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Old 09-05-2018, 12:37 AM   #1
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Winter Camping in British Columbia

We are going to be using our new Escape 19' as a weekend ski cabin this winter (December 1 - March 31) in Whistler, B.C. I would love the advice of Escape owners who have used their trailers in the winter, with full hookups, for at least two or three days.

We've done this before (used the trailer as a ski cabin, I mean), in a Wilderness Ultralight in 2004, and in a Casita from 2007 to 2012. Because it was a "stick-built", I won't talk about the Wilderness; we did have problems initially with condensation and ice buildup, but were successful at managing them with the help of more experienced winter campers. But in the Casita, we had absolutely no condensation or ice problems at all. This may have been the consequence of triple-glazing the windows with shrink-wrap "storm windows", keeping the ceiling vent open 24/7, substituting an electric hot plate and coffee-maker for the propane stove, showering in the campground washrooms, not eating pasta --- and so on.

In the Casita, all of the water lines were inside the body of the trailer; we traced them as they snaked under and around the seats and cabinets. In our lovely little Escape 19", we know that hot and cold lines run under a raised floor under the aft sleeping area, from the driver's side, aft of the refrigerator, to the passenger's side, aft of the sink (we reversed sink and stove). It is this run that concerns us: might it freeze up?

If you have winter-camped with full hookups in your Escape, using a pressurized city water supply with a heated water hose, I'd be most grateful for your input!

(Note: because we keep the valves open at all times, we have never had a problem with grey or darker-grey-water disposal. So that part is ok!)
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:38 AM   #2
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WE have camped several times in West Virginia to watch Super Bowl in January with heated water supply, without any issues in our 21 with the foam spray. We also have been in New York during the winter with the heated supply hose in our 19, again with the foam and no issues. You may want to put an electric outlet on your Escape by the water hookup. The hose sometimes gets near freezing at the trailer end when plugged in at the pedestal. By plugging in closer to the trailer that should eliminate that issue, depending on length of hose needed. Those hoses are expensive also.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:49 AM   #3
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For the past three winters, we have spent 6 weeks in Driggs Idaho in the Teton Mountain range in Idaho/Montana. We dry camped due to our concern for freezing water systems. The furnace was adequate to temps of -10 F although there was some condensation on the windows and window frames below 20 F. We were able to mitigate the condensation on the frames by putting closed cell foam insulation on all the frames. I expect the new framless windows will eliminate this issue although you still may have window condensation. This can be reduced by cracking the ceiling vent an inch or so. Winter temps on the coast are more moderate than in Driggs, but I would have some concern that the furnace in the 19 will be enough. I donno.
Regarding water systems, the one thing I would recommend would be to construct a skirt around the bottom of the trailer. This appears to be a very common step taken by skiers using their rigs in winter. During really cold snaps, you can put a heat source below the trailer to improve the situation even further. As others have said, you need a robust, heated city water hose, and be sure the stand pipe coming from the ground is heated and insulated as well. I am concerned that your plan to leave the gray water (and black I assume?) connections in place. I worry that ice will build up in these pipes after the discharge leaves the heated space of the gray/black tanks. Any slight dip in the line will also hold liquid and freeze as well. Am I correct you have insulated tanks with the heat tapes? Using the holding tanks and dumping when full is problematic with the Escapes as well because the dump valves are outside the heated envelope and prone to freezing although a heated skirt might raise temps under the trailer enough to eliminate this.

Recommendations:

Skirting as discussed earlier

Swapping out accordian type gray/black water tank discharge hose for solid PVC sewer pipe wrapped with heat tape extending from the ground up and over the discharge valves and wrapped with closed cell foam insulation.

If you wish, you could turn the toilet into a port-a-potty affair by taping shut the valve at the bottom of the toilet and use port-a -potty bags with the material that solidifies liquid waste such that it can be disposed of as garbage. This is what we do and it works fine.

Or you can sell your rig and buy an Oliver if you have an extra $30,000 sitting around.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:41 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your comments. Spray foam insulation was installed under the Escape; we have used rigid piping for sewage in the past and will be installing it at Whistler; the campground has heated water pipes, and we own a heat-taped hose. And we keep both ceiling vents open at all times, day and night, summer and winter.

But how would I put closed cell foam insulation on our framed thermal window frames? I googled "closed cell foam", I got articles and photographs of only spray foam.

As I mentioned, I've triple-insulated the windows in our previous trailers, including the frames, with shrink-wrap "storm windows" and almost completely eliminated condensation on a window frame. The exception was the tiny droplets that formed during the night on the window immediately above our heads.

I would love to eliminate even those, so could you explain about the closed cell foam insulation on the frame?
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:20 PM   #5
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I forgot to ask: what do you use, and how do you attach it, to encose the space beneath the trailer?

We'll be staying in a campground at Whistler, and expect that we will need to take into account their concerns about aesthetics. I had thought of using hay bales, but there aren't any for sale in Whistler, so your advice would be most welcome.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:01 PM   #6
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I think it would be best to ask the campground what is acceptable.
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I think it would be best to ask the campground what is acceptable.
I have noted this before, it may be of some help.
Our first night in our 19 was at Williams Lake BC, when it was minus 10 plus C.
We were comfortable, a glass of wine then bed.
We later camped in colder weather.
We did not use the fresh water system, a five gallon water can served for fresh water.
I poured some plumbing anti freeze in the black, and grey water tanks.
All worked out OK.
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:21 AM   #8
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We have dry camped in freezing weather, but for four winter months we are going to be hooked up. Responses that speak to Escape experience with full hookups in winter would be most appreciared.
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Old 09-09-2018, 09:35 PM   #9
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Yardsale makes some good points. In Dawson Creek (mile 0 on the Alaska highway) there are some RV's used all winter who skirt the trailer with a heat source below the trailer, heat tape the water lines and insulate the grey/black water pipe. Here's a company that provides skirting - don't know anything about them: Trailer Skirting for Your RV by Kimbers Creations

Here's a good video:
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:22 AM   #10
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Thank you!! That was so helpful.

I do not think that we would put a heat source inside the skirting, both because it would be awkward to get at, to check on it, and also because we have Escape's foam insulation on the underside and I doubt a heat source in that area would help much inside the trailer. Also, I would be concerned about fire --- unlikely but possible.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egraham View Post
Thank you!! That was so helpful.

I do not think that we would put a heat source inside the skirting, both because it would be awkward to get at, to check on it, and also because we have Escape's foam insulation on the underside and I doubt a heat source in that area would help much inside the trailer. Also, I would be concerned about fire --- unlikely but possible.
The purpose of a heat source (as little as a 100w lightbulb) is not to affect the inside of the trailer but protect the water systems.
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Old 09-10-2018, 07:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yardsale View Post
The purpose of a heat source (as little as a 100w lightbulb) is not to affect the inside of the trailer but protect the water systems.
I agree, even a 100 watt bulb is enough to keep nearby plumbing from freezing.

I've been using them for years in boats where I had too limited power to use a conventional heater. Probably safer too.

Using a tomato juice can with holes in the top protects the bulb and radiates a usable amount of heat.

The tall one is placed under my slightly open hatch and seems to create a convection current drawing moisture laden air up and out. Seems to work because even though the trailer is stored in a damp environment the bedding etc. stays in place without any problems.

Ron
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