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Old 10-10-2008, 07:50 PM   #1
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Winter Boondocking

My company which makes ski/snowboard apparel recently purchased a 2008 Georgetown SE for use during a winter marketing tour. We are going to be living on it from December till April traveling from ski resort to ski resort. We will most likely be dry camping most of the time since most ski resort parking lots dont provide hookups. What is the best way to make sure that our pipes dont freeze? We plan on getting solar panels and additional batteries so we can at least run the furnace all night of the 12V power. What about other winterizing methods like things we can do to provide better insulation to the windows? pipes?

Also, this is the first time any of the 3 of us who are living on it have ever used an RV, what are some other tips or things to look out for? what are some of the commonly overlooked steps by newbies? any products out there that we should get to make our lives onboard easier or travel easier?

any insights are much appreciated, thanks

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:50 PM   #2
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Even with the solar you should probably have a generator. You wouldn't want to run it during your events but just some times to get your battery up to full charge or if you need it in a pinch to run the microwave. You will need a pretty big solar panel to keep up. Lot of people put up that plastic stuff on the inside widows... you know the stuff that sticks and then you use like a hair dryer. I hear it works good but I have not tried it. 1 battery should actually let you run close to a week, and especially if you are moving and charging or using solar and a generator but 2 batteries might be nice if you will be using more than the frugal amount of light and power most boondockers do. I just bought one of those led puck lights at a walmart for $6 in the camping section and I was surprised how light it puts out. Also a lot of people upgrade their lights to LED at least in some of the lights. Use less battery power. I haven't done this yet but am planning on it.

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Old 10-11-2008, 06:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by steveqvs View Post
1 battery should actually let you run close to a week,
They said they were gonna run the LP furnace at night.
My LP furnace will suck a battery dead on the 2nd night.
That blower motor is a -battery hog-.
My advice to these guys is to plan on running a heavy duty extension
cord to an outlet somewhere.
With that they can have light, TV, furnace, and maybe even an electric
I advise 200 feet of a good contractor type extension cords
of at least 14 gauge but 12 gauge would be much better.

A Honda 1000 or 2000 would be a good quiet backup but I still
recommend planning to use HEAVY DUTY extension cords for the bulk
of what they need. I believe you can use a microwave on a Honda 2000.

When you're talking heating, solar isn't going to do it unless you spend
major bucks on really large panels.

Also get a good -heavy- chain and padlock. Honda generators have
a bad habit of walking away at the darndest times.

Does a Georgetown SE have closed in underbelly and tank heaters????

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Old 10-12-2008, 01:28 PM   #4
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The following product will help you out a bit:

Also, run a search for "catalytic heater" at They still use gas, but are non-electric.
Happy Camping! ///// Richard D.
2006 4x4 Ford 250 SD / 2007 Flagstaff 827 FLS
One very patient wife and one furry child who travels with us. Forty-two years of trailering and camping, and I still have a blast.

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Old 10-12-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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Thanks to all those who replied!

We got two large panels and two extra deep cycle 12V batteries to help is run the LP furnace when ever we need to. Its a Ducted in-Floor Heat 35000 BTU Furnace, and im not sure if our model has tank heaters or a closed in underbelly, i am assuming that it does because not much is exposed underneath, but do you recommend insulating whatever is exposed in the underbelly?

We have an Onan 5500 generator that we will run when necessary but will also conserve to save gas. Since we are going from ski resort to ski resort we are going to have to be pretty mobile a lot of the time, so hook up time are going to be limited. Would the extension cord be for poaching outlets?, like outdoor outlets at commercial sites, much of the time we will be in parking lots with no access to outlets.

Our big concern is keeping pipes from bursting, are we going to be okay just keeping the coach warm on the inside, do we need to be using antifreeze? Was messin around today and tried to drain the water, then blow compressed air to clear the lines. Had trouble with both tasks, releasing the low-drain valve by the propane tanks to drain the water didnt seem to drain the tanks all the way, is this normal? maybe because the coach wasnt level? also, wanted to blow compressed air in but im not sure where to connect my air compressor, to the city fill up valve? do i need an adapter to fit that?

its going to be a steep learning curve....
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:54 PM   #6
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Frankly, I think you are going to have some difficulties with your extended camping plans. Have you considered that you are frequently going to need to access an LP tank filling facility. (The furnace uses quite a bit of gas.) Also, if your water and waste tanks are kept warm by the hot air ducts you will have no choice but to run the furnace periodically. If they are heated by heating pads you will need a good supply of electricity. If you put antifreeze in your pipes (winterize the unit) you will be limited to using water that you bring on board in containers and which you can dump outside. (Holding tanks also freeze.) And, by the way, no water means no toilet. You might want to consider a PortaPotti. And yes, you use a blow out plug to introduce compressed air into your water lines. I screws into your city water inlet and can be purchased at most camping supply stores. FWIW, if you want to use antifreeze, the Georgetown probably has a winterizing kit installed just before the water pump. Antifreeze can be introduced to the water lines without first blowing them out.

If I were in your shoes, I would plan to stay at full service campgrounds and would consider towing a 4x4 vehicle, one that is of sufficient size to accommodate your crew and show supplies. Don't forget that you will need a vehicle in which to go shopping, etc. It's kind of hard to go out to eat in a motorhome. PS - Once the motorhome is warm, a couple of electric heaters will keep it that way most of the time. Also, a campground power supply for electric appliances (coffee pot, frying pans, microwave, etc) can be mighty handy.

Best of luck with your trip.
Happy Camping! ///// Richard D.
2006 4x4 Ford 250 SD / 2007 Flagstaff 827 FLS
One very patient wife and one furry child who travels with us. Forty-two years of trailering and camping, and I still have a blast.

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Old 10-12-2008, 07:06 PM   #7
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There are plenty of good books out there. Go to and pick up a few. And read a bunch of stuff on this forum. You'll find lots of help and very little BS on this particular site.

Dang, I wish somebody would pay me to ride around in a brand new motorhome. There has got to be a downside....
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:03 PM   #8
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As I tend to like boondocking much better than campgrounds and because I have spent up to a week in below freezing temperatures in my rig during the elk hunt, I would have to say that I agree with many of the others in that you are going to have a hard time when it comes to power usage. Even with 4 6volt golf cart batteries I have a hard time running the furnace for more than about 4 nights at "ski resort" temperatures. Figure on just more than 1 battery/day usage when trying to keep things warm and using minimal lights, etc. If you have 1 coach batteriy and it's really cold you have to know that because of the cold the batteries capacity is greatly diminished and you may not make it through one night on one battery! The solar charger would help if you have enough sun but in my experience there typically is overcast skies at a lot of places where I ski. During the ski season we try to find the closest RV park with hookups, tow a Jeep Liberty behind the rig and drive it to the slopes. One other thing. I know many campers swear by catalytic heaters but you must know that the byproduct of their combustion is water, lots of water in the form of condensation on the inside of the rig. You must keep some vents open in order to use them and not end up with a waterfall on your walls. When its below freezing outside, opening vents to "heat" your rig just doesn't make sense to me.

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