes two or three times the required size through the floor and into a "essentially unheated space with minimal insulation and rails forming the sides and ends"... Then add a 35K BTU furnace that loses about 30-40 percent of the available heat as "exhaust" to the outside. There's very little a 1/4" mylar film "bubble wrap" can do to keep the remaining heat inside a 3/4" (otherwise not insulated) slide floor or to keep the 1" foam filled slide walls warm.....

Then add "dry camping" to the mix: There's not enough battery provided by any RV dealer to run the furnace all night with the "taped on tank heaters" also operating.

So, much of the "survivability" of cold weather camping relies as much on available "outside energy sources" as it does on the R value of the walls and the amount of "unintended leaks" throughout the RV....

Then, "winter comfort" for one person may mean 2 sweaters, fuzzy slippers and a blanket over their shoulders while another person may expect "warm floors for barefoot walking and an RV comfortable to walk around in skivvies when getting out of bed or sitting in the recliner watching the late news before bed.... In other words, 58F is OK for one camper and 78F is cold for the trailer parked in the next site.....

John, you nailed it. Coldest I slept in my former fifth wheel was 17 degrees F. I was parked on a seasonal site for the year. I had the electric fireplace running along with the Suburban propane furnace and a Mr. Buddy heater. I got the inside to the point that I could turn off the furnace and used the fireplace and Mr. Buddy. It wasn't warm, but it was survivable.
The "Arctic" sticker on the wall by the door means that the RV can readily replicate the arctic conditions inside the camper as well. Single pane windows, 2" foam in walls, and more air leaks than one can shake a stick at means difficulties heating the RV. I was told that Lance makes some legitimate 4 season RVs, but I never looked into them as winter camping is not on my wife's list as enjoyable.

JRTJH
02-15-2021, 03:54 PM
John, you nailed it. Coldest I slept in my former fifth wheel was 17 degrees F. I was parked on a seasonal site for the year. I had the electric fireplace running along with the Suburban propane furnace and a Mr. Buddy heater. I got the inside to the point that I could turn off the furnace and used the fireplace and Mr. Buddy. It wasn't warm, but it was survivable.
The "Arctic" sticker on the wall by the door means that the RV can readily replicate the arctic conditions inside the camper as well. Single pane windows, 2" foam in walls, and more air leaks than one can shake a stick at means difficulties heating the RV. I was told that Lance makes some legitimate 4 season RVs, but I never looked into them as winter camping is not on my wife's list as enjoyable.

A Lance 2465 (24'11") has an MSRP in the mid $70's. For that price, you can buy 3 or 4 Bullet 2200BH's.... So, for me, like you, winter camping is not "that important" LOL

I'll stay in the house with "unlimited central heat and a couple of fireplaces to sit in front of".... Life's too short to be cold !!!!!