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Old 01-25-2023, 10:06 AM   #1
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Cold weather use questions A-frame

Please, only people that have/had or personally know people that have an A-frame camper.. Tow vehicle will be a 2015 ram 2500 6.7 cummins diesel. Overkill,,, but its what i have, an A-frame seems it would have some insulation. This is just for one person, maybe 2 in the future.
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I know all about cold weather camping, but not how good an A-frame would do in temp conditions, 25f and above, for short times or dips at night. I have a 2017 forest river greywolf 26bh, i spent the winter in it before retiring, and fulltime going on over 6 years now, so i got this weekender down to what to do for cold snaps, including, i made portable skirting, and window/vents/skylights, dump valves, insulation, heated isulated water hose. I have never had a frozen anything.
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i am thinking of taking a break and travel less, by getting an apartment and staying up north where i go for the summer, then just hook up and head south for a month or 2 or 3 traveling pulling a simple light A-frame with as many amenities as they offer.
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I could/can, use my currant TT as i wont be selling it, but seems simple to do the smaller lighter camper for hook and go. Smaller also gets one in places bigger rigs cant fit, and i like that... The truck bed offers lots of space for stuff the lack of the A-frame storage has, and not overloading the axels. The A-frame seems perfect for future small state parks camping.
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The A-frame is also an experiment on getting a smaller, better fuel mpg vehicle, as i use my pickup as a car most of the time.
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Thanks.........
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Old 01-25-2023, 11:28 AM   #2
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Our first night in our Aframe it got into the low 20s and the propane furnace kept us quite cozy. Weíve had many nights since below freezing and have stayed comfortable. Itís always been well above freezing during the days (at least in the upper 40s) and weíve had no issues with anything freezing as all of the fresh water system except the tank and low point drains are inside.
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Old 01-25-2023, 04:44 PM   #3
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Our first night in our Aframe it got into the low 20s and the propane furnace kept us quite cozy. We’ve had many nights since below freezing and have stayed comfortable. It’s always been well above freezing during the days (at least in the upper 40s) and we’ve had no issues with anything freezing as all of the fresh water system except the tank and low point drains are inside.
X2. We have been in Colorado mountains with night temps outside as low as high 20s (not our preference). Day time would be high 40s or higher. We have down blankets and 2" mattress foam, and set the heat from 52-58. Heater does not run continuously, maybe a 60% duty cycle in worst case. I do crack the vent and the starboard window to prevent condensation from 2 humans and a dog.

The Cool Cat heat pump does not put out any heat as outside temp approaches 40 deg! Don't ask me how I know this. Set the mode to propane heater if the temps are going below 40 in the night. This avoids having to get out from under that warm down blanket in the middle of the night to change the mode on the thermostat.

In cold weather, having some heat on inside the A-frame allows the fridge not to freeze the fridge contents, and prevents water tank and low point drain freezing.

Fred W
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Old 01-25-2023, 06:56 PM   #4
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Thank you so far, very helpfull.
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I am, was thinking popup truck camper, as i am set up for it. I ordered one last year and the deal fell through. 2013 and up ram 2500s, there are very few that are ok for a TC because of the coil spring rears. Mine being a 2 door longbed is OK for a truck camper per manufacture. But, the tow able A-frame gives options of another vehicle to use, as i havent needed what the diesel can do yet, and the more cost per gallon of diesel than gas is getting old.
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Looking at the A-frame seems more room, storage and such, leaving the pickup bed empty for stuff, all the wile being less wind drag towing something lower than the roof of the pickup and no wider than a TC.
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Also opens up choices of tow vehicles besides a Pickup, for the future, of state park camping.
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Old 01-28-2023, 06:59 AM   #5
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I’ve had freezing problems on a few trips the first winter we had our a214 so as a rule now I shut off the pump and open the lines every night. I added a heater to the water holding tank so we never freeze solid but the inside lines still do from time to time. I’m talking single digit nights. If we remove the filter from the heat pump and open the seat with the water heater at night we never freeze up. The condensation is my biggest struggle when we camp in freezing temps for a few days or more. It’s a constant battle to keep it from raining on you and your stuff. If any of you have a solution for that let me know. Thanks
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Old 01-28-2023, 07:55 AM   #6
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I’ve had freezing problems on a few trips the first winter we had our a214 so as a rule now I shut off the pump and open the lines every night. I added a heater to the water holding tank so we never freeze solid but the inside lines still do from time to time. I’m talking single digit nights. If we remove the filter from the heat pump and open the seat with the water heater at night we never freeze up. The condensation is my biggest struggle when we camp in freezing temps for a few days or more. It’s a constant battle to keep it from raining on you and your stuff. If any of you have a solution for that let me know. Thanks
Haven't been in single digits since my tent days. But condensation is a real issue in tents and popups in 40 degree temps when humidity is high, and gets worse as it gets colder.

Having learned my lesson in popups, I ALWAYS crack the vent an inch or two in my A-frame. Since it's on a steeply sloped roof, rain isn't an issue for opening the vent in A-frames. DW doesn't like windows or vents opened when A/C or heat is on, but she's learned to humor me. When not raining, I usually also open the window an inch or two on the starboard side, too (where my head is). This gives some cross ventilation, which seems to be enough to prevent condensation.

We had problems with leaks in our 3rd year with the large A-frame when it rained. I had a great trouble finding the source of the leaks, but water usually ended up getting to DW's pillow. Ended up recaulking where the rear fiberglass roof panel joins the aluminum edge framing, the port side window, where the side folding panels join the side hinges, and the base around the vent. I also repaired the bottom end of the port front corner trim of the box. This seems to have cured all the leaks.

I did notice that the leaks developed when we had to store the camper outside Aug-Nov 2021 in Virginia coast sun, wind, rain, and tree debris. Now stored in a garage again, caulking has held up for the 15 months despite camping 10 weeks in that time.

just our experiences
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Old 01-28-2023, 09:59 AM   #7
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( Wan2bemountainman ) Two of you have been in the single digits, was that F or C for the temps??? 10C is a lot different than 10F, still both cold but one is colder.
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I still am doing research on what would handle cold snaps better. A 4 seasonish popup truck camper or a good A-frame. Not much on the A-frame for info on getting caught in the cold, set up take down, 3-4 days of, say, 20f at night then 40f day temps.
... Its just seems the A-frame, the one with a dormer/s would really open one up, vs a popup truck camper, let alone one wouldnt need a pickup with lots of payload.


On condensation, as i have been in this TT for about 7 years. I have always had a dehumidifier, as it was the only way to rid of the shower, breathing, cooking moistures. I tried the cheep counter top ones, and they did about nothing. I ended up with small apartment size on wheels. Yes it takes up space and adds lbs, but it also adds some heat when it is running taking moisture out of the air, so it does 2 things at one time. ( in cooler temps ) Warmer temps i dont get the moisture.
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This past summer, my roof AC that never really worked well anyway, pooped put. I replaced it with a portable AC unit. Lots quieter, i can run it off my honda 2000eui gen, no problem. It will AC, heat, dehumidify, i vent it out the outside shower place i never used anyway.
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Old 01-28-2023, 11:36 AM   #8
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Being in the US, I speak in deg F.

I have not been in lower than the high 20s (F) in the A-frame. The weather forecasts are good enough for me to avoid that weather. Once in Colorado, while stored in the garage, water froze in the water filter, and busted the filter threads. I have never winterized the water system.

Camping to me at my current age is voluntary. When I was younger, the Boy Scouts (and later when I led Boy Scouts), we went unless the weather was unsafe (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards). With the Scouts, I learned what it took equipment-wise to survive down as low as -10F. I have no desire to repeat, especially being caught on the trail in nasty thunderstorms with lightning striking less than 100yds away.

We have the 2019 Flagstaff T21TBHW with the dormer. We previous had a 2014 Rockwood A122 without the dormer. The dormer, to us, makes a tremendous difference in the livability of the interior. The dinette is no longer claustrophobic, and I no longer have to sit with my head in a domed window. The front window is high enough to see out of without people passing by seeing in. And the front window opens. We are very glad we bought with a dormer. The dormer can be left down if desired when setting up, but it only 3 min to set up or take down time.

There is a significant weight penalty for the dormer (100lbs?) and a fair portion of that adds to the tongue weight. We have to pack reasonably to keep tongue weight below 500lbs. Also, headroom in the dormer is like 6ft 4in. All our family is less than 6ft, so no issue for us. Finally, the dormer adds inside air space to be heated or cooled - just saying. Without dormer is noticeably more efficient to heat or cool. I believe the A-frame walls and roof are equivalent to R4 insulation - somewhat better than canvas, but not near residential.

Fred W
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Old 01-28-2023, 06:31 PM   #9
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That was Fahrenheit. We do most of our camping late fall and winter. Lots less people no matter where we go, but it’s usually to higher elevation in the mountains, and early winter is usually less snow and our favorite time but we have been snowed in for a few days before the road was passable. I should have also said we are almost always off grid. I do have an inverter but I can’t imagine the draw of a dehumidifier on my system. If I was going to be somewhere with power I would use an electric space heater. I love the idea of a popup truck camper but I bring to much crap. The bed and camper shell on my truck is packed pretty full when we go. My next project is a snap on skirt to see if that helps with retaining more heat. With all small camping you have to rob from Peter to pay Paul. You have to set your priorities and let some things slide. Keep us updated on what you decide to go with.
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Old 01-28-2023, 08:27 PM   #10
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Thanks....
...
As i fulltime, i would need a enclosed trailer for stuff, as its all with me, so a truck camper, would be about empty, just whats needed. An A-frame i would get a truck cap and put stuff in that.
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On homemade skirting, as i made it for the TT last year.. Options are oiled cotton canvas tarps, cheaper, than new awning material or one can get the used stuff they make billboard signs out of, as they change often and sell the material good as new, just printed on one side..
... They both sew with a normal sewing machine very nice.
... Good stainless snaps and eyelets, as well as a snap tool and eyelet tool are great...
... I put the snaps under camper and cut out a spot to get to the dump valves and over the drain hose.
... Snap on, put steaks in ground for skirting, eyelets at corners to tie together or snaps, and done.. Rolls up and stores light.
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Old 01-29-2023, 12:42 AM   #11
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even though it gets cold in the northern parts of the southern US ( AL, GA FL panhandle is what I am referring to) I don't believe you will need skirting even if you overnight in KY or TN in the cold on the way down.

I would bypass the factory installed water filter so it does not need to be drained and not use the water system in the A-frame at all if you are flirting with freezing temps.

the best advise was given by pgandw (above post):
Quote:
But condensation is a real issue in tents and popups in 40 degree temps when humidity is high, and gets worse as it gets colder.

Having learned my lesson in popups, I ALWAYS crack the vent an inch or two in my A-frame. Since it's on a steeply sloped roof, rain isn't an issue for opening the vent in A-frames. DW doesn't like windows or vents opened when A/C or heat is on, but she's learned to humor me. When not raining, I usually also open the window an inch or two on the starboard side, too (where my head is). This gives some cross ventilation, which seems to be enough to prevent condensation.
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Old 03-18-2023, 10:24 AM   #12
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Question Go back question

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I added a heater to the water holding tank so we never freeze solid but the inside lines still do from time to time.
Wan2bMountainman: Very curious from what you said you did; what heater did you use and where did you install it on your water tank?
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Old 03-18-2023, 11:59 AM   #13
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Facon 7-1/4"x25" RV Holding Tank Heater Pad, CW-ST725, with Automatic Thermostat Control, Use with Up to 50 Gallons Fresh Water/Grey Water/Black Water Tank,12Volts DC, QAI Certificated https://a.co/d/6tWzjxZ

It sticks to the bottom of the tank. Then just ran it through a fuse bar to a switch.
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Old 03-20-2023, 12:26 AM   #14
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Facon 7-1/4"x25" RV Holding Tank Heater Pad, CW-ST725, with Automatic Thermostat Control, Use with Up to 50 Gallons Fresh Water/Grey Water/Black Water Tank,12Volts DC, QAI Certificated https://a.co/d/6tWzjxZ

It sticks to the bottom of the tank. Then just ran it through a fuse bar to a switch.
Understand, Thanks!

One go back, Since the bottom of the A-Frame water tank is open to the elements including road debris, how has the Falcon heating pad held-up?
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Old 03-21-2023, 09:05 PM   #15
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I havenít had any issues with it. Itís a bit dirty but no worse than anything else on the bottom side. I go down a lot of dirt/gravel and not maintained roads. I have added about 8 inches of lift but I donít think that would affect how well the heater would hold up. Keep an eye on your batteries. Electric heat isnít exactly efficient!
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Old 03-22-2023, 11:07 PM   #16
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I havenít had any issues with it. Itís a bit dirty but no worse than anything else on the bottom side. I go down a lot of dirt/gravel and not maintained roads. I have added about 8 inches of lift but I donít think that would affect how well the heater would hold up. Keep an eye on your batteries. Electric heat isnít exactly efficient!
Thanks for the info.
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