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Couple things I noticed at 5 degrees F.


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#1 steve whiteside

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 03:22 AM

Hey everyone,

 

Ive had my Grandby camper for a few months.  I was just up at Mammoth Mtn skiing and camping for 3 nights.  I used my heater while sitting around but then would turn it off and bundle up while sleeping. Im a light sleeper and didn't want the fan kicking on and off.   Two of the nights were at 14F and the last night was at 5F.  The first night it snowed about 2-3 inches.  Other than that it was 40F in the day and then cold and clear at night.  I was intent to get a good RV parking spot at the ski resort so I would leave my camping spot in the dark at 0615 each morning,  

 

- I didn't have a condensation issue like others reported, although it was just me in the camper.  I DID  keep one of the upper vents open - about an inch and one of the windows with a 4" triangle open on the upper corner.  

 

- Before bed I would get the water heater totally hot and then turn off the water heater.  I had read that the heat leaking out of the water heater tank would keep things from freezing.  Not true in my case.  I would wake up to an ice icicle coming out of the faucet and it would take hours for the water to flow.  Not sure exactly what to do going forward.  I guess my next plan is to leave the furnace heat on the lowest setting and put up with the furnace noise.  Perhaps instead just leave the water heater turned on and hope that that would prove enough intermittent heat to keep things liquid.  I seem to have no damage after the trip to my water system.

 

- I had a hard time getting the cold/stiff vinyl sides to collapse correctly to pull the roof down.  It was a pain in the butt to get 6 latches latched with the stiff sides.  That colder morning it was all I could do was 5 latches and I left that 6th one unlatched as I drove off.  

 

- I took a heated blanket that pulled about 180w while it was turned on.  It was super nice to use to heat up my sleeping bags for the first 30 minutes of getting in.  I had two zero degree bags inside of each other.  

 

All in all I learned a few things and have a few lessons learned for next time.  Plan to take my wife in Jan on the same trip.  We will see how that goes.  I bought a luggable loo for her.  For me I would put on my shoes and trudge out in the snowy bushes to do my business- she isn't crazy about that.  

 

Steve


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#2 Rockaway

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 04:44 AM

Hey everyone,

Ive had my Grandby camper for a few months. I was just up at Mammoth Mtn skiing and camping for 3 nights. I used my heater while sitting around but then would turn it off and bundle up while sleeping. Im a light sleeper and didn't want the fan kicking on and off. Two of the nights were at 14F and the last night was at 5F. The first night it snowed about 2-3 inches. Other than that it was 40F in the day and then cold and clear at night. I was intent to get a good RV parking spot at the ski resort so I would leave my camping spot in the dark at 0615 each morning,

- I didn't have a condensation issue like others reported, although it was just me in the camper. I DID keep one of the upper vents open - about an inch and one of the windows with a 4" triangle open on the upper corner.

- Before bed I would get the water heater totally hot and then turn off the water heater. I had read that the heat leaking out of the water heater tank would keep things from freezing. Not true in my case. I would wake up to an ice icicle coming out of the faucet and it would take hours for the water to flow. Not sure exactly what to do going forward. I guess my next plan is to leave the furnace heat on the lowest setting and put up with the furnace noise. Perhaps instead just leave the water heater turned on and hope that that would prove enough intermittent heat to keep things liquid. I seem to have no damage after the trip to my water system.

- I had a hard time getting the cold/stiff vinyl sides to collapse correctly to pull the roof down. It was a pain in the butt to get 6 latches latched with the stiff sides. That colder morning it was all I could do was 5 latches and I left that 6th one unlatched as I drove off.

- I took a heated blanket that pulled about 180w while it was turned on. It was super nice to use to heat up my sleeping bags for the first 30 minutes of getting in. I had two zero degree bags inside of each other.

All in all I learned a few things and have a few lessons learned for next time. Plan to take my wife in Jan on the same trip. We will see how that goes. I bought a luggable loo for her. For me I would put on my shoes and trudge out in the snowy bushes to do my business- she isn't crazy about that.

Steve

Great info. I appreciate your willingness to give a few cold nights a try. I have slept many nights in mine and found the heater fan noise is very tolerable. Although my nights were not as cold as yours. I wish you the best for your upcoming nights with your wife in Jan.
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#3 Kolockum

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 05:32 AM

I ripped all my plumbing out because I could never keep it from freezing.

 

All in all I learned a few things and have a few lessons learned for next time.  Plan to take my wife in Jan on the same trip.  We will see how that goes.  I bought a luggable loo for her.  For me I would put on my shoes and trudge out in the snowy bushes to do my business- she isn't crazy about that.  

 

We use a Dometic portable toilet that flushes. To keep the "clean" or rinse water from freezing I normally add a liberal amount of really cheap vodka. So far I have had it down to ~5* and it has worked really well. I haven't tried it yet but you could probably go with some flavored vodka to get a refreshing smell.


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#4 camper rich

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 06:22 AM

I would never have water in my system if it were that cold.  I would take along a 5 gal jug of water and not use the plumbing.  If the furnace is left on all night the jug should not freeze solid.  Using a porta pottie (cassette toilet), I would put rv antifreeze it it.


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#5 Mthomas

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 06:28 AM

Where did you camp in mammoth? Not a very stealth friendly place.

 

A couple thoughts:

1. Consider draining the water system and running off of water containers to avoid possible damage

2. if not, then run the water heater up to max and drain it back down into the holding tank to minimize freezing issues over night. I have been considering shut off valves at the tank and at the manifold to isolate out the drain line and the exterior shower lines, but have not implemented.

3. Buy and install a garage thermostat with a lower set point for night time use, 35 or 40 would be good

4. earplugs if you run the heater all night

5. I think you got lucky with the condensation issue, two people will be worse, but warmer for sleeping.

6, crank the heat in the AM to make it easier to drop the top. 


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#6 longhorn1

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 11:15 AM

If you are camping in cold weather, you should winterize your plumbing and take water jugs with you. In Indiana we winterize with RV Anti-freeze the first of November and take a 4-gallon water container with a spigot, along with 2-gallon Rotopak of water. If you freeze and break the water lines, it will be an expensive repair and cabinets will have to be removed to reach the plumbing. There have been other members that paid an expensive price, with busted lines and a cracked water heater tank. The cost to replace the hot water tank alone is $900.00+/-. I know, not because ours froze, but because I never got it full and the flame melted and distorted the tank resulting in a small fire. A local RV place had to replaced the mother board, some wires and the tank. It was and expensive lesson, costing me over $750 four years ago. Better to be safe and smart than sorry. My 2-cents

Edited by longhorn1, 21 December 2020 - 11:17 AM.

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#7 rando

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 02:53 PM

We use our camper and water system in similar temperatures with no issues.  The big difference is that I leave the furnace on and set at 45 - 50 over night.  We have never had anything freeze. 


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#8 Ted

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 03:55 PM

We got down to 9 one night. The freezing water killed our water pump. Since then we have run the heater over night on very cold nights and left the cabinet door open to make sure warm air got into the pump location.


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#9 Jon R

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 05:34 PM

Question for those who camp in their FWC in the cold:

 

In the Pacific NW West of the Cascade crest at low altitude we get a lot of nights that just barely go below freezing.  Is there a temperature a bit below freezing where you would consider it always safe to use the water system with no unusual measures (just running heat at 50 or so at night), or is it best to take the precautions described above for anything below freezing?  If 25F and above is not a concern that would cover most of my local planned winter use.  Rando's comment above seems to support that simply keeping the heat on is sufficient for down at least to 20F.  Thanks.


Edited by Jon R, 21 December 2020 - 05:37 PM.

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#10 muttmaster

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 05:54 PM

Getting a Wave 3 heater is my ticket to quiet and warm night of sleep at 15F or lower. Open cabinets. Heat up water and dump back into 20 gal tank and heat water again to play it safe. I also bring a 5 gal propane tank so I don’t have to worry about running out of in the middle of the night. Bring a nice girl and a big furry dog might help too.

My first Winter at Mammoth 40 years ago was educational. Camped by the main lodge in my 1970 Vanagon. Learned to lay out my cloths before sleep and dress up very fast in the morning. Learned not to park along the road in a white van during big snow storm unless you didn’t care if snow plows comes by and bury you even more at 3:00 in the morning. Scary. I eventually got smarter and started parking in town closest to jacuzzi and sauna at different condos.

Much more comfortable in my Grandby these day, but I think I had more fun back then.

Edited by muttmaster, 21 December 2020 - 06:43 PM.

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