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Old 07-02-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
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What is your set up for winter camping with a pop-top?

Greetings,

I have done winter camping with a Voyager Top that is insulated, (wich is great) but this winter I will be dealing with the pop-top.
I seek some advice on how to set up a pop-top while winter camping.
What do you use?
I've heard of SMB artic shades, do they work?
At night, with the heat on, I would have one window open (just a little) for fresh air.
Is this also possible with a pop-top?
Or would this be a major heat loss?

Any useful suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Zugg


From this to that
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:56 PM   #2
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We done winter camping at Yosemite when it was cold enough to snow but not all that cold and we don't do anything different but to wear warmer clothes to bed (in the penthouse) than we do in other seasons. We sleep with flannel sheets, a fleece blanket, and a down comforter. The heater comes on when the temperatures gets down to 40 degrees "downstairs" which we don't think that it has yet. It is probably 30 degrees upstairs but we still stay warm (we used to snow camp in a tent).

One thing to keep in mind is to make some poles to put in the corners of the penthouse to keep the penthouse up in case of a heavy snow during the night...you don't want it collapsing in the middle of the night.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:46 PM   #3
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We were camped out in 30 degree temps last Thanksgiving. We have the diesel furnace and kept the van in the mid 60's down below. I'm guessing it was about 15 degrees colder in the PH, but nothing bad at all. Also, the furnace was not running non-stop.

As far as the support poles that Jack recommended, that is a very good suggestion. They are actually built into my PH (2007 SMB) in each of the four corners.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:51 PM   #4
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We've camped with temps in the teens. As low as 18 inside. And we sleep in the penthouse with a window open - when my wife gets too cold, she closes the window - so we close the window in the morning. A fullsize down comforter keeps us toasty in the bed. We've never gotten cold either in the penthouse with the down comforter or in our tent with good sleeping bags - ahhhhh the benefits of sleeping close! It is cold getting up to turn on the furnace, but it only takes a few seconds, then back into bed for a few more minutes.

The thermostat is modified so it can be set down to 40, just to prevent freezing of the water pipes. We hadn't set the furnace, so the water froze and didn't thaw until midday. Fortunately we fill the teakettle at night so the noise of the pump won't wake anyone in the morning.

We have a dinette that makes into a bed, and if it were to get really cold, we could close the top and sleep downstairs. I'm guessing below 0 that might make sense. But, then I would be worried about getting the diesel started.

One morning in Sequoia NP we woke up to 6" of fresh snow and it was still coming down. Fortunately, we put the supports (1x2 sticks) up in the corners of the penthouse before retiring. When I removed the supports, the top came down automatically! There was a tenter in the other end of the campground and he seemed OK. After a couple hours playing in the snow we left before we got a forced day or two off work.

Camping in the SMB in the snow/ice/sleet/cold rain is much better than a tent. You can stay inside and have breakfast and coffee. And you don't have to get out to put the top down before you leave.

All in all, my biggest concern with cold weather camping is starting the diesel. Below 10 degrees, Ford advises using the block heater. But, we never have anyplace to plug in! Really makes me consider a generator. Hmmm, with a generator, I could run an air compressor and then I could air down for really bad roads and air back up for higher speeds. Just what I need, another way to spend money on my SMB.

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Old 07-03-2008, 09:42 AM   #5
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Hi,

Thanks yvrr, sdwindansea, and Mike!
You all give some great insights.
Much apreciated!

So sdwindansea, did you ask for the poles from SMB?
Or were they included with no mention?
I am having the pop-top installed this week and I will ask for the support poles-if they are not included. Should be considering the price!

Mike, regarding an air compressor, I have a portable one from Pepboys and it works great. Look for that thread in the general/Technical list.
There are many responses there!
Also, when you air down, (in snowy conditions) are you using chains on all 4 tires?

Thanks again!

Zugg



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Old 07-03-2008, 09:53 AM   #6
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Zugg - we never asked for them and were surprised to find them. I had always planned on making some kind of supports. It is probably worth asking about though.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zugg

Mike, regarding an air compressor, I have a portable one from Pepboys and it works great. Look for that thread in the general/Technical list.
There are many responses there!
Also, when you air down, (in snowy conditions) are you using chains on all 4 tires?


I've never found the small portable compressors to be satisfactory when trying to inflate a large tire to 65-80psi. It just seems to take forever to fill one tire. And a 2 HP 12vdc compressor will draw over 100 amps.

Never aired down for snow. I carry one set of chains for the rears only. And I only carry them because some Nat'l Parks (Yosemite for one) won't let you in during snow conditions if you don't have chains - 4wd doesn't count.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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Are their any photos of these support poles? in place and not?

Thanks,
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:29 PM   #9
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what is your winter setup

Yes, we are also interested in a photo of the support poles. sounds like a summer woodshop project, ready for snow.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #10
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I have had my rig in temps to about 8 degrees without any added insulation up top but I like it somewhat cold. Currently I am looking at some insulated shades mentioned in another post on this site as there is a fairly large temperature difference between top and bottom. During the 8 degree weekend the Espar heater was set to slightly over ¾ and I was using a cheap 40 degree bag sleeping in a pair of sweats. If the wind had been blowing it would have been a bit colder. I always make sure I am in locked in four wheel drive and pick a spot where I can drive down to get out if it’s needed. I am more worried about the lines outside freezing. I set the water/block heater to come on during the night and circulate some water when I get up to the call of mother nature. This helps the motor more than the fresh water lines. For long periods of time in cold weather I usually drain the flat plate, but am rarely in that kind of weather. I have had no problems dealing with temps above 20 degrees to date. As far as the top coming down, I don’t think the electric top would collapse with snow unless it’s already overloaded and something broke. Still for peace of mind (and better sleep) I made 4 poles out of 1 inch aluminum pipe I got from orchard supply. I put those chrome plugs on the ends and then installed rubber/plastic furniture caps over them. I had to make the poles slightly longer and kept trimming them until they fit snug. I do sleep better in that kind of weather with the additional support. I plan to look at a nice down bag or comforter for the really cold weather. Winter is my favorite time of year for short weekend trips.
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