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Cold weather/ winter camping tips


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We chase good weather, but we also enjoy the relative calm of shoulder season camping, even in Canada.

 

Would you share your cold weather ( below freezing) camping tips here, please?

 

If we know we are venturing into freezing temps, we winterize. We lost our outdoor shower once when we left our Oliver in the cold too long in storage without winterizing...

 

Routinely, we winterize if we think we will encounter sub freezing temperatures in our travels.

 

But, we have a 2008...

 

Sherry

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I've not had the chance (yet) to do a bunch of cold weather camping in Twist.  However, the one trip that I did do last year, I left the Oliver winterized, heated water on the stove for bathing duties.  I do not have a composting toilet, but I do have a collapsible "seat" that holds plastic bags.  I purchased a product (https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Products-Double-Doodie-Toilet/dp/B0024O0W94/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1509663133&sr=8-11&keywords=camping+toilet )  at either WalMart and/or Amazon that absorbs moisture and reduces odor.  My Mr. Buddy heater takes care of just keeping the chill off when I don't want to run the full furnace.  Finally, I use 8 gallon plastic water containers that I got from WalMart.  I keep one in the bed of the truck 3/4 full and the other I keep inside the Oliver (on the toilet seat).

 

Bill

 

 

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I’ve not had the chance (yet) to do a bunch of cold weather camping in Twist. However, the one trip that I did do last year, I left the Oliver winterized, heated water on the stove for bathing duties. SNIP  Finally, I use 8 gallon plastic water containers that I got from WalMart. I keep one in the bed of the truck 3/4 full and the other I keep inside the Oliver (on the toilet seat). Bill

Bill, do you catch your gray water and containerize it, or let it go down the drain? How did that work out for you?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

"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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I would add that camping in the Carolinas and the upper Midwest in shoulder season often brings freezing temps, and below, overnight. We've camped down to around 18 overnight, with day time temps in the high thirties/ low forties, without issue, but it's a lot different when the day and night are both sub freezing, days on end..

 

The pink stuff rules... In our 2008, in those conditions.

 

Top gun, would the wag bags just fit in the Ollie toilet, instead of a collapsible frame? Never tried. Only times we've used anything like that  has been in rental campers without full facilities.

 

Losing the outdoor shower to the freezing temps was our fault. We winterized and went home in the truck... Forgetting about the outdoor shower. Never again..

 

Sherry

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Top gun, would the wag bags just fit in the Ollie toilet, instead of a collapsible frame?.. Sherry Sherry

Yes, they fit under the toilet seat perfectly, we use them all the time when boondocking, we put a bag in at night, use it until it's full, then replace it. We just left the beach and have been using the bags again since the tank hit 80% a few days ago. We keep a bunch under the rear Dinette seat in a plastic garbage bag. Take them out of the boxes, bag them up and put them somewhere close. Sometimes when extended boondocking, we start out with the bags and go from there, we can usually last 2 weeks in the black tank before it's time to dump.

 

Reed

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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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John - down the drain with the grey.  Never had a problem, but, as Sherry points out, I've never had below freezing temps for days on end either.

 

Sherry - Since I put the water container on the toilet seat, I've not used them directly in the on-board toilet.  I would have thought that the plastic bags were too deep but, of course, one could always simply fold the excess top of the bag over the top of the toilet.  And, since Reed has actually done it this way without problems, it obviously works.  Perhaps now I'll have to find a new place for my water container (or simply move it when nature calls).

 

Note that these bags are not cheap, but, if used more than once they provide an easy way to take care of things while still leaving the camper protected.  I also use these in the Summer while fishing out West.  When boondocking I set up my shower tent for my solar shower and (like Reed) to keep the black tank from getting "over loaded" by simply using my "seat" and these bags in the shower tent.

 

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Reed, I thought they would. Have you ever tried the gel powder material like this?

 

 

Screenshot_20171103-213109.thumb.png.55a1e350fb7b2ffb77384bd3655bd871.png

 

One trip, a long time ago, we tried the kitty litter and trash bag thing, and it was a HUGE fail. Good experiment, but not my favorite memory...

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Winter Camping is an awesome experience. I'd have to say, all our experience is likely different from newer trailers, as we have less insulation.

I try to capture grey water, even with pink stuff in the tank. We've camped in Canada where the site services are turned off, but the comfort station is heated,so we can still dump dishwashing liquid, and use their showers, etc.

We're so accustomed to camping without any service, that I typically heat dishwater in a tea kettle, and capture the water in a dishpan.

That method saves a lot of water, and makes disposal easy in cold weather camping. It's all captured.

I also heat water for bird baths in a kettle. You can get clean without a full shower, for a limited time, without using the grey tank. It's hair washing that gets tough.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Reed, Have you ever tried the gel powder material like this? One trip, a long time ago, we tried the kitty litter and trash bag thing, and it was a HUGE fail. Good experiment, but not my favorite memory… Sherry

Nope, we use a sealed soap type packet for the black tank

 

We do the same when washing dishes, here's ours, it fits easily in the drawer.

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003QP30S0/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3HQ4VRWMD8BTZ&colid=DVETVI1ZF5E8

 

 

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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We were at the Bristlecone Pines campground in CA at about 8,500 ft.    Got all set up late in the day and I got a campfire going.    Then it started to snow.    Beautiful.

 

I sat outside in the snow and just marveled at the quiet and the beauty.  Poking at the fire and moving closer to stay warm.  A libation offered some distraction from the gathering cold and darkness.   Liye decided to move inside.

 

Eventually, I moved in too.  But looked out the window at the orange glow and fog of snowflakes.   Again, totally quiet and we were the only ones there.  Miles from anywhere and anyone.

 

The heater clicked on and off during the night and as I noticed it, I also noticed how snug we were.  Snow makes the dark forest even quieter.  Morning brought the chance to see how much snow we got and start a new adventure going on up to the 10,000 ft level to marvel at the 5,000 year old trees.

 

Bristlecone Pines.  One of my favorite places.  Through coring and other tree ring methods we can look back 12,000 years with a recorded history.  All of this from trees growing in a dolomite soil that was previously a sea bottom.  Now, that ancient "sea bottom" is at 10,000 ft elevation.    Such are the wonders of the Sierra Nevada Range and plate tectonics.

 

Fun to ponder on a quiet night, camped in the snow with a warm fire crackling.

 

The idea is to lean into it, experience it, marvel at what it is.  Try to grasp the enormous amount of time that has passed to form this scene.  Living trees that I can reach out and touch, that were alive when the pyramids were being built.  But more than that, soil that formed as a sea bed and is now here!

 

Without our beautiful little trailer, we could never come here and have a comfortable winter visit.

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Reed -

 

If you look at the "poo" product Sherry mentions above, I don't believe it is meant to be used in the manner you're thinking (in the black tank).  Basically it is similar to the stuff that is in the bottom of the plastic bags that both you and I have used.  I understand that it is a bunch cheaper to buy this powder in bulk and use your own plastic bags, but I've never used it and given the number of times that I "go" this route it doesn't seem to be worth the bother to me.

 

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Yes,

The poo powder I referenced was NOT meant to be utilized directly in the black tank. Ohhh so clog. .

I meant using it in a plastic kitchen bag , biodegradable, just situated in the onboard toilet, instead of a tent or other site.

It will be in the 20s soon, at night, where we will be. I'd rather have a way bag, and a winterized trailer, than not. In our 2008, we don't have a lot of your more advanced insulation and conveniences.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Yes, The poo powder I referenced was NOT meant to be utilized directly in the black tank. Ohhh so clog. . I meant using it in a plastic kitchen bag , biodegradable, just situated in the onboard toilet, instead of a tent or other site. It will be in the 20s soon, at night, where we will be. I’d rather have a way bag, and a winterized trailer, than not. In our 2008, we don’t have a lot of your more advanced insulation and conveniences. Sherry

 

Yuk... No don't try using kitchen bags, they smell. The one's that Bill listed have a double zipper on a strong plastic bag. Once it's zipped up, the smell stays in the bag. We tried the kitty litter once... Never again :)

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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If I choose to winter camp and use the propane heater to heat the trailer which is not winterized how do I keep the outside shower from freezing at night?

As long as there is no water in the hose between the valve,( which is inside the trailer) and the shower nozzle, you should be ok. If you use the outside shower make sure you drain that line.

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STEVEnBETTY

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If I choose to winter camp and use the propane heater to heat the trailer which is not winterized how do I keep the outside shower from freezing at night?

I wonder just how cold it has to be and for how long to freeze that area?  And to freeze the water connections where the hose hooks up to fill?  Don't know.

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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I haven't winter camped in my Ollie so take this with a grain of salt, or a whole shaker of salt.

 

Even if you have the inside toasty warm that section of the plumbing is going to be vulnerable. If you keep the bed on that side lifted and the access hatch open, it should stay plenty warm, but that doesn't help at night when it is coldest and you want to use the bed. There is no hot air ductwork on that side of the floor.

 

I suggest that you do a partial winterization, as I did last week.

 

Using compressed air, blow out the outside service ports, all four, and be sure to open the shower taps to clear those lines. Then use a hand pump to put a few strokes of antifreeze into each port. For the shower, make sure that you see pink coming out there, then close its valves.

 

You can skip the tank fill port, just blow it dry, otherwise you will inject a little AF into the tank the next time you fill it. We don't drink that water anyway, so I don't care if a few ounces of AF gets into 32 gallons of fresh water.

 

The outside ports will self drain and empty the lines all the way in to the check valves, just be sure to always give them some time to stop dripping before you put the dust covers back on.If you trap water in that section between port and check valve, it will definitely freeze.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

"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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I am confused here, so please bear with me as I ask...it was my understanding that the Olivers were all weather/four season trailers.  I thought this meant that they were built to be utilized during below freezing temperatures.  Why would it be necessary to winterize while camping in cold locations if the heater is used?  If traveling, couldn't the heater be left on inside the camper just as the refrigerator is when in transit?  If I am not correct, would someone please let me know what four seasons means?  Thank you.

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If I choose to winter camp and use the propane heater to heat the trailer which is not winterized how do I keep the outside shower from freezing at night?

As long as there is no water in the hose between the valve,( which is inside the trailer) and the shower nozzle, you should be ok. If you use the outside shower make sure you drain that line.

Exactly :)

 

How cold is it going to be? We just make sure that the outside shower hose is drained and we have been fine down to 12°. We only use the suburban onboard heater below freezing and we've been setting it at 58° at night when the temps get into the 30° and we set it at 62° when it gets to freezing and below because the trailer does get a lot colder overall inside as the temps keep dropping outside. It's a true 4 season trailer but the windows if left uncovered, really bring in the cold. We use the Reflectix insulation and have cut it to fit between the windows and the blinds, so it just drops into place. Then we have the one made for the max-air vent but we had to replace the Velcro that came with it because it wasn't strong enough. One roll did the whole trailer with lots left over.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Reflectix-BP48010-48-Inch-10-Feet-Insulation/dp/B000BPAULS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510427956&sr=8-2&keywords=rv+insulation&dpID=31Io%252BmGxiWL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

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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 am confused here, so please bear with me as I ask…it was my understanding that the Olivers were all weather/four season trailers. I thought this meant that they were built to be utilized during below freezing temperatures. Why would it be necessary to winterize while camping in cold locations if the heater is used? If traveling, couldn’t the heater be left on inside the camper just as the refrigerator is when in transit? If I am not correct, would someone please let me know what four seasons means? Thank you.

 

No offense intended, but what is your risk tolerance? If the heater stays running, and the temps don’t get too low, your pipes will probably be fine.

 

What if it gets way colder than predicted, or the furnace doesn’t light (for example, the igniter fails, or the bottle runs dry and doesn’t switch over)? An RV furnace is in no way like your home furnace, other than the basic operation. It is cheap, of minimal build quality and much more prone to failure than a home unit.

 

You can probably get away with leaving water in the pipes near the outer hull penetrations (service ports and shower) but one cold morning you may find yourself with a rupture. It isn’t a big deal compared to a wood framed RV with household insulation and plywood floors, but it will still be a big PITA to deal with and it will most definitely ruin your winter vacation.

 

I live where zero degree winter nights are common and 15 below is not at all unusual. Having had burst pipes in a couple of houses I guess I am maybe a little over-sensitized about this.

 

It is always prudent to take extra steps to protect your expensive equipment. Be aware of what might happen, and take steps to minimize any bad consequences.

 

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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Mr. heater buddy Junior report -  did an overnight at the Winchester Virginia Walmart Saturday, November 11.  It was cold outside!  Temperature was down to about 27. Used the Mr. buddy Junior but unfortunately had a bad Can of gas so it didn't really warm the trailer up that much.  At 2 AM when I changed the can out I got that nice orange glow and it warmed the trailer up just fine.  One can lasted about three hours on High temp so I'm assuming one can on low will last about 6hours.    Didn't really find the ideal place to put the heating unit.  If I put it in the bathroom like in the picture it warms the sill of the bathroom a little too much if I put it on the kitchen counter it warms the overhead fiberglass a bit too much and if I set it on the floor the dog can get at it a little too much.  So still looking for the perfect spot to put it but so far so good on the  buddy jr unit.  It did the job and even though I worried about it, we didn't really have any problems other than a bit of condensation and slight propane smell.  Both of which I will gladly accept to stay warm.

 

 

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Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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We have been fine at O degrees with the furnace set for 63. Last month in Angel Fire New Mexico went to 11 degrees, furnace set at 62. I just disconnected the hose I had connected to City Water, drained the hose and left it unhooked until temps got above freezing the next day. I would say yes Four Season Camper but that's just me.

Grayson and Ann Cook


Northwest CT and Mid Coast Maine


2016 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed FP


Toyota Tundra, Extra Cab, Long bed, 5.7 V8


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So regarding draining the outside shower hose.

 

Since there are no inline shutoffs in the hot/cold pex lines that feed the ext. shower, I assume that "by draining the outside shower hose", one is just letting the chromed flex line drain by gravity and that's it? It would be nice if all those water lines in the back corner of the trailer could be drained when needed as this is probably the most vulnerable area in freezing weather. The brass backflow valves are at particular risk. I know because one of mine was busted open when we picked up our rig in late March. It had been out in the weather for a month or two before we could get out to pick it up. Luckily, the leak showed up right away during our shakedown at Fall Hollow, and was replaced.

 

Dave

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2015 Oliver Elite, Hull 107


1998 Ford E-250, 5.4 liter

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So regarding draining the outside shower hose. Since there are no inline shutoffs in the hot/cold pex lines that feed the ext. shower, I assume that “by draining the outside shower hose”, one is just letting the chromed flex line drain by gravity and that’s it? It would be nice if all those water lines in the back corner of the trailer could be drained when needed as this is probably the most vulnerable area in freezing weather. The brass backflow valves are at particular risk. I know because one of mine was busted open when we picked up our rig in late March. It had been out in the weather for a month or two before we could get out to pick it up. Luckily, the leak showed up right away during our shakedown at Fall Hollow, and was replaced. Dave

IMHO draining the chrome flex line by gravity should be sufficient, as the hose is the only external part, everything else is inside.

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STEVEnBETTY

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What is the best way to protect the brass connections, etc, where the hose connections are?  Can't see how to drain the lines there.

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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