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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Canada

 > Winter RV'ing in Northern NWT/Yukon

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westernrvparkowner

montana

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Posted: 10/25/19 02:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Peter-hs,

https://www.yukoninfo.com/listing/eagle-plains-hotel-service-station/

66.504070, -136.688115

Inuvik, Northwest Territories 68.560742, -133.383327

https://www.inuvik.ca/en/index.asp

and

https://www.inuvik.ca/en/discovering-inu........urces/FLAT-SHEET_CAMPS-AND-PARKS-web.pdf

Unless you are an extremely seasoned winter camper, I would not go away from other human habitation. You really don't wish to end up as Robert Falcon Scott did.

What you are attempting is dangerous and any mistakes won't be forgiven. You will need a way to call for help. A satellite phone would be a requirement. Even if you call, assistance may be days away from you. Helicopters and planes do have cold weather "no fly" temperatures.

Likely you will be required to file a proposal (permission may be denied) and may have to buy "rescue" insurance.

I've boondocked at -37 C, and been storm stayed by a four day blizzard where the daily high was -27, but I was in a town. That allowed me to replenish fuel supplies. I burned 50 pounds of propane in 48 hours. I ran a Kipor 2800 electric start generator for about 6 hours per day and burned 44 liters of fuel in 4 days.

Winter diesel gels at -40 C, and the boiling point for propane is -42 C. That means using some kind of tank heater in truly cold weather. I have a "magnetic mount" block heater that I can use on the propane tank. It can be used on the bottom of my generator as well.

My RV has been highly modified for cold weather use. I can heat 100% electrically--but the peak load is 7700 watts (about 26274 BTU's). That is more than the output from my propane furnace.

A wind mill that would produce significant power and be reliable may cost more than your RV. Steel doesn't behave the same way in extreme cold. There are documented reports of hammers shattering. Two commercial wind turbines in Rankin Inlet lasted less than two years.

Your diet will need to be calorie rich, so forget about eating sparingly. You will need LOTS of water. Tonight, where I am, it is currently -4 C. Relative humidity in the RV is only 30%. I've measured as low as 5% RH inside my unit.

If you still want to do this, plan on triple redundancy for ALL the necessary systems. I've been camping and boondocking in extreme cold since 2000. I'd not attempt what you seem to want to do.
If Don, who is about as close to crazy in his ability to stay in a winter environment, wouldn't do what the OP is planning, I would say the most important thing the OP can add to his plan is to have an updated will.
Montana is by no means the Northwest Territories or upper Yukon Territory and I can attest that even a Montana winter will tax every system. Plastic will crumble, metal will shatter, and everything will need constant maintenance to even marginally function. An even bigger concern the effect extreme cold has on your mental faculties. Every year people die due to exposure even though safety was within their reach. What sounds possible while sitting in a 72F living room isn't what you are going to find when you actually face reality.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 10/25/19 04:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Western,

Thanks for the compliment.

I think it could be done--but it surely won't be fun. It would be safer and easier if there were two persons. Folks do get ill, but the weather doesn't care about that. If there is no power and no heat things may go sideways rather rapidly.

The longer the planned expedition, the harder the task will be. What I have done is a cake walk by comparison. Doing what the OP wants to do is NOT on my bucket list.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 10/27/19 01:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Yeah, Eagle Plains, 'great spot', they claim to have 30a hooks ups.
Are you going that far north?


Cal


cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 10/30/19 05:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wait a minute -- is this some sort of purification ritual?

sue.t

Ibex Valley, YUKON

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Posted: 11/02/19 09:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While living on Vancouver Island, we made two December trips into Yukon to visit my Dad for Christmas.
December 1998 http://yukonsights.ca/19981212_AlaskaHwy.html
December 2001 http://yukonsights.ca/20011215_AlaskaHwy.html
In 2001 we experienced -40 temperature.
Now we live in Yukon so am very familiar with winter conditions, no where near as cold as when I grew up here though. When I was a kid I remember -65F
Don't expect any campgrounds to be open, but some businesses might let you plug in because vehicles overnighting in very cold weather need to plug in their block heaters. We usually used the opportunity to plug in the RV's engine block heater so it would be able to start in the morning. It is useful to have a generator if needed.
Filling with propane can be an problem when it is very cold and propane may liquefy if it is very cold. Read the solution in my December 1998 story.
If you're going north of the Arctic Circle, there is no sunrise on the shortest day of the year.
Also be prepared for blizzards, it is common for the Dempster Highway to close in the winter due to wind and snow.
You might also see Northern Lights
[image]


sue t.
Pictures from our many RV Adventures to Yukon & Alaska from Vancouver Island. Now we live in Yukon!

sue.t

Ibex Valley, YUKON

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Posted: 11/02/19 09:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

peter-hs wrote:


MDKMDK - Thank you for this suggestion. So far, I've looked at the tourism sites for both provinces to see if any of the parks/RV sites are open during the winter and provide hookups. Unfortunately, the information on the sites indicates all parks are closed during this period. But, I'll take your suggestion and contact the tourism offices for both provinces to get information, such as feasibility, from them directly.

Yukon is not a province - officially it is a territory.
And NWT is Northwest Territories - also not a province.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/03/19 01:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

sue t,

Thanks for sharing those links. Fascinating!

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 11/04/19 11:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Back to the OPs thoughts, in short, while this is doable, even with a source of plug in electricity, it’s more like a winter survival experience than a “trip.”
Having spent time in some camps that were temporary rig camps, Basically well insulated adco trailers, they take a huge amount of power and/or fuel to live comfortably in.
And in the winter, I can tell you we were only outside because we had to be (work). You don’t recreate outside up there in the winter. Period. Unless you’re an Eskimo or have mental issues.
And have at least 2 backup plans for heat, for whatever residence option you choose.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

free radical

Canada

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Posted: 11/10/19 07:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Anything posible IF one knows how,but then these people are used to such temps.

Going to school in coldest place on earth

https://youtu.be/5HXXJg4vDF8

AKsilvereagle

North Pole, Alaska

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Posted: 01/12/20 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just wondering if the OP had attempted this so called 'winter trip' as November was a very snowy month and December was a very cold month here while never missed a day of work with the majority of daytime highs days ranged between -15 F to -40 F below for December....

I never left my house nor commuted anywhere in the past 9 days with temps ranging between -32 F below and -48 F below here in January, as my boss permitted me to stay at home until the temps improved....started out -43 to -46 last weekend and it was a brief -38 to -32 daytime high Monday and Tuesday as the temps had dropped worse between -42 to -48 since Wednesday as it is now Sunday and -41 F below as I am posting here....

It has been real nice not having to work out in the extreme cold for a change all week (first major -40 and colder coldspell for at least a week) as my job duties are having to work outside full time year round which I have done for the past 14 winters, don't get much of a break other than having to warm up in front of a space heater for short periods of time, as I already had to work in plenty of -20 to -36 below days this winter and it takes a toll on me now compared to my younger days....

Alaska had not had a major -40 below and colder one week or longer coldspell in three winters as during my residency here in the past going on 38 years now you would expect at least one major prolong coldspell in the interior practically every winter, as the 'average' number of -40 below or colder days per winter in the Fairbanks area was 12....a couple of winters I had not seen any -40, a few winters might be 2 to 3 days of -40, while other winters were 20 to 35 days of -40 below or colder....

There had been 14 days of temps reaching my house of -40 or colder already this winter, as there is so much massive cold pockets in the arctic this year on the super weather maps while the winds had been coming from the east (inland) which means it stays brutally cold....

I had done removed snow off my camper shell roof 5 times already this winter and it is only half way in the winter season here, and have tons of snow packed up against the house (my skirting) which helps keep the even bitter cold from reaching my water line and house pipes even though I have my pipes 100 percent insulated and heat tape on to my water tank and water line....

When it gets past -30 F below for a long period of time at my home it goes in survival mode as I rather be home during -40 F below and colder anyway in case of house emergencies (and had a few of those crisis too) as my house is a double wide addition of a old 1966 house trailer mobile home with only a forced air furnace, and everyone is spot on that posted all the what if's and what kind of energy it really takes to keep a RV or structure heated or functional in brutal extreme cold and hope nothing ever goes wrong....

The thing is : I have electric grid, a 500 gallon fuel tank, marginal insulated house, two Honda 2000 generators for power outage emergencies to keep warm, and two chords of seasoned birch and spruce logs to throw in Blaze King stove, my cabover camper is not for winter shelter for emergency....

As others noted, a typical RV is NOT ideal to camp in sub zero winter temps of the arctic, the best shelter for remote winter camping for that would be hauling a mini cabin on a trailer, one would be better off staying in their vehicle running it 24-7 to stay warm rather than in an RV....

I have yet to see anyone in Fairbanks ever make it thru the entire winter living in their RV other than giving up when it got real cold after a few days to ending up found dead from a gas leak, seen a few RV'rs make it in Wasilla and Anchorage as my friend has done it there in a class C saving some rent money but they are much milder temps but he is still asking for it when things do go wrong....

I even hate RV'ing in September and October here in the far north as it is cold at night and go into survival mode while sleeping in winter clothing, as it is the only time of year I am allowed anytime off that is not during winter season, (as my work does not allow anyone to have summertime off) and I never give up on a yearly RV trip....

If the OP's vehicle is not arctic winterized or does not know how to survive in the arctic winters when it gets sub zero for long periods along the Dempster Hwy. remote, all winter with no grid power, etc. - that is an area that does not have many resources for fuel and supplies at that, which is just plain suicide trying to stay all winter in some RV relying on some generator power, no matter how much you convert your RV for winter conditions and a hundred more scenarios that can go wrong that no one else has mentioned on their postings in emergency situations, and if there is no snow to build a snow cave to keep one warm at -10 below on a -40 below or colder day should the RV or truck not run to generate any heat, or have a health issue where you cannot do anything - especially without someone else present, last resort is to be rescued or die freezing....

Best time to winter RV in remote areas as many do here during bitter cold is during March and April as you get more daylight hours which does warm up some on certain times of the day in most cases, and ones that do RV during that time will not do so for more than a week span, only seen it get past -40 below in March once during 2007, for two and a half weeks - and never seen -30 below in April....


My furnace has been running 16.2 hours in a 24 hour period on average in the past 9 days on a .60 nozzle, which is roughly 10 gallons of fuel per day, so it is probably going to be $700 in fuel and $300 in electric during this month's projection - and with a remote bitter coldspell shacking up in some RV, it is going to cost at least that much a month IF you can find the resources on the Dempster (other than Eagle Plains and hope they do not run low or out of supplies when you need it) along with non stop constant work to stay warm and fix things on the fly (and that's if it can be fixed) and eventually get more food somewhere, and the road conditions are screwed up, and hope the vehicle always starts and doesn't have a mishap....

Other than commuting in an RV from a temporary point A to point B type scenario during the winter months in the far north, I would not dare to do an all winter remote trip like what the OP had posted their intentions, especially on the Dempster Hwy. region....

As others stated about the OP attempting to do an all winter remote trip like this in an RV, the colder it gets, the more you will not enjoy the experience in the many scenarios mentioned and not mentioned.


1975 Ford F250 2WD Ranger XLT (Owned June 2013)
460 V8- C6 Trans- 3.73:1 (171K Total Mi)
2000 Fleetwood Angler 8ft Cabover
Air Lift 1000 (Front)
Hellwig 3500 lb Helper Springs (rear)
Hellwig Front and Rear Sway Bars
Goodyear G971 LT Series (siped)


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