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fourtrax57

What makes a 4 Season rated camper?????

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fourtrax57

     How do I know when I see one?

What to look for?

What brands?

What are the capabilities?

What are the "Need to know" things?

What questions should I be asking??

How cold can it be w/o blowing lines etc.

 

Thanks in advance.

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gaberdeen

Northwood manufacturing Artic fox line is generally regarded highly among 4 season campers. Insulted floors, ceilings and heated holding tanks. Take a look at their website.

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UplandHntr

I've googled and researched this for way too long. Lance is another good one if you're looking for a travel trailer and not a motorhome. Expect to pay quite a bit more for these higher end trailers.

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grouse28

Just use your tent on a raft next time. 😊

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fourtrax57

A tent with pontoons.

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SelbyLowndes
13 hours ago, grouse28 said:

Just use your tent on a raft next time. 😊

 

Huckleberry Finn would agree with this one...SelbyLowndes

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garyRI

The four season ones are only 4 season with the heat on. You can "dry camp" any TT & use it with the heat on.

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marsingbob

The ones I would trust when it gets below 20 degrees F are Arctic Fox and Bigfoot.   Both are very well made, expensive and heavy.  Almost any camper will work if as point out above you drain water lines and fill them with rv antifreeze.  You may be able to use your toilet/gray water tanksby using a bucket to flush it and treating it with antifreeze (or salt if it is not too cold).  However the drain valve may freeze if you cannot get some weather near 32 to flush.  I did this twice in Kansas in December/January and it worked ok in a 5th wheel.

   I have a Bigfoot motorhome and it is ok down to 20, but have not been colder.  However other owners report no problem down to close to zero as long as you keep some heat in the rv.  If you are talking about one trip of a few days I would do without running water.  You also need to think about propane to heat your camper.  A typical camper will need a lot of heat when the temperature drops to 20 and you will need to replenish typical propane tanks every day or two.  You also will need electricity or a generator to run the heater fan almost constantly.

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Curt

I once camped the whole month of January in the Pisgah national forest in an unheated tent, wasn't much fun but it can be done, I wouldn't do it to hunt.  My camper is 4 season rated and I've used it a few times on hunting trips down to 20 degrees or a little below that.  It has some of the things that make that more doable like extra insulation, heated and insulated holding tanks and valves.  The heating system is ducted so that warm air flows around the tanks when the furnace is running.  The tanks/valves are also each wrapped in insulated electric blankets that operate off both 12 volt and/or 120volt power for when the furnace isn't running and the whole thing is enclosed against the elements.  I have solar panels  on the roof and a solar charging station to provide power to the batteries to ensure I never run out of 12 volt power.  I also have a portable Honda generator to provide additional power should the need arise.  My propane capacity for the camper is as large as I could get at 80lbs because you'll use a lot of it for the furnace when it gets really cold.  All the windows are thermal pane windows.  We've been comfortable in there on some pretty cold nights and nothing has ever froze...yet.  Mine is an Arctic Fox made by Northwood mfg.

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bigjohnsd

What he said

On 10/20/2019 at 1:28 PM, Curt said:

I once camped the whole month of January in the Pisgah national forest in an unheated tent, wasn't much fun but it can be done, I wouldn't do it to hunt.  My camper is 4 season rated and I've used it a few times on hunting trips down to 20 degrees or a little below that.  It has some of the things that make that more doable like extra insulation, heated and insulated holding tanks and valves.  The heating system is ducted so that warm air flows around the tanks when the furnace is running.  The tanks/valves are also each wrapped in insulated electric blankets that operate off both 12 volt and/or 120volt power for when the furnace isn't running and the whole thing is enclosed against the elements.  I have solar panels  on the roof and a solar charging station to provide power to the batteries to ensure I never run out of 12 volt power.  I also have a portable Honda generator to provide additional power should the need arise.  My propane capacity for the camper is as large as I could get at 80lbs because you'll use a lot of it for the furnace when it gets really cold.  All the windows are thermal pane windows.  We've been comfortable in there on some pretty cold nights and nothing has ever froze...yet.  Mine is an Arctic Fox made by Northwood mfg.

 

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blanked

Bigfoots are crazy expensive. Much more than a comparable artic fox.  Must be the fiberglass shell that is so outragous

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Curt
2 hours ago, blanked said:

Bigfoots are crazy expensive. Much more than a comparable artic fox.  Must be the fiberglass shell that is so outragous

I gave them a good look over before I bought my first Arctic Fox six years ago.  The problems I found with them were all about size and capacities.  They didn't build anything over 25 feet and their tank capacities were quite small as well.  I also didn't care for their ground clearance, fine for a campground but not for off road.  I'm sure they build a great product, just didn't have what I was looking for at the time.

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apachecadillac

To knock back the OP's questions:

1.  Need to know . . . Like any other RV,  a 4 season trailer needs to be winterized if you aren't going to use it for a while and are storing it in sub-freezing temperatures.  You can blow the lines with air, or use RV antifreeze.  Don't forget to drain and bypass the hot water heater.  All that probably goes without saying.

2.  What makes it '4 seasons' . . . I've always thought the critical issue was whether the tanks and plumbing are inside the shell, properly insulated and heated.  If you've got lines running underneath that aren't, it's not a four season trailer.  Of course, in some southern parts of the country (south of I-40, for sure), you can use a non-four season trailer year round.  More generally, what a guy in the Dakotas or Canada needs for winter camping is different from what a Texan or Georgian wants.

3.  What to look for . . . even if you don't need 'true' four seasons capability (cost or tow weight considerations), insulated walls and windows and a good propane heating system are basic necessities for shoulder season use.

4.  Brands . . . in addition to Big Foot and Arctic Fox, Airstream and Oliver make good four season trailers.  They are all heavy and spendy.

 

My sense is a fair number of people who hunt or ski/snow mobile, etc. out of their RV in winter weather when the daily highs are below freezing use the things dry.  Certainly any campground that's open is going to have turned off its water to individual sites, unless the place caters to long term, year round residents.

 

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bamaquail

Outdoor RV is another really good one to checkout...Ron Nash who started Northwood Manufacturing(Artic Fox) opened Outdoor RV about 10 years ago. The Mountains series is marketed for off grid, rough road travels.

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Swope

> How do I know when I see one?
 

That’s a challenge. You won’t/can’t know the R value of the insulation in the walls, ceilings and floors by sight. Insulation is a key factor. If you see external plumbing or batteries, it’s not a winter camper. Not in Minnesota at any rate.

 

> What to look for?

 

 

Internal plumbing and even then what is being done actively from keeping it from freezing and how your going to address it when it does anyway. Double paned windows. Diesel heaters. Excellent insulation.

 

 

> What are the capabilities?

 

If what you’re looking for is the manufacture to tell you what the lowest temperature you can use it in without failure of some kind, you probably can’t get a straight answer. I was looking into the Winnebago Revel a couple of years ago and I called the factory and they would not say. I pressed very hard too.

 

> What are the "Need to know" things?

 

 

The urge to seal up tight when it’s truly cold outside is very strong, but you need to vent out the moist air or it will build up. If you go with a propane heater, it’s even more important. They create moisture in the air. All the ones I’ve seen do at any rate. You’re floor is going to be damn cold. 

 

Water freezing in your pump can destroy it. That thing must be kept warm and you don’t want to pumping ice through it either.

 

Batteries perform very poorly when they are cold. Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry batteries which really are the best can be destroyed if you try to charge them when they are cold. They must be warmed up first. 

 

A European style cartridge toilet. Even if your black tank is internal and heated, the port for emptying it has to be exposed to the elements. An option is to get a portable cartridge toilet (Thetford makes the best ones according to most reviews I’ve read).

 

> What questions should I be asking??

 

What type of fuel is used for heat? How thick is the insulation? What type is the insulation (blown foam insulation is the best, 3M Thinsulate is real good too. I have recycled denim which as served me well so far, but is not proven over time.) If the floor is not insulated, that’s a dealbreaker.

 

> How cold can it be w/o blowing lines etc.

 

With 2 diesel heaters going my pipes don’t freeze until the thermometer hits -10F. They stopped working at -17F last winter. When we got that -30F polar vortex BS I skipped that and drove south to Missouri where it never got below a civilized -5F. I think something would have gone real bad had I not done that.

 

 

Minor caveat: I’m in a Class B RV not a camper, but when it comes to winterizing it’s really not any different.

 

This will be only my 2nd winter so I’m sure there are more lessons to learn. I’m no expert but I’ll be out there doing it. 

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