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Old 02-16-2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Winter Camping

I have been reading the forum for awhile now and am currently looking to purchase my first SMB for my family travels.

We spend a lot of time skiing in the mountains and were wondering how the SMB's do in winter camping with the PH up. 90% of the time we would have access to shore power for the overnights. Any feedback would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Winter Camping

You'll love it, unless you feel the quarters are cramped. If you can plug in, you'll be happy. You have a heater, right?
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:36 PM   #3
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Re: Winter Camping

Yes I was thinking a heater or furnace is a must have. So can the PH stay up even if it is snowing? If so, does it stay pretty warm/dry if the heater is on. Anything I should be sure I get when I finally purchase the SMB for winter camping? Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Winter Camping

The top will stay dry inside even up, although you want to be sure to dry it out if it goes down wet in the morning.

Here are a few threads that cover this same topic:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2486
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2589
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:33 AM   #5
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Re: Winter Camping

We camp in ours for skiing, but only have the top up while showering, cooking sometimes, or getting dressed. We sleep downstairs and keep the top down to keep the heat in. You could leave the top up, but unless you're sleeping more than 2 in the van, I don't see why you would want to.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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Re: Winter Camping

Hey Seattle,

We have had our East of the mountains twice this winter near Lake Wenatchee. The first trip it was 20's during the day and 15 or so at night. We keep the top down at night to cut the run time on the furnace but even up the van stayed very warm inside. The only thing we noticed was when it is very cold 20's outside that it makes a big difference to keep the shades on the penthouse windows closed. What happens is the air cools very quickly on the window plastic and creates a cold draft as the air drops down toward the floor. Closing the curtains significantly reduced this.

We were staying with friends at a small cabin and were only really in the van at night. We kept the furnace on for four days and had very little solar, because our panels were constantly covered with snow, but the battery (one 4D) held out for four days. It did help that with it so cold the fridge didn't run very much.

We even camped one night right in front of Steven Pass Resort. We didn't ski because it started to rain in the morning but the comments of all of the snow boarders about the van were priceless.

John
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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Re: Winter Camping

That is great news and I appreciate everyone's input. I would like to be able to head up to Crystal on a Friday night and stay till Sunday. I imagine most of the time we would have access to shore power. Does anyone have an opinion regarding what type of heating is better for this situation? I have limited knowledge on how the vans are heated other than you have a diesel fired, propane, or electric furnace. Can you keep the heater on a specific temperature and it will cycle on and off during the night? Do you have to be plugged in to do this?

We are really looking forward to getting a Sportsmobile very soon. I would really like to see one and not just the photos. Does anyone know any RV lots in the Seattle area that have one I can view? Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:11 PM   #8
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Re: Winter Camping

Our SMB has a propane furnace and it has a thermostat, just like the furnace at home. I like to set it as low as possible, just to keep the pipes from freezing - then the down comforter will keep us warm all night.

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Old 02-19-2009, 05:31 PM   #9
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Re: Winter Camping

We have a diesel SMB with a PH top, bought it used without a furnace. With shore power, a little electric space heater was PLENTY. Used this guy, which we got from amazon for something like $17. http://www.laskoproducts.com/heaters/model_5420.html. We got hot, even though it was 15 degrees out and we used it on the low power setting. Had it under the PH bed pointed across the lower bed, and there was a pretty decent temp differential between lower and upper bed. Upper bed 15 degrees cooler.

We wanted heat when no shore power was available, so we recently had an espar D2 heater installed. It pulls fuel from the tank, so no need for a propane system, and also did a great job.

Putting reflectix around the PH will certainly help, and will probably reduce the temp differential. viewtopic.php?p=18697 We also got an external windshield cover from Camping World on the recommendation of Greggde, which I'm sure helps as well.

Short version recommendation: If you're ok with no heat without shore power, cheapest serviceable solution is a little electric space heater. If you want heat while dry-camping, go with an espar airtronic if you get a diesel van, or a propane system / furnace if you get a gasser.

Note: some have been happy with a Mr. Buddy heater or a Coleman cat. We have a crowded layout (4 captains' chairs) and little kids, and did not find a safe place to put it when running. We also didn't like the resulting aroma.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
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Re: Winter Camping

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannaSMB
go with an espar airtronic if you get a diesel van, or a propane system / furnace if you get a gasser
Note that Espar also makes a gas version of the Airtronic 5. I have no experience with it, although I am planning to get one in a V10 gasser. Also not sure if SMB has or will install the gas version.

Brent
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