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Extreme Weather RV's


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#1 bockofma

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:33 AM

Good morning.

We enjoy camping/RVing in colder climates, but our current class "C," a very basic 30' model, is not up to the job. So, may I trouble you for your thoughts on extreme weather RV's? Dual pane windows, insulation, etc.? Suggestions for pre-owned units, class "A" and/or 5ver's?

Regards, and best wishes for the Holidays!

Michael

#2 JCZ

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:33 AM

Good morning.

We enjoy camping/RVing in colder climates, but our current class "C," a very basic 30' model, is not up to the job. So, may I trouble you for your thoughts on extreme weather RV's? Dual pane windows, insulation, etc.? Suggestions for pre-owned units, class "A" and/or 5ver's?

Regards, and best wishes for the Holidays!

Michael


Artic Fox and Fox Mountain (both built by Northwood Mfg.) are all season 5th wheels. They have the thermal pane windows, heated holding tanks, all plumbing is ran through heated space and the underbelly is sealed and they have heavier insulation.

2013 Fox Mountain 235RLS pulled by a 2012 F-250, 6.7L Diesel, Super Duty, 3.55 electronic locking differential, Supercab, Lariet, FX-4, Longbed w/20" wheels.


#3 Kirk

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:02 AM

In used fifth wheel trailers the Teton used to be the leader but they have not been built in some time now. In addition to Arctic Fox products, those from DRV Suites rate very highly but they are also both heavy and expensive. You will find that the bet constructed RVs are all of them heavy. I would also look at RVs from NuWa Ind. and also from Heartland especially in used RVs as the company may be changing for new ones as they are now owned by Thor Ind., where they used to be an independent, family owned company.

If you look to class A rigs, nearly all of them have at least heated wet-bays where the tanks and any plumbing are located, but things like high quality insulation, dual pane windows, and other structural things are important to consider. In class A I would consider companies like Newmar, a family owned builder, Tiffin Motorhomes also family owned, or those from Winnebago/Itasca.

In class C there are very few who build for serious cold weather with heated storage for tanks and plumbing, or that was the case when I last shopped for them. There are only a few of them that I would seriously consider and the leaders would be Lazy Daze or Born Free. Of course, if you move up to the "Super C" type of RV you then add several more. The Seneca by Jayco has a very good reputation. One of the most impressive that I have looked at would be those from DynaMax.

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#4 Jack Mayer

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:43 AM

It would be very helpful if you indicated a price range.

NO RV is intended for extreme cold weather and NO RV will function well in below zero temperatures for extended periods. Above zero/teens you have gotten some good suggestions. When you get down into the teens and single digits even the more "4 season" RVs are in just "survival mode", more than comfort mode. Can it be done? Sure. But as I said it is not what they are intended for - even the highly insulated ones. I know people that survive the winter in CO at 8500' in vacation trailers. But it is not a "good" experience. It seems you have some knowledge of what you are getting into so you likely will not be disappointed. There are things you can do to improve the performance of even the best units. The first thing is to foam all openings to reduce air infiltration.

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#5 LindaH

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

Our 2007 Excel came with a guarantee of 10 degrees (later models had a lower guarantee...down to minus 10 degrees, I think...but don't hold me to that number). They have to have double pane windows to get the guarantee (which we did order on ours). We recently survived quite nicely at an overnight temperature of 8 degrees.

While Lazy Daze is a highly rated Class C, it does NOT have heated and enclosed holding tanks so isn't really suited to extreme cold weather.

Edited by LindaH, 17 December 2012 - 10:09 AM.

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#6 Dennis M

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

Newmar used to offer a cold weather package on their fivers, but they are out of the fiver market now.

Our '37 foot Mountain Aire has one AC but two furnaces, heated bays, double pane windows and additional insulation. With the added insulation the single AC cools it fine in 90 degree temps.

We really like the two furnaces, can keep the living area comfortable and the bedroom cold - as we like it.
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#7 Dave & Kathy

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:34 AM

We found out that having a steady heat source seems to warm the RV a lot better than a furnace that is on & off all the time. When in an RV park, an electric oil filled radiator type heater gives constant warmth for one area. When boondocking, the Olympian Wave catalytic heater gives nice steady heat. For us the furnace is used little. It seems noisy and in between runs leaves cold areas in the RV. A steady heat source keeps our RV evenly heated and comfy. Dave.

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#8 LindaH

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:44 PM

We found out that having a steady heat source seems to warm the RV a lot better than a furnace that is on & off all the time.

Inside. But it's not going to do much for heating the area where the holding tanks are (assuming you have enclosed holding tanks).

We rarely use our forced air furnace, either, but when we got stuck in Alturas, CA, for 8 days last month and the temperature dipped to 8 degrees overnight, we turned on our forced air furnace to its lowest setting so it could run during the night heating our enclosed holding tanks. We didn't suffer any freezes in our plumbing during the time we were there.

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#9 RonMon

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 05:51 PM

Four or five years ago we had a job in Kansas City & had an 8 or 10 day run of temps that ranged from highs of 10-12 to lows of -12 to -15. Stayed very comfortable in our '07 Excel. Has dual pane windows.....but you could almost hear the propane flowing!!!!! Each 30# bottle lasted about 3 days.

Ron

#10 Jimalberta

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:07 PM

Ron , we just recently got caught at Pearce , Az when It went down to 21 degrees. I ran our forced air furnace even though we were plugged in and had electric heaters with us. I did this to get heat to the basement to avoid frozen pipes. But like you , went through 30 lbs of propane in 2 nights. Was wondering if I would have fared better by putting in our slides for the night.

....JIM and LINDA..He..retired Refrigeration , Heating and A/C tech for 44 years and counting. she ...retired bookkeeper.....2001 American Eagle 40 '.towing a GMC Sierra 1500 4X4 with RZR in the rear. 1999 JEEP Cherokee that we tow as well.
IT IS A CONTENTED MAN WHO CAN APPRECIATE THE SCENERY ALONG A DETOUR.


#11 RonMon

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:28 PM

After that KC winter I learned about closing a slide or two. It can depend on the location of the heat vents to the slides In our case the small L/R slide would cover the vents but the big slide & B/R slide could be closed & significantly reduce the space to be heated.

Ron

#12 oldred

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

Mr. HEATER PROS and CONS HELP

#13 KodiakJack

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

Mr. HEATER PROS and CONS HELP


Great little heater (we have the small 9K btu unit). Lights easy, portable, uses either screw on Colman propane bottles or with an adaptor hose can be hooked up to a larger bottle. We use it both ways. Handy on the boat to keep the chill off while traveling. Have had the same one for about 15 years but mostly use only for standby or to heat a space for short periods. Do not plan to ship this one back to the states so will purchase a new one later this year. They are safe for use indoors http://www.mrheater.com/faq.aspx?id=22.

Later,
J

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#14 David & Lorna Schinske

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

If you are serious about cold weather camping, then you may be better off building your own or buying an already converted bus set up for cold weather camping. Some (like the schoolbuses) are home conversions that are converted for specific uses. As for the "you can't get them in campgrounds". That's BS. You can't get them in some resorts. But then you can't get a fifthwheel in some resorts (some are Class A only). You can put a home converted skoolie in any public campground. So far, we haven't been turned away from any campground we have wanted to stay in with the skoolie but then we haven't tried to stay in many. We moved into the skoolie in Dec 2010. Ours is a 40 ft flat nosed All American (think of the OLD pre 1980's Wanderlodge... but about 5 ft longer). Since we are self converting, we have set the bus up to our own specifications. Our floor is R-30 (insulated from the outside). Our walls are R(?).. not sure since it involves 2" original insulation (stuff looks like the insulation on a kitchen stove)plus 1" foam with a radiant barrier. We are heating with two little Patton Milkhouse 1500W space heaters and a Dyna-glo Tag-a-long LP heater (permanelty hooked up to the Bus' LP system) to heat the bath area when I take a shower (I like a very warm space to shower in). Our plumbing is heat taped and insulated. I have a DIY heat taped/insulated water hose. Our two water filters are inside under the vanity sink. Our water is filtered then goes directly to our fresh tank. We put a tank float valve on the incoming filtered water so that it flows until the tank float registers "full" and it shuts the water off. We pump directly from the fresh tank. So we always have a full water tank and we have water even if the campground doesn't. They shut the campground water off twice between Thanksgiving & Christmas, only warned us ONCE that the water would be shut off. Guess they got a lot of complaints after the first unannounced water outage. We have had overnight lows of 16F already with no frozen pipes. I still work and can't afford having no water. I get too grubby. It's not for everyone but we found manufactured RVs sorely lacking. And that wasn't taking into account the price tags. Why would we spend that many $$ on something that simply didn't suit us. We didn't need a recreational vehicle, we needed a residential vehicle. We used to remodel houses for a living, David has been in construction since he was 16 and he built his family's lake house by himself, David ran two full custom cabinet shops (one while still in high school), I had one cabinet shop (manufactured stock, semi-custom & custom cabinets plus I was an NKBA trained Kitchen & Bath Designer), we built custom laminate counter tops in addition to installing cabinets for decades. So converting for us is easy. Like I said, it's not for everyone but there's winter conversions out there for sale and they go pretty cheap.

Edited by David & Lorna Schinske, 01 January 2013 - 09:11 PM.