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Author Topic: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?  (Read 25285 times)

nash0098

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Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« on: August 08, 2012, 09:54:57 PM »
I am long haul driver and used to be living on the road. This year I planning to ditch my apartment and living in my Flagstaff 8524RLS 5th wheel full time when I am at home (since I am only in town a week out of the month, renting is a waste). So far so good living in my RV, it's summer and it's nice and the beer is flowing. Come this winter in northern Canada where temperature can drop below -30F every day, I am not sure. Heating is my biggest concern, how often do I have replace propane tanks at that temperature? Can I keep my RV comfortable at 70F (I like it hot  :)) As far as pipes and sewage is concern, I'll be using portable toilets and water since I am away 3 weeks at a time and don't want to deal with frozen tanks. Anybody thinks I am crazy living in RV at -30 in Canada, any brave souls have any experience and want to offer me some tips other than go south young man  ;D
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 09:57:05 PM by nash0098 »

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2012, 09:48:09 AM »
Yes, I think you are crazy!  RVs don't even fare well at +15 degrees. If you have the usual 30 lb propane tanks, I would expect to use nearly one a day and I doubt if the interior will be as much as 70 if its -30 outside. The walls of an RV are too think to have any reasonable amount of insulation, plus there are numerous windows and skylights. Much more of them on a per sq. ft. basis than any house, and the skylights aren't insulated (dual pane) either.
Gary
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SeilerBird

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2012, 09:51:09 AM »
+1 to what Gary said. It would be cheaper to rent an apartment by the month than to use a propane heater in a 5er.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
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nash0098

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2012, 12:01:16 PM »
Since I'll be using the RV a week out of the month while i am in town, propane cost would not be an issue for the short duration as opposed to renting an apartment monthly (cost of renting $700-800 a month). Thinking of getting a 100lbs tank and have refill less. This RV do have dual pane windows and no skylight, I am thinking of skirting the RV and sealing the windows. As far as temperature, I lived in Calgary, AB ....  we do have nice days where temp can go above freezing when the chinook winds are blowing from the mountains. But, some nights it can dropped down to -30 but the average is around 10F. With the propane furnace running constantly and with the use of electric heaters could it be toasty inside the RV in the chilliest of the night?

Jeff

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2012, 06:31:49 PM »
Remember that you will be asking a propane furnace designed for recreational use to run just about continuously for months. Sealing up everything might make it a little warmer but it certainly doesn't leave much chance for fresh air to enter the trailer.

dave61

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 05:01:51 PM »
Northern Canada, 30 below, unimaginable.

Getting from 30 below to 70 inside is 100 degree swing, can't see that happening. The furnace would never shut off and your gas expense would be huge.
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skyking4ar2

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 05:57:13 PM »
Brrrr!!!!

We lived for a month in Taos, NM in late fall in our late model Class A motorhome, temps between 10 and 40, had an electric heater, heated mattress pad, and two cats and still froze our business off. Actually, we did not freeze, but were cold a lot, even with the sun heating the coach during the day. And we kept the coach at 58 at night and still burned 25 gallons of propane.

The amount of BTU's it takes to move the temp from way below zero to comfortable is pretty incredible and beyond most normal RV units as delivered and insulated.

This is one of those trick "can you do it?" questions - yeah, you can, but it might not make a lot of sense in the long run. I might not go so far as to call you crazy, but I would strongly recommend you talk to people who have and see if they liked that experience. It would not be for the faint of heart.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 06:11:41 PM »
It seems like every year there is a post similar to this one where someone is asking if they can live in an RV during the winter way up north with minus 0 temps every day. The replies are always a resounding no. But it seems like every time the OP declares he is going to do it any way. But they never return here in February to let us know just how comfortable they are. I am hoping the OP will let us know how he is doing next year so we can learn if it really is possible to survive in an RV in winter up north.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
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garyb1st

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 06:28:38 PM »
You may not be crazy but for sure you're a gluten for punishment.  Former Minnesotan here.  I've lived through my share of -30 nights and know the meaning of chilled to the bone.  Once you're cold, it's hard to warm up.  I would never spend a night in an RV when it's that cold.  Water hoses will freeze in temps 60 warmer.  I suspect at negative 30, the entire fresh water system and waste tanks could freeze.  Don't know if that would cause the tank to fail but I wouldn't be surprised.  You'll have to connect and disconnect your water hose every time you need water.  Just washing dishes and using the toilet is going to be a pain.  Leave the hose out even during the relative warmth of the day, say about 10, for an hour or two and it's going to freeze.   
Gary Brucker
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Chet18013

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2012, 11:23:48 AM »
There has been one 5th wheel maker that claimed their rig was livable in your conditions. If you could find a TETON with the "Arctic Insulation" package, it might be worth a try. Don't even try it unless you put a full skirt around the base to keep the cold air from flowing under the trailer. Put aluminum bubble "Refletex" insulation up on all the windows. Be prepared to be constantly COLD whenever you are home.
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

34footer

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2012, 11:34:02 AM »
Since everything is mobile, pack it up and move south for the winter.
J
1988 Pace Arrow, 34 feet, Chevy 454
                       So Cal

MCFLYFYTER

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2012, 11:52:57 PM »
I have live in my trailer in North Dakota for 3 years now, and it can be rough.  It would actually be kinda easy if you were not going to use your plumbing or holding tanks.  I skirted with 1 inch foam, put the plastic on my windows to imitate dual pane, and that is about it.  Fortunately, I have 90 amps available, so I only run propane when the power is out, or to warm it up faster.  I use 2 ceramic heaters under the trailer,and that would keep it above freezing when 28 below.  It could be freezing or colder on the dirt, but if your skirting is tight enough, the heat will rise up to the underbelly and keep you warm inside.  I use 3 ceramic heaters inside, bedroom, bathroom, and living area.  Propane would have no problem keeping you warm at night, and you would definitely not use more than 100 lbs. in a week, unless you tried to maintain 95 degrees inside.     

quaywe

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2012, 12:06:21 AM »
Try this, it's a forum for "four season campers"...

They appear to have a strong following of diehard winter campers all with lots of advice.

I hope I not breaking any rules by linking to another forum, if so, please feel free to edit or delete.

http://www.4scf.com/viewforum.php

Cheers,
Geoff
Quesnel, B.C., Canada...

formerly,
New Zealand
North Island (the mainland)

Roary60

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2012, 10:26:09 PM »
RV furnaces have a safety devise  (high temperature limit) that cause the furnace to cycle so at really cold temperatures it can only put out so much heat even if left on high 

99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2012, 11:23:36 PM »
+1 to what Gary said. It would be cheaper to rent an apartment by the month than to use a propane heater in a 5er.

Down here in Texas, when I get a new customer that needs special attention, I get a weekly rate at a hotel.  They are usually about $200 a week and include, stocked kitchen, hot showers, cable TV, etc..  The one I use that is in many places in the US is Extended Stay Suites.  If you have anything like that where you are in Canada, that may be a better option. 
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 37G , Ford V-10
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coal

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2012, 05:10:01 PM »
I have been full timing in Ontario for the last  15 years.  Usually get a solid six weeks of minus 20 cold plus the wind chill.  Campground across the street from me has about 60 campers in there all winter long in every kind of Rv imaginable.

Best addition that I have made to my Rv for Canadian winters is a diesel fired air heater.  Rig is always one temperature, nice dry heat and saves me 300 per month on propane during the worst of the winter.  For the balance of the winter I just shut the furnace off. 

At minus 30 your Rv furnace is not putting out that much heat as the cold air going into the combustion chamber is just that, too cold.  Causing you too even use more propane just to maintain heat.

Each Rv is different and the only way too figure it out is to get out there winter camping, it won't take too long too find out the stuff you will need to do in order to stay warm at a economical cost.

Jim Godward

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2012, 08:59:23 PM »
Best addition that I have made to my Rv for Canadian winters is a diesel fired air heater.  Rig is always one temperature, nice dry heat and saves me 300 per month on propane during the worst of the winter.  For the balance of the winter I just shut the furnace off. 

I'd like some information on your mod as I was looking at a diesel fired boiler and then convert to warm air with a heat exchanger.  Your mod sounds easier and fewer things to mess with.

You can send direct if you prefer.  ac7poatbresnandotnet
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
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99WinAdventurer37G

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coal

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2012, 05:04:16 PM »
Jim  check out a espar diesel heater, also Snugger and webasto, quite common in the big trucks for heating the bunk.  Runs off diesel and 12 volts.
Super cheap on fuel, really low amp draw, I will send some pics to your email tomorrow am

kenz

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2012, 05:50:20 PM »
That diesel fired air heater sounds like the way to go. The one thing with propane is that the colder it gets, the lower the pressure in the tank. It can get to the point where the pressure in the tank is so low, and the intake air so cold, that the furnace will run forever and not throw out much warm air at all. Found this out a few winters ago. At single digits I would use a 30lb tank per day (24 hours). But a 100lb tank would go 5-6 days at the same temps. Also you need to skirt the trailer to keep the cold out from underneath. I've seen a few that used straw bales which seemed to work well. Also seal up windows, slide out gaps, etc.

Yes it is very doable. More than likely not very comfy though. My vote is that you are crazy.  ;D
2011 Coachmen North Ridge 5'er
2005 Dodge/Cummins quad cab dually

99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2012, 09:12:59 PM »
Jim  check out a espar diesel heater, also Snugger and webasto, quite common in the big trucks for heating the bunk.  Runs off diesel and 12 volts.
Super cheap on fuel, really low amp draw, I will send some pics to your email tomorrow am

Yes we use those in big trucks and they are not only efficient, but reliable as well.

Here's a link to the one most of those I know use;  http://www.espar.com/
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 37G , Ford V-10
2006 Honda VTX 1300S

Jim Godward

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2012, 10:32:36 PM »
Thanks, I am acquainted with the Espar line and am very interested in what Coal has done.  I have been very intrerested in the hydronic heater as a friend put one in his MH.  I haven't been able to get serious for a few years, almost 5 due to medical issues, but most of those are hopefully behind me so I am starting to look at changes to the MH.  Diesel heat is one of my priorities with the cold we have in MT.   :)

THe air heaters are "interesting" but I need about 30,000 btu as a minimum and only one gives this.  The difference between heating a cab and a 38' MH is significant.  The existing 30,000 Btu heater will barely heat the MH in the severe cold without a little help from some place, electric heaters, to make it shirt sleeve weather inside. 

The hydronic can also be used to pre-heat the engine and also heat the water so both the furnace and water heater can be removed.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!!! 
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
2001 Dutch Star
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Belgrade, MT

vmax1

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2012, 10:45:37 AM »
Im just west of Calgary and its -3 C today, and I am freezing my butt off. Good luck to you when it gets to -40 C up here, please get an apartment for the winter.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 11:01:38 AM by Tom »

coal

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2012, 04:41:41 PM »
My rig is 40 feet four slide, sitting just outside Toronto, close to freezing last couple of nites  and windy.  My diesel heater 7200 btu is heating my rig, temp inside is 68 to 72 depends how many times the door gets opened as its right in the wind.  Have not had the propane furnace on yet.  The diesel heater does a pretty good job, another five degrees colder and the propane furnace will come on to top up the temp.  Difference is, it only comes on once in a great while, and there is no big swing of temps in the unit.  No noise either, they run quiet. 

I have a 2005 jayco designer legacy, it is well insulated, not the best out there but it does a good job. 40 feet with four large slides, so I have some 400 square feet here too heat.  Been full time here in Ontario for fifteen years, best thing I did for winter full timing.

LPETEET

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2012, 06:05:59 PM »
Hello:
I have a 35' 1998 Winnebago Adventurer and I spent a year in Minneapolis, Minnesota 3 years ago.  I am an independent consultant and travel a lot.
This time I am back in the Saint Paul, MN area with the same Motorhome.  I was fine last time and will be fine this time.
I leased a large Propane tank from Amerigas this time and Farrell gas last time.  They delivered it a couple of weeks ago.  I just call them 4 or 5 days in advance and they come refill it during the winter.  I put a skirt around the bottom of the RV and Heat-Tape on the Water and Sewage lines.  I was plenty warm last time and plan to be the same way this winter.  My furnace did fine 3 years ago and had it checked out recently.  Hopefully it will make it through this winter.  If not, then I will buy another and have it installed without a problem.  It's only money!


Many ways to seal the bottom of your RV or Trailer.  You can also box up your water and sewer area with wood, insulation and foam sealer.  If you want; you can put a heat producing light bulb in there to keep it acceptably warm.  It doesn't take a lot of heat to keep a small area from freezing anything within it.  Several campgrounds/RV Parks are open all year here in Minnesota.  Most of the ones that are not open during the Winter are closed because they don't have deep enough water lines to keep from freezing when it is very cold.  The place I am currently staying has heated Spigots just above the ground that will keep it from freezing on it's way to my connected water hose with Heat Tape surrounding it.


Let the Naysayers keep saying "NO!" or just do a reasonable job of sealing off what you want so you will be fine this winter.  Only issue I would  keep aware of is the condition of your furnace and where to get another one if yours happens to develop problems during your foray into the Great White North!


brndncrbtt

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2012, 01:33:51 PM »
LPETEET,
   I am in search of a site close to Minneapolis/St Paul that is open for the winter and not having much luck. Do you have any suggestions?


LPETEET

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2012, 05:38:07 PM »
Hello:
There are actually quite a few places to stay here.  Many are closed for the Winter as they don't have the ability to keep their water running during hard feezes.


Search the Internet and also particular sites for RV or Camping or even Trailer Parks in Minnesota and twin cities.


There is Lowry Grove in Saint Anthony (NE Minneapolis, up North on Central a couple of miles from downtown).  This place is really convenient with several bus lines very close.  Like many places it is mainly a Mobile Home Park but have quite a few RV spots.  There are only a few which they allow Winter Rentals on.  I stayed there 3 years ago and there are a lot of drunks there; which is not that unusual.  It is a fairly safe park and the Management seems to vary year by year.


There is also Landfall Terrace (City of Landfall) which is just East of Saint Paul and 3M on I-94.  Mainly a Mobile Home park but now has about 15 RV Spots.  The spots are sort of small but they put in brand new heated water spigots on all the lots which is nice.  Management is very friendly and they have cleaned up a lot of crime and other issues in the last 5 years I have been told by many people.  There are several spots still  open there to rent as of this writing.  Let me know if you end up checking it out.  There are two Park-N-Ride near there with the Guardian Angels Church one being very close and takes the 375 Line straight to downtown Minnie!  Also Harley and Indian Dealers right at the park.  Buy a new bike there for $20 Grand or store your own bike there for the Winter.


I found several others but they were a lot further away from Minneapolis, where I work, or didn't have great Transit Options.


Warmest Regards,
LarryP


FulltimerCalgary

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2014, 12:57:40 PM »
My husband and I have been fulltime rver's in Calgary,Ab for 2 years now.There are times that is is a bit chilly and frost on the walls( mostly around the windows) but all in all not bad at all.We live in an rv park with fullfacilities so no problem. It is much less expensive then renting in Calgary that's for sure.

Francina

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2014, 10:53:42 AM »
I'm planning on retiring within 4 - 7 yr and me and my sister will be rving fulltime. Although, I enjoy camping and the cold (only done tenting), she's not a camper and doesn't enjoy the cold.  Now I know I'm crazy because I would just get an arctic tent and sleeping bag for below zero and blanket and call it a day.  I am glad that there are other alternatives.

gralson

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Re: Living in a 5th wheel full time in Canada!! in winter?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2014, 09:15:13 PM »
I am long haul driver and used to be living on the road. This year I planning to ditch my apartment and living in my Flagstaff 8524RLS 5th wheel full time when I am at home (since I am only in town a week out of the month, renting is a waste). So far so good living in my RV, it's summer and it's nice and the beer is flowing. Come this winter in northern Canada where temperature can drop below -30F every day, I am not sure. Heating is my biggest concern, how often do I have replace propane tanks at that temperature? Can I keep my RV comfortable at 70F (I like it hot  :)) As far as pipes and sewage is concern, I'll be using portable toilets and water since I am away 3 weeks at a time and don't want to deal with frozen tanks. Anybody thinks I am crazy living in RV at -30 in Canada, any brave souls have any experience and want to offer me some tips other than go south young man  ;D
Nope! not crazy! I have modified a 85 winnebago cheiftan 22 and lived out of it for two winters while at work the worst stretch was a -40 stretch of about a week and a half where all heaters came out to keep it comfy and warm, but for the typical -15 to 20 stuff, my modified old girl got me through fine. I was at home last winter so she didn't go out, but I'm back on the road this year and looking forward to another winter living the loa dream:)
 I am not sure how you will compare having more space to heat and such, with a newer unit you should be set up with better insulation than I.
I paid pad power of 280 and about 140 on propane on average between nov and march. Make sure you have the propane tanks heat taped BTW. After reading through the posts, which jogged my memory. I also used a couple of oil heaters (garrison) from canadian tire to help keep the propane from running constantly. after setting those up my furnace would be lucky to cut in 6 times a day unless it was really windy.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 09:43:34 PM by gralson »
85 winnebago cheiftan w honda gen & solar array off grid full timing year round (except the 8 days a month at the sticks and bricks) western canada Ab,Sk,Mb. currently being lazy and staying at the campgrounds. knowledge is key.