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Old 09-23-2012, 11:28 AM   #1
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Advice on Winter Camping

Hey Fellow A-Framers!

We purchased our A122bh earlier this year and had a GREAT time in Yosemite with it.

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So many tours while we were there, we had to make sure we tidied up!

We are considering going back in January, and wondered what advice was out there for winter camping. We live in San Diego, so "winterizing" our trailer isn't the same as it is for folks with four seasons...so any help would be much appreciated!

-We would likely be there for four nights
-We bring portable power packs that run their own lights and juice up our electronics, so most of the battery use would be for the heater to take the chill off.
-I bring a spare battery as well, but barely tapped into the original, since we use the portable power/lights.
-We normally don't cook inside (don't need to encourage any hungry bears), but may if it's just too cold outside.
-Not sure what to do about the water tank. It will probably freeze, right? Would it be best to keep the tank and lines empty, or is there a way to use them? I would imagine the trip to the restrooms to brush teeth is a lot less appealing when it's freezing out...
-any other considerations?

Thanks!

B & S
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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Some parts of Yosemite are over 9000 feet, you are not thinking of camping at that altitude are you, if so you will also need Oxygen and Arctic underpants

Joking aside did you look up the weather stats yet for where you want to camp?
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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I'd avoid using the water systems at all. Drain them and blow them out with compressed air. Not worth risking a freezing catastrophe. Bring water in gallon jugs, or maybe those 2.5g containers with the spigot like you'd put on the refrigerator shelf and keep them in the camper.

Make sure to run the furnace for several (maybe 4) hours before you set out with the windows open and the vent blowing to burn off any oils, otherwise your smoke detector will go off. If you are cooking inside, I've also found I need to open the roof vent and run it or the smoke detector will go off (at least when I was sauteing veggies and frying bacon, may not happen if you're boiling pasta).

You may want to bring a portable heater "just in case" you have power issues. You can also reduce power consumption by pulling the fuse on the radio (or installing a cutoff switch). You can't really remove the parasite loads on the propane and smoke detectors and the only other power use would be the overhead lights, which you aren't using. They can also be swapped for LEDs to dramatically reduce power usage.

Condensation has been reported when using the heater, so you'll probably have to crack a window or the roof vent a little at night. Just be aware of where the cold drafts are coming in so you sleep appropriately. Watch for frost/ice buildup.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Here ya go!


Winter in Yosemite is snowy and cold, though sunny and chilly days are not uncommon.
Yosemite Valley & Wawona (4,000 ft / 1,200 m): 53F (12C) / 28F (-2C)

Brrrrrr
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
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We are planning on using our trailer in January - so what we will do is what Thunder Road suggests and just blow the water lines and bring the water we plan on using. When I had my travel trailer I mustve left just enough water in my sink head - it froze and blew a hole in the gooseneck fixture...I had wanted to upgrade fixture but not because of my poor winterized job. haha

All the times we camped in San Diego, it never got cold enough to freeze. We had a motorhome back then & in 10 years of owning it, never winterized it...but when we moved to Eastern WA, we did have to do it (heck, blowing sprinkler lines was new to me as well!)

For your needs, I would watch the weather reports for the areas you plan to go...its not worth the risk of incurring an expense for something preventable.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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Great advice on the water lines- that was my main concern. The campgrounds open in Yosemite on the valley floor tend to not be as cold as the higher elevations. We had considered a Buddy Heater as a backup as well. Thanks, too, for the advice on "burning off" the heater- we used it BREIFLY once on our trip when we spent our last night at a higher elevation...and stopped right away from the smell. Regardless, our shorts and flip flops will not get much use!

Any thoughts in towing with trailer chains? That's also a possibility that should be planned for, it seems.

Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:24 PM   #7
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You will need chains on both trailer and the TV when traveling through the mountain passes. If you have electrical hook up I would recommend using a dehumidifier. When the trailer has a lot of humidity in it you will feel cold no mater how high you have the temp. set. When it get too warm you will be in a sauna.
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