North Dakota Winter

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pbm52

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Nov 22, 2012
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I just bought a 2000 sunline T2670. My first travel trailer. I bought it so I would have a place to live when I go to North Dakota to work. Now I need to make it work in ND winters. And I don't have a clue. Ive been trying to find the specs on what kind of insulation it has....things like that. SO any and all help will be most appreciated. It gets cold there.
 
Staying in a trailer in ND in the winter will be extremely expensive. It will cost you a fortune in propane/electricity to keep the place above freezing. Trailers are typically built with a bare minimum of insulation. Since insulation is heavy it weighs the trailer down quickly.

But your big problem will be water. It will be hard for you to have running water since water will freeze and burst the pipes.

Adding more insulation will only help out a little bit. The real culprit is the windows, doors and vents that penetrate the body. That will be where most of the cold is coming in from.

Good luck. IMHO you would be much better off renting an apartment. Much cheaper and much warmer. The average high temperature in January in Bismark is 21 degrees F and the average low is -1 degree. burrrrrrr
 
There are lots of people living in the Williston area in campers.  Check around with them as to what they are doing.  Rent is very high if you can find anything. The camp ground at Bellfield is full as are alot of others.  Last I checked, Medora was saving a few sites, but you may have to move when summer tourist trade starts.  Regulations now will only let 3 campers per farm site.  Check with the Williston Chamber and they may direct you to more specific info.  I hunt that area alot and its only because we have develop friends there that we have a place to park.
 
Good luck in even finding a place to park your camper (legally) and then be prepared to buy plywood and insulation to skirt the bottom of the trailer. I don't know how people keep from freezing the incoming water and outgoing sewer, or if they are forced to "dry camp" for 6 months of the year.

Posted by: SeilerBird:
The average high temperature in January in Bismark is 21 degrees F and the average low is -1 degree. burrrrrrr

That is a pretty balmy average high also! January and February are the two worst months to live in NoDak (I spent 7 years in the State, 3 in Fargo and 4 at Grand Forks AFB) and the temps do not take into consideration the Windchill factor. People have told me that windchill does not affect inanimate objects and I heartily call B.S. on that. Sometimes the difference between starting your vehicle or not is whether or not it has been parked "nose in" or "nose out" of the wind.

At least you are thinking ahead and are trying to come prepared with living quarters.

BTW, I'm not faulting you for trying to do what you are attempting to do, but I just want to add some realism to what you are attempting.

Also, don't discount living in another town outside of Williston.

Good luck once again!

Oly
 
I grew up in Grand Forks (many, many years ago) and still remember trying to deliver newspapers when it was -40 degrees.  The year after we left, they posted a record when it hit -61 degrees.  I get cold just thinking about the issues of living there, in a trailer, in the winter.
 
Looking at the four seasons forum......they have full timers living in it year around, up in Canada....why would North Dakota be any different?  Cold is cold and while I've never camped that cold, it looks like he's getting prepared.

Just watched that mini series on the National Geographic channel yesterday (pre-recorded it).....about that family up in Alaska.  They have to trek out to the out house when it's -30F, carrying a big piece of styrofoam with a hole cut in it to put over the seat......so their cheeks don't freeze to the seat.  Not sure I could even go in that situation.
 
You are correct, JCZ, cold is cold, but unless you have lived and worked in the weather, your mind and body have no correlation to how cold it is.

People from down South thought the flight line in October/November time frame was cold and it could not get worse. The temps were only in the teen's for lows and in the thirty's for the highs during the day.

Oly
 
You will have to look at how your fellow polar bears in the area are coping with cold weather living in their travel trailers.  I am sure they have figured out how to get some comfort in their living quarters after working all day in freezing conditions.  The money should be great so I guess it is worth it ;D.  I am glad that it is you and not me headed for ND.  Keep us posted on how it works for you and the tricks you learn about cold weather camping.
Best of luck,
Arizona Al
 
Olys45 said:
You are correct, JCZ, cold is cold, but unless you have lived and worked in the weather, your mind and body have no correlation to how cold it is.

People from down South thought the flight line in October/November time frame was cold and it could not get worse. The temps were only in the teen's for lows and in the thirty's for the highs during the day.

Oly

That's true and the same goes for the opposite end of the temp. extremes.  We live in the valley (remember the old western series, The Big Valley with the Stanwicks?) where it reaches 110F-112F every summer.  Not saying I like it but we deal with it.  But you bring people that's never been in this climate before and it gets above 90F and they act like they can't function without A/C.  I was 25 yrs. old before I even had a car that had A/C.  I think it's the same for those people in Alaska that have been there all their lives.....they're acclimated to it.

Me......I'm just passin through and I'm grateful for the heaters and the A/C units and I'll be doin what ever I can to increase those features when needed.  As for PBM52.....I think he'll be OK as long as he's prudent to doing what he can ahead of time.....but I'm sure glad it's him and not me.  I look forward to him sharing his experiences.
 
JCZ said:
That's true and the same goes for the opposite end of the temp. extremes.  We live in the valley (remember the old western series, The Big Valley with the Stanwicks?) where it reaches 110F-112F every summer.  Not saying I like it but we deal with it.  But you bring people that's never been in this climate before and it gets above 90F and they act like they can't function without A/C.  I was 25 yrs. old before I even had a car that had A/C.  I think it's the same for those people in Alaska that have been there all their lives.....they're acclimated to it.

Me......I'm just passin through and I'm grateful for the heaters and the A/C units and I'll be doin what ever I can to increase those features when needed.  As for PBM52.....I think he'll be OK as long as he's prudent to doing what he can ahead of time.....but I'm sure glad it's him and not me.  I look forward to him sharing his experiences.

Yep, I hated the heat on the flight line once it got above 80 ambient temps, needless to say, the desert totally sucked for me!

I don't know how many people I have run across that moved to the Bakken, on a wing and a prayer and then are amazed that they can't find anyplace to live or how cold it gets.

Oly
Oly
 
Olys45 said:
You are correct, JCZ, cold is cold, but unless you have lived and worked in the weather, your mind and body have no correlation to how cold it is.

People from down South thought the flight line in October/November time frame was cold and it could not get worse. The temps were only in the teen's for lows and in the thirty's for the highs during the day.

Oly

That's why they're paying people so much to work up there in the oil fields, but there's no housing, so you do what you have to do.  I grew up in FL, and now live in TX, I really don't believe they could pay me enough to go up there in the winter. 

But then I have friends that don't understand how I can stand the summers down here.  My blood doesn't thaw out until it gets to about 80.
 
As you probably already know, there are litterally tens of thousands of men living in campers in North Dakota year round.  I spent last year up there and I commend you for even thinking about doing it as I will never set foot in that state again.  Yes the money is good but it takes a toll on your body that will have lasting effects and the cost of living really negates the money after you've spent a few months there, most folks last less than a year.

I was living in an old bumper tow travel trailer (1985) with no water and powered by an extension cord run through the bathroom window to provide power to a space heater. The company that I worked for was down in the tropics of Wyoming and really had no idea that up there in Southern Canada that the weather could REALLY be that much colder than the Cowboy State, I disagreed.

If you really want to make money that you don't have to spend on living come on down to Texas where they've been pulling oil out of the ground for generations and actually have an infrastructure set up to handle the workers.
 
Recommend:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=58114.msg534542#msg534542

You can make your own skirting with plywood and insulation.  Use the heated hose!
 
Olys45 says: People have told me that windchill does not affect inanimate objects and I heartily call B.S. on that.

Agreed! When someone says that, I'm always tempted to ask them why they blow on hot soup?

Ken
 
My wife and I own a RV park in Central Oregon and we always have a few RVers that stay with us through the winter. I have, through the years, learned a lot about what it takes to winter in cold weather in a RV. Here the typical temps in the winter are, lows in the low teens with highs in the low 20s. We do get temps down as low as -25 but those extremes usual don't stay around for very long.

One thing I have learned, over the years, is no matter how well you are set up for the cold when it gets really cold (below "0" degs F) and it stays there for more than a couple of days there will always be something that will not make it and freeze. When it does it is very difficult to get it unfroze again until things warm up a little. It also seems that once something freezes more things will freeze do to the inability to run water through the system. When this happens things start to break and the nightmare has begun.

The extreme cold temps you are talking about in ND would be nearly impossible to guard against and survive without having some very hard times in a RV. I'm sure it can be done but it would take a lot of prep work and really know your RV so you didn't miss anything.

If you do end up going to ND in the winter and you and your RV survive, it would be really interesting to hear the story of what you ended up doing to make it happen.

I would not want to try to keep a RV going in -40 deg temps.
 
bucks2 said:
Olys45 says: People have told me that windchill does not affect inanimate objects and I heartily call B.S. on that.

Agreed! When someone says that, I'm always tempted to ask them why they blow on hot soup?

Ken

Hi Ken and all,

I agree!! I work for a printing company. They use air to drive stirring motors on ink buggies. If the air is running for very long, the metal output for the airflow frosts over from just air running through the system. Line air comes from room temp. so it does have a factor.

What about an enclosure for the RV, with wood heat. You would need to vent your furnace and other vents to keep out of trouble or death. You'd sure need a good supply of fuel, propane, food, Water and I am sure other things. Not my idea of fun when you can go down south and enjoy the mild/warm temps.
 
I believe the only effect on wind is that it will cooler things faster.  Blowing on soup, or wind blowing on a parked car will suck the heat off an engine faster.  If you can protect the item from wind, it will retain the heat longer.
 
Ned said:
Wind chill, by definition, applies only to human skin so is not applicable to inanimate objects.

Ned, from your quoted site, under the Explanation header: "For inanimate objects, the effect of wind chill is to reduce any warmer objects to the ambient temperature more quickly." Not that I always agree with Wikipedia, but this time I will...... ;D

Note that we're not talking about perceived temperature for the RV, which is what the wind chill factor attempts to forecast, but the effect of bringing the RV skin and eventually it's contents to ambient temperature. Wikipedia seems to say that this process is sped up by the effect of the wind.

I'm going to get first hand reports of how cold it gets as I have a niece spending her first winter in Williston. Her and her boyfriend are living with another friend who was lucky enough to rent an apartment. It's amazing what you can do when you're 20 that you wouldn't even think of doing when you are over 50.

Ken
 
Have you considered something like this. http://www.ndindoorrvpark.com/  It is inside so you not need to worry about the cold weather in ND.
 
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