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Author Topic: Suggestions for Cold Weather Camping?  (Read 4210 times)
oldmansax
Tom & Phyllis
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« on: September 07, 2008, 08:27:45 PM »

I looks like we have bought a new house to rehab, assuming the seller takes our offer.

We will be camping on the property through the winter while we do the rehab. I know some of you have camped though the winter. How about some tips?

We used the bus through the winter last year with no problems but did not live in it full time; therefore, we didn't have to deal with water and sewer hookups. I have about 10' of water and sewer line to worry about. The weather here usually is 40s in the day 20s at night, although there will be some stretches of teens in January and February.

Suggestions? tips? Go to Florida and wait for spring?   Grin Grin

Thanks, TOM
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'82 BlueBird WanderLodge PT40 being rebuilt
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 05:38:58 AM »

It may be easier to use your onboard tanks for fresh water and sewer because you can keep those from freezing with a small heater in the bay.  Just leave your sewer line hooked and dump when needed and refill fresh water when needed.  I bought an old waterbed heater to put under my fresh water tank.  I know it's nicer to not worry about the water supply, but it's a lot better than having a 10ft line full of #2! Wink
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 06:21:40 AM »

If the bus will not be moved for a period of time, I think I would try to improvise a way to seal off the air flow under the body.  Perhaps some sort of tarp skirt or other barrier could be used to fill the gap between the bottom edge of the body and the ground.  I'm thinking that this would reduce the heat loss by cutting off the constant cold air flow underneath. 
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skipn
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2008, 07:30:36 AM »


 Tom,

    Since it is only a 10' run here are some things our family has done.

 1. Make up a water hose that is the right length. tape heat tape to it then cover it with pipe wrap insulation.
 2. Make sure the sewer has a straight run with no bad dips. Cover it with straw
 3. Though I realize it is a red neck thing but place straw bales all aroung the base of the bus.
 4. The bay that has the water and sewer needs to be closed up; then a 100 watt light bulb may work
     but things like small ceramic heaters water bed heater etc should work fine.
 5. Leave one of the faucets running at a trickle.
 6. Hunker down and enjoy Smiley

  FWIW
 Skip
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belfert
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2008, 08:19:05 AM »

One issue with straw bales is it can attract rodents.  If hay is used instead of straw it can attract larger animals like deer.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2008, 12:47:23 PM »

Please don't use straw bales as you will be creating a huge fire hazard.
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JackConrad
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2008, 12:51:10 PM »

If the coach is not going to move until spring, you might want to consider purchasing a few sheets of 3/4" foam insulation (such as TherMax) and cut to fit under coach.  Jack
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 01:50:48 PM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 01:45:55 PM »

Hi Oldmansax,
We had to stay in the bus ( MC9 ) for 2 different winters in PA.
The most helpfull suggestion I can give you is to get a dehumidifier.
Just breathing , cooking and showers add so much water in the air , you'll have a full time job getting rid of it.
Single pane, dual pane side windows are one thing the front windshield is big.
That's the advice I wish I got.
Frank
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JohnEd
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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2008, 03:44:53 PM »

Everything metal that has an outside connection will sweat condensation like a faucet.  Install 1/4 or 3/8 X 1/4 inch weather strip around each window on the inside.  Run a strip of the double sided stickey tape around the window on the wood paneling or at least wide of the window.  Stretch that Frost King clear shrink film across the window and press it to the tape.  Use a common hair dryer to shrink the shrink.  It comes out tight as a drum and clear as glass.  The front windshield is more difficult but cover all the metal framing with the film.  Cover the door window, also.  I put fibreglass in my ceiling fans/shylight.  Make sure your door seals really well.  This makes you coach perform like it ahs thermo pane throughout.

My S&S was snuggly with one cube heater down to 40 and after that i needed the second to come on every once in a while.  I sleep with a feather comfort and I prefer the BR be COLD so I didn't care if the inside got down to 40 degrees but it didn't.  I kept my stove ex vent just cracked and that took care of the condensate.

Good luck
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buswarrior
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« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2008, 04:38:43 PM »

Hello oldmansax.

The big thing in my mind is the cost of keeping the coach and its systems from freezing, and in a reliable way.

Lets remember that there is no free electricity in this scenario, and the electric company is not reliable.

Managing condensation can get expensive. Changing air means having to heat the cold air that replaces the wet hot air that you expel. A dehumidifier takes electricity to run, and will freeze up if the coach is allowed to cool down for heat savings while you are away from the coach. Timing is everything.

Definitely lower the heat when you are away, either manually or by way of programmable thermostats to save some cash. In combination with some air change, a great defence against the humidity. Letting a hot, wet coach cool without air exchange will soak the place.

Heating the coach for comfort versus minimum heat required to prevent freeze up.

One of those marine stoves fueled by diesel would be a neat way to defend against the power going off, humidity and heating.

Dickinson has some great gravity feed stoves. no power required.

Or for this winter, you can go "red neck" and put in a woodstove in some temporary manner, and remove in the spring. Remove a window, and use a plywood filler with the stovepipe through it?

You do have a plan for the power going off during a winter storm? When you are away from the coach?

Auto start on the generator for low voltage is another defence, find a way to create low voltage when the power goes off....

I am a supporter of the above poster, to only use the water and waste pipes on your schedule, not "live" all the time, then you don't have to feed the pipes cash all the time to keep warm. Pipe heat trace and insulate them, but only plug them in and charge them when the onboard tanks demand their use.

Figure out how to isolate the front of the coach from the rest. The air leaks in the defroster, the door and the large window surfaces suck heat like mad. It can be as simple as a carefully hung blanket that touches the floor. Tuck it in all around the sides and bottom. A little gap at the top won't be a problem, as long as you don't allow a return path down lower for the cold to come in while the hot goes out.

sounds like fun, says I!!!

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2008, 04:42:11 PM »

a webasto airtop heater...sucks moisture out of the air like nobody's business, can make it so dry you will get nose bleeds.

Happen to have one if your interested
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skihor
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 04:58:53 PM »

As for keeping the water bay warm, I ran a duct from my furnace into the bay. I have 67K,
(45K + 22K), btu so I can afford it. All of my tanks & supply lines feeding the sinks, shower, etc... are in my rear bay. I lose water at around -O F. Last year I put a second duct in and kept water at -10 F. My bays aren't insulated in any way. The drawback is... during those cold spells
It takes around 20 gallons a week to keep comfortable. $$$$

Don & Sheila
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buswarrior
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« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2008, 05:15:09 PM »

tekebird

the airtop dumps air overboard during the burn?

That would play hell in my freightliner, it is tighter than a drum, hard to get make-up air.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
Dreamscape
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« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2008, 07:39:26 PM »

Sounds like it would be more cost effective to park the coach in a climate controlled building/shop and forget all the work. Might be the same cost in the long run, and keep your coach toasty warm and dry.

Warm in Texas

Paul
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JohnEd
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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2008, 07:58:00 PM »

At first this might seem screwy.  It isn't!  Cut into your hot water line under your sink.  Install a "T" fitting.  Run the T to a valve.  Run the valve to your fresh water tank fill line.  When your water is hot, purge the hot water tank into the fresh water tank.  The fresh water will warm a few degrees as a result.  Repeat that a few times and you have freeze proofed your fresh tank.  If the bay is sealed and insulated the grey and black will benifit from the warmed fresh tank....and they all lived hapily ever.....  Electric hot water heater rod, right?  If the tanks are not insulated and in a sealed bay.....I dunno.

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
—Pla
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