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Cold weather dry camping. can it be outside for dry camping. Where I am going may get down to 12F and I will be runninh the heater


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It's quite true that closed cell foam provides better insulation,  as John says, by 50 per cent, or even better, r value, dependingon the material. And, a better long term choice.

We're also looking at things people "might have on hand."

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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  • 4 months later...

Fascinating subject and lots of out of the box brain work going on here.  We picked up our L II in December and did quite a bit of dry winter camping at various ski resorts over the season.  Temps going down to single digits on multiple nights and staying well below freezing on most days.  Our routine was to keep the trailer winterized, run the heater, carry a back up (Mr Buddy or small box heater) and, for water, we carried two 1 gallon soft sided BPA free CANTEENS, a 7 gallon storage container with spigot like THIS and run that water through a Brita type filter before drinking or filling the canteens.  Did a few freezing days/nights with water system fully activated but was concerned about the exterior shower vulnerability.  We constantly monitored various areas with temps sensors and had some interesting take aways:

-  We lightly insulated (w/reflectex) the outside shower door.  Love the idea of memory foam.  Hung a temp sensor as close to the outside as possible under the streetside bed.  We keep the cabin temps in the low 60s and, even in single digit weather, it never got colder than the high 50s.  The plan is to put in cut off valves before next winter, once we figure out how exactly to get that done

-  All other areas seemed to stay plenty warm enough, while using the on board heater, to keep the water system live during winter trips.  The bathroom does get chilly so are going to follow the smart suggestion to cut a vent over the door to allow better circulation in there. 

-  Covered the vented door to the battery compartment with reflectex.  We have lithiums that are happy to discharge semi efficiently down to zero but will only take a charge if above freezing.  It stayed surprisingly warm in there, never dropping below the high 50s.

-  We bought a roll over "double bubble' reflectex off Amazon and made insulators for all the windows.  Two layers thick joined together with the foil refectex tape.  Amazon, Lowes, Home Depot are all good sources. They hold in place.nicely by closing the solid blinds.  Made similar for window in the door by enclosing a layer of 1.5" foam in reflextex.  Held in place by the screen door.  Bought a 14"x14" Camco insulated vent insert and hold it in place with a plexi 19x19 vent cover that we ordered through Home Depot.  This would cover the max air fan and is easy enough to remove.  Not sure how much that will get used as we sometimes vent while cooking to minimize condensation.

-  We really need to see what it takes to keep all the compartment areas warm enough if using a back up heater.  I suspect lids to lower compartments would need to be opened and a fan places strategically in one of them.

-  Our biggest challenge is in figuring out how to travel in winter temps with a non winterized trailer.  While internal temps hold well on a stationary trailer, our concern is the effects of wind chill carrying away heat.  While we aren't shy about traveling with the propane heater working, we aren't sure without experimenting if it will be enough.  I suspect that if all the streetside compartments are left open and the bathroom has the additional vent, all should be good.



SOLD:  2021 Elite 2, Twin Bed, Lithium & Solar, 3000W Inverter

SOLD:  2022 Ford F150, 3.5L V6 EcoBoost, 4x4 Supercab, Trailer Tow Package

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Interesting subject.  

Putting a cap and hose washer on the shower connection prompts me to put out a word of caution to the uninitiated.

Plastic pipe threads are very easy to damage.  If you cross thread a PVC fitting  you will never get it to seal properly again and the damaged threads are not repairable.  Be patient and make absolutely certain that you have started the threads properly.  If you encounter resistance on the first few threads, something is wrong.  Stop and start over.  Pipe threads are tapered (unlike machine threads) and should be a bit "wobbly" when the first thread or two engages and then stiffen up as you proceed up the taper.  Putting on a bunch of teflon tape is not the answer either.  The tape or paste (pipe dope) is only meant to be a lubricant to help you make up the mechanical seal of the thread taper.  Excessive use of teflon tape can also cause the female pipe fitting to split.

Just be careful.  The only fix a cross threaded joint is to replace it.

Mike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 



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I find this post most interesting as well and I am curious how things worked out for the Author on that trip. 

Thanks to the rest of you that have shared here as I will be traveling in the fall to winter season myself. The only experience I have to add here since I do not have my oliver yet is that outside showers are huge negative for any RV in cold  country I have seen multiple 4 season RV's here with frozen and or broken outside showers. They just don't belong in this winter climate and often are forgotten about until they are an issue. 

I deleted the outside showers entirely from my oliver build. I am not sure what the final result will be given the molds and voids where they would normally be but I don't care I am not having them on my trailer. 

As for cold weather RVing in general? The folks I know that do it one a regular basis, know what they are doing, own a true 4 seasons RV and come every year love it, granted their plugged in here and I have heated hydrants and water mains buried 8' deep and a sewer system that will not freeze so its relatively simple compared to dry camping, They do have most everything else to themselves or at least only have to deal with minimal crowds and winter has its own special beauty as long as the essentials one needs are all in place.  

I hope this thread stays alive as we do not all camp on perfect weather or just during the summer months. I know I made some sacrifice relative to other 4 season RVs out there But it is a conscious decision based on more than just camping in the shoulder seasons. I think the Oliver will do great if set up/used correctly. I will only need to sneak back home through some very cold temps from whatever warm southern point I stay at on my outings. I am looking forward to finding out. 


Happy Trails

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