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Winter camping?
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November 26, 2016
3:26 pm
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Txwifiguy
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OK boys and girls

We are planning a trip to the California mountains in the next couple months with our 195.  i see the temps are already in the low 20s at night.  I expect to see the teens atlease during the night.  Can y’all tell me what is going to freeze outside when the inside is warm?  I will run off the 12v pump and the fresh water tank so we will not have external hoses but what about the water hoses under the chassis?  If we open the the front hatches under the dinette will we be OK?  Thoughts?

November 28, 2016
5:24 pm
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Kristopher
Southern Utah
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Txwifiguy said
OK boys and girls

We are planning a trip to the California mountains in the next couple months with our 195.  i see the temps are already in the low 20s at night.  I expect to see the teens atlease during the night.  Can y’all tell me what is going to freeze outside when the inside is warm?  I will run off the 12v pump and the fresh water tank so we will not have external hoses but what about the water hoses under the chassis?  If we open the the front hatches under the dinette will we be OK?  Thoughts?  

From what I understand are these trailers are not made for 4 seasons more or less 3 seasons. With that said I’ve only heard those rumors. From looking under the trailer I don’t think you will have much luck with a cold winter. I would think pretty much everything under the trailer is going to freeze up, the water holding tank is 1/4 inch plastic with no insulation, the pipes are all plastic no insulation and just hanging feet from the ground.  Now I have 181B so my setup might be different then yours. 

November 28, 2016
6:18 pm
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Txwifiguy
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Well, that is not what I was expecting for a trailer built in Indiana.  Another question I forgot to ask the dealer and did not look for it in the documentation.

Guess I will get a couple cans of spray foam on the tanks and some electric heater tape and pipe wrap for the water lines and then see what happens.  

More fun.

November 28, 2016
6:44 pm
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Kristopher
Southern Utah
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If you try to weather proof it make sure to document it so other members can see how you did it.  I owned another trailer before my retro that was made for cold weather. The freshwater tank was located under the queen bed all the plumbing was run under a cavity right below the floor.  As long as the furnace was on in the camper it would keep all the pipes warm.  I know they make water pipe heater cables but they plug into a outlet and consume a lot of power. 

December 10, 2016
2:02 pm
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Kristopher
Southern Utah
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Here’s a good article I found for winter camping in your Riverside Retro. http://smalltrailerenthusiast……made-easy/  

 

Best of luck!

January 8, 2017
8:29 am
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retro_dan
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Did you ever winterize your Retro? What were the results if you did?

January 8, 2017
4:41 pm
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Txwifiguy
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Yes,  We did run into some cool (for Texas) weather.  Dropped to 15 and 17 deg a couple of nights in Van Horn TX.   On advice from the campground owner, we trickled the cold water in both sinks.  During the night, we lost the hot water in the kitchen, but we did have it in the bath.  We did not trickle the hot water because I did not want to stress the heater all night.  The toilet was still working in the morn though we did have some bottles of water to flush just in case.  The only trouble we had is in the morning, as my wife was making breakfast.  She shut off the cold trickle and almost immediately all the water in the kitchen froze.  But by 10 AM, we were back flowing again.  No harm, no foul.  

Other than trickling the cold water, we did put insulation on the two lines running across under the trailer (see pix) and opened the cabinets during the night.  I also removed the service port to the water pump and let the cabin heat flow to those areas as much as possible.  We had 4 people in the camper and two little 1500 w catalytic space heaters and woke up to a 55 deg cabin with 15 deg. out side.  Within minutes we were comfortable with the heaters turned up to full blast.  I did not bother with the on-board propane heater.  Just too noisy. 

All in all, we made the 1200 mile pull from Houston to the high desert north of Palm Springs with no issues, no colds and no fights with the kids.  Even got a day trip to Carlsbad Caverns.   We did one day’s pull into 60 MPH gusts and 40 MPH sustained winds.  We did not have the sense to pull over and wait the wind out and suffered 6 MPG mileage.  My Durango barley made 100 miles per tank and they were $70 tanks.. Grrr… 

Hope all are having a great New Year.  We will recap the experience when we get back to Houston in late January.

d

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March 7, 2017
10:35 am
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markstevens
Sugar Land, Texas
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Good information.  We just recently purchased a new 177SE but haven’t picked it up yet – it is in Salida Co. and we planned to pick it up mid-April but I am very concerned about freezing up.  We live near Houston, Tx so should be okay once we get a bit south.  I would appreciate any ideas/suggestions.

July 25, 2017
5:11 am
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A.J.
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We started talking about winter camping on our way home from Vermont this past weekend.  We live in Connecticut so our trailer will be winterized in October just to be safe.  If/when we winter camp, we would not use the water system at all. More than anything,  I am curious about towing in winter conditions and comfort in the trailer.  The heater is loud so I would want to pursue other heat options as well.

Thoughts?

 

A.J.

August 2, 2017
7:32 pm
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Groucho
SoCal
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A.J. said
We started talking about winter camping on our way home from Vermont this past weekend.  We live in Connecticut so our trailer will be winterized in October just to be safe.  If/when we winter camp, we would not use the water system at all. More than anything,  I am curious about towing in winter conditions and comfort in the trailer.  The heater is loud so I would want to pursue other heat options as well.

Thoughts?

 

A.J.  

with my 177 the heater really sucks the propane… 

August 30, 2017
4:47 pm
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Peg
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I’m planning on winter camping as well up in Old Forge, NY.  I did it before with a large pop-up and it pulled fine.  I wonder if I should get snow tires on it.  I do have snow tires on my grand Caravan in the winter and I haven’t had any problems with that in the Adirondacks.  I am looking forward to using the 177SE in the winter!

October 10, 2017
3:32 am
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A.J.
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We are heading up to Acadia National Park in Maine this weekend for a marathon my wife is running.  We will be staying in Bangor as we couldn’t find any open campgrounds in Acadia after Columbus Day.  We have had our 181B since April and this will be nights 33-35 in Big Red.  This is our last planned trip of the year.  I am not sure if we will do any winter camping but I can’t imagine letting the trailer sit for the next 6 months.  I plan on winterizing the trailer after this trip but I think we may do a little camping here and there at some Connecticut Harvest Host.  I have only used the heater twice, when we were driving the trailer back from picking it up in Michigan.  My memory of the experience can be summed up with one word:  loud.  It is what it is though.

October 10, 2017
7:03 am
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Roccosamore
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Loud, but warm!

February 28, 2019
9:01 pm
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GinnyMiller
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I know this is an old thread, just wanted to revive it and throw in my two cents in case anyone is still seeking knowledge on this topic.

I am a full time RVer and live in south Texas. Coldest temps I have experienced here so far is low 20’s. To protect the exposed PEX plumbing under the trailer, I ran heat-trace cable along the pipes, then wrapped them with foam insulation. It’s important not to wrap the thermostat on the cable, so that it can sense properly when it is cold enough for it to switch on. Below is a link to a similar product. It is completely self contained. All you need to do other than attach it to your plumbing is to plug it in.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Easy-Heat-AHB-130-30-foot-Heat-Cable/21178720

For the water supply hose in cold weather I use a Pirit heated hose. Similar concept as the heat trace cable. This hose has wire built into it, and a thermostat/plug attached. It only switches itself on when the temperature drops below a certain point.

http://www.pirithose.com/

My water tank has some kind of a protective/insulator pad attached to the bottom. I bought it used so I don’t know if this was installed by the factory or the previous owner. I am considering attaching stiff foam insulation to the underside of the floor, where it is not too bothersome to do so. My experience with cold is that the floor gets pretty chilly. Throw rugs help.

For heat I use a Vornado brand space heater. They are engineered to be energy efficient by heating the whole space the same temperature from floor to ceiling. I bought my first Vornado when I was living in a 100+ year old un-insulated tiny house with 11′ ceilings. Vornado kept me toasty warm without having to ever use the expensive propane beast (heater) on the wall. I have only used my propane furnace in my trailer once during a brief power outage. It was very noisy and sucked the propane up very fast. The thermostat in the trailer is also rather basic and janky, in my opinion. If I used the furnace more I would upgrade to a digital thermostat. Anyway, here is the link for Vornado heaters

https://www.vornado.com/product-category/heaters

I live in an RV park, I’m not a boondocker, so the power usage of these products is not an issue for me.

Good luck, hope this helps someone. Happy trails.

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