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White winter boondocking


GeoKat
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Give me your best snowy boondocking tips. Up until this year my kids and I tent camp in snowy conditions. We snowshoe for Xmas tree and just have some fun off the beaten path. How do I translate that to RVing? Where do you go, how do you winterize, etc.

I keep reading about snowbirds but I'm not going rv to escape the winter just expanding our horizons. Rv has to be way easier than tent camping in the snow right? 

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4 minutes ago, GeoKat said:

Rv has to be way easier than tent camping in the snow right? 

Not necessarily. Your tent doesn't have a sink where you might forget not to dump used water. :) 

Deciding where you will put snowy outerwear when you remove it can be a challenge. In a tent you likely don't have a heater that will cause that snow to melt and drip.

Linda Sand

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Just now, sandsys said:

Not necessarily. Your tent doesn't have a sink where you might forget not to dump used water. :) 

Deciding where you will put snowy outerwear when you remove it can be a challenge. In a tent you likely don't have a heater that will cause that snow to melt and drip.

Linda Sand

My 5th wheel has a garage with a half bath. Way better than my mudroom at home. Can't call it home without a couple of toys. 

Honestly though it's going to be a weird adjustment to having an cabin on wheels. I might sleep in a tent just to feel normal. lol

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Years ago we took the box off of a box van and built a pop up camper.  We had it converted to 4 wheel drive.  We ice fished, hunted and snow mobiled with it.  It had all the amenities including hot water in the sink and shower.  We had a porta pot.  It was designed so that I could open 1 valve and drain the water lines and hot water tank.  Another valve emptied the water tank.  We used it several times a month both summer and winter.  More than once we encountered -30F while ice fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir.   The heater kept it warmer than outside but on those nights water left in a glass would freeze but not cold enough to freeze the tanks and water pump.  Now days we have a 5th wheel and winter camping is done in AZ.

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3 minutes ago, Randyretired said:

Years ago we took the box off of a box van and built a pop up camper.  We had it converted to 4 wheel drive.  We ice fished, hunted and snow mobiled with it.  It had all the amenities including hot water in the sink and shower.  We had a porta pot.  It was designed so that I could open 1 valve and drain the water lines and hot water tank.  Another valve emptied the water tank.  We used it several times a month both summer and winter.  More than once we encountered -30F while ice fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir.   The heater kept it warmer than outside but on those nights water left in a glass would freeze but not cold enough to freeze the tanks and water pump.  Now days we have a 5th wheel and winter camping is done in AZ.

Ice fishing is something I've only seen on Grumpy old men but would love to experience. 

So by draining pipes you keep them from cracking? We drain hoses a lot on the farm during the winter. If you can't keep it above freezing then make sure it's drained. 

Where is Blue Mesa?

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1 minute ago, GeoKat said:

Ice fishing is something I've only seen on Grumpy old men but would love to experience. 

So by draining pipes you keep them from cracking? We drain hoses a lot on the farm during the winter. If you can't keep it above freezing then make sure it's drained. 

Where is Blue Mesa?

Blue Mesa Reservoir is near Gunnison, Co.  It is a college town so a lot of the students were out fishing with everyone else.  We often took our kids.  The plumbing was built so that those two valves would drain everything so nothing could freeze.  I could drain it in about 2 minutes.  Most of our trips were weekends as we were still working and I didn't want to give up time each time we used it to winterize it.  We could drive to our destination and pop the top and our shelter was ready.  Put the top down and open the valves and we were ready to drive home.  Summer and winter.  Where do you camp?

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2 hours ago, Randyretired said:

Blue Mesa Reservoir is near Gunnison, Co.  It is a college town so a lot of the students were out fishing with everyone else.  We often took our kids.  The plumbing was built so that those two valves would drain everything so nothing could freeze.  I could drain it in about 2 minutes.  Most of our trips were weekends as we were still working and I didn't want to give up time each time we used it to winterize it.  We could drive to our destination and pop the top and our shelter was ready.  Put the top down and open the valves and we were ready to drive home.  Summer and winter.  Where do you camp?

I camp in NW Oregon. West side of the Cascades, above Detroit and local, when I was in college I packed with horses in the northern Sierra's. I'm graduating from tent camping (house living) to full-time RV in Jan so there's going to be a lot to discover. 

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What RV are you planning on and where will you be staying.  There are a lot RVers here that can provide a lot of information.   I am sure they can answer many of your questions.   I have owned RV's for more than 50 years.  We spend many months every year in our RV.  Often we spend more time in our RV annually than our home.

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I used to hunt the mountains of WY & CO and have done so from a tent, several different RVs, and even a teepee. We lived for nearly 12 years in a motorhome as well, but none of that was very far north in the winter months, except for the 2 weeks spent in KS in January after my mother's passing. As far as which version of winter camping is most difficult, it would depend on how well equipped each setup is and how experienced the people using them are. That teepee experience was great at the time and very comfortable, but I was also in my 30's & 40's at the time and I doubt that I'd find it that much fun now that I am in my 70's.

No matter what you are living in, the degree of comfort and enjoyment will always depend on being properly equipped and knowing how to do things. There are RVs that are designed for use in extreme cold weather and that do not require winterizing, where you can use everything and be warm and snug with all of your plumbing. There are others that are not designed to be used in cold weather and which will be difficult to use at all and even more challenging to be comfortable in. To tell you how to make your  RV work in cold weather we would need to know what RV you have. 

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

There are RVs that are designed for use in extreme cold weather and that do not require winterizing, where you can use everything and be warm and snug with all of your plumbing. There are others that are not designed to be used in cold weather and which will be difficult to use at all and even more challenging to be comfortable in. To tell you how to make your  RV work in cold weather we would need to know what RV you have. 

I suspect it would be easiest in one of these: https://icecastlefh.com

Linda

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On 12/13/2020 at 7:06 PM, Randyretired said:

What RV are you planning on and where will you be staying.  There are a lot RVers here that can provide a lot of information.   I am sure they can answer many of your questions.   I have owned RV's for more than 50 years.  We spend many months every year in our RV.  Often we spend more time in our RV annually than our home.

Xlr nitro 351. While I'm getting set up I'll hang out in Delaware then we will "practice" boondocking on our way to AZ for spring break, I promised the OSU student a ride home from the x-in-laws. Then make our way back to boot camp in Georgia. After that the plan is just to explore the US 14 days at a time (or whatever the limit is wherever we're at). 

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2 hours ago, GeoKat said:

Xlr nitro 351. While I'm getting set up I'll hang out in Delaware then we will "practice" boondocking on our way to AZ for spring break, I promised the OSU student a ride home from the x-in-laws. Then make our way back to boot camp in Georgia. After that the plan is just to explore the US 14 days at a time (or whatever the limit is wherever we're at). 

I looked up your 5er and it is pretty big.  How are you planning to produce power while you are boon docking?  Will you use the RV furnace?   We now have a 39' Teton and it is setup for boondocking.  It has solar and I changed the AC to a mini split.  I pull it with an HDT that has both a 100 gallon fresh water and a 100 gallon black water tank.  Occasionally if needed I also carry two 50 gallon barrels of water.  

 

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3 hours ago, noteven said:

L

Linda - I almost thought that link said "icecastlelefse" .... 

MMM lefse! I miss it. Dave's mother made flour lefse--no potatoes involved. Since I can't make it I've discovered the closest I can come is a soft tortilla spread with butter topped with cinnamon and sugar. :)

Linda

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On 12/15/2020 at 11:25 AM, Randyretired said:

I looked up your 5er and it is pretty big.  How are you planning to produce power while you are boon docking?  Will you use the RV furnace?   We now have a 39' Teton and it is setup for boondocking.  It has solar and I changed the AC to a mini split.  I pull it with an HDT that has both a 100 gallon fresh water and a 100 gallon black water tank.  Occasionally if needed I also carry two 50 gallon barrels of water.  

 

Solar mostly. I'm still researching the ins and outs. I'm looking into small pellet stove because of energy efficiency and heating ability, I can even pipe heat under the rig for colder climates without much effort. I'll have a spare tank in the truck for mid boondocking runs. It'll be a learning curve. I'm used to tent camping, backpacking, cooking on a fire and wearing extra layers. I'm going to be spoiled with a house on wheels.

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I have been following this with this thread because it is interesting. My initial reaction is good luck!! We have been caught in a couple of situations where we have been in campgrounds and it got bitterly cold and the weather was inclement. One was in a blizzard in Raton, NM where the entire town was without power and I was glad I had full propane tanks since the park could not have refilled them. I had to start the truck up every 4-5 hours to keep the batteries charged so the furnace could run and run it did. I don't care how well your RV is insulated or "four seasons" (ours is one of these) they simply are not the same as a sticks and bricks. You need to plan accordingly and it looks like you are. For me, I will move with the weather - south in the winter and north in the summer. 😉

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Our 5er is a Teton and these are often considered one of the better insulated units.  The manufacturer stated -20F.  That is with full hookups and the tank warmers running. Without hookups it starts getting pretty cold and difficult to heat at 20F. Boondocking in really cold weather can be a challenge unless the rig is specifically built for it.  The RV furnace sucks power and propane.  It is not very efficient and better insulation and double pane windows don't mean much in an RV when it is really cold.  We also added a blue flame in our 5er.  These are relatively clean burning but not vented.  These don't use electricity and are efficient but they add humidity and although the manufacturer claims they are safe there are reasons to question that.  We use it sparingly.  There are some other heating appliances available and maybe some will chime in about those.  Now we just stay south until it warms in CO.  This year with covid we have decided to stay home.  This is the first time in the last 22 years we haven't gone south.

Edited by Randyretired
Clarity
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Even in the summer keeping the batteries charged is another concern. We use solar panels and the more power we produced the more amenities we began using.  We now have enough solar to watch TV, brew some coffee,  occasionally use the microwave and run a mini split heat pump.  It is easier to do all of that in the summer when the sunny days are long.  Some use a generator  so that is another option.  There are pros and cons for both.  Water is also necessary but your 5er seems to have some pretty good sized tanks.

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If you live in your 5er the same way you would live in a tent you should have no problems. It's trying to live in it as a person would normally live in a 5er that can be worrisome. If you keep wearing layers and don't use the plumbing you can then appreciate having a table and chairs and a bed. :) 

Linda

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  • 2 weeks later...
19 hours ago, packnrat said:

i have never understood driving out onto ice, drilling a hole just to fish.  but then i never have been much of a fisherman.

How else would you catch fish in the winter?

 

I don't understand going south for the winter, I like snow, just finished plowing and hope I have to plow again tomorrow. 

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20 hours ago, kurtsara said:

I don't understand going south for the winter, I like snow, just finished plowing and hope I have to plow again tomorrow. 

Send me your number, I'll call you.  You can plow my snow, clean around my house all winter!  While I love where I live, I HATE snow and moving it!  Move it one day, blows back and have to move it again the next couple days.   I'd rather be on the ice fishing!

 

Or rather be in Aridzona during the winter..... dayum covid...

Edited by NDBirdman
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