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Mike and Carol

Cold weather camping and traveling...

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We're planning a trip in January to southern NM (Carlsbad/Guadalupe Mt NP) and then to southern AZ (Sierra Vista/Tombstone/Bisbee).  I anticipate temperatures in the mid to high 20's at night and then 40's/50's during the day.

 

If I get a heated water hose or heated tape for my current hose, will that be enough?  Do I still need to turn of the water and disconnect the hose at night?

 

I don't plan on driving in freezing conditions, but if for some reason I end up on the road with temperatures below 32 (you never know in west Texas) are there any issues with running the furnace while towing?  We already keep the fridge going on propane while on the move.

 

I know there are some experienced cold weather campers out there and would appreciate your thoughts and advice.

 

Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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I'm interested in hearing some comments. I have never towed any kind of trailer in below freezing temperatures in winter, and plan not to, because here it means dealing with icy roads and frozen snow berms, and certainly it would mean driving on nasty road deicer chemicals, which are extremely destructive..... . In southern climes and low elevations like TX it is much more likely to be OK. But it would still have some added risk.

 

Have you thought about installing a low wattage wall mounted 110 volt heater and running it on low off your inverter? As tight as the Ollie is sealed, it should be plenty adequate if you leave all the vents and windows closed tight. This is assuming that you have solar and adequate sunlight to keep the batteries topped up. A 400 or 500 watt heater cycling at say 45 degrees F isn't going to use huge amounts of power. In no way could I recommend using a free standing heater!

 

Suburban says NO about running the furnace, but they are trying to cover their butt from lawsuits since many states prohibit using propane while moving. It will suck the propane but I would probably just do it. Make sure you know where to refill your tanks en route. Do some refill stations close down in bitter weather? I haven't a clue.

 

Realistically it is probably best to just winterize your rig and rough it..... busted plumbing in winter is no fun at all.

 

Oh yeah, a remote thermometer that shows the inside "below floor" temp of your Ollie while you are in your tow vehicle would provide great peace of mind.

 

Be safe.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Can you not run the heat strip on the AC while traveling, or does that pull too much power?


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We’re planning a trip in January to southern NM (Carlsbad/Guadalupe Mt NP) and then to southern AZ (Sierra Vista/Tombstone/Bisbee). I anticipate temperatures in the mid to high 20’s at night and then 40’s/50’s during the day. If I get a heated water hose or heated tape for my current hose, will that be enough? Do I still need to turn of the water and disconnect the hose at night? I don’t plan on driving in freezing conditions, but if for some reason I end up on the road with temperatures below 32 (you never know in west Texas) are there any issues with running the furnace while towing? We already keep the fridge going on propane while on the move. I know there are some experienced cold weather campers out there and would appreciate your thoughts and advice. Mike

 

If you're staying in a campground they will generally require you to unhook the water hose before you go to bed and make sure that your tank is topped off. But because we have a 4 season rv, topping off your tank at night will not be an issue. I've seen the heated water hoses for sale but I've never used one and on the Olli, we have plenty of water on board.  Personally I wouldn't want to be hooked up to a waterline in 20° weather because frozen hoses just keep freezing farther inside. Generally during the day or after 7 to 8am the temps will be above freezing and running the heater isn't needed while driving, but... I'll be trying it out myself come February just to see. I haven't looked at the specs on the Olli heater yet but they are generally enclosed and the pilot is behind a window. I would say try it, the most it could do is get blown out and have you vent some fresh air back into the trailer. Honestly though, as long as your not driving when the temps are below 30°, there shouldn't be a need to run the heater.

 

I’m interested in hearing some comments. Oh yeah, a remote thermometer that shows the inside “below floor” temp of your Ollie while you are in your tow vehicle would provide great peace of mind. Be safe. John Davies Spokane WA

 

I really like your idea and installing an indoor outdoor thermometer with the outdoor down in the hold is a great idea :)

 

Can you not run the heat strip on the AC while traveling, or does that pull too much power?

You could run it but the heat is needed under the floor, so running the heat strip or just running a small heater in the trailer won't add any protection under the floor for the pipes. When the time comes, I will definitely try running the heater itself while driving. The last time, when I had a heater in my motorhome, it worked flawlessly every time. I can't wait to pick up our Olli in just over a month now :) Driving in snow means having 4WD with posi or limited slip differentials at least in the rear, good snow tires and good chains for all 4 tires on your tv and at least 2 for the trailer. I've always liked the diamond pattern cables or chains for the tv when pulling a trailer, they're a little more expensive and a lot harder to put on but the smoothness of the ride with the diamond pattern always on the road, makes driving in chain control areas no big deal.

 

 

 

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Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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I think John's idea of the remote thermometer is very good. A friend of mine uses one in her refrigerator in hot weather. At least you would know what you're dealing with, allowing you to stop and run the furnace. My biggest concern would be the outdoor shower area, and the water heater.

 

Sherry

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Mike and Carol,

 

these are good questions and I hope other more experienced Oliver folks will chime in as Winter can be a great time to be out traveling so long as the roads are in good shape. Driving home last March from Tenn. we encountered mid 20's temps between New Mexico and Eastern Oregon.

 

At RV camps w/hookups, we always disconnected the water hose each night and switched to the on-board tank and pump. This is best all around as even with a heated hose, the base of the frost free spigot will freeze and that could potentially damage it.  At night, I always left the water heater on as well as it is more exposed to the exterior. In fact, it is very well insulated on the interior side, by design, to prevent heat loss. But the flip side of that is that no interior heat from the trailer will keep it from freezing if it is turned off.

 

The legality of driving with the propane turned on varies state to state. I tried it for a while but finally decided it just was not a safe practice. That's something you need to decide for yourself. When driving, I turn the fridge to DC and let the batteries keep it cold. Since you are driving, and not in the trailer opening it very often, and it is COLD outside, we had no issues. This worked well even in the summer when it was hot out. When driving, the DC power comes from the Tow Vehicle and we always arrived at our destination with full on board batteries. As far as the furnace goes, that's not an option for us, but it would have to be really cold out for a moving trailer to freeze up in a days worth of driving. What with everything sloshing around, the tanks being enclosed, and the trailer being somewhat insulated. How cold is really cold?  HaHa! I suppose one of us will find out someday! But I would dare to say that you would have no problem with the temps you described. We had no troubles in the mid 20's at night. Although daytime temps did warm up to the mid 30's, so that is potentially warmer than what you will be experiencing. Use your laser temp sensor ( you have on right?) to spot check the tanks and vulnerable fittings like the brass backflow valves, etc..

 

Hopefully, the more experienced will have something to say about this because it's important to know the limits of your equipment. Chains??! Man, that would be awesome but I'm not quite there yet! Have a safe trip.

 

Dave

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2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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Can you not run the heat strip on the AC while traveling, or does that pull too much power?

You could run it but the heat is needed under the floor, so running the heat strip or just running a small heater in the trailer won’t add any protection under the floor for the pipes.  

Good point.  What about running the heat strip plus the recirculating fan on the furnace?

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We keep our fresh tank fairly full when out camping and traveling, so unhooking the water hose at night isn't a problem.  Plus, where we're going we're only talking a few hours that would be an issue.  It warms up pretty quickly during the day to 40s and 50s... maybe even 60s in southern AZ during January.

 

I don't plan on driving in sub-30 degree weather.  I was just wondering what the possibilities were if we did get caught in one of those west Texas weather changes.  If the weather forecast is severe, we'll just hunker down and wait for it to warm up!

 

We don't really get cold enough weather here to winterize.  It seldom gets much below 30 and we rarely see 20s.  Having said that, the arctic air that just moved south through the US did hit us.  It was 28 Saturday night and 24 last night!  I opened the access covers at the dinette and beds and left a space heater going at 65 with a temperature sensor under the dinette in front of the black tank.  When I checked this morning it was 65 inside, 45 at the black tank and 25 outside.

 

Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions.  We've camped when it was low 30s at night and didn't have any issues.  A few more degrees lower.... no problem!  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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I recently told someone that although I have a 4 season camper, I'm a 3 1/2 season sort of camper.  When the temp gets too low for too long, if I have an option I use some critical components of the trailer ... the wheels.   I roll them south.

 

If you break camp after breakfast, your camper will have residual heat that would last several hours before anything might get critical, temp-wise.   Then you could pull over for a liesurely lunch and use the furnace for a while which would put more BTUs into the rig for your afternoon leg of the trip.  No problem . . .

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Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


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Mike,

 

Last Feb when we went to Florida, we dewinterized the trailer before we left Kansas. Of course this was based on weather forecasts. We had a stopover at a Flying J in Memphis and just run the heater. We saw no need to run the heater while traveling. We would run the heater on lunch stops.

 

We are heading down your way mid January to Big Bend National Park (come on, join us) so dealing with KS,OK,TX weather may be a different deal altogether. Guess will just have to play it by ear.

 

Stan


Stan and Carol


Blacksburg, VA


2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi


2014 Legacy Elite II Standard  Hull 63

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Pete, I like your thinking.  I think we're also 3.5 season campers.  It's good to know we have the ability to be out in really cold weather, but it just might not be much fun!  So far, since we picked up last spring, we've enjoyed spring, summer and fall camping.  We're going to jump into winter camping with both feet as soon as the holidays are over.  Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Mike, Last Feb when we went to Florida, we dewinterized the trailer before we left Kansas. Of course this was based on weather forecasts. We had a stopover at a Flying J in Memphis and just run the heater. We saw no need to run the heater while traveling. We would run the heater on lunch stops. We are heading down your way mid January to Big Bend National Park (come on, join us) so dealing with KS,OK,TX weather may be a different deal altogether. Guess will just have to play it by ear. Stan

 

Stan, Carol and I are both originally from Kansas so we understand that kind of cold!  We're planning on going to Carlsbad Caverns NP and Guadalupe Mountains NP right after the new year.  Then head to southern AZ for a week or so.  We could make the short detour to Big Bend on our way back mid January.  We visited Big Bend in September and had a great time.

 

Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Answer please. I live in central Illinois and there is tons of salt and chemicals on the road, I don't know what they spray on the bridges, but keeps ice off. How hard is this on my Ollies frame? Here is my question. Should I use plastic that comes in rolls/sheets and wrap around the frame and then use duct tape around it to protect my frame? Sounds kind of stupid, but an Ollie is quite an investment and keeping it pristine looking keeps the value up. Next question is the frame open enough to do this? Next question is there a substance one can wipe or spray on the aluminum to keep it looking good? Maybe a special wax, grease plasti-coat. Are there any metallurgists in are Oliver Forums? Any coatings specialists? BTW if in Illinois you see beautiful pick-ups driving around and then look down at there bodies near the road and fenders and they are rusted out. Proof of the damage salt can do.


J-Rhett


Oliver Legacy Elite II (Irog)


1995 Ford F-250 x4 Turbo Diesel


Trek Bikes, Hobie Cat Kayak

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I plan to leave Iowa on January 16 for Big Bend NP, Guadalupe Mountains NP, Marfa, TX, Palo Duro State Park, etc. I had the same questions about road chemicals and the Oliver frame. Here's some information from Jason at Oliver:

Hey Don,

 

Under normal conditions, aluminum will react with oxygen and water to form a coherent surface oxide which protects the aluminum from a breakdown reaction. This being said there are chemicals that react differently to the aluminum which can stop this from happening and will actually start to form rust. You typically see this with swimming pools as the chemicals are harsh and will rust all metals over

time. It usually takes years for this process to show but I would rinse the frame every chance you get if you are driving through deicer chemicals but it will depend on what the chemical is. I would contact the road dept. and find out what chemical they are using.

 

Thank you,

 

Jason D. Essary

Thanks, Jason. Here’s what I found for Iowa. I assume this is similar in other states that use a brine deicer in addition to the mixture of sand and rock salt:

 

Brine is defined as any liquid saturated or nearly full of chloride. This could mean that any dry chemical, freeze-point depressant containing chlorides, such as magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride or calcium chloride when mixed with a liquid would be considered a brine. For the purposes of this discussion, the information provided will concentrate on a brine made from the mixture of sodium chloride (rock salt) and water. This is the brine most often used in Iowa for prewetting and anti-icing operations.

 

What do you think of driving through brine like this or the dry residue from the brine?

 

Don

Hey Don,

 

The different chemicals may react differently with the aluminum but based on tests that I have researched it shows that these chemicals react more harshly with steel than aluminum compared by a gram of corrosion on steel versus a tenth of a gram of corrosion on the aluminum. Overall the best thing would be to wash it off when you can.

 

 

Thank you,

 

Jason D. Essary

Thanks, Jason. I bought the Ollie in part because it is a 4-season camper. I’ll take your advice and find a car wash whenever I think I’ve encountered any of these chemicals on the road.

 

Don

 

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Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

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The fridge; is it two way or three way?  If three way just wondering why you might run it on propane while running down the road? The  tow vehicle (TV) would keep everything cold, you just have to remember to switch over during stops to keep from discharging the TV. When we replaced an ice box with a fridge in an older Scamp, we paid the extra for a 3way. We were always glad we did,  even if this small unit required manually switching. I would think a top of the line like Oliver would be three way to give it the broadest range...

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The fridge is a 3-way: 1. AC 2. DC 3. Propane. If you have the solar option, you can run the fridge on DC while going down the road. That's my usual practice. When camping, I use propane unless I have electrical power available.

 

Don


Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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As Don says, the fridge is 3-way.  We leave it on auto, when we hook up to shore power it automatically switches to shore power.  When I disconnect from shore power it automatically goes to propane.  I just leave it on propane when we're on the road.  We have power where we store ours so the fridge never turns off.


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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What we have found is that 12vdc works fine for short periods at normal temperatures outside but when traveling in really hot climates where the inside of the trailer will be 90°+ then the 12vdc won't keep up. It's a 3 way fridge but propane works the best and keeps it the coldest. Then 120vac will maintain the temp but is much slower on cooling it down, so we will start the fridge the night before we are heading out on ac and it will usually be cool enough in the morning but still if you want it cold then propane is best. During normal temp driving, we run it on 12vdc all day including stops for a couple hours or more and it will not drain any of the batteries to a point where you would notice but at the same time is the worst of the 3 choices for keeping it cool. At first, when we bought our trailer we would switch to propane when stopped but we found that it wasn't needed unless we were traveling in really hot weather where the fridge would get back up into the 40°s when inside the trailer was hitting in the 90°s. But... as long as it was packed well and the freezer was packed and frozen before we headed out, that even if the temperature came up some, everything was still fine. If it needs to be cooled down fast then the propane is by far the best choice where 12vdc will usually only be able to maintain an already cold fridge.


Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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As we understand the headed hose piece on the Oliver: the area between a heated hose and the fill inside may not be protected from freezing. Evidently when the heated hose is disconnected, it allows the unprotected part to drain...hence no problem. Must be a check or flow valve inside the hull. Would make sense, unless I missed something.

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We are in Loveland,CO at Boyd Lake State Park for two weeeks visiting our kids. We woke up to outside temp of 10F this am. We are pretty comfortable except for having to walk the dog!   The furnace ran most of the night. Inside temperature seems to stay about 5 degrees cooler than what temperature we set the thermostat  at. ..50 stays at 45 , 65 stays 60-62. We have a little space heater but mostly it runs when we come in and turn up the thermostat..makeusfeel less chilled.

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