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Old 09-17-2012, 07:44 PM   #1
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Question Winter Camping in the new Roo 21SS

It's that time of year (getting colder), and I've been scouring forums trying to figure out the best way to approach a couple of late-fall/early winter camping trips we have planned to NW (Dinosaur Nat. Mon.) and SW Utah (Zion and Bryce). I've looked at weather underground for seasonal weather histories, and it looks like we could be facing 40s and 50s during the days and teens to 30 at night.

We've got a 2012.5 Roo 21ss with tank heaters, and what looks like a partially enclosed underbelly -- the tanks are below the hard 'cover', but there is a hard, black panel that seems to keep everything but the gas lines and feeder/drain lines to and from the tanks, under wraps. SO…..given that the only park we are visiting that offers electrical hookups is Zion, what is my best bet for keeping things from freezing while we camp in the cold? Some steps I am considering:

1. Keeping the cabinet doors under the bunk ends and under the kitchen and bath sinks open to help keep the cold water lines (front) and hot water lines (rear) close to camper-temp.

2. Insulating the couple of feet of exposed lines that runs from the fresh water tank into the seemingly-enclosed underbelly, and the sewer drain lines. (Suggestions on specific insulation welcome). I had considered some sort of heat tape, but we won't have access to 110 all the time.

3. Running the tank heaters for an hour or so before lights out, and when we awake if the temps are still below freezing.

Is there anything else you can suggest? Is there a way to "blow out" or isolate the lines to the outdoor shower to keep them from freezing?

I'd also be curious to know if anyone has more information on what is really going on with my underbelly -- is it truly "enclosed", and does it get enough residual heat from the camper to keep lines from freezing? Is the hard "covering" also insulated? (I'll try to take some pics if people are interested -- maybe this is standard on HTT....I only have a popup to compare to)

We have had nothing but success (knocking on wood, here) in our first two journeys with the Roo, and I don't want any surprises!

Thanks in advance,

MaryBeth
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TV: 2008 Toyota Sequoia
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Anyone have any thoughts on this? First cold trip is just a couple of weeks away!


Thx,

mb
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TV: 2008 Toyota Sequoia
Hybrid: 2013 Rockwood Roo 21SS
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2012 Nights camped: 14 (popup) + 9 (Roo)
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:44 PM   #3
rbq
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If you come in the next few weeks you should be OK without a lot of concern about super cold temps. Weather has been very mild for fall. We usually camp well into October here without any problems. If you camp where you have full hookups & find the temps are getting below freezing advice is to make sure & disconnect hose from bib & turn off water before night. It would have to get quite cold with prolonged freezing temps to cause much concern. Come & enjoy the season. The coldest area that you described could either be at Dinosaur NM or at Bryce canyon. Zion is lower elevation & usually has mild temps.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbvell View Post
It's that time of year (getting colder), and I've been scouring forums trying to figure out the best way to approach a couple of late-fall/early winter camping trips we have planned to NW (Dinosaur Nat. Mon.) and SW Utah (Zion and Bryce). I've looked at weather underground for seasonal weather histories, and it looks like we could be facing 40s and 50s during the days and teens to 30 at night.
Sounds like great trips you've got planned!

Here are my thoughts. Note that I have only camped a few weekends with freezing temps with our Shamrock. Once with water and several times with a winterized system. We carried our water then and used outhouses but did not take showers those weekends. We use to camp in freezing nightly temps quite often with our pup, which had only a very basic water system, and many times in tents. But, it sounds to me that you want the full functionality of your water system while doing this. I hope this can help you

You are an experiment of one because no one will have the same temps or freeze time. But, I know you're just looking to get an idea of what to expect.

Your lines are made of PEX, which is actually a bit resilient to ice expansion as I believe it expands slightly. Also, those overnight temps of 15-30 should not result in much freezing of your tanks. You would need much longer than overnight to freeze your fresh water tank that has many gallons of water in it.

I would shut off my pump and disconnect your water line at the source before bed and open the faucets to release some of the pressure. You will want to inspect the lines everyday and plan to carry some plumbing tools and supplies in case you need to make small repairs.

Quote:
We've got a 2012.5 Roo 21ss with tank heaters, and what looks like a partially enclosed underbelly -- the tanks are below the hard 'cover', but there is a hard, black panel that seems to keep everything but the gas lines and feeder/drain lines to and from the tanks, under wraps. SO…..given that the only park we are visiting that offers electrical hookups is Zion, what is my best bet for keeping things from freezing while we camp in the cold? Some steps I am considering:

1. Keeping the cabinet doors under the bunk ends and under the kitchen and bath sinks open to help keep the cold water lines (front) and hot water lines (rear) close to camper-temp.
It can't hurt. You might consider a decently sized catalytic heater. The Olympian Wave 4 or 6 should work well for your camper.

Quote:
2. Insulating the couple of feet of exposed lines that runs from the fresh water tank into the seemingly-enclosed underbelly, and the sewer drain lines. (Suggestions on specific insulation welcome). I had considered some sort of heat tape, but we won't have access to 110 all the time.

3. Running the tank heaters for an hour or so before lights out, and when we awake if the temps are still below freezing.
Heat tape will work the best. Do you have a generator? One with a remote that you could start early in the AM without having to go outside would be nice.

Quote:
Is there anything else you can suggest? Is there a way to "blow out" or isolate the lines to the outdoor shower to keep them from freezing?
Yes, you can blow out all of the lines using a portable compressor or even a hand pump. A bit of a hassle to do nightly though. I would first try a night without blowing the lines and just release the pressure and see how that goes.

But you could separate the outside shower, which you aren't going to use anyway in cold temps (we barely use ours in warm temps), by installing a valve. My shower line is accessible from inside the trailer through the back storage area behind a false panel.

Quote:
I'd also be curious to know if anyone has more information on what is really going on with my underbelly -- is it truly "enclosed", and does it get enough residual heat from the camper to keep lines from freezing? Is the hard "covering" also insulated? (I'll try to take some pics if people are interested -- maybe this is standard on HTT....I only have a popup to compare to)
I'm not sure if the underbelly on the Roo is "rated" for cold protection or if its just to protect the innards from flying rocks, etc.

Quote:
We have had nothing but success (knocking on wood, here) in our first two journeys with the Roo, and I don't want any surprises!

Thanks in advance,

MaryBeth
I hope some of that helps you and let us know if you have any questions.

Good luck with your trips, MaryBeth, and let us know how you plan to deal with it and how it all worked out for you. I'm sure others would be interested in hearing about your experiences.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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Thanks TriGuy...

Lots of good nuggets of advice in there -- some that had not even occurred to me! Heat tape, especially, could be a good option -- while our Bryce campsite might not have hookups, we do have a solar system that stores some juice in a nice battery pack. That battery pack has an inverter with a 110V outlet -- just need to understand the draw from the heat tape. Fortunately, we have the worlds' greatest hardware store in town where I know I can get all the help I need. They may also be able to point me to some good insulation for the b/g lines.

I'll also try to find some time to put a shutoff in the tubing to the shower. That seems like the best option since the only situation I can foresee having to ever use the outdoor shower is if I come back from a particularly muddy mtb ride!

I will also look into a good ceramic heater -- which will work with hookups. We have a Mr Big Buddy from when I ran a business out of our garage, but that is likely overkill.

We are camping this weekend in Buena Vista, CO. It got down into the low 40s last night. Brrrr! But we didn't have our PUGs on, which I know would have helped. We also bought some liners for our tent ends for when it really gets cold.

Thanks for your help...I'll keep good notes and report my findings of what works and what doesn't!

mb
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MaryBeth and Mark, DS AAV (+2 doggies)
TV: 2008 Toyota Sequoia
Hybrid: 2013 Rockwood Roo 21SS
2010 Nights (popup): 31 2011 Nights (popup): 27
2012 Nights camped: 14 (popup) + 9 (Roo)
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:22 AM   #6
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A couple of winters ago I took my Roo 19 to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas and it got down to the single digits the first night and didn't make it above 20 deg the next day. I had the furnace set to kick in when it got below 65 deg inside and I had 2 portable ceramic heaters on the floor at each end of the trailer. It stayed nice and toasty overnight and the next day. I also had the tank heaters going the whole trip. I filled up the fresh water tank at the park and never had any plumbing problems. My hose was frozen solid that morning along with the lake so make sure you detach it and get the water out before you store it. I did blow through 1.5 tanks of propane in those 3 days though but we were never uncomfortable inside. I did have extra heated blankets along with the heated mattress. s for the outside shower, I still had the antifreeze in from when I winterized before deciding to take that last minute trip.
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