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Sorry for the re post, had this in the wrong catagory..

Hi all,

My co-parent and I are giving up the tied down life style of a house and are looking at 5th wheels as an option.

We both have looked at plenty of campers, brands, floor plans, etc.... 

Alot have asked this question in this forum so i'll be honest, our budget is around 20k, 30k being very generous.

I understand the whole arctic/ four season packages will be to our advantage as is siding etc, but our biggest problem is an exact brand to look after, and like everyone else on the web we'll take our shot at listening to you guys from experience. 

I plan on keeping this topic active, and will respond asap!

So, here goes, the notables:

It will be for long-term living, placed in a nice sunny/warm south Dakota, currently reached above 0 degrees lol.  looking for a bunk house style with a separate room for the kids, must have room for the 3 of them. A separate toilet would be nice, however 1 will suffice. 

Questions:

 Any brand one refers more than the other for cold weather?

Any expert Hacks/ Tricks of the trade/ Knowledge of cold weather living...

Is  an rv car port a big help (cost wise in the end)?

Thanks all in advance!

q(*~*)p   Monte

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Hi and Welcome,

I'm not an expert.  However, I do have an opinion.  Go with what you like, a floor plan that works for you.  And, it fits your budget!  Everything after that is just someone else's opinion.  We have a Four Season TT but I wouldn't want to use it during the winter anywhere but in a warm weather climate.  But that's us.  You may be different.  Find something you like, that fits your budget, and that you can easily tow.  Then enjoy it.

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Thank you for the reply, 

Sadly this wont be a travel trailer, more of a temporary home. I've read so many "horror" stories about RV life in cold weather, lived in SD for over 6yrs now and am acclimatized to the temperatures, but would like to avoid a frozen wet well, sewer or water lines. 

i understand heat wrap can help, but again someones input can help if they've experienced these problems them-self. 

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If you don't want "horror stories", then don't live in either Dakota in an RV in the winter time. It's almost a full time job, keeping the frost at bay, no matter the brand. For starters;

1: Get a large propane tank direct from a local distributor. I'm not talking about 100 lbs, much larger. Think 250 gallon. Get them to set up scheduled delivery, then you won't forget.

2: Get insulated skirting built (or bought). You need to keep the wind out from under the trailer to avoid freezing your feet to the lino, and sewer dropsicles.

3: Buy the cheapest sewer hose you can find. It won't matter how much you spend here, as it likely won't make it through the winter. You need to make sure it's drained after each use, and the handling is hard on the plastic.

4: Same deal with the fresh water hose. Fill the onboard tank, and run off the pump. Drain the hose after each use.

5: Depending on ambient temps, plan for extra heat under the trailer. Better to be prepared, than scrambling while you're frozen.

6: Depending on winds, a tarp fence to block the wind can mean the difference between cool and frozen.

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My guess is, by the time you make all the modifications necessary to deal with the cold, you will be well beyond your budget. I'd be looking for more conventional housing. RVs are only fun when you don't have to do extensive mods are repairs.

Linda Sand

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1 hour ago, MonteFish said:

Any brand one refers more than the other for cold weather?

DRV, Teton, or New Horizons.

 

1 hour ago, MonteFish said:

Any expert Hacks/ Tricks of the trade/ Knowledge of cold weather living...

Find some way to prevent cold air from getting under the RV and to block all wind. Do you have an RV park that is open all winter, as any are not. Try to park where you will be out of as much wind as possible. Humidity is going to be a major problem so plan to use a dehumidifier.

1 hour ago, MonteFish said:

Is  an rv car port a big help (cost wise in the end)?

If you mean an enclosure that will block all wind access, then yes it is. Worth the cost is a different issue. It just depends on what you invest in building it and how long you live in the RV. In cold weather, you will need all of the heat you can get so you will use a lot of propane and/or electricity to keep warm. How much does it take to be worth it? Only you can answer that. Are you planning to put the RV on land that you own? If so you will need sewer and water as well as electricity and propane.

 

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I have to echo one of the comments above. If you don’t plan on moving it likely a used mobile home would best fit your needs?  Add underpinning and most are decently insulated. 

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6 minutes ago, jpcoll01 said:

I have to echo one of the comments above. If you don’t plan on moving it likely a used mobile home would best fit your needs?  Add underpinning and most are decently insulated. 

Or a double-wide with bathroom mods. I have 4 decades experience using these year round as offices & break rooms on construction sites. Plenty of window, baseboard heat, A/C, etc... was very comfortable in these in sub zero temps and windy conditions.

Edited by rm.w/aview

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Good advice. If you are planning on living in this for a year or more without it ever moving a single or double-wide would be a better choice. If your plan is to travel with it during the summer, and staying parked during the school year, you are looking at a different situation. Then the Arctic Fox, DRV, New Horizons, or Teton would be good choices.

Consider, too, the matter of a truck which which to tow the coach. Again, if this is going to be a permanently parked rig, a single or double-wide mobile home would be the better choice, but if you are going to tow, you will need a substantial truck, F350 or greater. Those trucks aren't noted for their fuel efficiency, so keep that in mind.

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

DRV, Teton, or New Horizons.

 

Find some way to prevent cold air from getting under the RV and to block all wind. Do you have an RV park that is open all winter, as any are not. Try to park where you will be out of as much wind as possible. Humidity is going to be a major problem so plan to use a dehumidifier.

If you mean an enclosure that will block all wind access, then yes it is. Worth the cost is a different issue. It just depends on what you invest in building it and how long you live in the RV. In cold weather, you will need all of the heat you can get so you will use a lot of propane and/or electricity to keep warm. How much does it take to be worth it? Only you can answer that. Are you planning to put the RV on land that you own? If so you will need sewer and water as well as electricity and propane.

 

Thank you Kirk, 

Currently it's going on a piece of land being developed later for a larger garage for trailers. There will be logistics (water, sewer, electrical) provided.

Currently this is all in the name of research, so it's a pretty steep learning curve of information to help better understand the road ahead.

The plan is to stay in this thing for up to 3 yrs while we either build a home or try a tiny house, either way it's a gateway step to see how small of space one can actually survive in efficiently. And so far we learning the heating/keeping full function of the rv is priority. 

 

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1 hour ago, kb0zke said:

Good advice. If you are planning on living in this for a year or more without it ever moving a single or double-wide would be a better choice. If your plan is to travel with it during the summer, and staying parked during the school year, you are looking at a different situation. Then the Arctic Fox, DRV, New Horizons, or Teton would be good choices.

Consider, too, the matter of a truck which which to tow the coach. Again, if this is going to be a permanently parked rig, a single or double-wide mobile home would be the better choice, but if you are going to tow, you will need a substantial truck, F350 or greater. Those trucks aren't noted for their fuel efficiency, so keep that in mind.

Our small problem with this is not having a permanent spot to place this as well as in the end treating it as an investment to be used for travel in the future

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1 hour ago, oldbutspry said:

Here's some people that are trying to live in a very small camper during a cold winter:

http://purelivingforlife.com/windstorm-carnage-aftermath/

Thanks oldbutspry,

We have actually been watching these two and are about to take the same path, except the land part. Where we currently live, I can't justify completing a project as such and loving it. With a split family I need to stay in a small town til the chitlins are through with school

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4 minutes ago, MonteFish said:

And so far we learning the heating/keeping full function of the rv is priority. 

Very much so as only a few RVs are constructed to be used in the kind of winter weather that you will probably experience. The other major problem will be humidity because you will do doing all of the humidity creating functions (breathing, cooking, showering, etc) that you would in a house but in a space with only about 20% as much volume of air to absorb it. In cold weather, single pane windows will collect moisture enough to keep the walls below wet and mold problems can occur behind couches and in closets, if you do not do something to remove some of that moisture. You need to look for RVs that have dual pane windows and really good insulation. You will still need to have a roof vent open when showering and use an exhaust fan when cooking. Many of us also use a dehumidifier all winter. 

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6 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

Very much so as only a few RVs are constructed to be used in the kind of winter weather that you will probably experience. The other major problem will be humidity because you will do doing all of the humidity creating functions (breathing, cooking, showering, etc) that you would in a house but in a space with only about 20% as much volume of air to absorb it. In cold weather, single pane windows will collect moisture enough to keep the walls below wet and mold problems can occur behind couches and in closets, if you do not do something to remove some of that moisture. You need to look for RVs that have dual pane windows and really good insulation. You will still need to have a roof vent open when showering and use an exhaust fan when cooking. Many of us also use a dehumidifier all winter. 

Dehumidifier, check!   Now the other raise question. Does anyone have a quit thought on keeping the way bay warm. My father has a foretravel motor home, he keeps a heater down there, others have said heat wrap is the way to go. I was thinking about tapping into the central air to keep this area above freezing temperatures?

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23 hours ago, jpcoll01 said:

I have to echo one of the comments above. If you don’t plan on moving it likely a used mobile home would best fit your needs?  Add underpinning and most are decently insulated. 

Um, insulation varies. We bought one in Texas many years ago intending to move it to Minnesota so we asked about insulation. We were told the walls were fully insulated. That turned out to mean the 3/4" insulation was inside all the walls. 

Linda Sand

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On 1/8/2018 at 3:36 PM, MonteFish said:

It will be for long-term living, placed in a nice sunny/warm south Dakota, currently reached above 0 degrees lol.  looking for a bunk house style with a separate room for the kids, must have room for the 3 of them. A separate toilet would be nice, however 1 will suffice. 

q(*~*)p   Monte

I'm going to talk from Experience and I lived to be 75 years old.

Many times as a kid I had water freeze in my bedroom but I did have an electric blanket. Before that a hot water bottle and the room never had ice but cold. I wore lots of long johns. I never lived in a more drafty house. Now my wife had a 2005 mobile home that is comfortable and economical. It still a single wide and mouse free. The people in double wides often complain of mice. Several ago I had my FW parked in RV park with five full timers winter (location Southern Illinois and job related location) On couple had a old Hitchhiker and had no problems but had a big propane tank for the zero degree temps. The fellow that did the worse had a Toy Hauler, he had frozen pipes and waste tanks. He couldn't survived without running hot water from the bath house into his waste tanks to thaw them. 

That being said I had a neighbor that started like you that found a junk 10 foot wide mobile home, moved with his pickup to his place, placed it by his sewer system (his first investment on his property). Placed some furniture in it and did ok for two winter. Oh he did built a garage attached to the back door for a little space. I had  an uncle retire to place like your taking. His wife wanted a house, He got a single wide and built on a big Kitchen/living room/bathroom. His wife was happy for the next 20 years

Bottom line if at all possible a least get a older single wide (often Mobile Home Parks have and older model that is just taking up space to sell) start from there. RV's are not an investment but neither is a mobile home but which will give your family some comfort. Maybe you can find a piece of land and get a short time lease.

Clay a winter Texan and summer in NW Illinois.

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I guess it can be done - you're young. However, three children in 0 deg and probably wind in South Dakota is going to be a challenge.  One thing is that you will be constantly be moving bedding around since the children will probably be sleeping on the sofa and perhaps at the converted dinette (if the child is small).  A toy hauler and using the 'hauler' area for a bedroom would be ideal but I really don't think they are insulated well unless you can add lots of insulation on the inside walls/floor.

Personally, I'd look for a place near the schools to purchase (mobile home) and forget about a small trailer for the time being.  Your fuel bill is going to be extremely expensive for an RV and you can almost count on having pipe/water/sewage issues during the winter.  Good luck with your plans!

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I don't think the toyhauler I was in had any insulation in the "haul" part.   I don't know if you would be able to use that area for bedrooms without adding insulation.  You should also use the insulation pillows they make for the fan vents in the ceiling.  You lose a lot of heat thru those.  We winter in the south and have been in temps down to 24 on occasion, and it is not easy to keep an RV warm with the furnace running constantly.  That is expensive!

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I don't have experience in wintering in an RV, but experience wintering in central Illinois in drafty, under-insulated houses does provide some insight.  Don't plan to use an RV sewer hose.  PVC sewer pipe with heat tape will serve you well.  If you could bury the pipe below the frost line then you only need heat tape above ground.  Ditto with your water-pvc water pipe wrapped in heat tape should keep the water running.  If you have a pump house atop your well you will likely want bales of straw all around and a heat lamp of some kind inside.  Finally,  I think they make heat blankets that you fasten somehow to your tanks that reportedly keep the tanks from freezing.  Hats or hoodies assist inside as well as warm socks & shoes or house slippers.  Best wishes for great success!  

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