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Old 12-29-2017, 11:17 AM   #1
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Winter Camping?

Good afternoon,

So, it turned cold really fast and it got me to thinking, since I really can't do much work on the camper. How do people survive camping in cold weather? I found some threads on here and I am reading through them. All of the threads seems to be of bigger and newer units. Are there any T1550 owners that do winter camping? If so, what mods did you have to do to make it comfortable? I did read where someone installed tank heaters but again on a different model. I'm wondering if it is even doable to winter camp in a T1550 since I don't think they were made for it but I would love to take a whack at modifying it to make it work!

Thanks for any input.

Tommie
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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Hi Tommie,

We have winter camped often in our T2499 and T310SR. A time or 2 in our Popup. However before that I have winter camped down to 0F in a tent several times with the Boy Scouts as an adult.

Your little T1550 is a whole lot better than the tent....

Actually the way we have camped in the Sunlines really is not that much different then in the tent in a big picture sense. So your T1550 is doable with some precautions and understanding.

1. Internal moisture in the camper. This issue is the same in a tent or a TT of any size. The camper is a small space with not great insulation. Since the space is small, moisture is something that will concentrate up quickly. To combat this the first is to understand where it comes from. A few areas that come to the top of the list are:

Sleeping at night. Yes, our breathing creates a lot of moisture in the air.
Cooking
Washing dishes
Just being inside and breathing

There are a few ways to overcome the moisture levels, the cheapest and easiest is to vent the camper. On the far end of the bed room, open a roof vent a good 1" open. This lets the high moisture air get out that is wanting to go out anyway. Yes, some heat goes with it but not as much as one would think.

If you have electric, a small home dehumidifier. This is more higher end winter camping but it does really help the best. We now use both venting and the dehumidifier. We use to only vent.

2. When cooking inside, crack a window open so fresh air comes in and takes some of the cooking moisture with it out the roof vent.

3. When doing dishes, try and limit the large amount of open hot water that steams out. You have to use some, just do not overdo it by not realizing.

4. If you have a shower and running water, make sure the bath vent is open a good ways while showering. Yes, it will be cold when you get out of the shower, but dry off fast and it is not so bad.

The next area is water. We camped a good number of years with no working plumbing in the camper. We are dry camping in this case. You bring jugs of fresh water from home and get a dish tub or something to put in the sink to catch water to "not" use the onboard drains that are winterized. We dump the gray water outside in an appropriate place.

As far as the potty goes, we had a portable one we had in our popup we use for those middle of the night got a go times. We pick state parks that are open with 1 heated shower house or at least an outdoor porta potty.

This gets you past all the water issues trying to use your camper wet during the winter. While we do use our T310SR wet during the winter, this camper has a heated tank compartment with enclosed drains from Sunline and I even more upgraded it. Only this allows us to wet camp in the winter. Some have used tank heaters and worked through it that way, just I do not have any good info on them. I think Mack has them on his Sunline.

Windows, the windows will sweat real badly even with the dehimidifer. Single pane glass is what it is. We have combated that problem with the shrink wrap plastic you buy in the home stores around the windows inside. It works well. We do get some sweat on the aluminum trim inside but I wipe it up each morning and it is OK. Some folks don't worry about it. It sort of all depends on how much winter camping you are doing. 2 or 3 times a winter is a lot different than 10 plus nights.

We do not go out when there is snow covered roads. That is a me thing. I am not on purpose going to tow the camper in the snow. So we wait and find a good weekend where the weather cooperates and at least will be above freezing during the day.

Heat: The camper furnace is good, just have full LP tanks before you go. We use the furnace and portable electric heaters. I use the ceramic or oil heaters, not the open red wire type of years ago. But these heater suck a lot of power. I bring a seperate 12 gauge extension cord and run it direct into the camper to power 1 heater. Since we have a 30 amp camper, I can run 1 other heater off the camper. In my case I pic the galley plug as it does not have much else running on it. We have a big camper, so we use 1 ceramic heater and one oil radiator type. We run the furnace as needed. For your little camper, 1, 1,500 watt may be just fine.

Those are really the big picture items. I would suggest to have shore power, it make this so much easier. If you are trying to winter boondock, then you will need to deal with the winter power use off a battery and that is a little more complex due to trying to use the furnace off the battery. Doable, just need to plan for it.

Winter camping can be a lot of fun. No crowds, no bugs, silence and a great campfire! It is really good to get out for a few weekends in the off season. It helps make the camping withdraw a lot better.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
...No crowds, no bugs, silence and a great campfire!...
Thanks JohnB. This is the reason for the inquiry. I still work full-time. In order to take advantage of using the camper, I would need to be able to go in the off-season. I have one of those mini electric dehumidifiers in my wish list on Amazon.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...PY06LT1N&psc=1

I hope one is enough. They are not that expensive unless there is another that is a little bigger that is better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
If you are trying to winter boondock, then you will need to deal with the winter power use off a battery and that is a little more complex due to trying to use the furnace off the battery. Doable, just need to plan for it.
I am looking at possibly getting a portable generator. We need one here at home anyway.

Thanks for the information. I found the post by Mack and am reading over that one as well as another titled "Staying warm in a T-2363". Good info!

Thanks a bunch!

Tommie
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:14 PM   #4
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I often camp in overnight in freezing weather but nothing below freezing during the day it's just pushing the limits of everything including the occupants it's supposed to be fun I do know someone that lived in a camper in Maine he had 2 100# propane tanks that lasted about a month and hay bales around the entire camper up to the windows and was plugged in. Overnight at freezing is doable in a camper even a nice electric heater will work, it will run pretty much full time but without power on propane two days is really pushing the battery without some way to recharge. Usually when I come into a cold trailer I run the propane heater to bring everything up to temp then the electric over night my tanks are fine as long as it's above freezing during the day and I camp with power. It was -20 this morning and my house was a bit chilly my camper in the garage was -20 inside.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:35 PM   #5
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Thanks Mainah. I have a year to prepare but I figured I would research and decide while waiting for the weather to improve.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:23 PM   #6
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Is it recommended to use a dehumidifier when camping in all seasons?
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Is it recommended to use a dehumidifier when camping in all seasons?
No. The inside humidity problem only happens if it's cold enough outside and warm enough inside for moisture to condense on the windows and walls. This normally is only a winter camping problem.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:00 PM   #8
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Thanks John....we will probably not be camping in temps that cold anytime soon.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomascine View Post
Thanks JohnB. This is the reason for the inquiry. I still work full-time. In order to take advantage of using the camper, I would need to be able to go in the off-season. I have one of those mini electric dehumidifiers in my wish list on Amazon.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...PY06LT1N&psc=1

I hope one is enough. They are not that expensive unless there is another that is a little bigger that is better.
The one we use on the T310SR is a Frigidaire 30 pint unit. Looks like this.




They do not seem to make the exact model any more, but have updated ones. https://www.frigidaire.com/Home-Comfort/Dehumidifiers/

For our size camper, a 32 ft TT, this size fits well. It will shut off and the noise is tolerable. I will dump out about 4 to 5 qts the first night. On the first night, everything in the camper is damp inside from being stored, the carpet, wood, couch, everything has some moisture in it even before you entered the camper. The second night I may dump 2 to 3 quarts out.

Your camper is a lot smaller. That size would still work, it is the smallest "large" type dehumidifier I could find.

The one you linked says it takes out 16 oz per day at 80% RH or 2 pints per day versus 30 pints/day that we use. That is not a lot. I think they are saying they use this in places where humans are not living there. I used to know how much we sort of give off while sleeping 8 hours but I'm not exactly sure any more. But I do know this, if you forget to vent the camper with no dehumidifier, the camper will remind you come morning. 2 adults sleeping inside over night and come morning the walls, ceiling and any bare windows all have a heavy well film of moisture all over them. That is not a good thing to have all the time.

Since your camper will have a level of wetness inside the camper from just being stored outside, that small dehumidifier I do not think it will ever catch up by the time you come back from camping. By being in the camper, it adds to whatever is there already. Even 2 of them running all day is only 32 oz of water. This is why we vent, even if we are using the dehumidifier. The moister air wants to escape to the dryer air outside. So opening the vent lets it go out.

I would say, just try the winter camping by venting only for a while. It is what we did. You will find out fairly quick how far open is enough on the vent. In ours, is has to be a good 1" or slightly more. Anything less and the wet walls come back in the morning. If you find you really like winter camping, then adding some dehumidifier large enough for the space can be an add on.

When we tent camped, we always had a flap down at the top of the tent door. About a 8" wide by 4" tall triangle of space with the door screen open. That works for a 2 person tent. Those boys who did not heed the advice, woke up with snow on top of them inside the tent. It formed snow inside from the moisture.... Both of them were 16 year olds and knew better but they "forgot"...

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:34 PM   #10
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Here are some older posts on camper upgrades for winter camping. Maybe these will help.

Winter Upgrades (FINALLY completed!) This one has tank heaters by Frank

T310SR Enclosed Tanks Option (with Pics)

Winter Camping

I can't seem to find the posts I created...

However this link will take you to some pictures of my winter upgrades on my Flickr site https://flic.kr/s/aHsmacTJ2r

Hope this helps

John
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:32 PM   #11
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I made a plywood panel for the large front window that fits just inside the framework kind of like the storm windows Sunline once used held in with the original clips. jalousie windows leak cold air like crazy.
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:12 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone!

This will get me started in planning. I don't want to get too ahead of myself but I would like to be prepared. I did test out the electric heaters that I have (a 1500 watt electric stove plugged into an extension cord running from the garage and two 250 watt ceramics plugged into camper receptacles) and they warmed up the camper as is. I was actually able to take off my coat and had to turn the two small heaters off, too hot. This is good as I am very cold natured. I was also looking at the documentation that was passed on to me by the previous owner. There is an installation guide for the new AC but there is a separate installation guide for a heating unit for it. So, it is possible that there is already electric heat installed. I will need to check that out. If so, then I will need to concentrate on insulating to block as much cold air as possible. I like the plastic over the windows idea. I have used it over a window that had a AC unit installed and it was too heavy to take out every year.

Thanks again.

Tommie
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:24 AM   #13
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-25.7 here this morning not real good weather to go camping.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:53 AM   #14
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Woo! That is cold. My uncle and his wife lives in Maine. He came to visit once when it was snowing here. Businesses and schools closed down. He was shocked. He couldn't believe all the closings. He said this was nothing compared to what they get up there.

Stay warm!

Tommie
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