Winter camping in Travel Trailer

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lpranger467

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Traverse City
RVs today are required to have working smoke, propane, and CO alarms so that should not be a major problem. We lived fulltime in an RV for 12 years and many have done so and continue to do so. There is a degree of risk but that is true in any type of home.

In order to do that you would heed to put the heaters in yourself and do a lot of wiring as few if any RVs have enough electrical capability for them and it would be a major project to put them in.

Do you plan to stay in an RV park or on land that you buy? Traverse City has some very nice RV parks but I don't know if they are open all winter. It may be difficult to find an RV park that is open.
Sorry and to confirm, will the plugs inside the RV not support plugging
FYI tank heaters might keep your black tank in a semi liquid form, but the drain pipes will freeze right at the valves and you won't be able to dump them until thawed.
Would I be better off leaving the valve open then and flushing with antifreeze ?
 

IBTripping

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There are people in Canada who live fulltime in RVs. So, it can be done with proper preparation. Definitely, skirt your trailer. I suggest using one or 2 inch foam board. (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Common-1-i...ded-Polystyrene-Foam-Board-Insulation/3365576). Cut foam board or reflectix to fit against the back of cabinets and wardrobes. Use double sided tape to attach. Cover the windows with reflectix or shrink plastic. Use an electric space heater to supplement the propane furnace. Also, put an electric space heater under the trailer with the thermostat set to 45 degrees to keep the black, gray, and water tanks from freezing. I'd also put some RV antifreeze in your black and gray tanks.

YouTube has lots of videos on winterizing an RV. Please keep us updated on how it works out for you. Best wishes.

 
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SpencerPJ

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You might get a used, park model, delivered and temporarily set up cheaper than you can get a RV, and a whole lot better chances of surviving.
 

steveblonde

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calgary alberta
smartass answer aside (including mine lol) yes, it can be done and yes, people here do it. BUT and its a very big BUT it comes with a lot of preperation and the right trailer thus a lot of cost.

Roughneck Trailers - General Coach Canada

is a place to start, the other thing is like others including me have stated - how will you dump? you cannot leave the black tank open and the valve will freeze, how do you plan to shower? Up here we have people that year round it, but they have washrooms on site they can use.

IF you planning to build you will need water swer and electric anyways - so rather than try to survive in a travel trailer why noy but a used mobile home and park it on the property and sell it afterwards. Its mid December your plan should have been thought out long ago. you the misses and all those cats wont survive each other let alone the weather in a little travel trailer
 

Oldgator73

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Our son lives in a converted Uhaul truck in SW Virginia. Last year was his first winter with no electric or water. He heated his truck with a portable propane heater and pooped in a bag inside a 5 gallon bucket. His water came from one of the creeks we have on the property. He heated water on a propane burner and washed out of a bucket. He made it thru the winter. This year he has electric.
 

Oldgator73

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You might get a used, park model, delivered and temporarily set up cheaper than you can get a RV, and a whole lot better chances of surviving.
We have a park model on our property. It’s new, 400 sf and cost $52,000 including $4,000 for delivery. You need permanent power installed on your property since park models are not plug and play. You also need a water source and a septic system. It cost $9,000 to bring electric to the property and we have an estimate for septic of around $14,000. With a park model you will need some sort of septic system. Not sure what a well will cost but probably in the neighborhood of $6,000-$7,000. If the OP is still in the “trying to decide” stage he might be too late to get something in place before winter is over.
 

steveblonde

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Our son lives in a converted Uhaul truck in SW Virginia. Last year was his first winter with no electric or water. He heated his truck with a portable propane heater and pooped in a bag inside a 5 gallon bucket. His water came from one of the creeks we have on the property. He heated water on a propane burner and washed out of a bucket. He made it thru the winter. This year he has electric.
Thats a single guy, the poster is him his wife and 7 cats. Different lifestyle im sure. I wont comment on your sons lifestyle choices.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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or he get a trailer with dual pane windows, heated tanks w/heat pads, skirting and probably be just fine. Many people do. Will he need a lot of propane and electricity... yes but that is easy enough to do (unless they shut down line 5).
I think "fine" is a bit of an overstatement, but it's doable if the family can tolerate some inconvenience and discomfort.

So-called "arctic" trailers are a marketing ploy. Basically, "arctic" is sales-speak for an option or feature that adds back the insulation and construction that was left out in the cheapest version of the model. The better quality RVs have that same capability built-in - it's not an option. That said, the very best of them isn't even remotely as cold-weather comfortable as the draftiest house or apartment.

Will they want electric heating? To be sure, and in addition to the propane furnace. But the electric heating itself is going to be limited by the RV's 50A/240v electrical system. And skirting to reduce the cold-effect on the floor and basement will also be necessary.

Using jugs of water doesn't really help, not to mention being problematic in the shower. If the interior is heated, the water lines inside are ok. Delivering water from the exterior source can be managed (heat tape, insulated hoses) if the source itself is freeze-protected. Dumping waste water, however, can be a challenge in sub-freezing weather.
 

Oldgator73

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Thats a single guy, the poster is him his wife and 7 cats. Different lifestyle im sure. I wont comment on your sons lifestyle choices.
I was intimating that it can be done. And I’ve seen women that are a lot tougher than most men. And as for the cats, well they’re cats. As far as our son’s lifestyle choices; it’s a terrible thing what severe PTSD will do to a person. Several deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq changed him in ways that I could never have imagined. He and I are both disabled veterans. His is combat related. I drive 1,000 miles round trip about twice a month to spend time with him and make sure he is okay. We had a cabin delivered in October and will probably move there in the near future. Before you ask, our son does not want to move into the cabin. He likes his truck. I am working with an attorney to get him SSI on top of his VA disability. I know you didn’t mean any disrespect but I am very protective of our son. He didn’t deserve what he got.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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I'm trying to reconcile just what the goal is. Living in a frosty trailer without running water amounts to just a box you sleep and eat in, with everything else happening somewhere else. Add in the acquisition cost, then the disproportionate cost of energy to keep heat in an R-5 insulated box in below freezing temps amounts to just proving a point vs actually solving a problem. It's one thing to say people do it, you find people that do tent camping in the snow so anything's possible. A few days or even weeks of this adventure would be one thing, but for several months would be physical and financial punishment by any definition. At a minimum there would be a backup plan of some sort, it's just not reasonable to expect that some part of this scenario won't go wrong. The park model Oldgator73 mentioned is $130 a square foot, that's more than what some established homes sell for. The math and logistics of this whole idea are upside down and sideways. All the good intentions and grand plans doesn't remedy that.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

steveblonde

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I was intimating that it can be done. And I’ve seen women that are a lot tougher than most men. And as for the cats, well they’re cats. As far as our son’s lifestyle choices; it’s a terrible thing what severe PTSD will do to a person. Several deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq changed him in ways that I could never have imagined. He and I are both disabled veterans. His is combat related. I drive 1,000 miles round trip about twice a month to spend time with him and make sure he is okay. We had a cabin delivered in October and will probably move there in the near future. Before you ask, our son does not want to move into the cabin. He likes his truck. I am working with an attorney to get him SSI on top of his VA disability. I know you didn’t mean any disrespect but I am very protective of our son. He didn’t deserve what he got.
i mean no disrespect and i feel for your son, mental illness is horrible no matter what brings it on.
 

Ex-Calif

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The, "I've tried everywhere and no cats" thing is always a challenge for me.

Here's a couple on zillow - Not an ideal drive at 1 1/2 hours but it beats the expense of buying and heating an RV...

Here's one in Petoskey


Here's one in Big Rapids


Sure there are reasons not to ask and not to try but there are options and this is only on zillow. I bet if you found some local papers or a local agent you could find a small house for example.
 

lpranger467

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Traverse City
The, "I've tried everywhere and no cats" thing is always a challenge for me.

Here's a couple on zillow - Not an ideal drive at 1 1/2 hours but it beats the expense of buying and heating an RV...

Here's one in Petoskey


Here's one in Big Rapids


Sure there are reasons not to ask and not to try but there are options and this is only on zillow. I bet if you found some local papers or a local agent you could find a small house for example.
Sorry I just saw your post. We ended up buying a 5th wheel. So far down to 27 degrees the space heaters worked good, I have blown a fuse a few times so I was thinking about putting a GFI on the parks outlet and just running an extension cord to it.
 

Ex-Calif

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Glad you worked something out.

Depending on how the campground box is wired that could help, at least splitting one of them off to the 120V plug maybe.

Unless the heater is in a wet area I wouldn't worry too much about a GFI. If there is any "exposed" connection on the extension cord you could tape it with electrical tape. I would recommend a heavy duty 20 amp extension cord.

I have one like this -

 

lpranger467

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Dec 8, 2021
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Location
Traverse City
Glad you worked something out.

Depending on how the campground box is wired that could help, at least splitting one of them off to the 120V plug maybe.

Unless the heater is in a wet area I wouldn't worry too much about a GFI. If there is any "exposed" connection on the extension cord you could tape it with electrical tape. I would recommend a heavy duty 20 amp extension cord.

I have one like this -

Thanks again, I've been watching youtube videos for the last few hours, I'm going to get a 12g exteension cord and will run my infared heater off that and keep the other one on the trailer plug.

Not sure if you can help me on this, but the box has a 20, 30 and 50 witch on it. Right now I have 20 and 30 turned on, not sure if I need the 30 on is all
 

Rene T

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Farmington NH
I'm pretty sure anyway, I have a 30 foot 5th wheel (I'm not in it now or I'd go look) but I'm pretty sure its just a 30
How big around is you rv cable? If it’s around 1” diameter, that would be 50 amp. If it’s around 3/4”, that would be 30 amp.
 
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