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Old 10-11-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
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Irishcamper
Winter Camping

Hello all, Dave & Sue here checking in from Northumberland, PA. We want to send our best out to Kitty, and hopes she's feeling better over the weeks to come. My mother who is 86 has had a rough time of it over the past few weeks and we are praying for improvements in weeks ahead.

My general question or thoughts to our panel of knowledge out there is we are thinking about winter camping this winter. The local campground that we stay at for a month in spring, and a month in fall has a deal where you can park your camper at a site, pay a nominal fee for storage, then come up and use it during the winter for a nominal fee per night. We have met some nice people there and sounds like it could be fun.

My question to the smarts on this board is do you think there is anything that could be damaging to our unit for having it up and going during the winter? Obviously the water system will be shut down, awning will not be out. I was thinking about our slide awning over top the slideout, could this be an issue with snow on it? These are just some of the things I thought of.

I'm not sure we are going to do it yet, and by no means are we going to make it a weekly thing, but it sounds like it could be fun with our friends during the off season on occasion. Any words of wisdom will be appreciated. Thanks a bunch, and enjoy the fall camping season.

Dave & Sue
Northumberland, PA
2007 195SR
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:05 PM   #2
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Hookups or not??

No experience boondocking...but with hookups.......

We've camped in our sunny in single digit overnight temps and 30's during the day without any issues. No snow, but no problems with the slide topper and the cold. Furnace will run you out, but we have a 1500w oscillating electric heater that we setup on the dinette (keeps it out of the critters way and it's somewhat center of our rig) and that keeps the rig more than comfortable. In fact, it has temp settings and will cycle on/off set @ 70 deg. Don't forget to keep a roof vent open about an inch or so to deal with condensation.

We had tank heaters (fresh, grey, and black) installed from the factory and have camped with water on without any issues. We used hookup during the day (it was above freezing), then we fill the fresh tank, disconnect and drain the hose from city hookup, and store hose coiled in shower overnight. Used the pump and tank for overnight potty trips. Nice to have that convienence, and tank heaters are available after market, something to consider if you decide you like cold weather camp. We certainly do!!!!

We drain the water heater and open the low point drains and all the valves (kitchen and bath sinks, and showers) before we leave camp and then use an air compressor to blow out lines at home.

Mack
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:29 PM   #3
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Hi Dave,

To add to what George said...

I hate to see slides out during the winter. I think the snow load not only puts a strain on your slide topper, it also adds unusual forces to the top of the slide room that could cause damage. I'd suggest pulling it in every time you leave there.

However, there's one big issue with putting it out when you get there. In the cold weather, that vinyl will be very brittle and moving it could damage it. I'd suggest, if at all possible, put a heat lamp or hair dryer up to the awning before moving the room in/out to warm it up a little. This isn't as critical if the awning is just cold, but it certainly is if there's a buildup of ice and snow on top of it. Especially if it has snowed and then there was a sunny day, the snow will melt, drip down some onto the slide topper roll, and then re-freeze at night.

Here's another idea. With the trailer on-site and slide room completely extended, climb up, twist the roller to relieve tension on the fabric, and lock the awning roller with a nail. There should be a slot in one end just for this purpose. Then, when the slide goes in, the awning won't roll. I would then get some small PVC pipe and two 90 degree elbows, feed one part through the loop in the fabric, and then use the other two to pull down on it. Have one person be holding this fabric out away from the trailer (so it won't get caught when pulling the room in) and then have the other power it in. Secure the pipes with some rope so that the fabric won't blow in the wind. This way, if it snows while you're there, the fabric won't be stretched even more as it sags onto the SO roof under tension, and it won't have to roll tightly when cold. It'll just require a little more work for the times you go to move the room in/out.

This is just an idea I had, what does everyone else think?
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
I hate to see slides out during the winter. I think the snow load not only puts a strain on your slide topper, it also adds unusual forces to the top of the slide room that could cause damage. I'd suggest pulling it in every time you leave there.
We never leave slide out when we are not using the coach.

Quote:
However, there's one big issue with putting it out when you get there. In the cold weather, that vinyl will be very brittle and moving it could damage it. I'd suggest, if at all possible, put a heat lamp or hair dryer up to the awning before moving the room in/out to warm it up a little. This isn't as critical if the awning is just cold, but it certainly is if there's a buildup of ice and snow on top of it. Especially if it has snowed and then there was a sunny day, the snow will melt, drip down some onto the slide topper roll, and then re-freeze at night.
We had a light snow over night during the single digit camp. However, it was above freezing when we packed up and the little bit of snow on it rolled right off when we closed the slide. I think the heat escaping from the top of the slide kept it from getting too cold/brittle. BTW.....If we were expecting any kind of accumulation we would be packed and on our way home!!!!
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #5
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Hi Dave

We winter camp but we haul the camper to and from the CG and as such we will not tow in the snow. But we do enjoy the winter camping.

TrailBlazer here on the forum has had a setup like you are referring to in a CG where they had to drive to the camper stored on the site. I know he had it with his prior
T2753. I do not know if he has done this with his 5íer yet as it has a slide and cannot remember if it has a topper on it.

This much I will say, for sure bring the slide in when you leave. After dealing with slide floor rot there is no good that comes from a slide being left out when you leave the camper for long periods of time.

My one concern is the slide topper. If the camper is left on site and snow and or rain comes and goes water will be inside the topper just like it is on the main awning. That is the concern. Opening a frozen topper. In fact that one topic is fresh on my mind. Right now I do not have a topper installed. I have been really thinking hard on how to create a topper I can unhook or attach differently if I need to for just this reason. We winter camp and the camper lives in the yard next to the house. During January when it has been frozen for weeks opening the slide Iím sure can create great havoc on a topper. This never bothered us on the main awning as we just leave it closed. Sunline Fan offer a suggestion that I sort of got lost in the words on but I get the gist of the idea.

I myself for sure would not leave the slide out when I went back home. The topper I would have to work through a way on how to release it or some how make real sure it was not frozen inside.

I can offer this as I did this on my main awing on the T2499. I made a PVC pipe cover with end caps. That keeps the water out of the awning. If you did something like this you climb up with a good solid step ladder and cover the topper when you leave. Yes it is a bit of a pain but it is an option. See here on how I made the awning cover.

Wet Awning When Stored - 1 Approach to Help Stay Dry

If I get my topper setup done any time soon where I can use it at will, Iíll post here on the site for sure. It may not make it until next winter though.

Good luck you will enjoy the winter camping.

John
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for all your advice, and by looking at it, and discussing it with my wife we have decided to winter camp in our living room around the natural gas fireplace.

We were not sold on it in the first place, but our friends tried to talk us into it. I was concerned about some things and John B and Sunlinefan confirmed those thoughts. I guess it was part that we didn't want to put Sunny away for 5 months of hibernation, but it will be more the reason to get excited about next April. Thanks to all for the info.

Dave & Sue
Northumberland, PA
2007 195SR
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:12 PM   #7
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Well darn Dave, I didn't want to completely discourage you.

Is there the choice to leave it there like through early January and then pull it home? It seems like we have a warm snap here in Michigan in early January where the snow all melts and the roads dry up. If you had the same, you could pull it home then. That way you shouldn't have too much snow for the times you could go.
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