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Hi from Colorado!


Steve Lovaas

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Hello everyone!

I've been lurking for a while as we whittle down the long list of TT's to our final few options. Too new to have a fun couples' handle in the forum. No surprise that Oliver has risen to the top in our search, since we're wanting to camp in Spring and Fall in Colorado (which would sometimes equal Winter elsewhere).

I've been most impressed with the posts here, though I'm wondering at the posts talking about mods for cold weather (despite the marketing as a "true" 4-season trailer). I'd love to hear some estimates of comfortable cold-weather ranges with no insulation mods.

As we get closer to retirement (and get our tow vehicle), we'll make our final choice. And I want to be sure we're buying our LAST trailer the first time around ;).

Thanks!

Steve Lovaas

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Hi Steve and welcome to the forum. Although the company designs the campers to withstand colder temps, they are by no means designed for arctic temperatures. But if you are in temps in the teens or above, the camper is going to do fine with a few precautions. Of course that's providing you run the furnace continually and are prepared for the unexpected. Propane supply would be critical and a back up generator and space heater would be a smart idea. There are some slightly vulnerable points in the basement utility space on the street side that need to be monitored. Other than that, they actually do pretty good. 

Of course if you choose a composting toilet and winterize your water system, you can actually do just fine in colder temps without worry. One thing you will learn with research is that there's very few if any mass produced RVs on the market that are designed for continuous use in frigid temps. And even the opposite weather conditions can be a challenge for many RVs on the market. We camped in north Texas late this summer and temps were in the 100+ range each day. Most of the campers in the park were struggling to maintain comfortable temps inside their RVs, many of which had 2 or three AC units on the roof. Our LE2 with the Truma Aventa stayed comfortable inside regardless and the AC compressor would cycle like normal when it reached temperature. We have yet to need the higher fan speeds to maintain comfortable temps inside the camper. 

A nice thing about the Elite 2 with the Lithium Platinum package is that with the large battery capacity and the 3000 watt inverter, you can still run the AC for an hour or two before bed to sleep in comfort even when dry camping, provided you have good sunshine during the day to recharge. We've experimented with this several times this summer and the system works great in that way. Few other campers have a factory available system that compares. 

Anyway you're in the right place to get honest feedback from owners regarding their experiences. Most of us are just ahead of you on the same path. We wanted one good camper that would fulfill our needs with as little trouble as possible and not look back. Stacie and I are convinced we made the right choice. Good luck in your research. 

 

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Chris and Stacie Neuhaus Greenfield, Indiana

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1 hour ago, Steve Lovaas said:

Hello everyone!

I've been lurking for a while as we whittle down the long list of TT's to our final few options. Too new to have a fun couples' handle in the forum. No surprise that Oliver has risen to the top in our search, since we're wanting to camp in Spring and Fall in Colorado (which would sometimes equal Winter elsewhere).

I've been most impressed with the posts here, though I'm wondering at the posts talking about mods for cold weather (despite the marketing as a "true" 4-season trailer). I'd love to hear some estimates of comfortable cold-weather ranges with no insulation mods.

As we get closer to retirement (and get our tow vehicle), we'll make our final choice. And I want to be sure we're buying our LAST trailer the first time around ;).

Thanks!

Steve Lovaas

Welcome to the conversation.  It is important to note that I have not received my Oliver yet, but I am a winter camper.  With that said, I must offer up a caveat.  I live in Texas, so winter for me would be equal to Spring or Fall for you.  One of the many reasons I sprung for the Oliver is its ability to handle colder weather.  Oliver's website states that their trailer is four-season, but I figured that it would fall into the Tennessee four-season range rather than the Arctic range.  

I'm not a summer guy.  When it hits 85 degrees, I'm done camping.  I like cold weather, warm fires and hiking when I don't have to sweat my clothes through.  After owning several different rigs, I went with the Oliver.  It will likely see Colorado Winters during Elk season, but not until I add a few modifications to allow it to handle prolonged sub-zero temperatures.  

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@Minnesota Oli posted his mods to make his camper 4 season in my native Minnesota.  (Hats off to him! I don't want to camp in sub zero weather, though some of my Minnesota nieces and nephews do... ice fishing, etc.)

 

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20 hours ago, Steve Lovaas said:

I'd love to hear some estimates of comfortable cold-weather ranges with no insulation mods.

The Elite II trailers now being made, which include the Truma Varioheat furnace system, can be used in temps down close to single digits F without modification. 

The thread below includes my report using the stock trailer down to an ambient outside temp of 11 degrees F last year.  With the furnace set at 70 degrees F, temps in the lower, more exposed parts of the trailer did not get below 38 degrees F, so I did not worry about plumbing freezing.

The thread also  contains lots of ideas for mods to expand the cold-weather capability of an Oliver trailer.  With the right mods, it appears the Oliver can be used (with the plumbing not winterized) in temps down to the single digits F, so long as the furnace is kept running. 

 

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17 hours ago, Rivernerd said:

The Elite II trailers now being made, which include the Truma Varioheat furnace system, can be used in temps down close to single digits F without modification. 

The thread below includes my report using the stock trailer down to an ambient outside temp of 11 degrees F last year.  With the furnace set at 70 degrees F, temps in the lower, more exposed parts of the trailer did not get below 38 degrees F, so I did not worry about plumbing freezing.

The thread also  contains lots of ideas for mods to expand the cold-weather capability of an Oliver trailer.  With the right mods, it appears the Oliver can be used (with the plumbing not winterized) in temps down to the single digits F, so long as the furnace is kept running. 

 


Sooo, different folks with different features can have different cold weather experiences.  As outlined earlier in this chain, we spent months winter camping in our Elite 2, carefully tracking temps of pex lines in between shells, primarily with our unit winterized.  2021 with that era's furnace.  While we stayed toasty warm down to negative teens, there were areas, primarily rearmost pex lines behind garage and lines feeding the exterior shower under the streetside bed, that would drop below freezing in temps around low twenties.  After making outlined modes, which were extensive, the lines were good till mid teens.  Had we been non winterized, running our Truma water heater, it would have made no difference as that system in the Olivers is a non circulating system so the Truma stays at temp where it is sety but the warm water does not make it to the taps unless they are open.  To those that do not camp in freezing winter conditions, this is perfectly acceptable but if you camp where it can often drop below freezing you are likely to run into nightime temps that would expose lines to freezing.  Especially true if daytime tempos stay below freezing.  In single digit conditions, we would burn through a 30lb propane tank every other day which is both pricey and labor intensive.  

We loved our Oliver for the superior build quality, great ride, and comfy layout but so much of our camping was in full on winter conditions so we decided to move on.  It sold, just yesterday and we have bought ourselves a Winnabego Ekko RV which is truly a 4 season unit.  It was quite manageable camping in a winterized Oliver, using containerized water and our composting toilet (great) but our eyes are set on multi week ski safaris so the occasional shower is really a necessity.  

I've noticed that over the last couple of years Oliver has upgraded to a Truma heater and made some of the mods outlined here so I would assume the stock units can survive unwinterized to the lower temps I laid out above.  Anyhow, that's my $02 worth.

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Thanks for all the fantastic responses. More than one might normally expect in a Welcome thread!

I appreciate the pointers to threads in other sections, as that gets me out of the Newbie corner and into the Business End of the forums. See you all there...

Steve

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