Relatively new to RVing - we purchased our first TT last February (2011) and have been on a few trips in it since. Glad to say that we're getting more proficient with hook up, towing and setting up, with each outing. I do have a general question that I was hoping the experienced members might help with:
We live in the Texas Panhandle (Amarillo area), where the weather plays a significant role in outdoor activities. Summer is hotter than "blue blazes" (to quote my father-in-law) and winter frequently sees temperatures in the twenties and teens. Spring and fall are both relatively short in duration, and the winds in the spring would cause any RVer to think twice about taking trips (its not uncommon to experience sustained winds in the 20 - 30 MPH range, day in and day out). My question concerns cold weather camping. We have a 2000 Northwood Nash 19B TT, which we purchased from the original owner, who lived in a warm state (Arizona). The TT is well equipped, and heater and AC work pretty well. The coldest weather we have camped in was in the 40 degree range, which was tolerable, in terms of interior comfort. Thing is, we would like to be able to use our TT during the winter months, perhaps for skiing excursions in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. My primary concern is that the TT will not handle cold-weather operation. I have checked and both my grey water and black water tanks, along with drainage plumbing, are bare and exposed. My question is whether I can use the TT in the anticipated climate, where night temperatures may dip into the single digits, without tanks and water lines freezing up, or is my rig equipped solely for moderate/warm weather use? We have camped in a loaner trailer in the past, and I knew enough to wrap the freshwater supply line in heat tape and, luckily, never experienced problems with waste water, but that was here locally, and I don't know that the temperature extremes ever dropped to as low as I anticipate they will in NM and CO. Thanks for any/all help.
We disconnect and drain the city water connection. We have our fresh water tank partially filled for daily use.
Verify that your exposed pipes are insulated.
Make sure you put chemical in your black AND grey tanks. It maybe a good idea to dump some RV antifreeze in them. This to prevent damage to the valve areas.
It wouldn't be all that hard or expensive to insulate and cover the underbelly of the trailer. That would also help in hot weather to.
We live in our trailer during the week and have spent a few nights in single digit weather before and many times during the high teens and 20's but ours has heated tanks and the underbelly is enclosed.
I think it will just depend on how long of a period you're in the cold weather. If it's extended periods of single digit temperatures the tanks are going to freeze without insulation and heat but if it gets cold at night and then warm during the day you could probably make it OK.
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My brother took a trip to CO with his trailer in the winter and he said when he got to his destination, everything was frozen. All that worked was the range, heater and refer. Water tank was frozen solid, your call!
I'd immagine that there are measures you could take to help but will they be enough for winter camping in northern NM or CO?
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Your water and sewer systems will be taxed trying to keep them from freezing. Some RV's at our local parks will brave the winter with heat tape and insulation along the water and sewer connections, and hay bale skirting along the perimeter of the rig. Doesn't look like a lot of fun.
Pulling a trailer in the winter can be difficult as well.
I have been in sub freezing temps many times in my old Arctic Fox 22H. Not sure I've been below 20 degrees though. Northwoods build a VERY well insulated rig to easily manage a few days of cold weather. You'll need to run the heater a fair amount to keep a little bit of heat on the tanks and water lines. If you don't have electrical hook up, you'll need a generator to keep the batteries charged as running the heater is a larger power consumer.
Personally, I'd not camp when temps are sub teens and if the temp never climbs about freezing for more than a couple of nights. It's not easy keeping things going when it's very cold and never gets about 32. But that's me and I'm sure many others are much hardier than I.
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Google Ultraheat. They have everything you need to fix it up for the cold. Been there, done that, worked great.
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With exposed holding tanks and no tank heaters your holding tanks will certainly freeze during cold weather. What you would need to convert the tanks to a cold weather system is an enclosed belly and tank heaters (even ambient heat from the furnace helps somewhat with this). Shouldn't be impossible to enclose the belly with Coroplast after adding electric heaters to the tanks and plumbing.
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