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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Canada

 > Winter camping in Alberta

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jph1022

Calgary

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Posted: 10/17/20 07:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello,
I am planning a week long trip beginning of November in Alberta. This is my first time RVing with family. I have rented a RV with winter package so I think I am covered for the weather but I am trying to book a campground and all the national and provincial parks are closing down for the season. Please advice on what options I may have? I would really like to reserve a place so that I am not hunting for a place to park with kids.
Appreciate the help.

Cheers

JP

IDman

Oklahoma

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Posted: 10/17/20 07:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The fact that CGs are closing should be telling you something. Perhaps you might reconsider camping in November.

stickdog

Somewhere, USA

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Posted: 10/17/20 08:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would think you would have secured a campspot before renting the camper. I know that people rent them to use as extra sleeping quarters during the holidays for visiting relatives.


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Lwiddis

Camping near Pearsonville, CA

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Posted: 10/17/20 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“I have rented a RV with winter package so I think I am covered...”

Nope, you aren’t covered. Lake Louise temperatures in November average between 30F and 9F. In December it’s 20F and -2F. Never above freezing. It’s 18F in Calgary right now.

* This post was edited 10/17/20 08:14pm by Lwiddis *


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rlw999

Washington State

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Posted: 10/17/20 08:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The average November low in Calgary is 18F (-7C), but temps below 0F/-17C are not unheard of. Highs will likely be above freezing which will help.

That's some serious winter camping (at least to me in the USA Pacific Northwest, where I rarely camp in freezing temps), I'd start by searching for "cold weather" camping tips. Without knowing what RV you're renting and how it's prepped for winter, it's hard to give specific tips, but be prepared to burn a lot of propane to keep yourself warm (and keep your water from freezing)

I'd find out exactly what "winter package" means and what you need to do to keep things from freezing. A winter package could mean extra insulation on the walls/windows, tanks and piping in heated spaces, heated waste/water tanks, snap on underskirts, etc. You'll need to know how to make sure that everything that should be heated is, which could mean turning on tank heaters, opening cabinet doors, etc. Don't assume that the winter package means the RV will just handle the weather without any action from you.

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 10/17/20 09:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I full timed 2 Calgary winters in my 3 season TT, So don't let anyone tell you it cannot be done. I was weeks on end with the temperature dropping to minus 33C or so.

Finding a place to go is the tough part. For obvious reasons, they close them all down for winter.

But!

Check out Tunnel Mountain Village II in Banff. They are open year round. You will not get full hookups, but they do have electrical.
They were doing some renovations there, so check to see if this park is affected. We used to go there all the time but have not been there in a couple years now.

Water and sewer is out of the question, finding a dump station in minus 20's is difficult but not impossible. There is a Flying J off 114 and Barlow where I used to go to winter dump. It was hit and miss there. Sometimes everything was frozen up, including my dump pipe and valves.

You can do this but be prepared for extra work for the simple things. You will need to run your furnace a lot, a real lot. In the deep cold I would burn through a 30 pounder in a very short time. You will need lots of heat in there to keep your water from freezing up.
My fresh water tank was inside the TT, not underneath so I was ok there, but my pipes still froze up frequently.
I have a 110V radiant heater I would put in various places to thaw things out.
My fridge died one winter too. Got too cold to run it.
Had to put a heat blanket in with my propane bottles to keep it flowing. Get down past minus 30 and the stuff likes to stop running, or at least slow down enough to make the furnace quit.

Definitely do your homework and call around to see what may be open.
Word to the wise though, due to snowbirds not going south and all that, it is not likely to easily find a CG that can accommodate you.

Been there, done that, got the T shirt!

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trigley

Central Alberta

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Posted: 10/17/20 10:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could check with Wilderness Village NW of Rocky Mountain House. They have around 180 members that leave their units on site for winter camping. Washrooms including showers and the lodge remain open. This will be a real benefit if it gets cold. Unfortunately the hot tub is closed due to Covid.
It is pricey but firewood is included and the lodge has books, puzzles and games although they also may be off limits due to Covid. They even set up a skating rink but you will probably be too early for that.
People dry camp and use the washrooms. There are taps where you can obtain water for cooking and washing. Take appropriate containers.

* This post was edited 10/17/20 10:16pm by trigley *

burnmark

Rocky Mtn House, Alberta

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Posted: 10/18/20 09:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

McLean Creek near Bragg Creek and Mt Kidd RV park on Hwy 40 are open year round. Mt Kidd is probably better with kids. Both have power, and both are very relaxing in the winter. I have camped in -30 c, I enjoy it. You do not need a reservation for McLean, not sure about Mt Kidd - I guess it's not ski season yet, so you are probably good to go.
You could just take a recce by each if you are in the Calgary area, and see what you see.


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campinghut

Carstairs Alberta

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have done it also but like what was said you will need a lot of propane especially if you plan on trying to use water from the fresh water tank. Driving in a snow storm is also not fun. If you look around there are some campgrounds that stay open year round. Best of luck (you could get lucky and it will be above zero during the day) and enjoy as it is peaceful.


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cmsm

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Posted: 10/18/20 10:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have camped year round in the Calgary area. For many years we spent New Years Eve at Maclean Creek. Some years it has been cold enough that the champagne froze in the glasses. We had the water system winterized and carried water in a 5 gallon container. We used the RV toilet and flushed it with windshield washer fluid. Sometimes the fridge quit working because it was too cold outside for it. Because we were only out for the weekend it was not an issue.

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